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Dr Becks (Rebecca) Spake

  • Lecturer
  • Researcher
  • PhD supervisor

Areas of interest

Nature is complex and multi-causal, leading ecologists to frequently describe ecological relationships as “context dependent”. This complexity makes attempts to gain understanding and guidance about critical issues including rates of biodiversity loss, or the effectiveness of actions such as tree planting, wickedly difficult and subject to poorly-substantiated assertions about their generality. My work tries to address this challenge and identify how conservation, management and restoration actions can be targeted to enhance biodiversity and ecosystem functions. I use analyses of large spatio-temporal datasets, simulation and synthesis methods to develop quantitative and qualitative tools that can be used to support applied landscape management. I focus principally on forest ecosystems, given their importance in tackling the climate and extinction crises.

Specific interests include:

  • The application of principles and methodologies developed in health-related disciplines (epidemiology, public health and medicine), to improve the transferability of ecological research
  • The use of meta-analysis and other quantitative synthesis methods in ecology and evolution
  • The importance of scale to ecological inference
  • The ecology of deer and grey squirrels and the implications for UK treescapes

Postgraduate supervision

 PhD students:

  • Rebecca Collins (University of Southampton, primary supervisor Prof. Felix Eigenbrod): Disentangling the effects of urban greenspace on mental health
  • Alexandra Ash (University of Southampton, primary supervisor Prof. C . Patrick Doncaster): Understanding grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis bark-stripping in UK woodlands



  • Current Topics in Zoology and Ecology

Research centres and groups

National collaborators

International collaborators


  • More details about my research and publications can also be viewed on my personal website
  • Please see Google Scholar for my full list of publications

Academic service

  • Associate Editor for Landscape Ecology
  • Reviewer for over 20 different ISI journals including Science and PNAS
  • Reviewer for funding agency Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) 

Enterprise & Outreach

  • Participation in outreach events like Pint of Science
  • Research featured in the media (e.g., The Independent, BBC South)


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