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Fellows Directory

John Lawton

John Lawton

Sir John Lawton CBE FRS


Elected: 1989


John Lawton was Chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (2005–2011). He served as Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council (1999–2005) and Director of the Centre for Population Biology at Imperial College (1989–1999). Trained as a zoologist at the University of Durham, John subsequently held posts at the universities of Oxford and York.

His scientific interests have focused on the population dynamics and biodiversity of birds and insects, with an emphasis over the last three decades on the impacts of global environmental change. He is a past President of the British Ecological Society and a former Chairman of the RSPB Council, and is currently a Vice-President of RSPB and President of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

John was knighted in 2005 for his contributions to ecological science. He has been awarded numerous other national and international prizes, including the 2004 Japan Prize. He was elected as a Foreign Member of both the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2008.

Professional positions

Chairman, York Museums Trust
President, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Ecology (incl behavioural ecology), Environmental biology, Organismal biology (including invertebrate and vertebrate zoology), Biological modelling


  • Japan Prize

    In the field of science and technology for conservation of biodiversity for observational, experimental and theoretical achievements for the scientific understanding and conservation of biodiversity.

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