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Research Fellows Directory

Robert Freckleton

Professor Robert Freckleton

Research Fellow


University of Sheffield

Research summary

My work focuses on developing models that can be used to understand and manage ecological populations. The overall aim is to allow ecologists to contribute to problems such as managing pests and forecasting the ecological consequences of climate change.

My modelling work uses a combination of approaches. Ecological models are used to forecast how population numbers will change from year to year as a consequence of changes in management and climate variations. I have developed new methods that allow us to rapidly census populations at landscape scales, then use the resultant data to parameterise models.

I use evolutionary models to look at how species respond to their environments over longer timescales. The practical applications of this include: using the models to forecast extinction threats for species for which data are lacking, and understanding 'niche conservatism' the tendency of species to retain major niche characteristics during evolution.

My major field project concerns the impacts of climate change: I have a large scale field study in progress in which we have set up a series of experiments along a latitudinal transect of 9 sand dune communities in sites from Portugal to the UK. The aim of this study is to study the effects of climate on populations and communities via monitoring and transplant experiments in which populations originating from different climates are moved to new ones. This is then underpinned by growth, modelling and metabolomic studies in the lab.

Grants awarded

Stochasticity and the large-scale dynamics of ecological populations

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Oct 2004 - Sep 2012

Value: £11,149,364.16