Staff, Students, and Associates

Dr Gail Robertson
Senior Statistician for Plant and Crop Science



Biomathematics & Statistics Scotland
BioSS Office
The James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie
DUNDEE, DD2 5DA, Scotland, UK.

I am an applied statistician with an interest in using statistics for decision support and in modelling complex datasets. I have experience working on a range of statistical challenges, including in ecology and the environment, and more recently in other fields such as forensic statistics.

I completed my PhD examining foraging behaviour of seabirds at the University of Glasgow in 2014 and have since worked as a statistician analysing ecological and epidemiological data. Following my PhD I started working at the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust as a statistical scientist analysing long term data on upland bird numbers and land use change. In 2016 I started as a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh where I provided statistical support to epidemiologists and clinicians working on global health projects within the department. I worked on analysing hospital-based data collated from the Vietnam Initiative on Zoonotic Infections (VIZIONS) project, collaborating with partners at the Oxford University Clinical Research Unit and Sanger Institute to develop statistical methods to identify hospital patients likely to be infected with novel viruses of zoonotic origin. I collaborated with colleagues at the University of Edinburgh Epidemiology Research Group to publish work from the VIZIONS project as well as previous work examining antimicrobial resistance in developing countries and virus evolution. From 2018 I worked as a statistical consultant at the School of Mathematics University of Edinburgh collaborating with colleagues and external industry partners.

My previous research includes using and developing statistical methods to solve complex real world problems. An example of this is the development of graphical methods (Bayesian networks and Chain Event Graphs) to aid forensic scientists in decision making when working on cases with multiple pieces of complex evidence.


Selected publications

Scholin, L., Robertson, G.S., Chopra, A., Connelly, M. (2023) Length and associated characteristics of short-term detentions: an analysis of detentions under the Mental Health Act in Scotland, 2006–2018. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 367

Sharifi Far, S., Inacio, V., Paulin, D., de Carvalho, M., Augustin, N., Allerhand, M., Robertson, G.S. (2023) Consultancy Style Dissertations in Statistics and Data Science: Why and How. The American Statistician

Robertson, G.S., Perry, M., Vinh, P.V., Ngoc, D.T.T., Thanh, T.P.T., My P.M., Thao, H.D., Rabaa, M., Baker, S., Woolhouse, M. (2020) Pig exposure and health outcomes in hospitalized infectious disease patients in Vietnam. EcoHealth 17: 28-40. 

Lu, L., Robertson, G.S., Ashworth, J., Hong, A.P., Shi, T., Ivens, A., Thwaites, G., Baker, S., Woolhouse, M. (2020) Epidemiology and phylogenetic analysis of viral respiratory infections in Vietnam. Frontiers in microbiology 11:833. 

Trevail, A.M., Green, J.A., Sharples, J., Polton, J.A., Miller, P.I., Daunt, F., Owen, E., Bolton, M., Colhoun, K., Newton, S., Robertson, G.S., Patrick., S.C. (2019) Environmental heterogeneity decreases reproductive success via effects on foraging behaviour. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 286:  

Robertson, G.S., Aebischer, N.J., Richardson, M., Newborn, D. & Baines, D. (2017) Using harvesting data to examine temporal and regional variation in red grouse abundance in the British uplands. Wildlife Biology DOI: 10.2981/wlb.00276 

Wakefield, E.D., Owen, E., Baer, J., Carroll, M.J., Daunt, F., Dodd, S.G., Green, J.A., Guilford, T., Mavor, R.A., Miller, P.I., Newell, M.A., Newton, S.F., Robertson, G.S., Shoji, A., Soanes, L.M., Votier, S.C., Wanless, S. & Bolton, M. (2017) Breeding density, fine-scale tracking, and large-scale modelling reveal the regional distribution of four seabird species. Ecological Applications 27: 2074 – 2091. 

Robertson, G.S., Newborn, D., Richardson, M. & Baines, D. (2016) Does rotational heather burning increase red grouse abundance and breeding success on moors in northern England? Wildlife Biology DOI: 10.2981/wlb.00227 

Robertson, G.S., Bolton, M., Grecian, W.J. & Monaghan, P. (2014) Inter- and intra-year variation in foraging areas of breeding kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla). Marine Biology 161: 1973 – 1986. 

Robertson, G.S., Bolton, M., Grecian, W.J., Wilson, L.J., Davies, W. & Monaghan, P. (2014) Resource partitioning in three congeneric sympatrically breeding seabirds: Foraging areas and prey utilization. The Auk 131: 434 – 446.