Joseph Tobias

Joseph Tobias

Reader in Biodiversity & Ecosystems

I graduated with a BSc in Zoology from Cardiff University (1992) and a PhD from Cambridge University (1996), where I studied territoriality and communication in European Robins (supervised by Nick Davies). After finishing my PhD, I spent several years recovering as a conservationist and biodiversity consultant working for international NGOs, including Wildlife Conservation Society, BirdLife International and IUCN. Returning to academia after a gap-decade, I started out as a post-doc, then (from 2008) Lecturer in Evolutionary Ecology at Oxford University. My group moved to Imperial College London in 2015.

Imperial webpage | Google scholar

Teaching & supervising

I currently convene a third-year undergraduate course on Biodiversity and Conservation Biology at the South Kensington campus and teach masters modules on Biodiversity and Community Ecology at Silwood Park.

I also supervise a range of research projects for undergraduate and post-graduate students. Some of these projects are field-based but most are desk-based and lockdown-proof. Please see our ‘join us’ page for more information.

Join us

Current members

Post docs

Adam Devenish

Adam Devenish

Adam is an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding how environmental change influences species interactions. He completed his PhD with Dr Seirian Sumner at the University of Bristol in 2018. For his graduate research he looked at cascading effects of invasive species on ant-plant mutualisms. Adam’s current research adopts a more interdisciplinary approach, combining both socio-economic and environmental data to look at the trade-offs in sub-Saharan African agriculture. Focusing particularly on the current and future effects of agricultural expansion on biodiversity loss, and the consequences this has for ecosystem functionality and small-holder farmer livelihoods in Ethiopia, Ghana and Zambia.


PhD students

Henrike Schulte-to-Buhne

Henrike Schulte-to-Buhne

Henny’s thesis focuses on the interactions between climate change and land use change and their effects on ecosystem functioning in West African grasslands.

Rob Barber

Rob Barber

Rob is using phylogenetic methods to explore evolutionary relationships in birds, viewed at a global scale. In particular, he is interested in the factors driving the evolution of traits related to signalling, and the implications for diversification.

Tom Weeks

Tom Weeks

Tom is using global datasets to understand how environmental change affects the structure and composition of avian assemblages with respect to functional traits, and the implications for ecosystem function.

Patrick Walkden

Patrick Walkden

Patrick is developing and applying biodiversity metrics based on avian functional diversity to monitor and predict responses of ecosystems to land-use change.
Primary supervisor: Andy Purvis, NHM

Lisbeth Hordley

Lisbeth Hordley

Lisbeth is investigating long-term impacts of environmental change on populations of birds and insects, mainly focused on UK biodiversity data in collaboration with British Trust for Ornithology and others.
Primary supervisor: Tom Oliver, Reading

Former members

Post-docs

  • Jack Hatfield (now a post-doc at University of York)
  • Uri Roll (now Senior Lecturer at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev)
  • Anthony Waldron
  • Alex Pigot (now Royal Society Research Fellow at University College London)
  • Alex Kirschel (now Assistant Professor at University of Cyprus)

PhD

  • Rikki Gumbs (2020; co-supervised with James Rosindell)
  • Samuel Jones (2019; co-supervised with Steve Portugal in RHUL)
  • Rebekah Mayhew (2018; co-supervised with Daisy Dent in Stirling University)
  • Eleanor Bath (2016; now Lecturer in Animal Behaviour at Oxford University)
  • Catherine Sheard (2016; now post-doc in Tim Benton’s lab at Bristol University)
  • Christopher Cooney (2015; now Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Sheffield)
  • Tom Bregman (2014; now Head of Corporate Engagement for Future-Fit Foundation )
  • Christopher Trisos (2014; now Senior Research Fellow at the African Climate and Development Initiative, Cape Town, South Africa).
  • Benjamin Daly (2013; now in corporate sector)
  • Juan-Carlos Gonzalez (2013; currently Professor of Zoology at Institute of Biological Sciences, University of the Philippines Los Banos)
  • Claire Salisbury (2012; now a freelance science writer)

MSc

  • Katie O’Brien (accepted to PhD programme in Bath University)
  • Lois Nolan
  • Patrick Walkden (now PhD student at Imperial)
  • Peter Stewart (now PhD student at Durham University)
  • Chiti Arvind
  • Connor Warland
  • George Brooks
  • Benjamin Sharpless
  • Matteo Sebastianelli (now PhD student at University of Cyprus)
  • Rick Stanley (now PhD student at University of Florida)
  • Jarome Ali (now PhD student at Princeton University)
  • Constantinos Charalambous
  • Emma Caton (now Communications Coordinator at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)
  • Anita Kristiansen (now Editorial Coordinator at Royal Society)
  • Alex Bovo (now PhD student at University of Sao Paulo)
  • Nicolas Soulages (now an author)
  • Emily Bell (now Lecturer at University of Bristol)
  • Annette Fayet (now Junior Research Fellow at Queen’s College, Oxford University)

Research Assistants

  • Claire Vincent (now at United Nations Environment Programme–World Conservation Monitoring Centre)
  • Monte Neate-Clegg (now PhD student at Utah State University)
  • Nico Alioravainen (now PhD student at University of Eastern Finland)
  • Hannah MacGregor (now post-doc at Bristol University)
  • Paulo Pulgarin (now based at CES University, Medellin)
  • Diego Garcia-Olaechea (now a PhD student at University of Florida)
  • Dominic Cram (now post-doc at Cambridge University)
  • Job Aben (now post-doc at University of Aberdeen)