Ecology Research Group

Head: Professor Richard Sibly


We study the ecology and evolution of the symbiosis between tropical fig trees and fig- pollinating wasps (seen here laying eggs in fig flowers)The Ecology Group comprises nine academic staff, one visiting lecturer, one research fellow and an excellent network of collaborators in the UK and overseas. Our research strengths cover insect, mammal and evolutionary ecology, from both pure and applied perspectives. Our current research projects include the ecology of mammals and birds, insect/plant and host/parasite interactions, insect community ecology, grassland restoration ecology, pesticide impacts on biodiversity, and agent-based models of animals in spatially-heterogeneous environments.

We undertake a great deal of field research: locally on the wildlife-rich Whiteknights campus, in urban and rural Berkshire, and overseas, e.g. in Namibia, Brasil and Australia.



This group is dedicated to developing a better understanding of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of environmental change arising from human activities, specifically pollution, urbanisation and climate change.

Over the next five years the Ecology group will:

  1. Test the assumptions and predictions of individual-based models using field experiments and so strengthen the use of individual-based models for ecological forecasting.
  2. Build on existing industrial links and enhance outreach activities to increase cross-talk between researchers and users, ensuring our ecological forecasting informs industry practice and policy and has a positive impact in mitigating the impacts of urbanization, climate change and pesticide use.
  3. Develop new research programmes at the interface of the interests of the Ecology and Evolution groups in forecasting the impacts of future environmental change by exploiting the critical mass of expertise within the Walker Institute for Climate System Research and our international links.

Academics Research Interests
Dr Phil Baker BakerPhil_small

Vertebrate Conservation

Dr Amanda Callaghan CallaghanAmanda_small

Applied Ecology, Insecticide Resistance, Ecotoxicology, Aquatic Toxicology, Entomology, Freshwater Biology, Stress responses, Molecular Ecology, Microarrays

Professor Mark Fellowes FellowesMark_small

Applied Ecology

Dr Manuela Gonzalez-Suarez Manuela Gonzalez

Loss of biodiversity

Dr Paul Hatcher HatcherPaul_small

Biological Control, insect conservation, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, IPM, weeds, Rumex, grasslands

Dr Graham Holloway HollowayGraham_small

Applied ecology

Dr Jonathan Mitchley MitchleyJonathan_small

Grassland ecology, biodiversity conservation, landscape conservation practice and policy and Europe and China

Dr Tom Oliver Dr Tom Oliver

Biodiversity: interactions between land use & climate change, spatiotemporal indicators & ecosystem services, the resilience of ecosystem functions

Dr Brian Pickles Brian Pickles

Assisted migration, Plant-fungal symbioses, Spatial ecology

Dr Colin Prescott PrescottColin_small

Ecologically based rodent management; anticoagulant rodenticides, physiological resistance, and the impact on non-target species

Professor Richard Sibly

[Head of Ecology research group]

Individual-Based Models (IBMs) in Population Ecology;
Using Approximate Bayesian Computation to evaluate IBMs

Visiting Lecturers
Dr Glynn Percival glynnpercivalsmallphoto

Arboriculture, Enterprise

Research Fellows
Dr Alice Johnston Alice Johnston

Individual-Based Models (IBMs) in Population Ecology;
Using Approximate Bayesian Computation to evaluate IBMs

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