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Dr Richard Pearson
Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research
Medawar Building
  • Reader of Biodiversity
  • Genetics, Evolution & Environment
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences

Richard Pearson joined UCL in June 2013 as a lecturer in the Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment. Richard completed his Doctorate in biogeography at the University of Oxford in 2004. From 2005-2013 he was a postdoc and then research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, where he is now a Research Associate.

Richard is a Subject Editor for Global Change Biology and Associate Editor for Journal of Biogeography.

Alongside his research and teaching, Richard engages in communicating biodiversity research to a general audience, including publishing a non-specialist book on the impact of climate change on biodiversity (Driven to Extinction, 2011).

Research Summary

My research focuses on the biogeography of animals and plants: Where are species distributed? Why are they distributed there? How do distributions change over time? Deepening our understanding of these questions requires a melding of ecological and evolutionary theory, and will be crucial for developing effective conservation strategies in a time of rapid global environmental change. I address these challenges using modern computational technologies, including Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing, and ecological modelling.

A core aim of my research is to better understand the relationship between ecological niches and geographic distributions. Key topics of interest include the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, the evolutionary history of endemic species in Madagascar, and targeting field surveys to accelerate the discovery of unknown species and populations. My research to date has focused on a wide variety of taxonomic groups (including amphibians, reptiles, birds, plants, and primates) and regions (Europe, Madagascar, North America, South Africa and the Arctic).

Teaching Summary

Richard teaches a course Species Conservation and Biodiversity, which is available to 3rd and 4th year students at UCL. He also contributes to the UCL MRes course Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation.

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