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Professor Ruth Ramsay

Contact Details:

  • School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • 353 21 490 4644


Animal behaviour research - in the wild and captivity, including environmental enrichment. 

My research on animal behaviour commenced when I was at the National University of Singapore.  My funded research on the impacts of red-eared slider terrapins on native fauna required a study of the behaviour and ecology of the sliders as well as the native species. This research was undertaken by my PhD student in Singapore, Dr Ng Pek Kaye Abigyale.  I then built up links with staff at both Singapore Zoo/Night Safari and Jurong Bird Project, as well as at Underwater World Sentosa and I supervised ten undergraduate behaviour research projects there between 2002/3, 2003/4 and 2004/5.  

Since I resumed my position at UCC in January 2005, I have enhanced the research links between Fota and the School of BEES.  In 2005/6 this involved supervising two 4th year projects at Fota, five in 2006/7 and six in 2007/8, four in 2008/9 as well as one in Dublin Zoo, while now every year I supervise between 2 and 8 projects at Fota, most recently co-supervising projects with Dr Courtney Collins and Dr Rebecca Newman.  

I have supervised 4 PhDs to completion involving research at Fota (Dr Thomas Quirke, Dr Juliana Damasceno, Dr Courtney Collins (co-supervised with Dr Kennedy, UCC School of Education), Dr Rebecca Newman (co-supervised with Dr Quirke)), one completed postdoc. (Dr Amy Haigh on wild red squirrels; co-PI Dr Fidelma Butler) and two MSc students (Ms Sarah Forde (MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare- University of Edinburgh) and Ms Ashley Markewinski (co-supervised with Dr Quirke). The research has resulted in 14 publications, with more in review and numerous conference presentations. The research has been funded by IRCSET (PhD Scholarship), IRC-PhD Enterprise Partnership with Fota Wildlife Park as the partner and the Director, Mr S. McKeown as Enterprise Mentor, IRC Enterprise Partnership Scheme Postdoctoral Fellowship, with Fota Wildlife Park and University of Sao Paulo (Brazil) PhD Scholarship (Dr Damasceno) and NUI Travelling Scholarship (Dr Quirke). 

Dr Courtney Collins and Dr Rebecca Newman are currently carrying out postdoctoral research in association with Fota. 

A large component of Dr Amy Haigh’s PhD research on hedgehogs in Ireland was on their behaviour, in particular their interaction with ground-nesting birds, while Dr Ruth Enright’s PhD examined the behavioural ecology of the Old Irish goat (Capra hircus) in the Beara Peninsula, Co. Cork and the Burren, Co. Clare.






Zoo Research Group

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences

University College Cork, Distillery Fields, North Mall, Cork, T23N73K