Personal Chair


Contact Details

Telephone: +44 (0)1224 274483
Address: Room 407 Zoology Building


2006 –     Lecturer (and from 2008, Senior lecturer) in Environmental Change, University of Aberdeen.

2004 – 2006   Senior Scientific Officer, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Banchory, UK

2001- 2004    University of St Andrews, UK. Research Fellow in the Centre for Conservation Science.

1999 -2001    University of Lund, Sweden, Research fellow within the Climate Impacts Group

Degrees: PhD 1999 Imperial College London.    MSc 1996 University of York.     BSc(hons)1994 University of York


Research Interests

Much of my research uses models to study the population and evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured populations. Key interests include (1) the evolutionary ecology and population genetics of range expansions, (2) incorporating greater realism into the dispersal process within spatial population models, (3) evolvability (including the causes and consequences of mutation rate) and  (4) the evolutionary ecology of longevity.  While most of my group's work focusses on using stochastic individual-based models, I am increasingly interested in how these can be combined both with modern statistical methods (including Bayesian approaches) and analytical approximations to gain greater insights and predictive capabilities.

Research Grants

2008 E185,000 Biodiversa EU –funding for TenLamas project

2008 £300000 CoI NERC grant (with Lambin PI) 

2007 £39,961 (CoI) Carnegie grant with Kirsty Park (PI) 'Development of a landscape model for the

control of Rhododendron ponticum'

2006 £140,000 UKPopNet 'From plots to catchments to landscapes'.

2005 £51,000 A NERC New Investigator's award 'Integrating ecological dynamics, population genetics and landscape structure in a theoretical study of range shifting'.

2004 E65,000 An EU network (part of ALTERNET) to develop 'Mechanistic models of species responses to climate change'

2003 £23,550 A British Ecological Society Early Career Development Grant for a project titled 'How does the invasion of Rhododendron Ponticum impact on soil biodiversity and ecosystem function'.

2003 £10,000 An SNH contract:  'The use of modeling techniques to predict the response of the introduced hedgehog population in the Western Isles to a range of potential control options.'

2002 £1,450 A British Ecological Society Small Grant towards a project titled: 'Measuring the dispersal kernel of the invasive alien Rhododendron ponticum

Teaching Responsibilities

Most of my teaching is at Masters level. In particular, I co-ordinate two modules, one on Population Ecology and one on Advanced Ecological Modelling. At undergraduate level, I contribute to several courses at both 3rd and 4th year, most substantially to 3rd year Population Ecology where I introduce ecological modelling.

Teaching Philosophy: I enjoy the challenge of making quantitative topics and programming accessible to as many students as possible, and this is the focus of most of my teaching. I believe that almost all students are capable of learning to program, and that many obtain considerable satisfaction from the realisation that they can master it. I am interested in employing active learning methods within quantitative courses that have traditionally relied heavily on often dry lectures. In my Masters teaching I have been using 'learning through teaching' methods where individuals are each guided in putting together material to teach their peers about a particular aspect of modeling. This is proving a very successful way of improving understanding and creates considerable enthusiasm.

External Responsibilities

Full member of NERC Peer Review College ( 2011 - ).

Subject Editor for Oikos ( 2010 - ).

Associate Editor for BMC Ecology ( 2011 - ).

Admin Responsibilities

Advisor of Studies ( 2009 - ).


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