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Personal profile

Biography

I am currently an Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences and a Non-Executive Director of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science where I chair the Science Advisory Committee.

My initial training was in Biology at the University of York, which was then followed by my Doctorate in plant population biology at the University College of North Wales, Bangor with Professor John Harper FRS.  Following my appointment as a Lecturer at the University of East Anglia in 1975 my initial research career involved studies of population biology and its application to the fields of agriculture and forestry, conservation and climate change, but increasingly centred on interdisciplinary studies of the effects of climate change. I was one of the founding members of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research where I led the coastal programme and was also one of the lead authors of the UK Government Foresight Report on Future Flooding. I was presented with the Marsh Award by the British Ecological Society for my contribution to ecology in 2003. 

In 2007 I became Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which was then followed by a five year secondment to NERC as Director of the Living With Environmental Change Partnership. This joint initiative represented an unprecedented collaboration between the Research Councils, Government Departments, Devolved Administrations and Delivery Agencies to ensure that the UK provided international leadership and solutions to the challenges of environmental change. It involved working at the interface of research, policy, business and delivery across all of the research disciplines. Through co-design, co-production and co-delivery LWEC aimed to provide decision makers with the foresight, knowledge and tools to mitigate, adapt to and benefit from environmental change.

My involvement with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and Living With Environmental Change led to a growing interest in global environmental issues, science communication and science policy. The latter has involved a range of Research Council and Government advisory boards and I have recently worked with the British Ecological Society, the British Trust for Ornithology, DEFRA, the Environment Agency and Forest Research.

I have over 230 research publications and edited the Journal of Applied Ecology from 1995 to 2001. 

Career

  • 1969 to 1972 University of York. BA (Hons) Biology. First Class
  • 1972 to 1975 University College of North Wales, Bangor. PhD 
  • 1975 to 1990 Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 1990 to 1995 Reader in the School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 1995 to 2005 Joint Professor in Ecology in the Schools of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 2005 to 2008 Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 2007 to 2008 Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
  • 2008 to 2013 NERC. Director of Living With Environmental Change
  • 2013 to 2015 Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 2015 to date Emeritus Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
  • 2015 to date Non Executive Director, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

 

 

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research interests cover a broad range of interdisciplinary topics within the environmental sciences including population biology and its application to conservation, environmental and climatic change, and science policy.

In population biology my research has focused on the determinants of abundance in time and space, focusing often on how density-dependent and density-independent processes interact to determine population size (e.g. Freckleton et al. 2011, Queenborough et al. 2011). Conservation and environmental management interests centre on the application of this knowledge and the exploration of conflicts and trade-offs involved in environmental management (e.g. Ma et al. 2009, Tratlos et al. 2013).

In the area of environmental change, which has been a major area of activity over the last decade, research has focused  on interdisciplinary aspects of how environmental change is affecting the coast with studies in the Caribbean (e.g. Alvarez-Filip et al 2009, 2011) and East Anglia. The East Anglian studies with colleagues in the Tyndall Centre have focused particularly on flooding and coastal erosion (Dawson et al. 2009).  More specifically in terms climate change, interest centres on the potential impacts of a number of aspects of climate change, including melting sea ice in Polar regions (O’Neill et al. 2008) and hurricanes in the Caribbean (Forster et al. 2012).

Science policy research, a recent interest, has to date focused on the identification of priority policy options (Sutherland et al. 2006) and horizon scanning (Sutherland et al. 2013) in the area of conservation together with explorations of how governance affects environmental management (e.g. Southern et al. 2011, Forster et al. 2012).

Specialisms

Coastal management; climate change; population ecology.

Teaching Interests

My teaching interests have spanned three broad areas: population biology, applied ecology and climate change. I was the founding Course Director for the MSc in Applied Ecology and Conservation and during my career at UEA have taught in courses on Population and Community Ecology, Plants and Environments, Conservation Biology, Climate Change, Global Environmental Change and Population Modelling. I am increasingly interested in providing the ‘bigger picture’.

Areas Of Expertise

CLIMATE CHANGE||CLIMATE CHANGE (UK)||CLIMATE CHANGE (UK)||PLANTS||WEEDS||WEEDS||WEEDS||WEEDS||WEEDS||WEEDS

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water