Professor Philip H Warren

P H Warren - staff picture

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0031


Room E213, Alfred Denny Building


  • BSc  University of Wales at Aberystwyth (1985)
  • DPhil  University of York (1985-1988)
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of York (1988-1989)
  • Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Imperial College London (1989)
  • Lecturer & Senior Lecturer, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1989-2007)
  • Reader in Ecology, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (2008-2012)
  • Professor of Ecology, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (2012-present)

Professional Activities

  • Member of the editorial board of Journal of Animal Ecology (1999-2006) and Associate Editor (2006-2012)
  • Advisory Editor for Environmental Conservation
  • Series Editor for the Ecological Reviews book series (British Ecol. Soc & Cambridge Univ. Press)
  • Editorial Board Landscape Research
  • Member of the Council of the British Ecological Society (2003-2006)
  • Member of BES Publications Committee (2003-present)
  • Member of the ESF Network: International Advancement of Community Ecology Theory (2001-2004)
  • Member of the Freshwater Biological Association Data and Information Services Advisory Group (2011-2017)

Research Interests

Research images (landscape, protists and urban river)

My research is concerned with understanding the structure and function of communities and ecosystems, and the interactions humans have with them. This research considers fundamental questions about biodiversity and how it is maintained, including:

  • What determines how food webs function?
  • How is local diversity affected by environmental factors such as habitat structure and energy input?
  • What are the assembly rules which determine community development? How is local community structure affected by dispersal between communities?

... and more 'applied' questions to do with the ways in humans affect, and are affected by, the environments in which we live and the ecosystem processes upon which we depend. For example:

  • How can we enhance the biodiversity of urban systems, and what are the benefits to doing so?
  • Can provision of more, diverse, or specific types of, greenspace in urban areas enhance human wellbeing and increase environmental sustainability?
  • How can we most effectively maintain, or increase, wetland habitats in agricultural and urban areas to support biodiversity and provide better ecosystem services?

These questions are all are broadly concerned with how, and if, we can make a more sustainable future for humans, and the remarkable ecosystems of which we are part and upon which we depend.  As with most of the major environmental challenges we face, tackling such questions does not just involve ecology, but requires interdisciplinary collaboration with disciplines such as engineering, social science, economics, planning and psychology.

My particular research focus is on urban systems, wetlands, and sometimes both together.  Websites for some of these projects (past and present) can be found here:

And stretching interdisciplinarity yet further ...





I am interested in the development and use of IT to support teaching and assessment in ways that increase the scope and effectiveness of teaching. This includes development of online course material to enable independent study and distance learning, and online assessment methods to support large classes and asynchronous study. This work has been supported by grants from the University Learning and Teaching Development Fund (2002, 2008).

Current Research Group

Current Research Students

  • Olivia Richardson: Living highways: biodiversity and ecosystem services in urban roadside greenspace (jointly with Dr Karl Evans, and Amey)
  • Ian Hough: Meeting ecological flow objectives for the WFD in heavily modified water bodies (jointly with Dr James Shucksmith (Civil and Structural Engineering) and United Utilities)
  • Vanessa Berrie: The ethics of conservation and the concept of natural capital (based at the University of York, jointly with Prof Piran White (Environment Dept, York) and Dr Steve Holland (Philosophy Dept, York))
  • Miriam Dobson: People, plants and places: understanding the ingredients of urban food production (jointly with Dr Jill Edmondson)

View Publications