Amber de Vere


Programme Manager: FdSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Conservation and BSc (Hons) Applied Animal Behaviour and Welfare (top-up)

Lecturer for modules including: Animal Welfare and the Law, Animal Cognition and Neuroscience, Animal Welfare & Ethics, Statistics, Principles of Conservation, Behavioural Ecology.

Selection of supervised undergraduate projects:

  • Does enclosure design and size affect the behaviour and activity of captive tigers?
  • Do owner personality traits affect their perception that their black and white argentine tegu (Salvator merianae) can form an emotional attachment?
  • Domestic cat personality: An assessment of two common dimensions and associations with space usage and social interactions.

Research Interests

My research has focused primarily on pinniped behaviour and personality. I am interested in the cross-species evolution of personality traits and how these are linked to welfare outcomes in both wild and captive populations. I began work in this field while completing my M.A. and Ph.D. in the Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Laboratory at the University of Southern Mississippi, under Dr. Stan Kuczaj, Dr. Lauren Highfill, and Dr. Lucas Keefer. During my Ph.D., I focused particularly on California sea lion and harbour seal personality, assessed via behavioural and trait rating assessments. I am currently working on expanding this research to further populations to work towards a validated assessment of pinniped personality, as has been achieved for several other species.

My human research concerns the psychological and demographic factors that appear to influence environmental- and animal welfare-related behaviours. For example, consuming animal products has significant environmental and animal welfare impacts, but this behaviour is typically extremely resistant to modification. In my research, we have explored how the type of messaging contributes to participants’ willingness to change these types of behaviours.

I have a number of other research interests, including how the behaviour of individuals influences their interaction with anthropogenic impacts, visitor effects on zoo animal behaviour and space usage, and comparative cognition for species subject to different ecological factors.

Please contact me at if you would like to discuss any particular research interests or the undergraduate courses we offer.


B.A. Biological Sciences (Oxford University)

M.A. Brain & Behavior Psychology (University of Southern Mississippi)

Ph.D. Brain & Behavior Psychology (University of Southern Mississippi)

Selected Publications

de Vere, A.J. (2018). Visitor effects on a zoo population of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) and harbour seals (Phoca vitulina). Zoo Biology, 37(3), 162-170.

de Vere, A.J., Lilley, M.K., Frick, E. (2018). Anthropogenic Impacts on the Welfare of Wild Marine Mammals. Aquatic Mammals, 44(2), 150-180.

Lilley, M.K., de Vere, A.J., Yeater, D.B., Kuczaj, S.A. (2018). Characterizing curiosity-related behavior in bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and rough-toothed (Steno bredanensis) dolphins. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 31, 1-15.

de Vere, A., Lilley, M., Highfill, L. (2017). Do pinnipeds have personality? Broad dimensions and contextual consistency of behavior in harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus). International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 30, 1-15.

Frick, E., de Vere, A., Kuczaj, S. (2017). What do we want to know about personality in marine mammals? In: Volume on Personality in Non-Humans, (Eds. J. Vonk, A. Weiss), Springer.

de Vere, A., Kuczaj, S.A. (2016). Where are we in the study of animal emotions? WIREs Cognitive Science, 7(5), 354-62.

Jes Hooper


Undergraduate Lecturer: FdSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Conservation

Lecturer for modules including: Management of Animal Collections, Principles of Conservation, Human-Animal Interactions, Animal Behaviour and Communication.

Research Interests

I am interested in conservation, anthrozoology, wildlife rehabilitation, and welfare. My experience includes working as a field assistant for illegal primate pet research in Mexico City, where I also collected observational and physiological data of wild Atelinae and Alouatta sp. in protected and fragmented habitats. In addition, I spent four years as the primate behaviourist and enrichment coordinator at the Ecoparque el Fenix Monkey Sanctuary in Mexico. As part of my work here, I delivered educational workshops to both the public and staff in the field to highlight the conservation and welfare impacts of the illegal primate pet trade. In addition, I acted as a welfare advisor to local zoos and animal collections, alongside designing and implementing enrichment for the primate population. Since returning from Mexico, I continued to work closely with primates as a zoo keeper as Drusilla’s Park Zoo, as well as overseeing the zoo’s research objectives, before moving to Plumpton College.


FdSc. Animal Science (University of Brighton)

B.Sc. (top-up) Animal Science and Management (Royal Agricultural University)

M.Sc. Primate Conservation (Oxford Brookes University)

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