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Ecology and environment

The work of this group is at the forefront of addressing some of the key environmental challenges currently facing humankind. These include ensuring provision of the ecosystem goods and services that the growing human population requires; maintaining biodiversity in the face of global environmental change; and controlling the spread both of established and emerging diseases.

We utilise a wide diversity of research approaches, including mathematical modelling, controlled environment and field experiments, and analysis of long-term data sets and palaeontological collections. The group works nationally and internationally with a diversity of stakeholders, including farmers, conservation agencies and government departments. Our study systems are varied including birds, mammals, insects, plants and microbes, in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems.

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Dr Andrew Beckerman

  • Scaling from behaviour to population dynamics
  • Dynamical consequences of predation risk
  • Food webs and foraging ecology

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Prof. Terry Callaghan

  • Mechanisms of survival and adaptation in plants to arctic environments
  • Effect of enhanced UV-B radiation on arctic plant communities
  • Climate change impacts on organisms and ecosystems
  • Effect of CO2 concentrations on organisms and ecosystems

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Dr Dylan Childs

  • Life history theory – Characterising optimal reproductive strategies and components of selection in free-living populations
  • Structured population modelling – Construction / parameterisation of accurate demographic models (e.g. integral projection models)
  • Host-parasite dynamics – Exploring the impact of environmental variation on dynamics (e.g. seasonal forcing in malaria

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Dr Jill Edmondson

  • Soil and vegetation carbon budgeting
  • Potential for own-grown food and biofuel production in urban areas, and urban/agricultural land-use trade-offs
  • Mechanisms driving soil-to-own-grown food crop transfer of soil pollutants and soil carbon storage in urban areas

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Dr David Edwards

  • Impacts of tropical land-use change on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
  • Sustainability of logging and agriculture in the tropics
  • Cost-effective conservation within the tropics
  • Interaction of climate and land-use changes on extinction risk


Dr Karl Evans

  • Agricultural intensification
  • Climate change
  • Clutch size variation
  • Human population density and its relationship with biodiversity patterns
  • Introduced species
  • species-energy relationships
  • Urbanisation

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Prof. Rob Freckleton

  • Population modelling
  • Large scale ecology
  • Comparative analysis and evolutionary ecology

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Prof. Lorraine Maltby

  • Freshwater ecotoxicology
  • Adaptation and acclimation to stress
  • Community structure and ecosystem functioning in streams

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Dr Gareth Phoenix

  • Impacts of climate change on Arctic plants and ecosystems
  • Plant nutrient acquisition and impacts on carbon and nutrient cycling
  • Nitrogen deposition impacts on ecosystem structure and function

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Prof. Mark Rees

  • Impacts of plant invaders on communities and ecosystems
  • Management of plant invaders
  • Population and community dynamics

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Dr Tom Webb

  • Macroecology of marine systems Ecological applications of novel statistical techniques
  • Detecting the human footprint on large-scale ecological patterns
  • Ecological applications of novel statistical techniques

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Dr Philip Warren

  • The structure and dynamics of food webs; in particular ecological and evolutionary mechanisms determining network structures
  • Community assembly dynamics: the roles of invasion and extinction as drivers of community change
  • Determinants of species richness within and between communities, and effects of species richness on community function

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Prof. Charles Wellman

  • Ecophysiology of the earliest land plants
  • Environmental change associated with the origin of land plants and complex terrestrial ecosystems
  • Using spore wall chemistry as a palaeo-proxy for terrestrial solar UV-B levels

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Prof. Philip Grime

  • Long-term field manipulations of climate at the Buxton Laboratory
  • Analysis of the Bibury Record of year to year variation in vegetation
  • Experimental studies of plant invasion