Professor Justin Travis

Professor Justin Travis

Personal Chair

Professor Justin Travis
Professor Justin Travis

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 274483
The University of Aberdeen Room 407 Zoology Building


2006 –     Lecturer (from 2008, Senior lecturer, and from, 2013 Professor) in Ecological and Evolutionary Modellinf, 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

Substantial Grants Awarded Since 2012:

2018-2022 NERC Research Grant, "Forecasting biodiversity losses in Wallacea from ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes". PI of international team. (£850,000)

2018-2022 BBSRC Studentship Grant, "Using artificial intelligence to improve the forecast for biodiversity under environmental change" (£99,000)

2017-2021 NERC Research Grant, “Linking demographic theory and data to forecast the dynamics of spatially-structured seasonally-mobile populations” (£650,000). Co-I responsible for developing mechanistic migration models.

2017-2019 Marie Curie International Fellowship (Є215,000) Scientist in charge for Dr Aurore Ponchon.

2015-2016 STFC Newton AgriTech (£350,000) Local PI responsible for systems modelling of fire risk in China.

2015-2017 Marie Curie International Fellowship (Є220,000). Scientist in Charge for Dr Job Aben.

2012-2014 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (Є190,000). Scientist in Charge for Dr Kamil Barton.

2012-2015 NERC Responsive, PI “Managing Landscapes for Biodiversity Under Climate Change” (£355,000) 


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.

Further Info

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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  • Dominguez Almela, V, Palmer, SCF, Gillingham, PK, Travis, JMJ & Britton, JR 2020, 'Integrating an individual-based model with approximate Bayesian computation to predict the invasion of a freshwater fish provides insights into dispersal and range expansion dynamics', Biological Invasions, vol. 22, pp. 1461-1480. [Online] DOI:
  • Synes, NW, Brown, C, Palmer, SCF, Bocedi, G, Osborne, PE, Watts, K, Franklin, J & Travis, JMJ 2019, 'Coupled land use and ecological models reveal emergence and feedbacks in socio-ecological systems', Ecography, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 814-825. [Online] DOI:
  • Ovenden, T, Palmer, SCF, Travis, JMJ & Healey, JR 2019, 'Improving reintroduction success in large carnivores through individual-based modelling: how to reintroduce Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) to Scotland', Biological Conservation, vol. 234, pp. 140-153. [Online] DOI:
  • Urban, MC, Scarpa, A, Travis, JMJ & Bocedi, G 2019, 'Maladapted Prey Subsidize Predators and Facilitate Range Expansion', The American Naturalist, vol. 194, no. 4, pp. 590-612. [Online] DOI:
  • Melero, Y, Stefanescu, C, Palmer, SCF, Travis, JMJ & Pino, J 2020, 'The role of the urban landscape on species with contrasting dispersal ability: Insights from greening plans for Barcelona', Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 195, 103707. [Online] DOI:
  • Fitt, RNL, Palmer, S, Hand, C, Travis, JMJ & Lancaster, LT 2019, 'Towards an interactive, process-based approach to understanding range shifts: developmental and environmental dependencies matter', Ecography, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 201-210. [Online] DOI:
  • Aben, J, Pellikka, P & Travis, JMJ 2018, 'A call for viewshed ecology: Advancing our understanding of the ecology of information through viewshed analysis', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 624-633. [Online] DOI:
  • Isaac, NJB, Brotherton, PNM, Bullock, JM, Gregory, RD, Boehning-Gaese, K, Connor, B, Crick, HQP, Freckleton, RP, Gill, JA, Hails, RS, Hartikainen, M, Hester, AJ, Milner-Gulland, EJ, Oliver, TH, Pearson, RG, Sutherland, WJ, Thomas, CD, Travis, JMJ, Turnbull, LA, Willis, K, Woodward, G & Mace, GM 2018, 'Defining and delivering resilient ecological networks: Nature conservation in England', Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 55, no. 6, pp. 2537-2543. [Online] DOI:
  • Saastamoinen, M, Bocedi, G, Cote, J, Legrand, D, Guillaume, F, Wheat, CW, Fronhofer, EA, Garcia, C, Henry, R, Husby, A, Baguette, M, Bonte, D, Coulon, A, Kokko, H, Matthysen, E, Niitepõld, K, Nonaka, E, Stevens, VM, Travis, JMJ, Donohue, K, Bullock, JM & Del Mar Delgado, M 2018, 'Genetics of dispersal', Biological Reviews, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 574-599. [Online] DOI:
  • Reid, JM, Travis, JMJ, Daunt, F, Burthe, SJ, Wanless, S & Dytham, C 2018, 'Population and evolutionary dynamics in spatially structured seasonally varying environments', Biological Reviews, vol. 93, no. 3, pp. 1578-1603. [Online] DOI:
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