Ecology, Evolution & Environment
Group Coordinator: Prof. Steve Willis
Our Research Group aims to understand the relationships between organisms and their changing environment, working at scales from global (range changes) to sub-cellular (genetic traits), whilst considering also behavioural and evolutionary plasticity.
The Ecology, Evolution & Environment Research Group is a forum for biologists interested in studying the relationships between organisms and their environment, whether these relationships apply to individual organisms, populations or species. The primary interests of the group are in the role of evolution in shaping species relationships with their environment, the role of behaviour in modifying individual variation, and the impact of environmental change, particularly global climatic change and anthropogenic habitat alteration, on species.
Studying the past provides one means of testing models that predict the future. As a result, there is a great deal of interest within the group in historical modelling of species ranges and population structure.
To inform the development of biodiversity conservation strategies resilient to climatic change (and the many other pressures causing biodiversity loss), we apply simulation models to predict the impacts of such changes on biodiversity. Statistical and mechanistic models, especially spatially and/or temporally explicit models of ecological and evolutionary processes, are being developed and applied to make robust predictions of the responses of species and ecosystems to environmental change. Studies of key ecosystem and land-surface processes are used to improve regional estimates of land-surface-atmosphere fluxes of gases, such as CO2, and relationships between genetic diversity, genetic drft, fitness and local adaptation are used to define evolutionarily significant units for conservation.
Academic Staff : Dr Robert Baxter, Dr John Bothwell, Dr Wayne Dawson, Professor AR Hoelzel, Professor B. Huntley, Prof Steve Lindsay, Dr Martyn Lucas, Dr Philip Stephens, Dr Sean Twiss, Dr Andreanna Welch, Prof Stephen G Willis
Affiliates : Dr Tony Fawcett, Professor Marc Knight, Dr Heather Knight, Dr Adrian Brennan
- Dawson, W, Moser, D, van Kleunen, M, Kreft, H, Pergl, J, Pysek, P, Weigelt, P, Winter, M, Lenzner, B, Blackburn, TM, Dyer, EE, Cassey, P, Scrivens, SL, Economo, EP, Guenard, B, Capinha, C, Seebens, H, Garcia-Diaz, P, Nentwig, W, Garcia-Berthou, E, Casal, C, Mandrak, NE, Fuller, P, Meyer, C & Essl, F (2017). Global hotspots and correlates of alien species richness across taxonomic groups. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1: 0186.
- Stephens, P.A., Mason, L.R., Green, R.E., Gregory, R.D., Sauer, J.R., Alison, J., Aunins, A., Brotons, L., Butchart, S.H.M., Campedelli, T., Chodkiewicz, T., Chylarecki, P., Crowe, O., Elts, J., Escandell, V., Foppen, R.P.B., Heldbjerg, H., Herrando, S., Husby, M., Jiguet, F., Lehikoinen, A., Lindström, Å., Noble, D.G., Paquet, J., Reif, J., Sattler, T., Szép, T., Teufelbauer, N., Trautmann, S., van Strien, A.J., van Turnhout, C.A.M., Vorisek, P. & Willis, S.G. (2016). Consistent response of bird populations to climate change on two continents. Science 352(6281): 84-87.
- Hawley, K.L., Rosten, C.M., Christensen, G. & Lucas, M.C. (2016). Fine-scale behavioural differences distinguish resource use by ecomorphs in a closed ecosystem. Scientific Reports 6: 24369.
- Huntley, B., Collingham, Y.C., Singarayer, J.S., Valdes, P.J., Barnard, P., Midgley, G.F., Altwegg, R. & Ohlemüller, R. (2016). Explaining patterns of avian diversity and endemicity: climate and biomes of southern Africa over the last 140,000 years. Journal of Biogeography 43(5): 874-886.
- Stephens, P.A. (2015). Land sparing, land sharing, and the fate of Africa's lions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112(48): 14753-14754.
- Bishop, A.M., Pomeroy, P. & Twiss, S.D. (2015). Variability in individual rates of aggression in wild gray seals: fine-scale analysis reveals importance of social and spatial stability. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 69(10): 1663-1675.
- Reddin, C.J., Bothwell, J.H. & Lennon, J.J. (2015). Between-taxon matching of common and rare species richness patterns. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24(12): 1476-1486.
- Hartley, I.P., Hill, T.C., Wade, T., Clement, R.J., Moncrieff, J.B., Prieto-Blanco, A., Disney, M.I., Huntley, B., Williams, M., Howden, N.J.K., Wookey, P.A. & Baxter, R. (2015). Quantifying landscape-level methane fluxes in subarctic Finland using a multi-scale approach. Global Change Biology 21(10): 3712-3725.
- Moura, A.E., Janse van Rensburg, C., Pilot, M., Tehrani, A., Best, P.B., Thornton, M., Plön, S., de Bruyn, P.J.N., Worley, K.C., Gibbs, R.A., Dahlheim, M.E. & Hoelzel, A.R. (2014). Killer Whale Nuclear Genome and mtDNA Reveal Widespread Population Bottleneck During the Last Glacial Maximum. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31(5): 1121-1131.
- Welch, A.J., Bedoya-Reina, O.C., Carretero-Paulet, L., Miller, W., Rode, K.D. & Lindqvist, C. (2014). Polar Bears Exhibit Genome-Wide Signatures of Bioenergetic Adaptation to Life in the Arctic Environment. Genome Biology and Evolution 6(2): 433-450.
- Abbott RJ, Brennan AC. (2014) Altitudinal gradients, plant hybrid zones and evolutionary novelty. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 369, 1648 doi: 10.1098/rstb.2013.0346.
- Hoelzel, A.R. (2015). Can DNA foil the poachers? Forensic data help to identify elephant poaching hotspots. Science 349, 34-35
Wildfire disturbance-recovery dynamics in Southern Siberia: feedbacks between climate change and ecosystem resilience
New Three Year RCUK- Natural Environment Research Council Grant funding has been awarded to Dr Bob Baxter