My research currently revolves around four areas.
1) Effects of habitat destruction and fragmentation on biodiversity.
When habitat is destroyed or fragmented this naturally has a negative impact on biodiversity. How large is this impact? How soon after habitat destruction will the impact be seen? How does this depend on the spatial structure of habitat fragments? These important questions surprisingly lack definitive answers. My research involves developing mechanistic models with which to approach these questions.
2) Biodiversity forecasting.
There is a pressing need to be able to forecast the future of biodiversity under a range of different anthropogenic change scenarios. I work on a number of projects with this motivation in mind, in freshwater riverine systems, and on the global scale. Each scenario uses a different suite of theoretical approaches.
3) Models linking ecology and evolution.
It is increasingly recognised that evolutionary processes play a role in ecology and vice versa. For example, isolated islands support the evolutionary processes that add to biodiversity but also leave support rare species, which may be threatened or endangered based on ecological processes. I develop models that connect ecology and evolution with particular focus on isolated regions and spatial structure.
4) Conservation prioritisation methods.
In many practical conservation approaches resources are limiting and it is necessary to decide how to optimally distribute these resources based on conservation goals. I work with the EDGE of Existence Programme at the Zoological Society of London on the methods they use for making such choices based on the principle of focusing on endangered species that are particularly unique in terms of their evolutionary history.
- Rach Bates
- Valentina Marconi
- Olivia Morris
- Hannah O'Sullivan
- Ceri Webster
- Francis Windram
Key research tools
Research tools that I regularly use or have contributed to the development of
- Ecological neutral theory
- Eco-evolutionary models
- Coalescence methods in ecology
- Scientific data visualisation
- Phylogenetically informed conservation prioritisation
- Topic modelling