Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Senior Lecturer in Biodiversity



+44 (0)20 7594 1059j.tobias CV




KennedySilwood Park





My research investigates the processes generating, sustaining and structuring biodiversity. I use a combination of experimental, phylogenetic and spatial mapping approaches to test theory, and to explain microevolutionary and macroevolutionary patterns over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Most of this work uses the world's birds as a study system, but increasingly focuses on other components of biodiversity, from primates and reef fish to insects and plants. I am interested in using these insights to help us predict and manage the response of ecosystems to global change, with applications from biodiversity conservation to environmental policy. Although recent work is global in scope, my main interest lies in tropical systems, especially tropical rainforests.

Current areas of interest are:

  • Sensory ecology, signal evolution, and cultural evolution
  • Speciation and diversification
  • Community assembly and species interactions
  • Ecological and functional impacts of climate and land-use change
  • Sustainable management of ecosystem function and services

For recent news and more information about the activities of my research group, see the Biodiversity Group website.

For a full list of publications, see here.



Chapman PM, Tobias JA, Edwards DP, et al., 2018, Contrasting impacts of land-use change on phylogenetic and functional diversity of tropical forest birds, Journal of Applied Ecology, Vol:55, ISSN:0021-8901, Pages:1604-1614

McEntee JP, Tobias JA, Sheard C, et al., 2018, Tempo and timing of ecological trait divergence in bird speciation., Nat Ecol Evol, Vol:2, Pages:1120-1127

Pigot AL, Jetz W, Sheard C, et al., 2018, The macroecological dynamics of species coexistence in birds., Nat Ecol Evol, Vol:2, Pages:1112-1119

Bovo AAA, Ferraz KMPMB, Magioli M, et al., 2018, Habitat fragmentation narrows the distribution of avian functional traits associated with seed dispersal in tropical forest, Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, Vol:16, ISSN:2530-0644, Pages:90-96

Howard C, Stephens PA, Tobias JA, et al., 2018, Flight range, fuel load and the impact of climate change on the journeys of migrant birds, Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:0962-8452

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