Imperial College London

Professor Andy Purvis

Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Research Investigator



+44 (0)20 7942 5686a.purvis Website




Silwood ParkSilwood Park





LATEST NEWS - PhD studentship available!!!

APPLICATIONS OPEN for NERC-funded PhD studentship: Statistical modelling of how soil biodiversity and ecosystem function respond to human impacts in UK ecosystems. This project will be linked with the ongoing NERC-funded PREDICTS project and will be based in my group at the Natural History Museum in London. Deadline is 20th January 2014. Follow this link to find out more and to apply.



My group and I moved to the Natural History Museum in London in Autumn 2013, though I retain a part-time position at Silwood Park.


Research Interests

My group use primarily comparative approaches to study a wide range of fundamental questions in biodiversity science, using a range of taxa. Current projects include:

Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS): In collaboration with UNEP-WCMC, UCL, the University of Sussex and Microsoft Research, we are aiming to build a global model of how local biodiversity responds to human impacts.

Changes in distribution of British biodiversity: Together with the Biological Records Centre in the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, we are analysing changes in the distribution of the British flora and fauna to understand the driving forces and to improve the toolkit for making projections about the future.

Descent into the Icehouse: Macroperforate planktonic foraminifera have probably the best fossil record of any group.  What happened to them as the climate cooled through the Eocene towards the transition from "greenhouse" to "icehouse" worlds at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary? This work is part of a broader NERC-funded consortium.

Passerine bird evolution and biogeography: The Indo-Pacific region is the largest concentration of islands on Earth, and the core Corvoidea (crows and their relatives) are one of the largest evolutionary radiations in the region. This EU-funded project will combine a range of comparative approaches to test general hypotheses about evolution, biogeography and diversification.


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Thompson ISI ResearcherID profile (opens in new window)


Selected recent publications

Ezard, T. H. G., Thomas, G. H. & Purvis, A. (2013) Inclusion of a near-complete fossil record reveals speciation-related molecular evolution. Methods Ecol Evol 4, 745-753. doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12089

Rapacciuolo, G., Roy, D.B., Gillings, S., Fox, R., Walker, K. & Purvis, A. (2012) Climatic associations of British species distributions show good transferability in time but low predictive accuracy for range change. PLoS One, 7. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0040212

 Ezard, T. H. G., Aze, T., Pearson, P. N. & Purvis, A. 2011 Interplay between changing climate and species' ecology drives macroevolutionary dynamics. Science 332, 349-351, doi: 10.1126/science.1203060

McInnes, L., Orme, C. D. L. & Purvis, A. 2011 Detecting shifts in diversity limits from molecular phylogenies: what can we know? Proc R Soc B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0241.

Olalla-Tarraga, M. A., McInnes, L., Bini, L. M., Diniz-Filho, J. A., Fritz, S. A., Hawkins, B. A., Hortal, J., Orme, C. D. L., Rahbek, C., Rodriguez, M. A. & Purvis, A. 2011 Climatic niche conservatism and the evolutionary dynamics in species range boundaries: global congruence across mammals and amphibians. J. Biogeogr. 38, 2237-2247. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02570.x

Cooper, N. & Purvis, A. 2010 Body size evolution in mammals: complexity in tempo and mode. Amer Nat 175, 727-738, doi: 10.1086/652466

Fritz, S. A. & Purvis, A. 2010 Phylogenetic diversity does not capture body size variation at risk in the world's mammals. Proc R Soc B 277, 2435-2441. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.0030

Fritz, S. A., Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P. & Purvis, A. 2009 Geographical variation in predictors of mammalian extinction risk: big is bad, but only in the tropics. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2009.01307.x

Davies, T. J., Fritz, S. A., Grenyer, R., Orme, C. D. L., Bielby, J., Bininda-Emonds, O. R. P., Cardillo, M., Jones, K. E., Gittleman, J. L., Mace, G. M. & Purvis, A. 2008 Phylogenetic trees and the future of mammalian biodiversity. PNAS 105S, 11556-11563. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0801917105

Purvis, A. 2008 Phylogenetic approaches to the study of extinction. Ann Rev Ecol Evol Syst 39, 301-319. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-063008-102010



Molnár Z, Aumeeruddy-Thomas Y, Babai D, et al., 2024, Towards richer knowledge partnerships between ecology and ethnoecology., Trends Ecol Evol, Vol:39, Pages:109-115

Gonzalez A, Vihervaara P, Balvanera P, et al., 2023, Author Correction: A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action., Nat Ecol Evol, Vol:7

Burton VJ, Baselga A, De Palma A, et al., 2023, Effects of land use and soil properties on taxon richness and abundance of soil assemblages, European Journal of Soil Science, Vol:74, ISSN:1351-0754

Gonzalez A, Vihervaara P, Balvanera P, et al., 2023, A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action, Nature Ecology & Evolution, ISSN:2397-334X

Cornford R, Spooner F, McRae L, et al., 2023, Ongoing over-exploitation and delayed responses to environmental change highlight the urgency for action to promote vertebrate recoveries by 2030, Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:290, ISSN:0962-8452

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