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Professor Richard Sibly – University of Reading

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Professor Richard Sibly

Professor Richard Sibly
Job Title:
Richard Sibly



Areas of Interest

  • Using Individual Based Models (IBMs) to develop new methods in Population Ecology applicable to real landscapes. Individual-based models (IBMs) are increasingly used to simulate the lives of individual animals in mapped landscapes, so that the population consequences of management plans can be evaluated. IBMs are currently being used to design strategies for conservation and the exploitation of fisheries, and for assessing the effects on populations of major construction projects and novel agricultural chemicals. We are currently working to produce and validate simple IBMs of elephants, mackerel, butterflies, cockles, waterfleas and earthworms.  See here for further information.
  • Statistical assessment of ABMs using Approximate Bayesian Computation
  • Integrating Life History Theory with the new theory of Metabolic Ecology. Metabolic ecology is based on the premise that as organisms increase in size, the costs of transporting nutrients and oxygen around their bodies increase disproportionately. The upshot is that larger organisms cannot use as much power, per unit bodymass, as smaller organisms.What are the implications for life history evolution? I have been exploring this question with reference to mammals, birds, lizards and fish with Dr James H. Brown and others. Together we have produced a book on Metabolic Ecology which came out in 2012.
  • Funding from NERC, BBSRC, EC Marie Curie Initial Training Network, Danish Research Council, Syngenta

Member of the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology division

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Expert member of working group on Good Modelling Practice for the European Food Safety Authority
  • Work described in major Ecology textbooks: Begon et al. (2006) Ecology; and Krebs CJ (2009) Ecology; and Davies et al (2012) Introduction to Behavioural Ecology.
  • Lecture course on Metabolic Ecology for the University of Umea
  • Organiser of workshops on Statistical assessment of ABMs using Approximate Bayesian Computation
  • Two textbooks published in 2012
metabolic ecology book small ecotoxicologybooksmall

Esteem Factors

  • The Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London.
  • Two papers the subject of two-page commentaries in PNAS (2007, 104: 17576-17566 and 2012 109:10747-10748).
  • Book editor for 'Metabolic Ecology' (with JH Brown and A Kodric-Brown).
  • Elected chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Unifying Ecology Across Scales for 2016, vice Chair for 2014.
  • Invited member of the US Research Coordination Network: Integrating Macroecological Pattern and Processes across Scales.
  • Invited member of the US National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) Working Group on Ecological Energetics.
  • Member of Marie Curie ITN project, CREAM, funded by the European Commission
  • Invited member of Danish Center For Informatics Research On Complexity In Ecology.
  • Founder member (with four others) of the Danish Centre for Integrated Population Ecology (CIPE, funded 2006 - 2008 by a grant from the Danish Research Council).
  • Invited plenary speaker at international conferences in Australia, Japan, Washington DC, Maine, Prague, Berlin, Cracow, Roskilde, Aarhus, Le Croisic, London, Leeds
  • Principle organiser of Royal Society Discussion Meeting, British Ecological Society sessions and workshop, European Society for Evolutionary Biology Symposium. Joint organiser of the Marie Curie ITN project CREAM workshop 2010
  • Occasional editor for PNAS; reviewer for Science, PNAS etc, and for US NSF, NERC, EPSRC, Leverhulme Foundation and other international grant-giving bodies.


  • Part 1: Ecology and Behaviour
  • Part 3: Behavioural Ecology

Research groups / Centres


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