Our team primarily studies the effects of human activity on where wildlife is found around the world.
Our research encompasses plants, mammals, birds, insects, fish, amphibians, crustaceans, microbes, and various parasitic taxa, and we’re always trying to expand this list. In some cases we use computer models to study hundreds of species across countries and continents. In others we study species in the field or conduct experiments in the lab. Some of our research focuses in depth on species in areas like Wales and Cornwall, and other research examines the broader picture across the UK, Europe, North America, and the world.
Climate change is making the habitat of many species unsuitable, forcing wildlife to move to new places in search of suitable habitat. We study the ‘climate paths’ along which species are beginning to move, and have found that fluctuations in climate can cause gaps in the climate path that stop species in their tracks.
Crop pests are among the greatest threats to human livelihoods and wellbeing. Some of the worst offenders are invasive species, accidentally or thoughtlessly spread around the world by people.
Species populations often don’t stay in place. Many move because of climate change, or because the species lives in intrinsically dynamic ‘metapopulations’. One year a species may be thriving in a nature reserve and the next year they may be doing much better somewhere else.
We try to improve forecasts of invasive species worldwide, using information on global trade patterns and species ecology. For example, we’ve found that invasions threaten the last remaining biodiversity strongholds in the world’s most fragile economies.