The Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity brings together researchers from disciplines and departments across the University of York's three faculties and from partner organisations in the UKCanada and Scotland.

Through collaborative, interdisciplinary working our researchers aim to develop an improved understanding of biodiversity gains, as well as losses, and inform and influence how society responds to these changes.

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Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity


Directorate The Directorate lead on Centre development to ensure we meet our aims of delivering interdisciplinary, novel research into Anthropocene biodiversity.      
  Professor Chris Thomas, Director - I am interested in understanding biological and human processes that give rise to species being successful, the ways people exploit them, and the ways successful species exploit humans.
  Professor Kate Pickett, Associate Director - My research focuses on the impact of socioeconomic inequality on the health and wellbeing of people, communities and the environment.
  Professor Mark Jenner, Associate Director - I am committed to interdisciplinary work which relates archival research to theoretical concerns and current work within anthropology, literary studies and social theory.
 Fellows and Postdoctoral Research Associates 
Dr Jonathan Cane - My current research extends my existing interdisciplinary work on urban ecology, critical plant studies and queer theory to investigate tree-human relationships in the Anthropocene.
Dr Jamie Carr - My current research seeks to identify the policy and governance processes that are most conducive to achieving both biodiversity and climate change targets simultaneously.
Dr Tadhg Carroll - I investigate biodiversity change in Anthropocene environments, with the aim of understanding why some places are gaining species, while others are losing them.
Dr Brennen Fagan - My research aims to understand the sensitivity of food webs to translocations so that artificial food webs can be engineered safely and reliably.
  Dr Jack Hatfield - My research background is in community and landscape ecology, investigating how species communities are altered by land-use change.
  Dr Tabitha Kabora - My research explores human and environment interactions within the Holocene and Anthropocene with a focus on biodiversity, sustainability and large-scale landscape modifications.
Dr Christopher Lyon - I am an interdisciplinary environmental social scientist, my research explores multi-century human-environmental futures on Earth and ways to plan for those futures now.
Dr Inês Martins - I am interested in understanding and quantifying how different levels of biological diversity are changing across space and time and its potential environmental and socio-economic drivers.
Picture of Dr Harrie Neal  Dr Harrie Neal - The overarching arm of my research project explores the ways in which non-native species have been historically characterised and constructed.
Dr Hanna Pettersson - My aim is to understand the drivers of vulnerability and adaptation among the communities that are the most impacted by the presence of “problematic” wildlife such as large carnivores.
Dr Peter Sands - My research project examines the mythologies of the future produced by biotechnological approaches to extinction and biodiversity loss.
PhD Students
Jake Anderson - My research focuses on tropical rainforests in human-modified landscapes: biodiversity, forest regeneration and carbon storage at forest edges. Funded by Unilever.      
Chantal Berry - My research focuses upon acoustic ecology, or the sounds and rhythms of human-nature relationships between c.1500-c.1800.      
Molly Brown - My research focuses upon understanding the complex drivers of demand for illegal wildlife trade products, in particular ivory.
Shuyu Deng - I am interested in the effect of human land-use transformations on species richness and compositional change in different parts of the world. Funded by China Scholarship Council and the Leverhulme Trust.
Jonathan Gordon - My PhD research will use a range of biological and archaeological datasets to examine past human impact on biodiversity over the Anthropocene.
Tiffany Ki - My PhD focuses on understanding the long-term responses of Sulawesi (Indonesia) butterflies to climate change and rainforest loss. Funded by York Graduate Research School.
Mike Lawson -  I am researching speciation in Alcolapia cichlids, a small group of extremophile fish that have rapidly diversified in East African soda lakes. Funded by NERC.
Hien Luong - I’m researching nature based financing because I want to find out if we can better fund conservation and make a significant difference in wild biodiversity numbers. 
  Louisa Mamalis - During my PhD research I will explore the theme of landscape level change and its impacts on biodiversity. Funded by NERC ACCE DTP (2020-2024)
Helen Mylne - My research focuses on the social networks of male African Elephants. Funded by NERC.
Katie Noble - My research adopts a holistic and highly interdisciplinary approach to analysing the environmental and sociocultural dimensions of cultured meat, incorporating data, methods, and ideas from a range of academic disciplines in both the natural and social sciences. 
Nikki Paterson - My research explores human-nature relationships in the Anthropocene, by looking at the impact of the biodiversity of an ecosystem on the wellbeing of the humans experiencing it.
  Alex Payne - My PhD project focuses on how past human interactions have influenced shifts in both diversity and distribution, particularly using Rhododendron.
Lara Queiros - My research will focus on the services and disservices that trees in the Acacia, Eucalyptus and Pinus genera provide when planted outsides their native range.
  Joshua Sammy - For my PhD, I am investigating the ways in which insect distributions in the UK have changed, and whether and how this has been influenced by human land use. Funded by NERC ACCE DTP and the RHS. 
Megan Tarrant - My PhD research focuses on rights-based approaches to conservation, and the role of environmental knowledge in environmental justice.
Theo Tomking - My research focuses on the role of indigenous knowledge in developments in agricultural science and ecological thinking in Britain and its colonies in the 20th century.
Joris Wiethase - My research aims at analysing the patterns and impacts of a changing environment, with a focus on East African grasslands. Funded by NERC ACCE DTP (2019-2023).

Supervisors and mentors - along with the Directorate a range of other academics from across disciplines form our staff and student supervision teams

Professor Colin Beale - I work on a wide range of ecological problems from population dynamics and distributions to fire ecology in the African savannah. Mentor to Tabitha Kabora, supervisor to Molly Brown.  


Neil Carter image small

Professor Neil Carter - I am interested in all aspects of environmental politics and policy, with a particular interest in climate policy and politics. Supervisor to Megan Tarrant.


Dr Sabine Clarke - My research considers the relationship between scientific research and visions of economic and social development in the British colonies after 1940. Supervisor to Theo Tomking.


Dr Peter Coventry -  I work across all elements of applied health services research, using evidence synthesis, qualitative methods and trials with a focus on evaluating complex interventions for people with mental health problems and long term conditions.  Supervisor to Nikki Paterson.


Dr Simon Croft - I work predominantly on the modelling of supply chains of agri-goods and food, linking activities to impacts and risks at the point of origin. Supervisor to Tyler Gaines.


Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra - I apply genetic and genomic data to understand interesting evolutionary questions, in particular the causes of speciation. Supervisor to Alex Payne.


Professor Maria Dornelas - My research focuses on quantifying biodiversity and understanding the processes that shape it. Mentor to Tadhg Carroll.


Dr Alison Dyke - I work on nature-society relations, particularly focused on interactions between humans and trees, biosecurity, plant health and wild harvest. Supervisor to Katie Noble.

Professor Calvin Dytham - My research focuses on the evolution of dispersal strategies and the community-level consequences and the implications of environmental change. Supervisor to Theo Tomking.       
Professor Jon Finch - Understanding the cultural landscape of the 18th and 19th centuries is fundamental to my work, including the politics of landscape through its use and manipulation. Mentor to Michael Stratigos.       

Dr Jon Green - I work to trace the impacts of consumption on biodiversity, via often-complex chains of trade in agricultural commodities. Supervisor to Katie Noble.

Jane Hill

Professor Jane Hill - I study the impacts of climate change and habitat loss on species to understand their responses to environmental change. Mentor to Tabitha Kabora.

Luisa Huatuco

Dr Luisa Huaccho Huatuco - My expertise in manufacturing systems' complexity, contextualises my current research interests including sustainable supply chains. Supervisor to Katie Noble.


Dr Teresa Kittler - My research focuses on artistic practices from 1945 to present day, with a special interest in Italian post-war art, primarily on issues related to art and the environment and feminism. Supervisor to Nikki Paterson.


Professor Nicky Milner - My research mainly focuses on the Mesolithic period; palaeodiet and consumption practices are among my interests, along with settlement, mobility and the analysis of seasonality information. Supervisor to Jonathan Gordon.


Dr Jon Pitchford - I use mathematical models and apply methods from dynamical systems and stochastic processes together with computer simulations to study challenging biodiversity problems. Mentor to Brennen Fagan, supervisor to Tyler Gaines.


Dr Amanda Rees - My research areas include the sociology of human/animal relation, field science, the public presentation of scientific knowledge and the representation of science in fiction. Supervisor to Chantal Berry.


Professor Helen Smith - My current research includes tracing the liveliness of matter and making the case for literature as a means of engaging with and assaying the world around us. Mentor to Sarah Bezan.


Professor Susan Stepney - A major strand of my research is computational simulation of complex systems, in particular, biological systems. Mentor to Brennen Fagan.


Professor Lindsay Stringer - My research is conceptually anchored in areas including global environmental governance, political ecology and socio-ecological systems science. Supervisor to Megan Tarrant and Lara Queiros.


Dr Daryl Stump - My research interests focus on the development of agricultural landscapes, with a particular emphasis on sustainability and on the use of historical perceptions within development and conservation narratives. Mentor to Tabitha Kabora.


Professor Jacco Thijssen - My main research interests are in mathematical models of dynamic decision making in general, and investment under uncertainty (real options) in particular. Supervisor to Hien Luong. 


Dr Julia Touza - My research explores environmental problems driven by economic factors, and evaluates the strategic behaviour of natural resource users/managers in a temporal-spatial context. Supervisor to Hien Luong.


Professor Mark Vellend - My research focuses on plant population and community responses to environmental change. Mentor to Tadhg Carroll.


Dr Elizabeth Wandrag - I use experimental, observational and quantitative techniques to understand the causes and consequences of alterations to plant communities, and address more general questions on the factors that control the distribution of plant species.  Mentor to Lara Queiros.


Professor Victoria Wells - I am interested in the role the environment plays in consumers’ behaviour whether it is how the environment affects consumer choices or how consumers’ behaviour affects the physical environment. Supervisor to Molly Brown.


Professor Michael White - I work chiefly on the interwar avant-gardes.  Supervisor to Jonathan Cane.


Professor Piran White - I lead the University of York’s involvement in the Australian-based Co-operative Research Centre on Invasive Animals.  Supervisor to Nikki Paterson.


The External Advisory Group will provide annual, independent feedback and advice, from a wide range of perspectives, on research activity.

Professor Deborah Smith (Chair)

Biology, University of York

Read more about Deborah

Nnimmo Bassey

Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation

Read more about Nnimmo

Professor Melissa Leach

Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Read more about Melissa

Professor Tom Oliver

Research Dean for Environment and Professor of Applied Ecology, University of Reading

Read more about Tom

Professor Harriet Ritvo

History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Read more about Harriet

We will draw on the knowledge and expertise of University of York associates whose research areas dovetail with the work of the Centre. Any academic working on a complementary area is welcome to become an associate of the Centre.

Dr Sarah Bezan
University College Cork
Robby Binsar Butarbutar

Sophie Brandon


Professor Robert Costanza

Institute for Global Prosperity


Professor Helen Cowie


Dr Charles Cunningham


Professor Andy Dougill

Environment and Geography


Dr Daniel Franks

Computer Science


Dr Richard Friend

Environment and Geography


Professor Jean Grugel 



Professor Jeff Jia


Professor Jon Mee

English and Related Literature

Professor Ida Kubiszewski

Institute for Global Prosperity

Dr Cade McCall



Dr David Orton


Dr Rachel Pateman

Stockholm Environment Institute

Dr Phil Platts

Environment and Geography


Dr Darren Reed



Dr Chris Renwick


Dr Indrajit Roy


Dr Sarah Scriven



Dr Katherine Selby

Environment and Geography


Dr Freya Sierhuis

English and Related Literature

Dr Michael Stratigos
University of Aberdeen

Dr Peter Sutoris



Dr Kevin Walsh



Dr Lizzie Wandrag


Dr Caroline Ward

Visiting associate 

Chris West 

Dr Chris West 

Stockholm Environment Institute

Dr Sarah West

Stockholm Environment Institute 

Professor Piran White

Environment and Geography

Dr Jamie Wood


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Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity