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Tom Oliver

Portrait of Tom Oliver

Professor of Applied Ecology

Areas of interest

  • Interactions between land use and climate change on biodiversity
  • Spatiotemporal indicators for biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Biodiversity and the resilience of ecosystem functions

Postgraduate supervision

Supervision/co-supervision of the following PhD students:

  • Alexander Dean (University of Reading)
  • Andre Dornelles (University of Reading)
  • Luke Evans (University of Reading)
  • Chanida Fung (University of Reading)
  • Matt Greenwell (University of Reading)
  • Louise Hutchinson (University of Reading)
  • Lisbeth Morrison (University of Reading)
  • John Redhead (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)
  • Laura Merritt (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology)
  • Vicky Senior (University of Sheffield)

Supervision of the following Post-doctoral staff:

  • Emma Gardner (BBSRC: Modelling resilient pollination services)
  • Yolanda Melero (Marie-Curie: 'Butterfly community ecology')

Research centres and groups

International Collaborators

  • Constanti Stefanescu, Catalan Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, Spain
  • Oliver Schweiger, Josef Settele UFZ, Germany
  • Chris van Swaay, Butterfly Conservation Europe, Netherlands
  • Romain Julliard, Natural History Museum, France
  • Damaris Zurell, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL
  • Gao Hu, Nanjing Agricultural University, China

National Collaborators

  • David Roy, James Bullock, Nick Isaac, Matt Heard, Gary Powney, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • Chris Thomas, Jane Hill, University of York
  • Albert Phillimore, Edinburgh University
  • Mike Bruford, University of Cardiff
  • Tom Brereton, Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation
  • Kevin Watts, Forest Research
  • Richard Bradbury, RSPB
  • Simon Gillings, James Pearce-Higgins, British Trust for Ornithology
  • Richard Smithers, Ricardo AEA
  • Mike Morecroft, Simon Duffield, Humphrey Crick, Natural England
  • Deborah Procter, JNCC


Esteem Factors

  • Research papers in Science, PNAS, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, TREE
  • Involved in successful funding bids (PI/Co-I) totalling £6.4M income (e.g. funding through NERC, BBSRC, Natural England)
  • NERC Peer Review Panel member
  • Research cited in, and expert reviewer for IPBES, IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), and 1.5°C warming report
  • Keynote speaker at International Future of Butterflies Conference 2016; British Ecological Society Symposium 2016; NERC Valuing Nature Programme keynote lecture 2017
  • Reviewer for over 30 different ISI journals including Nature and Science, and international funding agencies (e.g. NERC/BBSRC/Royal Society/EarthWatch/Czech Academy of Sciences/Belmont Forum) and Associate Editor of Journal of Insect Conservation and Diversity
  • NERC CDT Modelling and quantitative skills in ecology and evolution (QMEE) Training Board member
  • Member of UK government-led working groups on habitat fragmentation, climate change adaptation and ecosystem services
  • NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Fellow


Please see Google Scholar for a full publication list.

Impact, Enterprise and Outreach

  • Design authority for Defra Systems Research Programme (senior fellowship 0.6FTE)
  • Author of critically appraised book The Self Delusion: How You Are Connected to Everyone Else and Why That Matters
  • Member of European Environment Agency Scientific Committee
  • Developing species climate change risk assessments and a decision framework for adaptation in partnership with Natural England
  • Author of technical report in LWEC Terrestrial Climate Change Impacts Report Card
  • Development of a UK indicator of functional connectivity in collaboration with JNCC
  • Quantifying UK biodiversity changes across 22 species groups, including a new spatial indicator of national biodiversity, used to inform of prioritisation of large infrastructure projects or ecological restoration (Dyer et al., 2016).
  • Research on climate change impacts and biodiversity changes reviewed in international newspapers (NY Times, Guardian), magazines (New Scientist, Science, Nature) and radio interviews (BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)