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Fellows Directory

Philip Grime

Professor Philip Grime FRS


Elected: 1998


Philip Grime is an ecologist who studies the role of plants within ecosystems with a special focus on how changes in land use and climate effect vegetation. Philip is best known for developing a method of classifying plants according to their genetics and evolutionary strategies.

He combines field studies and microcosm techniques — the study of small-scale model ecosystems — to inform his theories. Working with plant biologist Simon Pierce, Philip developed the universal adaptive strategy theory, an evolutionary model that describes the three-way trade-off plants make when allocating environmental resources to either growth, maintenance or regeneration. Philip’s numerical model enables evolutionary analysis of how environmental strategy in plants shapes ecosystems.

In 1979, Philip published Plant Strategies and Vegetation Processes, an invaluable reference book for researchers in the areas of plant, animal and community ecology, as well as conservation and land management. In 2013, the Journal of Ecology published a collection of Philip’s most influential papers in a special virtual issue, for which he wrote a blog post and recorded a podcast interview.