Professor of Ecology

My research interests span ecology, behaviour and conservation. My main interest at present is how we will predict the effects of environmental change on the natural world. What makes climate change one of the 21st century’s priority issues is its impact, rather than any direct change in climate. There is an urgent need to predict the nature and scale of these impacts on the biological world and currently we do not have the tools and approaches to undertake this task.

A full list of my published papers and details of my current research project can be found by following the relevant link at the top of the page.

Tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia

My earlier work was much more behavioural and I continue to conduct work in the field of behavioural ecology, most notably on swallows. I have also supervised work in the broad area of conservation, typically on birds. My research has taken me all around the world and I have run projects in many countries, having started with my PhD work in Kenya.

This is a link to a radio programme from 1999 covering my work on wrens.

My academic social media profiles

Brief Biography

I received my PhD from Cambridge in 1991, and worked in Oxford until 1994 as the Ornithology Demonstrator in the Zoology Department, before getting my first permanent post in Stirling. I remained at Stirling until 2003 when I moved to University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus to start the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, which I led until 2007. I then took up the post of Campus Provost before moving to London to become head of the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary, University of London in 2011. In 2016 I moved to Hong Kong as Dean of the Faculty of Science, University of Hong Kong. I stepped down from this role in 2021.