Staff profile

Debbie Alston

Lecturer in Biodiversity

Deb crouching amongst some bluebells and overgrown grass


Biology and Zoology


College of Science and Engineering


School of Built and Natural Environment

Research centre

Environmental Sustainability Research Centre


Kedleston Road, Derby Campus



I am a part-time Lecturer on the undergraduate Biology, Zoology, Geography and Joint Honours programmes and the MSc Conservation Biology and MSc Environmental Assessment and Control programmes.

I have worked in ecology and conservation management for more than 20 years and, where appropriate, I bring that knowledge and those contacts into my teaching.

Teaching responsibilities

I am the Module Leader for the following modules:

I teach on the following modules across our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes: Evolution of Life, Ecology, Research Methods, Vertebrate Biology, Field Biology, Habitat Management, Ecological Consultancy, Environmental Management, Ecological Consultancy, Identification for Conservation Biology, Ecological Surveying, Conservation Biology in Principle and Practice, Practical Training - Based Placement Module.

I also supervise both undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.

In addition to formal teaching, I run Wildlife I-Spy, the extra curricula activity for our students to improve their confidence in identifying British species of wildlife.

Professional interests

With my industrial background, I am keen to build links with conservation and ecological organisations for both research and student employablity.

Research interests

My research areas are many and varied, which reflect my career and external interests. My current research interests include:

Membership of professional bodies

I am a full member of CIEEM (Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management), the (BES) British Ecological Society and I gained Fellowship of the Advanced HE in April 2020.

I am also a member of the Mammal Society, Bat Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Botanical Society for Britain and Ireland and numerous local conservation organisations.


Recent conferences

2018 - BSBI Annual Exhibition Meeting

What is the current status of Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) in the Peak District?

2018 - ESRC University of Derby Conference

What is the current and possible future status of Derbyshire's County Plant?

2016 - Mammal Society Spring Conference

The Derbyshire Mammal Atlas

2015 - National Federation of Biological Recording

Plotting to Publish (The trials and tribulations of compiling a County Mammal Atlas)

Experience in industry

I have worked in ecology and conservation management for more than 20 years (the majority of which has been in Derbyshire) and I use this experience frequently in my teaching.

My past jobs have included working for local authorities, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and the Open University.

Additional interests and activities

Outside of my University role, I am the Chair and County Recorder for the Derbyshire Mammal Group, and Chair of the Mammal Society's Training Committee.

I also teach courses for the Mammal Society, Field Studies Council and local Wildlife Trusts and am an Associate Tutor for Manchester Metropolitan University.

I am the External Examiner on the FdBSc and BSc Animal Conservation and Biodiversity courses at Hadlow College (accredited by the University of Greenwich).

Recent publications

Mallon, D., Alston, D. and Whiteley, D (2012) The Mammals of Derbyshire. Sorby Natural History Society