Dr Penelope J Watt

Dr Penelope J Watt

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0076

Email: p.j.watt@sheffield.ac.uk

Room B1 206a, Alfred Denny Building


BSc in Zoology, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK (1986)

PhD in Zoology, University of Leeds, UK (1989)

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Imperial College, University of London, UK (1989-1993)

Lecturer, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK (1993-1998)

Lecturer, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, UK (1998-present)

Key Research Interests

images of fish and frogs

Although I have worked on amphibians and some invertebrate groups in the past, my current research interests are in behavioural ecology of fishes, in the following areas:

  • Personality traits, such as boldness and aggression
  • The genetic basis of behaviour
  • Mate choice and sexual selection


I am a Level 1 Tutor for Animal and Plant Sciences, the Disability Liaison Officer, and a member of the exams team.

Was awarded APS Departmental Teacher of the Year in 2010.

At Level 2 I teach APS272 (Animal Diversity) and APS260 (Animal Diversity Practical). As a zoologist, I have a real passion for animals and I hope to put this across in my teaching. APS272 covers invertebrate and vertebrate groups and deals with aspects of their evolutionary relationships, structure and function and natural history. My research interests are in behavioural ecology, particularly of fishes, though I have also worked on amphibians and some invertebrate groups in the past, and I hope to reflect this in this module. APS260 also covers invertebrates and vertebrates and is designed to develop observational and identification skills in the field. This module involves lab and museum work as well as field trips to the coast and to a bird reserve.

At Level 3, I supervise Projects (APS330) in fish behavioural ecology in areas close to my research (such as personality traits, learning and mate choice). I have an interest in science education in primary and secondary schools, which stems from being a school governor and being involved in science outreach, and I supervise students taking APS340, the University's Undergraduate Ambassador Scheme. I am always impressed by the commitment shown by the students taking this module and the fantastic ideas they have that inspire the children they interact with.

I supervise Level 4 MBiolSci students, recent projects have involved investigating the genetic basis of various behaviours in the zebrafish.

Research Group

PhD Students

Wafa Abudayah

Joseph Llanos

James Ord

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