Banded Mongoose Alumni

I am interested in how animals compete for reproduction within cooperative groups.

Dr Sarah Hodge

Senior Lecturer in Zoology

I have worked for many years on banded mongooses and am still fascinated by these wonderful animals. My PhD and postdoctoral research has investigated why individuals vary in how much they help to raise offspring, and how females compete for reproduction within groups. I am now a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation. I specialise in teaching undergraduates and Master’s students, using insights from my research.

Dr Jennifer Sanderson

Science Teacher

I have a lot of enthusiasm both for science and for mongooses and love talking to people about the project. Currently I am working as a Teach First science teacher in South Bristol. My PhD involved understanding the hormonal mechanisms that underpin cooperative behaviour in the banded mongooses. Following the completion of my PhD in 2013, my research focused on using genetic techniques to investigate mating strategies and inheritance of behaviours. A highlight of my time on the Mongoose Project was writing a children’s storybook about banded mongooses which we toured around primary schools both in UK and in Uganda as part of the Queen Elizabeth Parks Twinning Project.
I recently wrote a children’s storybook about banded mongooses.
I am interested in the mechanisms that underpin reproductive behaviours such as mate-choice and inbreeding avoidance

Jessica Mitchell

PhD Student

I am interested in the mechanisms that underpin reproductive behaviours such as mate-choice and inbreeding avoidance. The banded mongoose makes an ideal study system for this research as the bulk of reproduction occurs within closely-related groups, presenting a very real risk of inbreeding. Additionally, multiple males and females will simultaneously reproduce within each breeding attempt, providing scope for mate-choice within both sexes. For my PhD I am currently investigating how olfactory communication may act as a mechanism allowing banded mongooses to choose suitable mates and avoid breeding with close relatives. I am also interested in how parasite load may affect mate-choice and reproductive success. My research combines field-based observations with parasitology, chemical and genetic analyses in the lab. I am based at Liverpool John Moores University under the supervision of Dr Hazel Nichols but work closely with the rest of the banded mongoose team at Exeter.

Dr Neil Jordan

Joint research fellow

Neil Jordan worked on the banded mongoose project from 2005-2009, where his PhD investigated mongoose scent communication and combined behavioural observations, experimental manipulations and analytical biochemistry. He is now a joint research fellow in the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of New South Wales and the Taronga Conservation Society Australia. His research applies behavioural ecology to conservation management, particularly using animal signals to manage carnivore movements and reduce human-wildlife conflict. Neil currently conducts fieldwork in Australia and Botswana, where he is a research associate at the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust ( His study species, past and present, include meerkats, banded mongooses, pine martens, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, African wild dogs, leopards and African lions.

My research uses animal signals to manage carnivore movements and reduce human wildlife conflict .