Karolina Zalewska

Karolina Zalewska


I graduated from the University of Aberdeen in 2019 with a BSc degree in Biology. For my honours project, I analysed spatiotemporal activity and occurrence of three carnivore species: the Eurasian badger, red fox, and pine marten, to identify potential non-lethal avoidance interactions among the species.

Over the last year, I have been completing an MSc degree in Statistical Ecology at the University of St Andrews. The focus of my Master’s dissertation work was inference from citizen science data and how it can be improved by reducing bias associated with the data collection process within the modelling procedure. I aimed to produce robust spatiotemporal hoverfly occupancy trend estimates using long-term occurrence data collected by volunteers for the UK Hoverfly Recording Scheme.

In general, I am interested in both lethal and non-lethal species interactions, as well as factors affecting species demography and dispersal ability.

Karolina Zalewska

PhD title: Microclimate refugia site management strategies for biodiversity conservation

Climate change may have an adverse effect on biodiversity, causing the affected species to adapt. The outcomes of environmental change most frequently recognised in literature phenological and body mass alterations, as well as range shifts. One of the less frequently studied responses is microclimate selection within a given species’ current range, which is likely to differ depending on the species biology and ecology. The availability of different types of microclimate sites will vary greatly among individual ranges, and therefore, individuals can select and compete for favourable refuges to avoid the threat of adverse climate conditions.

The recognition of such behavioural strategies can highlight the ability of the species to adapt to climate change. Using new tracking technology and high resolution spatiotemporal data, I am going to analyse how species use sites with different microclimates in response to climate warming. My results will inform habitat management action to promote species conservation in a world dramatically altered by humans.


    Zalewska, K., Waggershauser, C.N., Kortland, K. & Lambin, X. 2021. The best defence is not being there: avoidance of larger predators is not driven by risk intensity. Journal of Zoology.

    Zalewska, K., Zalewski, A., Wajrak, A. & Selva, N. 2020. Tadpoles in the diet of otters – an overlooked prey item in the diet of a riparian predator? Journal of Vertebrate Biology, 69: 1-7.

    Zalewska, K. & Zalewski, A. 2019. Size selection of alternative prey relative to the abundance of primary prey: pine marten hunting for frogs. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 56: 41-49.

Awards and Prizes

Vero Copner Wynne-Edwards Prize for outstanding performance in Biology at BSc Honours from the University of Aberdeen.