• Print


This sub-theme focuses on the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain the remarkable diversity of life on Earth, and the human impacts that threaten it.

Our academics, research fellows and PhD students work across spatial scales, from individual forest plots to global patterns, in a range of ecosystems from tundra to tropical islands, and on a wide range of organisms, including plants, marine fish, elephants and lizards.


From organisms to ecosystems

We are fascinated by how species interact with their environments and with each other and how these interactions affect ecosystem function and global patterns of biodiversity. We combine a range of approaches, including field work, statistical modelling, and remote sensing. This includes how species evolve on isolated islands, how elephants influence seed dispersal, and how lianas affect carbon dynamics of tropical forests.

Recent publications...
  • Borregaard, M.K., Amorim, I.R., Borges, P.A.V., Cabral, J.S., Fernández-Palacios, J.M., Field, R., Heaney, L.R., Kreft,, H., Matthews, T.J., Olesen, J.M., Price, J., Rigal, F., Steinbauer, M.J., Triantis, K.A., Valente, L., Weigelt, P. and Whittaker, R.J. (2017) Oceanic island biogeography through the lens of the general dynamic model: assessment and prospect. Biological Reviews 92, 830-853.
  • Algar, A.C. and López-Darias, M. (2016). Sex-specific responses of phenotypic diversity to environmental variation. Ecography 39, 715-725.
  • Steinbauer, M.J., Field, R. et al. (2016) Topography-driven isolation, speciation and a global increase of endemism with elevation. Global Ecology and Biogeography 25, 1097-1107.
  • van der Heijden, G.M.F., Powers, J. S., and Schnitzer, S. A. (2015). Lianas reduce carbon accumulation and storage in tropical forests. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112, 13267-13271.

Global change ecology and conservation

We focus on effects of changes in global climate and land use on organisms and ecosystems. This includes research on the effects of deforestation on tropical wildlife, conservation and management of terrestrial and marine systems and improving our understanding of how geodiversity may help conserve biodiversity. We monitor and model global change impacts on local, regional and global scales, offering fundamental understanding of, and applied solutions for, leading threats to ecological systems.

Recent publications...
  • Lisón, F., Altamirano, A., Field, R. and Jones, G. (2017) Conservation on the blink: Deficient technical reports threaten conservation in the Natura 2000 network. Biological Conservation 209, 11-16.
  • Pettorelli, N., Schulte to Bühne, H., Tulloch, A., Dubois, G., Macinnis‐Ng, C., Queirós, A.M., Keith, D.A., Wegmann, M., Schrodt, F., Stellmes, M. and Sonnenschein, R. (2017). Satellite remote sensing of ecosystem functions: opportunities, challenges and way forward. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation.
  • Tukiainen, H., Bailey, J.J., Field, R., Kangas, K. and Hjort, J. (2017) Combining geodiversity with climate and topography to account for threatened species richness. Conservation Biology 31, 365-375.
  • Jetz, W., Cavender-Bares, J., Pavlick, R., Schimel, D., Davis, F.W., Asner, G.P., Guralnick, R., Kattge, J., Latimer, A.M., Moorcroft, P., Schaepman, M.E., Schildhauer, M. P., Schneider, F. D., Schrodt, F., Stahl, U., Ustin, S. L.(2016). Monitoring plant functional diversity from space. Nature Plants, 2, 16024.

Biodiversity, functional biogeography and biogeochemistry

We develop and apply remote sensing, machine learning and modelling tools, as well as using data from field sampling campaigns, to study patterns of biodiversity, functional diversity and biogeochemistry. We are especially interested in relationships between functional, phylogenetic and taxonomic diversity and environmental conditions, as well as associated implications for ecosystem structure and functioning (including ecosystem services). Although much of our work focuses on global scales, we also work on tropical forests and savannas and high-altitude and latitude landscapes.

Recent publications...
  • Bailey, J.J., Boyd, D.S., Hjort, J., Lavers, C.P. and Field, R. (2017). Modelling native and alien vascular plant species richness: at which scales is geodiversity most relevant? Global Ecology and Biogeography 26, 763-776.
  • Moore, J.H., Sittimongkol, S., Campos-Arceiz, A., Sumpah, T. and Eichhorn, M.P. (2016) Fruit gardens enhance mammal diversity and biomass in a Southeast Asian rainforest. Biological Conservation. 194, 132-138.
  • Qian, H., Field, R., Zhang, J., Zhang, J. and Chen, S. (2016) Phylogenetic structure and ecological and evolutionary determinants of species richness for angiosperm trees in forest communities in China. Journal of Biogeography 43, 603-615.
  • Schrodt, F., Kattge, J., Shan, H., Fazayeli, F., Joswig, J., Banerjee, A., Reichstein, M., Bönisch, G., Díaz, S., Dickie, J., Gillison, A., Karpatne, A., Lavorel, S., Leadley, P., Wirth, C., Wright, I. J., Wright, S. J., Reich, P. B. (2015). BHPMF – a hierarchical Bayesian approach to gap-filling and trait prediction for macroecology and functional biogeography. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24, 1510-1521.



School of Geography
Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

+44 (0)115 951 5559