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Brian Pickles

Portrait of Brian Pickles
  • Zoology Admissions Tutor
  • Deputy Director of Postgraduate Studies
  • PhD Supervisor
  • SBS Research Coordinator for EcoValley Woodland

Areas of interest

Biodiversity; Herpetology; Palaeoecology; Plant-fungal symbioses; Spatial ecology

  • Responses of mycorrhizal symbioses to global change processes
  • Reptile community and population ecology (modern and palaeo)
  • Spatial and temporal dynamics of species, biodiversity, and ecosystems 
  • Host-symbiont interactions and nutrient dynamics
  • Integrating soil ecology into forest management practices

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students:

  • Meg Cathcart-James
  • Alex Dean
  • Petra Guy
  • André Parise
  • Audra Richter
  • Tomos Jones (Main supervisor: Dr. Alastair Culham)
  • Vicky Jones (Main supervisor: Dr. Alejandra Perotti)
  • Gilka Rocha da Silva (Main supervisor: Prof. Mark Tibbett)
  • Corrina Thomsen (Main supervisor: Dr Jason Pither, UBCO)

MSc by Research students:

  • Sean Herridge-Berry (Main supervisor: Prof. Derek Peddle, University of Lethbridge)


Module convener:

  • BI2ERD4 Reptiles and Dinosaurs (Semester 1, 10 credits)
  • BI3PRFC Palaeoecology Research Field Course (Semester 2, 20 credits)
  • BI3CP8 Palaeoecology (Semester 2, 10 credits)

Contributed lectures and/or tutorials:

  • BI1BEA2 Current Topics in Zoology and Ecology
  • BI1EAB1 Animal Diversity
  • BI1EC2 Ecology
  • BI2EZ45 Key Skills in Ecology and Zoology
  • BI2MBC Marine Biology and Conservation
  • BI3EW8 Conservation Biology

Research centres and groups

Research projects

  • Digging into the "Gadgil effect": how the competitive balance between fungal guilds affects carbon and nitrogen cycling. Natural Environment Research Council (Standard Grant). Co-Investigator (2022-2025)
  • Real-time acoustic biodiversity monitoring with the BioAcoustic Index Tool (Pilot Study). Woodland Trust (Small Research Grant). Primary Investigator (2022-2023)
  • Establishing a Research Woodland for the University of Reading. University of Reading (Research Endowment Trust Fund). Co-Investigator (2021-2022)
  • Lichens, drones, and dinosaur bones. University of Reading (SBS Seed Fund). Collaboration with Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology and University of Lethbridge. Primary Investigator (2020-present)
  • Future forests and wild woods: modelling the responses of trees to climate, land-use, soils and mycorrhizal symbioses. Natural Environment Research Council (QMEE CDT PhD Studentship). Primary Investigator (2018-2022)
  • InfruTreeCity: Understanding Infrared radiative performance of urban trees for better future cities. Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (Research Grant). Co-Investigator (2018-2022)
  • Examining the ecology of drought resilience in the native woodlands of Central Texas. University of Reading (SBS Seed Fund) and City of Austin Water. Collaboration with City of Austin Water and St. Edward’s University. Primary Investigator (2017-present)
  • British Garden Plants: A Threat to the Natural Environment Due to Climate Change? Natural Environment Research Council (SCENARIO DTP PhD Studentship). Co- Investigator (2017-2022)
  • Designing successful forest renewal strategies for our changing climate. Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (Strategic Projects Grant). Co-Investigator (2016-2019)

Professional bodies/affiliations

  • Affiliate Professor in the Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Affiliate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Canada
  • Associate Member of the School of Graduate Studies, University of Lethbridge, Canada

National and international collaborators

Forest ecology / Mycorrhizal ecology

  • Dr Elena Vanguelova, Forest Research, UK
  • Dr Nadia Barsoum, Forest Research, UK
  • Prof Suzanne Simard, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Prof Les Lavkulic, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Prof Bill Mohn, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Dr Jason Pither, University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Canada
  • Prof Miranda Hart, University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, Canada
  • Dr Gregory O'Neill, BC Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations, Canada
  • Lisa O'Donnell, City of Austin Water, USA
  • Emeritus Prof Keith Egger, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada

Palaeoecology / Palaeontology

  • Dr Philip Bell, University of New England, Australia
  • Dr Caleb Brown, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada
  • Darren Tanke, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Canada
  • Prof Derek Peddle, University of Lethbridge, Canada
  • Prof Craig Coburn, University of Lethbridge, Canada
  • Prof Jack Williams, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • Dr Alejandro Ordonez, University of Aarhus, Denmark
  • Prof Rolf Mathewes, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Bax R. Barton, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Seattle, USA


  • Kathy Wormald, Froglife, UK
  • Chanel Comis, Wildlife Sense, Kefalonia, Greece

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach


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