After my undergraduate degree at Cambridge, I went to Canada for my PhD where I worked on the ecology of mosquitoes in northern Alberta. My 'dream' was to work in Africa, so in 1963 after completing my PhD, I accepted an appointment at the University of Khartoum where I changed my research interests from mosquitoes to mammals. During the three years I spent in Khartoum, I travelled widely in the semi-desert regions studying small mammals. Most of the research effort was directed to ecological studies on the jerboa Jaculus jaculus and the gerbil Gerbillus pyramidum. In 1966, I moved to the University of Ibadan in Nigeria (one year before the civil war began) and embarked on longterm studies of the demography of terrestrial small mammals in rainforest, patterns of distribution of small mammals in the savanna zones, reproductive strategies of small mammals, and the problems of conservation in National Parks. The 12 years which I lived in Nigeria were very happy and rewarding in all respects. Various circumstances forced my wife and the family to leave Nigeria in 1977 and I accepted a post in this the Deparment of Zoology at The Australian National University.
Since being in Australia, I (and my students) have worked on many aspects of the ecology of small mammals in the subalpine and alpine regions of Kosciusko National Park, a few kilometres south of Canberra. The studies include demography, reproductive strategies, habitat selection, food preferences, social behaviour, the effects of altitude (especially snow in winter) on many aspects of life histories, and the problems of conservation in mountain habitats. It has been possible to maintain my research interests in Africa, and I have spent several long study leaves in Malawi. Here, the main focus of studies has been similar to previous African work, but has broadened to include many aspects of the biology of bats.
On retirement in 1997, I became a Emeritus Fellow in this Division. I continue to write papers on African and Australian mammals. I do not supervise any graduate students now.
Mammals of Africa has six volumes:
- Volume I. Introductory chapters and Afrotheria . Eds Kingdon, D. C. D. Happold, M. Hoffmann ,T. M. Butynski and J. Kalina. (49 spp., 351 pp).
- Volume II. Primates. Eds T. M. Butynski, J. Kingdon & J. Kalina. (93 spp., 556 pp).
- Volume III. Rodents, Hares and Rabbits. Ed. D. C. D. Happold. (408 spp., 784 pp).
- Volume IV. Hedgehogs, Shrews and Bats. Eds. M. Happold & D. C. D. Happold. (380 spp., 800 pp).
- Volume IV. Carnivores. Pangolins, Equids, and Rhinoceroses. Eds Jonathan Kingdon & M. Hoffmann. (93 spp., 560 pp).
- Volume VI. Pigs, Hippopotamuses, Chevrotain, Giraffe, Deer and Bovids. Eds J. Kingdon & M. Hoffmann. (93 spp., 704 pp).
Mammals of Africa was published by Bloomsbury in March 2013, and was the 2014 Dartmouth Medal award winner.
- Happold, D.C.D., Wendelen, W. 2006. The distribution of Poelagus marjorita (Lagomorpha: Leporidae) in central Africa. Mammalian Biology 71: 377-383
- Happold, D. C. D. and Happold, M. 1998. Effects of bat-bands and banding on a population of Pipistrellus nanus (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae) in Malawi. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 63:65-78.
- Happold, D. C. D. 1998. The subalpine climate at Smiggin Holes, Kosciusko National Park, Australia, and its influence on the biology of small mammals. Arctic and Alpine Research 30:241-251
- Bernard, R.T.F., Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1997. Sperm storage in a seasonally reproducing African vespertilionid, the banana bat (Pipistrellus nanus) from Malawi. Journal of Zoology, London 241: 161-174.
- Happold, D.C.D and Happold, M. 1997. The population structure and social behaviour of leaf-roosting banana bats, Pipistrellus nanus, in Malawi, east-central Africa. Mammalia 60:517-544.
- Happold, D.C.D and Happold, M. 1997. Conservation of mammals on a tobacco farm on the highlands of Malawi. Biodiversity and Conservation 6:837-852.
- Happold, M and Happold, D.C.D. 1997. New records of bats (Chiroptera: Mammalia) for Malawi, east-central Africa, with an assessment of their status and conservation. Journal of Natural History 31:805-836.
- Bubela, T.M. and Happold, D.C.D. 1993. The social organisation and mating system of the Broad-toothed Rat, Mastacomys fuscus, in subalpine Australia. Wildlife Research 20: 405-417.
- Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1992. The ecology of three communities of small mammals at different altitudes in Malawi, central Africa. Journal of Zoology, London 228: 81-101.
- Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1991. The reproductive strategies of bats (Chiroptera) in Africa. Journal of Zoology, London 222: 557-583.
- Bubela, T.M., Happold, D.C.D., and Broome, L. 1991. Home range and activity of the Broad-toothed Rat, Mastacomys fuscus, in subalpine heathland. Wildlife Research 18: 39-48.
- Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1990. The domiciles, reproduction, social organisation and sex ratios of Pipistrellus nanus (Chiroptera, Vespertilionidae) in Malawi. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 55: 145-160.
- Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1989. Biogeography of montane small mammals in Malawi, central Africa. Journal of Biogeography 16: 353-367.
- Happold, D.C.D. 1987. The Mammals of Nigeria. Oxford University Press. 402 pp.
- Happold, D.C.D. and Happold, M. 1987. Small mammals in pine plantations and natural habitats on Zomba Plateau, Malawi. Journal of Applied Ecology 24: 353-367.
- Happold, D.C.D., Happold, M. and Hill, J. E. 1987. The bats of Malawi. Mammalia 51: 337-414.
- Delany, M.J. and Happold, D.C.D. 1979. Ecology of Tropical African mammals. Longman, London. 434 pp.