Welcome to the Tobias lab at Imperial College London. We study biodiversity from the level of individuals to complex communities with the goal of understanding how ecosystems function and respond to environmental change.
We study a wide array of factors influencing variation in populations of organisms, with a focus on speciation and trait diversification.
A key goal of our research is to understand how interactions among species drive evolution and determine the structure and functioning of ecological communities.
We apply insights from biodiversity science to understand and predict the responses of ecosystems to environmental change and to help develop strategies for conservation and sustainable development.
August 2020 – Our article on avian diversity published in this year’s Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution & Systematics. This paper integrates the different research activities of the lab by linking speciation and trait diversification with community assembly and trait-based macroecology. It’s a slightly long-winded but hopefully informative summary of what we do and why. Read paper
April 2020 – Catherine Sheard publishes her analyses of bird wing morphology in Nature Communications showing a strong latitudinal gradient in flight ability. This project began as a PhD chapter and ended up eight years later as a compendium of wing measurements from >99% of the world’s bird species. All other co-authors are former members of the lab. Read paper | Read overview | Read blog
January 2020 – The first global analyses of our bird trait dataset is published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a team effort between current and former lab members and international collaborators who visited museums worldwide to measure specimens of >99% of the world’s birds. The results show general concordance between morphological traits and ecological niches at global scales. Read paper | Read overview