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William Cresswell

Chair professor, University of St Andrews

Will Cresswell was born in 1966 and has been watching and recording animals and birds in the field for as long as he can remember. He graduated from Cambridge University in 1988 with a first in zoology. His PhD was completed at Edinburgh University in 1993 on the hunting behaviour of sparrowhawks, peregrines and merlins and how their prey, mainly waders and skylarks, used behaviour to avoid and escape attack. A five year NERC fellowship followed at Glasgow University in 1994 investigating whether individual birds are always good competitors (“nature”) or whether it depends on specific conditions or experience (“nurture”). Will was appointed Lecturer in Ornithology at the Edward Grey Institute, Oxford in 1998 and was awarded an eight year Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2000 to study predator and prey interactions. He moved to St Andrews University in 2003 where he is currently a Professor of Biology. Research interests include how non-lethal effects of predation risk structure avian communities, life history traits of tropical birds, migration and dispersal, and the conservation of birds in agricultural and other anthropogenic habitats. He has published 167 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals and has an H index of 52.


  • 2014–2022
    Professor of Biology, University of St Andrews