How would you explain your research?
My research investigates how animals have evolved to survive in such a wide range of environments all over the globe and how they are responding to environmental change.
What inspired you to pursue this area?
Growing up in Canada, I started birdwatching and quickly became fascinated by how beautiful and diverse birds are. I work mostly on lizards now, instead of birds, but I am still fascinated by the diversity and beauty of nature.
What would the average person find interesting about your research?
Every plant and animal we see in the world around us, including ourselves, is here because evolution has shaped it to survive in its particular environment. And if that isn't fascinating and worth understanding, then I don't know what is!
How does your research influence your teaching?
Research is about learning about the world around us using rigorous and objective evaluation of evidence, rather than relying on opinion or personal belief. I aim to guide my students in this way of thinking so that they can make their own discoveries and critically evaluate information. Plus, I use a lot of lizard pictures.
What's been the greatest moment of your career so far?
I have been lucky enough to travel to amazing places, work with inspiring people and see many fascinating creatures, but I always hope the greatest moment will be the next one.
What's the biggest challenge in your field?
The biggest challenge is a growing mistrust of science and the growth of a society where opinion and personal belief are given equal standing to evidence-based knowledge.
What advice would you give to someone considering an undergraduate degree in geography?
Don't try to be too strategic – do whatever fascinates you. Also, remember that having an opportunity to learn from some of the leading thinkers in a field is not an opportunity that everyone has, so don’t take it for granted.
Adam Algar is Associate Professor in Ecology in the School of Geography. He teaches on a number of undergraduate modules, including Techniques in Physical Geography, which includes a field trip to Malham, North Yorkshire.
Every plant and animal we see in the world around us, including ourselves, is here because evolution has shaped it to survive in its particular environment.