Professor Richard Shore

Richard talking to Sir Mark Walport during visit 2019

Professor Richard Shore, who died in July 2020, was a much-loved colleague, mentor and friend. He made a huge contribution to pollution and wildlife science worldwide. 

Richard's research centred on studying the exposure and effects of pollutants, biocides and pesticides in wild birds and mammals, including:

  • monitoring current levels of contamination of wild mammals and birds by pollutants, biocides and pesticides
  • identifying new chemical threats to wildlife
  • understanding how and why contamination varies geographically and over time
  • understanding what drives the transfer of chemicals along food-chains
  • investigating, assessing and predicting the impacts contamination may have.

The results from this research help identify chemical risks, develop appropriate assessment and mitigation strategies, and guide the formulation of effective policies to protect environmental and human health.

Richard authored or co-authored more than 250 papers, book chapters, articles and contract reports on my work. Web of Science listed publications can be found by clicking here and a full listing is available through the NERC Open Archive (NORA). 

More details about our long-term, large-scale monitoring of contaminants in birds can be found on UKCEH's Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme (PBMS) website.

In memory

Richard joined the Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (ITE) at Monks Wood in 1988, where he started out studying the impact of timber treatment on bats. This was the first in a series of investigations he led into the impact of pollutants on wildlife, including hedgehogs, polecats and birds of prey, which became a lifelong passion. His favourite was the gannet.

In 1995, Richard was appointed Head of the Analytical Chemistry Unit and he continued in this role until ITE was merged into the newly formed Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) in 2000. When the Monks Wood site closed down, he ensured the successful transfer of pollution science to CEH’s Lancaster and Wallingford sites, supporting staff through the transition, and helping to build a world-class analytical laboratory facility. 

Barry Wyatt, Head of Site at Monks Wood, recalls: “Richard was always there, full of sound common-sense and concern for his colleagues and for the organisation he served for so many years. He was rightly respected for his scientific achievements and I relied on him very heavily as one of the most dependable of my senior section leaders. Most of all, he will be missed by his colleagues for his humour, wisdom and approachability. He has left a mark that will not readily be forgotten.”

At CEH, Richard soon took on the role of Head of Site for CEH Lancaster and later also became Science Area Head for Pollution. He worked hard to integrate staff from a number of different sites into a cohesive and effective unit, delivering environmental science across several science areas. His calm, caring and thoughtful approach made him someone to whom people naturally gravitated for advice. His passion and talent for helping and coaching others to achieve their best meant that he became a highly valued mentor to many early career scientists, as well as group leaders and new science area heads. 

At the same time, Richard never stopped being a working and intellectually provocative scientist. He loved wildlife ecotoxicology, and worked with European colleagues to establish a network of raptor focused scientists focusing on monitoring and conservation. 

Guy Duke, Chair of the European Raptor Biomonitoring Facility, commented: “I have worked alongside Richard since 2006, and he has been a driving intellectual force over the last 15 years in developing our approach to pan-European contaminant monitoring in raptors and other top predators.”

Richard ably filled the shoes of Ian Newton, taking over the running of the Predatory Bird Monitoring Scheme. He and his team continued to quantify contaminants in predatory birds found dead in Britain and in their eggs, capturing relevant and emerging chemical threats to the environment and using this information to inform pollution policy and regulation. The Scheme now receives up to 700 birds each year from members of the public and animal welfare organisations, who look forward to receiving post mortem results so they can understand what happened to ‘their’ bird.

Richard was awarded honorary professorships from Queen’s University, Belfast and the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University. In 2010, he was presented with the Mammal Society’s highest honour, their silver medal, awarded for outstanding services to mammalogy. His extensive knowledge of ecotoxicology led him to be invited to serve as an expert on national and international advisory panels, most notably Defra’s Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) and their UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP), as well as the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) scientific panel on Plant Health, Plant Protection Products and their Residues where he gave advice on long-term risk to mammals. 

He received many invitations to lecture, including on MSc courses at the University of Birmingham and Institute of Zoology; and he served on the editorial board of the journals Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, Pesticide Outlook, and Environmental Pollution.

Dr Claus Svendsen succeeded Richard as head of pollution science at UKCEH. He said: “Richard was a great man to whom we owe an awful lot. He was always there when you needed it, trusted you to get on with it, and make your own decisions. He would take the flack for you when you messed something up, before just turning around and telling you, “No need to discuss this. I know you won’t do it again! Thank you Richard. Your teachings will serve us forever.”

Richard graduated from the University of Bristol with a first class honours degree in zoology. Then, under the supervision of the zoologist Derek Yalden who inspired him, he studied the impacts of liming on small mammal physiology and populations for his PhD from the University of Manchester.

Brief CV

  • CEH's Science Area Head for Pollution
  • Senior manager of about 50-60 staff and students who comprise four groups: Analytical Chemistry (CEH’s centralised analytical chemistry facility), Environmental Data Science, Ecotoxicology and Environmental Contaminants
  • Head of Site at CEH Lancaster 
  • Researcher in vertebrate ecotoxicology
  • Honorary Professor, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University (2011- onwards)
  • Chair of the Mammal Society's Scientific Committee (2015 - onwards)
  • Appointee to Defra's Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) (2014- onwards)
  • Appointee to Defra's Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) (2011-14)
  • Chair of the Environmental Panel of the Advisory Committee on Pesticide (ACP) (2013- onwards)
  • Mammal Society silver medal awarded for outstanding services to Mammalogy  (2010)
  • Member of the editorial board of Environmental Pollution (2002- onwards)
  • Member of the Royal Society's Commonwealth Science Conference Grants Committee (2016- onwards)
  • Member of the International Travel Grant Panel of the Royal Society (2010-2015)
  • External lecturer on MSc courses for the Universities of Birmingham (from 2002) and London (from 2005) 


  • BSc (Hons) Zoology, Class 1, University of Bristol
  • PhD University of Manchester