Dr Ken Thompson

Dr Ken Thompson

Tel: +44 (0)114 267 1554

email : ken.thompson@Sheffield.ac.uk


BSc (1974) University of Leicester; PhD (1977) University of Sheffield
Temporary Lecturer in Botany, University of Durham (1977-79)
Lecturer II and Senior Lecturer in Ecology, Plymouth Polytechnic (now University of Plymouth) (1979-90)
Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow, UCPE (NERC), University of Sheffield (1990-1998)
Director, Buxton Climate Change Impacts Laboratory, University of Sheffield (1998-2002)
Senior Research Fellow and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, 2002 -

Key Research Interests

image of dandelion

The ecology of seeds, plant traits and functional types, biodiversity and ecosystem function, biological invasions, urban ecology, commonness and rarity, changing climate and land use, the ecology of gardens.

Professional Activities

Founder member, trustee and treasurer of International Society for Seed Science

Editor: Seed Science Research, Functional Ecology

Keynote speaker atSeed Ecology II, Perth Australia, September 2007.

Invited speaker at RHS forum What future for urban gardens: Eden or Extinction?, Royal Festival Hall, London, 8 November 2006.

Invited speaker at International Botanical Congress, Vienna, July 2005

Keynote speaker at 8th International Workshop on Seeds, Brisbane, Australia, May 2005

Plenary lecture to German Ecological Society (GfÖ), Giessen, September 2004

Current Research Students

Lindsay C. Maskell
Vegetation dynamics, community processes and plant traits
Funding: CEH

Sofia Basto
Soil seed banks and ecological restoration
funding: EU ALBAN scholarship and Universidad Javeriana, Bogota, Colombia

Chris Bennett
Plant functional diversity and ecosystem properties: a contribution from the Park Grass Experiment.
Funding: BBSRC

Recent Publications (2001 to date)

A.  Jalili, Z. Jamzad, K. Thompson, S. Ashrafi, M. Hasaninejad, P. Panahi, M. K. Araghi, N. Hooshang, R. Azadi, M. S. Tavakol, M. Palizdar, A. Rahmanpour, F.; Farghadan, S. G. Mirhossaini and .  Parvaneh (2010) Climate change, unpredictable cold waves and possible brakes on plant migration. Global Ecology and Biogeography (in press)

Thompson, K, Petchey, O. L., Askew, A. P., Dunnett, N. P., Beckerman, A. P. & Willis, A. J. (2010) Little evidence for limiting similarity in a long-term study of a roadside plant community. Journal of Ecology (in press)

Stevens, C.J., Thompson, K., Grime, J.P., Long, C.J. and Gowing, D.J.G (2010) Acidification as opposed to eutrophication is the main cause of declines in species richness seen in calcifuge grasslands impacted by nitrogen deposition. Functional Ecology (in press)

Maskell, L. C., Smart, S. M., Bullock, J. M., Thompson, K., Stevens, C. Nitrogen deposition causes widespread loss of species richness
in British habitats. Global Change Biology (in press)

Hahs, A.K., McDonnell, M.J., McCarthy, M.A., Vesk, P.A., Corlett, R.T., Norton, B.A., Clemants, S.E., Duncan, R.P., Thompson, K., Schwartz, M.W.,Williams, N.S.G. (2009)A global synthesis of plant extinction rates in urban areas. Ecology Letters 12, 1165-1173.

Ricotta, C., F. A. La Sorte, P. Pyšek, G.L. Rapson, L. Celesti-Grapow and K. Thompson. (2009) Phyloecology of urban alien floras. Journal of Ecology 97, 1243-1251.

Sonja Knapp, Ingolf Kühn, Jan P. Bakker, Michael Kleyer, Stefan Klotz, Wim A. Ozinga, Peter Poschlod, Ken Thompson, Wilfried Thuiller & Christine Römermann (2009)How species traits and affinity to urban land use control large-scale species frequency. Diversity and Distributions 15, 533–546.

Laborde, J. and Thompson, K. (2009) Post-dispersal fate of hazel (Corylus avellana) seeds and consequences for the management of scrub-grassland mosaics. Biological Conservation 142, 974-981.

Williams, N.S.G., Schwartz, M.W., Vesk, P.A., McCarthy, M.A., Hahs, A.K., Clemants, S.E., Corlett, R.T., Duncan, R.P., Norton, B.A. Thompson, K., McDonnell, M.J.W. A. Ozinga, C. Römermann, R. M. Bekker, A. Prinzing, W.L.M. Tamis, J. H.J. Schaminée, S. M. Hennekens, K. Thompson, P. Poschlod, M. Kleyer, J. P. Bakker & J. M. van Groenendael. (2009) Dispersal failure contributes to plant losses in NW Europe. Ecology Letters 12, 66-74.

M. Kleyer, R.M. Bekker, I.C. Knevel, J.P Bakker, K. Thompson, M. Sonnenschein, P. Poschlod, J.M. van Groenendael, L. Klimeš, J. Klimešová, S. Klotz, G.M. Rusch, M. Hermy, D. Adriaens, G. Boedeltje, B. Bossuyt, P. Endels, L. Götzenberger, J.G. Hodgson, A-K. Jackel, A. Dannemann, I. Kühn, D. Kunzmann, W.A. Ozinga, C. Römermann, M. Stadler, J. Schlegelmilch, H.J. Steendam, O. Tackenberg, B. Wilmann, J.H.C. Cornelissen, O. Eriksson, E. Garnier, B. Peco. (2008) The LEDA Traitbase: A database of plant life-history traits of North West Europe. Journal of Ecology 96, 1266-1274.

Grime, J. P., Fridley, J. D., Askew, A. P.,Thompson, K, Hodgson, J. G. & Bennett, C. R. (2008) Long-term resistance to simulated climate change in an infertile grassland. PNAS 105, 10028-10032.

Thompson, K. & McCarthy, M. A. (2008) Traits of British alien and native urban plants. Journal of Ecology 96, 853-859.

Gurnell, A. M., Thompson, K., Goodson, J. M. & Moggridge, H. (2008) Propagule deposition along river margins: linking hydrology and ecology. Journal of Ecology 96, 553-565.

Loram, A.., Thompson, K., Warren, P. H. and Gaston, K. J. (2008) Urban domestic gardens XII: the richness and composition of the flora in five U.K. cities. Journal of Vegetation Science 19, 321-330.

La Sorte, F. A., McKinney, M. L., Pyšek, P., Klotz, S., Rapson, G. L., Celesti-Grapow, L. & Thompson., K. (2008) Distance decay of similarity among European urban floras: the impact of anthropogenic activities on β diversity. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17, 363-371.

Gurnell, A. M., Goodson, J. M., Thompson, K., Mountford, O., Clifford, N. J. (2007) Three seedling emergence methods in soil seed bank studies: implications for interpretation of propagule deposition in riparian zones. Seed Science Research 17, 183-199.

Smart, S. M., Marrs, R., LeDuc, M., Thompson, K., Bunce, R. G. H., Firbank, L. G., Rossall, M. (2006) Spatial relationships between intensive land cover and residual plant species diversity in temperate farmed landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology 43, 1128-1137.

Gurnell, A. M., Boitsidis, A. J., Thompson, K. & Clifford, N. J. (2006) Seed bank, seed dispersal and vegetation cover: Colonization along a newly-created river channel. Journal of Vegetation Science 17, 665-674.

Smith, R M., Gaston, K J, Warren, P H, and Thompson, K. (2006) Urban domestic gardens VIII: environmental correlates of invertebrate abundance. Biodiversity and Conservation 15, 2515-2545.

Smith, R M., Warren, P H, Thompson, K and Gaston, K J. (2006) Urban domestic gardens VI: environmental correlates of invertebrate species richness. Biodiversity and Conservation 15, 2415-2438..

Maskell, L. C., Firbank, L. G., Thompson, K., Bullock, J. M. and Smart, S. M. (2006) Interactions between non-native plant species and the floristic composition of common habitats. Journal of Ecology 94, 1052-1060.

Smart, S. M., Thompson, K., Marrs, R. H., LeDuc, M. G., Maskell, L. C. and Firbank, L. G. (2006) Biodiversity loss and biotic homogenization across human-modified ecosystems. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 273, 2659-2665.

Baskin, C. C., Thompson, K. & Baskin, J. M. (2006) Mistakes in germination ecology and how to avoid them. Seed Science Research 16, 165-168.

Maskell, L. C., Bullock, J. M., Smart, S. M., Thompson, K. and Hulme, P.E. (2006) The distribution and vegetation associations of non-native plant species in urban riparian habitats. Journal of Vegetation Science 17, 499-508.

Angold, P.G., J.P. Sadler, M.O. Hill, A. Pullin, S. Rushton, K. Austin, E. Small, B. Wood, R. Wadsworth, R. Sanderson & K. Thompson (2006) Biodiversity in urban habitat patches. Science of the Total Environment 360, 196-204.

Smith, R. M., Thompson, K., Hodgson, J. G., Warren, P. H. and Gaston, K. J. (2006) Urban domestic gardens IX: Composition and richness of the vascular plant flora, and implications for native biodiversity. Biological Conservation 129, 312-322.

Gaston, K J, Warren, P H, Thompson, K and Smith, R M. (2005) Urban domestic gardens IV: the extent of the resource and its associated features. Biodiversity and Conservation 14, 3327-3349.

Davis, M. A., Thompson, K. and Grime, J. P. (2005) Invasibility: The local mechanism driving community assembly and species diversity. Ecography 28, 696-704.

Neilson, R. P., G. Midgley, L. F. Pitelka, A. Solomon, J. Fragoso, H. Lischke, R. Nathan & K. Thompson. (2005) Incorporating migration in regional to global forecasts of ecosystem responses to climate change: challenges and ideas. Bioscience 55, 749-759.

Smith, R M., Gaston, K J, Warren, P H, and Thompson, K. (2005) Urban domestic gardens V: Relationships between landcover composition, housing and landscape. Landscape Ecology 20, 235-253.

Thompson, K, Colsell, S, Carpenter, J, Smith, R M, Warren, P H and Gaston, K J. (2005) Urban domestic gardens VII: A preliminary survey of soil seed banks. Seed Science Research 15, 133-141.

Thompson, K, Askew, A. P., Grime, J. P., Dunnett, N. P. & Willis, A J. (2005) Biodiversity, ecosystem function and plant traits in mature and immature plant communities. Functional Ecology 19, 355-358.

Popular writing

Thompson, K. (2009) The Book of Weeds. Dorling Kindersley, London.

Thompson, K. (2008). Introduction to Field Guide To Garden Wildlife. British Wildlife Publishing, Gillingham, Dorset, UK.

Thompson, K. (2008) An Ear to The Ground: Understanding Your Garden (revised and expanded paperback). Eden Project Books (a division of Transworld Publishers), London.

Thompson, K. (Jan-June 2008) Six features for The Garden on the theme of The garden as an ecosystem.

Monthly column in Organic Gardening magazine (2001-2007).

Gaston K.J., Cush P., Ferguson S., Frost P., Gaston S., Knight D., Loram A., Smith R.M., Thompson K. and Warren P.H. (2007). Improving the contribution of urban gardens for wildlife: some guiding propositions. British Wildlife, 18, 171-177.

Thompson, K. (2007) What makes a wildlife garden? BBC Gardeners´ World Magazine, March 2007.

Thompson, K. (2007) Compost. Dorling Kindersley, London.

Thompson, K. (2006) Cashing in on the birds and the bees. The Garden, 131, 356-357.

Thompson, K. (2006) No Nettles Required: the Reassuring Truth about Wildlife Gardening. Eden Project Books (a division of Transworld Publishers), London (paperback published 2007).

Gaston, K J, Smith, R M, Thompson, K and Warren, P H. (2004) Gardens and wildlife – the BUGS project. British Wildlife, 16, 1-10.


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