Team

Professor Andy Purvis - Principal investigator

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Andy has been at the Natural History Museum since 2013 and before then was at Imperial College's Silwood Park campus from 1995. His research interests include conservation biology, biogeography and macroevolution. He first became interested in modelling species' responses to human impacts when the 1996 IUCN Red List presented the first comprehensive assessment of mammalian conservation status. Together with many others (including Georgina Mace, John Gittleman, Kate Jones, Marcel Cardillo, Rich Grenyer, Jon Bielby, Natalie Cooper and Susanne Fritz), he modelled Red List status empirically to understand how the changes brought about by people interacted with species' biology to determine which species could persist and which would decline globally. With the PREDICTS project, the focus is on how species respond locally – rather than globally – to the changes they face; at the same time, the taxonomic focus is broader, covering all groups for which we are able to collate useful data.

Dr Jörn W P Scharlemann - Co-investigator

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Jörn is interested in quantitatively assessing the impacts of environmental changes on biodiversity and identifying policy-relevant strategies to reduce the effects of human impacts. He has recently moved to the University of Sussex in Brighton to take up a readership in ecology and conservation. Before joining the University of Sussex in November 2012, he was the Senior Scientist at UNEP World Conservation MonitoringCentre (UNEP-WCMC) providing scientific expertise and advice to projects, developing a science strategy, and managing a team of scientists involved in biodiversity modelling (in collaboration with Drew Purves, Microsoft Research Cambridge) and spatial analyses. After receiving a BA and MSc from the University of Oxford, a PhD in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, Jörn worked for the RSPB as a research biologist, and held post-doctoral positions at the University of Oxford and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He regularly uses GIS, remote sensing, statistics and spatial analysis in his research.

Dr Luca Borger - Project partner

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Luca is interested in understanding and predicting how environmental change leads to changes in biodiversity dynamics. His work is not system specific but question-driven, thus he works on contrasting study systems (invertebrates, vertebrates, plants), using experimental, statistical, and simulation modelling approaches. His questions span different levels of ecological organisation, from the behaviour and traits of individuals to the structure and function of landscapes and ecosystems, and Luca is equally excited about basic and applied research, with a keen interest in testing and developing new methods. For more details, see Luca's research group on the Movement Ecology and Biodiversity Dynamics Lab website. Luca has recently moved to Swansea University in Wales to take up a readership/associate professor in ecological biosciences. Before joining Swansea, Luca studied Biology at the University of Pisa (Italy), did a PhD in Zoology at Cambridge, whilst being also visiting PhD student at Imperial College's Silwood Park campus, followed by four years of postdocs in Canada, working on Movement Ecology and species distribution modelling and forest management, and three years of postdoc in France (CNRS & INRA), working on Agroecology. He is Associate Editor for the journals Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Journal of Animal Ecology and Review Editor for Endangered Species Research.

Dr Adriana De Palma - Post-doctoral Research Associate on PREDICTSv2

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Adriana is particularly interested in using extensive ecological datasets to understand how biodiversity is impacted by human activities. Adriana completed her PhD at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum, which explored land-use impacts on bee diversity in collaboration with the PREDICTS project. She is now the post-doctoral research associate on the new stage of the PREDICTS project, which explores how biodiversity responds over time to land-use impacts.

Have a look at Adriana's blog, The Rostrum, for more information.

Dr Tim Newbold - Post-doctoral research associate

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Tim is an ecologist, whose main interest is in understanding the impact of human activities on the ecological communities. As well as working on the PREDICTS project, he also part of a team building a global mechanistic model of ecosystem structure and function, The Madingley Model. Tim studied Zoology and completed a PhD on Egyptian biodiversity at Nottingham University.

Sara Contu - Research Assistant

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Sara has a MSc in Natural Sciences with a Conservation focus and she is interested in how human activities influence ecological processes and how this is changing species' distribution ranges and conservation status. She has worked as IUCN Conservation Assessor for several Institutions, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and the Natural History Museum, assessing plant species' risk of extinction.

Dr Sam Hill - Technician

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Sam's past research focussed on the conservation of aquatic invertebrates with a particular interest in the role of host-parasite interactions in limiting population sizes and changing population dynamics. Since completing her PhD at the University of Reading, Sam has undertaken post-doctoral research at Bristol University and has worked within private industry.

Past project partners

Victoria Burton - PhD student

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Victoria completed a BSc in Natural Sciences with the Open University in 2011 followed by an MSc in Taxonomy and Biodiversity at Imperial College London. Her PhD at Imperial focuses on soil and litter biodiversity, investigating how the composition of these communities will respond to predicted land use change in the UK. This combines new and existing data, including extensive datasets from the Natural History Museum Soil Biodiversity Group, where her MSc project was based.

Victoria's PhD is funded by NERC through Imperial's Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet Doctoral Training Programme.

Katia Sanchez Ortiz - PhD student

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Katia graduated from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (Mexico) in 2012 with an honours degree in Biology and she completed a MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution & Conservation at University College London. Her PhD at Imperial College London focuses on human impact on islands biodiversity, comparing patterns of biodiversity response to land-use change on islands and mainlands. Her project also investigates whether native and alien species on islands respond differently to land-use change. Katia is currently funded by CONACyT - the National Council of Science and Technology of Mexico.

Richard Cornford - PhD student

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Richard completed his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences and has a Master’s in Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution. He is currently a PhD student at Imperial College London. Richard’s research includes developing machine learning techniques to identify data relevant to biodiversity indicators (such as the Biodiversity Intactness Index) in the the scientific literature. He is also interested in better understanding the spatial representativeness of global biodiversity data and how this influences our confidence/uncertainty in the indicators generated.

Galina Jonsson - PhD student

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Galina holds degrees in Ecology (BSc Hons) from the University of Edinburgh and in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation (MRes) from University College London (UCL). Her PhD at Imperial College London focuses on the impact of climate change, extreme weather events and land-use change on UK Lepidopterans (butterflies and moths). By integrating historical data from natural history collections with more recent observational records, her research extends the time series of historical biodiversity data upon which future predictions are made. Galina is funded by NERC through the Grantham Institute’s Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet DTP at Imperial College London.

Rachel Bates - MRes student

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Rachel recently graduated from the University of Exeter with a BSc in Conservation Biology and Ecology, and is currently studying for an MRes in Computational Methods in Ecology and Evolution with Imperial College London. Her research project is working with both PREDICTS and Plants Under Pressure in order to assess the impacts of land-use change on plants both now and in the future.

Yujun Yao - MRes student

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Yujun recently graduated from Sun Yat-sen University with a BSc in Ecology, and is studying for a Msc in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation at Imperial College London. Her current research project with PREDICTS team is working on Plants Under Pressure to assess how biodiversity in plant assemblages responds to land-use changes in India.

Patrick Walkden - MRes student

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Patrick’s research interests lie in how biodiversity is influenced by environmental change, the provision of ecosystem services, and the interactions driving the function and diversity of ecological communities. He graduated from the University of Sussex in 2017 and is currently undertaking an MRes at Imperial College London in Ecology, Evolution, & Conservation. Previous work includes investigating the influence of large predators of the feeding behaviour of scavenger species in South Africa, and how insularity effects the evolution of functional traits in birds. Within the PREDICTS project Patrick is looking to model bee species sensitivity to land-use and climate change, implementing an additive approach using species distribution models and generalised linear mixed effects models.

Morgan Peas - MRes student

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Morgan graduated in 2014 with a BA in Communication Studies from Manchester University (Indiana, USA) and in 2015 with an MS in Marketing Analytics from the University of Rochester (New York, USA). She is currently pursuing an MRes in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation from Imperial College London. With PREDICTS and Plants Under Pressure, her research involves predicting the extinction risk of plants in North America. Her previous work includes fungi research at Kew Gardens, data analytics in the advertising industry and finding the best pastry in the EU.

Chloe Roberts - MRes student

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Chloe is a recent graduate from the University of Derby (BSc Zoology with Psychology) who is currently undertaking a MSc in Taxonomy, Biodiversity and Evolution at Imperial College London in partnership with the London Natural History Museum. Her project with Predict and Plants Under Pressure investigates the extinction risk of South American angiosperms using online data repositories, with an interest as to how this can be applied predicting extinction risk in data deficient species. She has previously conducted research on to effects of cultivation intensity in urban allotments on small mammal population and has volunteered as a research assistant for several conservation charities in the Peruvian Amazon and Costa Rica. She is interested in conservation, research and science communication.

Ruben Douglas - MRes student

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Ruben is interested in anthropogenic impacts on insect biodiversity and the development of agricultural practices to conserve and regenerate beneficial insect ecosystem services. He graduated from University of Bristol in 2017 (BSc Zoology) and is now an MRes student of Biodiversity, Evolution & Conservation at University College London (UCL). He recently completed a field project investigating the use of social wasps as biological control agents of the Fall Armyworm in small scale farming in Zambia. His current project is looking at techniques to improve assessments of insect biodiversity threats from survey data.

Emily Hay - MRes student

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Emily graduated from the University of Manchester with a BSc in Biology and is currently studying for the MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation with University College London. Her current research project will be working with the PREDICTS database to assess how environmental stability underpins heterogeneity in land-use effects on local biodiversity. Previous conservation work has involved monitoring Green turtle populations in the Seychelles. Emily has a keen interest in science communication and wildlife photography.

Past project students