Professor Jane K Hill




2010 - Professor Department of Biology, University of York
2001 - 2009 Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader Department of Biology, University of York
1997 - 2001 Post-doc University of Durham
1994 - 1997 Post-doc University of Leeds
1992 - 1994 Post-doc Liverpool John Moores University
1991 PhD University of Wales, Bangor
1987 MSc University of Manchester
1982 BSc (Hons) University of Manchester   


Departmental roles

Associate Head of Department



Our research interests focus on the effects of habitat degradation and climate change on biodiversity (with particular emphasis on temperate and tropical insects). We are studying climate-driven range shifts of species at their leading-edge and trailing-edge range boundaries, and the factors affecting species’ ability to respond to climate and habitat changes. We are doing this via the analysis of historical records, collecting new field data, and the development of theoretical models. We are exploring potential methods for promoting adaptation of biodiversity to climate warming, for example by examining whether improving habitat connectivity will aid species’ range shifts, and the role of Protected Areas. We are also investigating methods for conserving biodiversity in tropical habitats, including logged forests and oil palm plantations. 

Pateman, R.M., Hill, J.K., Roy, D.B., Fox, R. & Thomas, C.D. (2012) Temperature-dependent biotic interactions drive rapid range expansion. Science 336, 1028-1030.

Chen, I.C, Hill, J.K., Ohlemüller, R., Roy, D.B. & Thomas, C.D. (2011) Rapid range shifts of species associated with high levels of climate warming. Science 333, 1024-1026.

Chapman, J.W., Nesbit, R.L., Burgin, L.E.,  Reynolds, D.R., Smith, A.D.,  Middleton, D. R. & Hill, J.K. (2010) Flight Orientation Behaviors Promote Optimal Migration Trajectories in High-flying Insects. Science 327, 682-685.


We have discovered that species from a wide range of taxonomic groups, and from both temperate and tropical regions, are shifting their distributions in response to climate warming, and that Protected Areas are important for facilitating range expansions. Our radar studies have revealed that migrant lepidoptera select seasonally-advantageous high altitude winds to aid their migration. Our tropical studies show that logged forests and small forest remnants can contribute substantially to regional diversity and that their conservation value should not be overlooked. 


Title: The Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Oil Palm Research Programme (SEnSOR). Funding body: RSPO/SEARRP 

Title: Variable rates of responses by species to climate change. Funding body: NERC 

Title: Using wild ancestor plants to make rice more resilient to increasingly unpredictable water availability. Funding body: BBSRC SCPRID.

Title: The role of dispersal in species’ ability to respond to climate change. Funding body: NERC

Research group(s)

Post doctoral research assistant

Dr Audrey Zanesse (University of East Anglia)

The role of dispersal in species’ ability to respond to climate change.

Post doctoral research assistant

Dr Jennifer Lucey

SEnSOR project.

Research Student

Anna Riach

Interactions between plants and their insect herbivores under warming climates: a metabolomics approach. (BBSRC, with Steve Penfield, Exeter)

Research Student

Michael Senior 

Assessing ecosystem functioning in fragmented tropical landscapes. (NERC, with ProForest)

Research Student

Louise Mair

Linking local dispersal behaviour in butterflies with long-distance colonisation success during climate-driven range shifts. (NERC)

Research Student

Hayley Jones

The role of dispersal capability in the long-term population dynamics of British macro-moths. (BBSRC, with Jason Chapman, Rothamsted Research)

Research Student

Yeong Kok Loong

Dynamics of dipterocarp seedlings in forest fragments in Sabah. (Earthwatch)

Research Student

Sarah Scriven

Promoting resilience and biodiversity in tropical agricultural landscapes. (NERC)

Available PhD research projects

 Ecological impacts of climate change and habitat degradation (2015-16)

We are always interested in recruiting students wishing to pursue research projects in the areas of climate change, habitat fragmentation and biodiversity conservation - in both temperate and rainforest ecosystems. We have on-going projects in the UK examining range contractions and expansions from climate change (particularly in insects). On Borneo, we are exploring methods for the sustainable production of palm oil and understanding the ecological impacts of climate change on rainforest biodiversity. 

See for specific NERC 'ACCE' DTP funded projects in my lab, or with colleagues in the DTP.

Dr Jane K Hill

Contact details

Prof. Jane K Hill
Department of Biology (Area 18)
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328642