Phone: +44 (0)20 8392 3598
My research focuses on the ecology of insects and other arthropods (springtails etc) in habitats influenced by human activities, particularly temperate and tropical forest canopies. These animal groups play a critical role in driving processes that provide us with ecosystem services such as predictable local climates, rainfall and nutrients. Temperate and tropical forests, as well as other biodiverse habitats, are frequently in regions under considerable pressure from human populations and therefore present key arenas for testing aspects of ecological theory and conservation practice. I am particularly interested in examining hypotheses about animal community assembly rules and in understanding how community assembly varies under different internal and external pressures.
My work has included the first detailed investigations of the canopy arthropod communities of conifers in the UK, finding that contrary to perception, very high densities of arthropods were present even in closely-packed plantations, making a significant contribution to forest dynamics. I then went on to investigate comparative community structures across coniferous and broadleaved trees demonstrating that these differed significantly, with detritivores and microbivores dominating the conifer communities. My work currently focuses on spatial aspects of arthropod communities in tree canopies and other habitats, including edge effects. Here we have shown that the impact of human generated edges in forest ecosystems penetrates in excess of hundreds of metres for some sites. In collaboration with Peter Shaw I am developing work on the contribution to UK forest biodiversity of canopy arthropods occurring in epiphytic growth and suspended leaf litter. I have been fortunate to have developed strong collaborations with co-workers on forest canopies and was lead author on a seminal paper published in Science which cites the forest canopy as a key location in which to investigate many aspects of biological theory and to develop a better understanding of the effects of global climate change.
Diversity of Diptera and Collembola in disturbed and undisturbed forest, Gashaka Gumpti National Park Nigeria
Co-supervised with Dr Peter Shaw
David Bennett (awarded 2009)
Human wildlife conflict: Perception of crop damage and crop protection.
Co-supervised with Dr Garry Marvin and Dr Caroline Ross
Erica McAlister (awarded 2002)
Arthropod Colonisation of a created urban wetland, Barnes Wetland Centre
Co-supervised with Dr Peter Shaw
Christie Allan (awarded 2002)
Amerindian ethnoecology, Resource use and forest management in southwest Guyana.
Co-supervised with Dr Caroline Ross, Dr Garry Marvin & Dr Peter Shaw
Imogen Palmer (awarded 1999)
Edge effects on canopy arthropods in UK plantations
Co-supervised with Dr Martin Speight, Oxford University
Royal Entomological Society (RES)
British Ecological Society (BES)
Global Canopy Programme (GCP)
Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC)
International Association for Ecology (INTECOL)
Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA)
Member of Centre for Research in Ecology (CRE)
BA, MA (Oxon), DPhil
Pure and Applied Ecology
Biodiversity and conservation