The Sandom Lab studies palaeo, community and behavioural ecology, and applies this research to conservation biology and rewilding. Rewilding is a new and exciting field that seeks to not only halt the decline in biodiversity but reverse it. We follow a five phase process in our research:

  1. Identifying conservation challenges,
  2. Assessing dysfunctional ecological processes,
  3. Learning from the ecology of the past,
  4. Applying lessons learnt from the past to the present, and
  5. Innovating nature-based solutions to conservation challenges.

We explore Pleistocene, early Holocene and more recent ecological baselines to better understand how natural systems functioned prior to modern human impacts. We follow how ecosystems have changed over time to gain the necessary insights to achieve more sustainable conservation aproaches in the future. Our approach includes database creation from the primary literature, macroecology, and field research. Our primary study group is mammals.

We are also interested in linking rewilding approaches to tackling social challenges, particularly relating to the delivery of ecosystem services. We look to follow a highly interdisiplinary approach to achieve this.

We have strong ties to business and NGOs in the Rewilding sector, ensuring that research we produce has impact.


Paper out on One hundred priority questions for landscape restoration in Europe:

Paper out on making rewilding fit for policy:

Paper out on identifying ambassador species for conservation marketing:

Check out some video from a recent field course at the Knepp Estate rewilding project here:

Paper out on Felid diets:

Did the loss of prey diversity cause the extinction of the biggest felids? Find out more here:

Are you interested in Rewilding? Check out the Rewilding Knowledge Hub here:

Photos from the most recent African Zoology Field Course: Undergraduate & Masters


Zambezi National Park 2018 Field Course

Photos from the African Zoology Field Course


Dr Christopher Sandom

Lecturer in Biology

Tel: 01273 876620

School of Life Sciences
JMS building, room 5B7
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9RH