Phil Platts
Research Fellow

Profile

Biography

I work on conservation science projects, mainly in East Africa, researching species distributions, biodiversity and endemism, and the interactions between people and ecosystems

View profile on Google Scholar or ResearchGate

Career

Research Fellow University of York (Environment)
Research Associate University of Cambridge (Zoology)
Research Fellow University of Cranfield (Applied Sciences)
Doctorate University of York (Environment)
Research Assistant University of York (Health Sciences)
Masters Universities of York and Linköping
(Maths and Biology)
Undergraduate University of York (Mathematics)

Departmental roles

Website and twitter feed for York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems

Research

Current projects

Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa

The objective of this project is to enhance understanding of climate change impacts on ecosystem services in the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot. Field measurements are focussed along three transects in Tanzania (Mt. Kilimanjaro), Kenya (Taita Hills) and Ethiopia (Jimma Highlands). Where possible, our findings will be upscaled to the wider mountain regions. 

I am principally involved in Work Package 4 – the assessment of climate change impacts on biodiversity and habitats. I am also interested in land use change and population growth, and how these impact local climate, ecological function and resource provision.

chiesa

Funding: Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Website: http://chiesa.icipe.org/

Valuing the Arc 

Valuing the Arc aims to map, quantify and value key ecosystem services that flow from the Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania. Five UK universities are involved (York, Cambridge, Leeds, UEA, Cranfield), together with two in Tanzania (Dar es Salaam, Sokoine University of Agriculture), WWF-Tanzania and the Natural Capital Project (Stanford). I work on the biodiversity, hydrology and scenario-building modules, and lead the work on timber and cross-module sythesis.

valuing the arc

Funding: Leverhulme Trust, Packard Foundation, Royal Society
Website: http://www.valuingthearc.org/

Acacia Distribution 

The genus Acacia dominates the structure and floristic composition of extensive areas of East African woodland, wooded grassland and bushland. Acacia species are remarkably diverse, spanning a wide range of ecosystems from arid deserts to montane forests, and growth forms from small shrubs to lianas and large trees. 

In collaboration with Aida Cuni Sanchez (RSPB), Roy Gereau (Missouri Botanical Garden), Rob Marchant and Andy Marshall (York) and the African Conservation Centre (Kenya), I develop bioclimatic models to predict Acacia distribution across East Africa (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda). Modelled species richness has led to targeted fieldwork in northern Kenya and southern Tanzania, and extended our focus into southern Ethiopia, where we are working to fill gaps in the distributional record.

‌‌acacia

Funding: Liz Claiborne Art Ortenberg Foundation

Mountains and Endemism

My PhD research proposed an ecoregion definition for the Eastern Arc Mountains (EAMs) based on landform, vegetation and climatic influence. In collaboration with Roy Gereau (Missouri Botanical Garden), Andreas Hemp (University of Bayreuth) and Jaclyn Hall (University of Stanford), this definition is being used to produce a definitive checklist of distribution and endemism among vascular plants.

In related work, these data and definitions are combined with regional climate models, to explore the concept of ecoclimatic stability as a driver of endemism.‌

Funding: Marie Curie Actions

Research group(s)

York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems (KITE)

Supervision

PhD students

Mike Bungard, Paignton Zoo. Predictive Modelling for Anuran Responses to Climate Change in Tropical Montane Ecosystems (self-funded)

Publications

Full publications list

Please email me to request PDF copies

Refereed journal articles

Bayliss J, Schaafsma M, Balmford A, Burgess ND, Green J, Madoffe SS, Mariki S, Okayasu S, Peh KS-H, Platts PJ, Yu DW (in press). The current and future value of nature-based tourism in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. Ecosystem Services

Pfeifer M, Lefebvre V, Gonsamo A, Pellikka PKE, Marchant R, Denu D, Platts PJ (2014). Validating and linking the GIMMS leaf area index (LAI3g) with environmental controls in tropical Africa. Remote Sensing 6, 1973-1990

Green JMH, Larrosa C, Burgess ND, Balmford A, Johnston A, Mbilinyi BP, Platts PJ, Coad L (2013). Deforestation in an African biodiversity hotspot: extent, variation and the effectiveness of protected areas. Biological Conservation 164, 62-72

Pfeifer M, Platts PJ, Burgess ND, Swetnam RD, Willcock S, Lewis SL, Marchant R (2013). Land use change and carbon fluxes in East Africa quantified using earth observation data and field measurements. Environmental Conservation 40, 241-252

Platts PJ, Gereau RE, Burgess ND, Marchant R (2013). Spatial heterogeneity of climate change in an Afromontane centre of endemism. Ecography 36, 518-530

Marshall AR, Platts PJ, Gereau RE, Kindeketa W, Kang'ethe S, Marchant R (2012). The genus Acacia (Fabaceae) in East Africa: distribution, diversity and the protected area network. Plant Ecology and Evolution 145, 289-301 [Reprinted in Scripta Botanica Belgica 50, 1-13]

Marshall AR, Willcock S, Platts PJ, Lovett JC, Balmford A, Burgess ND, Latham J, Munishi PK, Salter R, Shirima DD, Lewis SL (2012). Measuring and modelling above-ground carbon and tree allometry along a tropical elevation gradient. Biological Conservation 154, 20-33

Pfeifer M, Burgess ND, Swetnam RD, Platts PJ, Willcock S, Marchant R (2012). Protected areas: mixed success in conserving East Africa's evergreen forests. PloS One 7, e39337

Willcock S, Phillips OL, Platts PJ, Balmford A, Burgess ND, Lovett JC, Ahrends A, Bayliss J, Doggart N, Doody K, Fanning E, Green J, Hall J, Howell K, Marchant R, Marshall AR, Mbilinyi B, Munishi P, Owen N, Swetnam RD, Topp-Jorgensen E, Lewis SL (2012). Towards regional, error-bounded landscape carbon storage estimates for data deficient areas of the world. PLoS One 7, e44795

Ahrends A, Burgess ND, Gereau RE, Marchant R, Bulling MT, Lovett JC, Platts PJ, Kindemba VW, Owen N, Fanning E, Rahbek C (2011). Funding begets biodiversity. Diversity and Distributions 17, 191-200

Ahrends A, Rahbek C, Bulling MT, Burgess ND, Platts PJ, Lovett JC, Kindemba VW, Owen N, Sallu AN, Marshall AR, Mhoro BE, Fanning E, Marchant R (2011). Conservation and the botanist effect. Biological Conservation 144, 131-140

Platts PJ, Burgess ND, Gereau RE, Lovett JC, Marshall AR, McClean CJ, Pellikka PKE, Swetnam RD, Marchant R (2011). Delimiting tropical mountain ecoregions for conservation. Environmental Conservation 38, 312-324

Marshall AR, Jørgensbye HIO, Rovero F, Platts PJ, White PCL, Lovett JC (2010). The species-area relationship and confounding variables in a threatened monkey community. American Journal of Primatology 72, 325-336

Platts PJ, Ahrends A, Gereau RE, McClean CJ, Lovett JC, Marshall AR, Pellikka PKE, Mulligan M, Fanning E, Marchant R (2010). Can distribution models help refine inventory-based estimates of conservation priority? A case study in the Eastern Arc forests of Tanzania and Kenya. Diversity and Distributions 16, 628-642

Platts PJ, McClean CJ, Lovett JC, Marchant R (2008). Predicting tree distributions in an East African biodiversity hotspot: model selection, data bias and envelope uncertainty. Ecological Modelling 218, 121-134

Non-refereed articles

Gereau RE, Burgess ND, Fjeldså J, Hall J, Hemp A, Jump AS, Kajuni AR, Marchant RA, Marshall AR, Platts PJ, Taylor CM, Tibazarwa FI (2013). Phylogenetic patterns of extinction risk: the need for critical application of appropriate datasets. PeerJ PrePrints 1, e55v1

Marchant R, Finch J, Kinjanjuyi R, Muiruri V, Mumbi C, Platts PJ, Rucina S (2010). Palaeoenvironmental perspectives for sustainable development in East Africa. Climate of the Past Discussions 6, 963-1007

KITE (2009). Understanding Eastern Arc Mountain ecosystems: perspectives across space and through time. The Arc Journal 24, 15-17

Published conference proceedings

Marchant R, Ahrends A, Finch J, Jump A, Lovett JC, McClean CJ, Mumbi C, Platts PJ, Yanda P (2009). Afromontane ecosystem stability or change? Combining methodologies to understand past, present and future ecosystem shifts within the Eastern Arc biodiversity hotspot of Tanzania and Kenya. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science 6, 072043

Hill A, Platts PJ, Smith A, Richards SJ, Cullen MJ, Hill QA, Roman E, Hillmen P (2006). The incidence and prevalence of Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH) and survival of patients in Yorkshire. Blood 108, 294A-294A

Dissertations and reports

Cuni-Sanchez A, Pfeifer M, Marshall AR, Platts PJ, Gereau RE, Kindeketa W, Kang'ethe S, Marchant R (2012). Conserving Ecosystem Diversity in East Africa and the Kenya-Tanzania Borderlands: Expanding Datasets, Model Refinement and Assessing Impacts of Future Climate Change. Report for vegetation component phase 3, submitted to the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation

Platts PJ (2012). Spatial Modelling, Phytogeography and Conservation in the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and Kenya. PhD Thesis, University of York, UK [PlattsPhD (PDF  , 30,929kb)]

Valuing the Arc (2012). Final Report to the Leverhulme Trust, December 2012. University of Cambridge, UK

Platts PJ, Swetnam RD (2011). High-Resolution Population Grids and Future Scenarios for Tanzania. Internal Report for Valuing the Arc, University of Cambridge, UK [PlattsTzPop (PDF  , 841kb)]

Valuing the Arc (2011). Annual Report to the Leverhulme Trust for 2010. University of Cambridge, UK [VTA2010 (PDF  , 1,238kb)]

Valuing the Arc (2010). Annual Report to the Leverhulme Trust for 2009. University of Cambridge, UK [VTA2009 (PDF  , 898kb)]

Platts PJ, Poudyal M, McClean CJ (2010). Modelling Shea Under Climate Scenarios. Report for INNOVKAR Work Package 2, University of York, UK [PlattsShea (PDF  , 4,661kb)]

Valuing the Arc (2009). Annual Report to the Leverhulme Trust for 2008. University of Cambridge, UK [VTA2008 (PDF  , 313kb)]

Platts PJ, Law GR, Dytham C (2006). Simulating Pandemic Influenza in Great Britain. Internal Report for Epidemiology and Genetics Unit, University of York, UK

Platts PJ, Lewis H (2004). Carbon Accumulation in England and Wales. MRes Report, University of York, UK & Centre for Terrestrial Carbon Dynamics, UK

Platts PJ (2004). A Patchy Approach to Food Web Persistence. MRes Dissertation, University of York, UK & Linköping Universitet, Sweden. Figshare, doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.105675

Platts PJ (2003). The Parable of Daisyworld: A Comprehensive Analysis. BSc Dissertation, University of York, UK

Datasets

Pfeifer M, Platts PJ (2014). Leaf Area Indices for East Africa, version 1.5. Available here

Platts PJ, Burgess ND, Gereau RE, Lovett JC, Marshall AR, McClean CJ, Pellikka PKE, Swetnam RD, Marchant R (2011). Data from: Delimiting tropical mountain ecoregions for conservation. Dryad Digital Repository, doi:10.5061/dryad.c5310

External activities

Memberships

Editorial duties

Peer review for: African Journal of Ecology, Annals of Botany, Biological Conservation, Diversity and Distributions, Ecological Modelling, Journal of Biogeography, PLoS ONE

Platts, Phil

Contact details

Dr Philip Platts
Research Fellow
Environment Department
University of York
Heslington
York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 323244
Fax: 01904 322998