Chris Thomas is an evolutionary biologist whose predictions of the impact of climate change on rates of extinction continue to influence policymakers. Although his research focuses on the evolutionary relationships between insects and plants, his discoveries have implications for biodiversity in a wide range of contexts.
Through his studies of the distribution of populations in time and space, Chris has shown unequivocally that climate change puts species in danger. He has tracked insect populations as they move their geographical ranges from warmer to cooler regions, forcing them to adapt to unfamiliar habitats: the higher the temperature, the further they move.
A wider interest in the impact of human activity — including changing patterns of land use and the introduction of non-native species — has enabled Chris to document gains as well as losses in diversity. He has played an active role in developing conservation strategies that take into account continuing patterns of environmental change.