University of Reading cookie policy

We use cookies on to improve your experience, monitor site performance and tailor content to you

Read our cookie policy to find out how to manage your cookie settings

Kate Williams

  • 100
  • Professor of Public Engagement with History

Academic background

I completed my PhD at UNSW Sydney, Australia, in late 2019 under the supervision of Professor Mike Letnic. Since then I have been working as a Postdoc with Associate Professor Sofia Gripenberg at University of Reading. My research has spanned temperate, arid, and now tropical environments, and I have worked on a diverse range of topics including fire ecology, crocodile behaviour, herbivory, granivory, rewilding, trophic cascades, nomadic birds, and dune geomorphology. With Sofia I will extend my work on interaction ecology, researching tree-insect interactions in tropical forests and how they might drive the huge diversity of plant species found there.

Research areas

My research interests are broad but my primary focus are trophic interactions such as herbivory, grazing, predation, and granivory, and their consequences for community assembly in deserts and tropical forests.


Students I have supervised are underlined.

  • Cornelissen et al (2021) How much leaf do insects eat? A dataset of insect herbivory sampled globally with a standardised protocol. Ecology. 102:e03301.
  • Mills, C.H., Wijas, B., Gordon, C.E., Lyons, M., Feit, A., Wilkinson, A. & Letnic, M. (2021) Two alternate states: shrub, bird and mammal communities differ on either side of the Dingo Barrier Fence. Australian Zoologist.
  • Braden, J., Mills, C.H., Cornwell, W., Waudby, H., & Letnic, M. (2021) Impacts of grazing by kangaroos and rabbits on vegetation and soils in a semi-arid conservation reserve. Submitted to Journal of Arid Environments. 190:104526.
  • Fisher, A., Mills, C.H., Lyons, M., Cornwell, W. & Letnic M. (2021) Remote sensing of trophic cascades: multi-temporal Landsat imagery reveals vegetation change driven by the removal of an apex predator. Landscape Ecology. 36:1341-1358.
  • Mills, C.H., Waudby, H., Finlayson, G., Parker, D., Cameron, M. & Letnic, M. (2020) Grazing by wild herbivores threatens conservation outcomes in semi-arid conservation reserves. Global Ecology & Conservation. 24:e01384.
  • Mills, C.H. & Letnic, M. (2018) Reversing functional extinction of mammals prompts a rethink of paradigms about seed fate in arid Australia. Royal Society Open Science 5:171977.
  • Mills, C.H., Gordon, C.E. & Letnic, M. (2018) Rewilded mammal assemblages reveal the missing ecological functions of granivores. Functional Ecology 32:475-485.
  • Lyons, M., Mills, C.H., Gordon, C.E. & Letnic, M. (2018). Linking trophic cascades to changes in desert dune geomorphology using high-resolution drone data. J. R. Soc. Interface. 15:20180327.
  • Lyons, M., Brandis, K., Callaghan, C., McCann, J., Mills, C., Ryall, S. & Kingsford, R. (2018) Bird interactions with drones, from individuals to large colonies. Aust. Field Ornithol. 35:51-56.
  • Letnic, M., Feit, A., Mills, C. & Feit, B. (2016) The crest-tailed mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda) in the south-eastern Strzelecki Desert. Australian Mammalogy 38:241-245.