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Prof Jan Axmacher
UCL Geography, Northwest Wing
Gower Street
Prof Jan Axmacher profile picture
  • Professor of Biodiversity Conservation
  • Dept of Geography
  • Faculty of S&HS

Academic positions

Since 2021 Professor of Biodiversity Conservation

Since 2020 Affiliate Professor, Agricultural University of Iceland

2018-2021 Associate Professor, UCL Geography

2013-2018 Senior Lecturer, UCL Geography

2005-2013 Lecturer, UCL Geography

Postdoctoral training

2004 – 2005 Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Teaching Assistant, International Research Training Group “Sustainable Resource Use in North China” and Institute for Computer Applications and Business Management in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
2003 – 2004 Postdoctoral Scientific Employee, Bayreuth Institute for Terrestrial Ecosystem Research (BITOEK), Bayreuth, Germany


2006 – 2008 Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (PGCLTHE)

1999 – 2003 PhD studies (Dr rer. nat.), University of Bayreuth, Germany

1993 – 1998 Diplom Geoökologie, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Administrative roles (UCL)

Since 2022 Head of Teaching and Deputy Head of Department, UCL Geography

2018-2022 Physical Geography Postgraduate Taught Programme Director

2010-2022 Course Convenor, UCL MSc Conservation

2013-2018 Departmental Equal Opportunity Liason Officer (DEOLO), UCL Geography

2013-2015 Member of the UCL Student Recruitment and Admissions Committee

2012-2015 Admissions tutor, UCL Department of Geography

2008-2010 Head of Exam Board, UCL MSc Conservation

2007 – 2010 Undergraduate Dissertation Convenor, BSc Geography

Research Groups
Research Themes
Research Summary

My main research interests are in biodiversity conservation. I am particularly interested in the diversity patterns of insects and vascular plants in space and time, and in the environmental factors that govern these patterns. My research focuses on the effects changing land-use pattern, habitat management, invasive species, climate and environmental change have on invertebrate and plant communities. Furthermore, I study invasive plant species, their spread and ecology, and I am interested in the effects of land-use change and habitat restoration on biogeochemical cycles. Geographically, I have worked in Eastern Africa and South America, while my group's current research activities are based in Northern China, Iceland, the Afrotropis and the UK.

Some of my future research interests can be summarized as

  • Biodiversity
patterns of plants and invertebrates in space and time; biodiversity in agricultural, forested and mountainous landscapes; global change effects; management strategies for biodiversity conservation; effects of invasive species on highly diverse versus less diverse communities

  • Regeneration,
restoration and management of terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; habitat fragmentation; island biogeography; key factors controlling the dispersal of plants and animals during the colonization of restored habitats

  • Conservation
strategies and governance issues

Teaching Summary
Main teaching commitments

MSc teaching
For more than a decade, I have convened the MSc Conservation, the oldest degree in nature conservation in the UK, and most of my MSc teaching is linked to this degree programme. Some of the modules I teach are also popular with students on the MSc Environment, Politics and Society and MSc Aquatic Science programmes. I contribute to the following modules:

Environmental Data Acquisition and Analysis (Module organizer, 3 days laboratorypracticals, 12h statistics practical/lecture sessions)
Scientific Basis for Freshwater and Coastal Conservation (Module co-organizer, 6 days field-class, 3h lectures)
Conservation and Environmental Management (Module organizer, 9h lectures, 3h seminar sessions)

Undergraduate teaching
GEOG0020 Ecological Patterns and Processes (Module organizer, 12h lectures, 1 day field-class)

I furthermore contribute towards the teaching in tutorial sessions for both 1st and 3rd year undergraduate students and provide mentoring for undergraduate and MSc students.

Past teaching
MSc modules, UCL
Changing Landscapes – Nature Conservation and Changing Landscapes – Nature, Culture, Politics (module co-organizer, 14 daysfield-class, 2h lectures)
GEOGG054 Monitoring Conservation Status (Module organizer, field class supervision, lectures and seminars)
GEOGG056 Managing Nature (Module co-organizer, field-class supervision and lectures)
GEOGG063 Scientific Basis of Conservation (field-class supervision and lectures)
GEOGG064 Remote sensing and GIS (lectures)

BSc/BA modules, UCL
GEOG2001 Practice of Geography (lectures)
GEOG2026 Statistics for Environmental Geographers (lectures and practicals)
GEOG3054 Independent studies (tutorial sessions with students)

MSc Agribusiness/BSc Agro-Sciences, University of Hohenheim, Germany
Fundamentals in Agro-Informatics (lectures)
Subject-specific Agro-Informatics (lectures)
GIS and Regionalization (lectures)

Diplom Geoecology, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Vegetation and soil science (field-class supervision)
Biocoenology; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning; Numerical methods (seminar supervision)
Academic Background
2008   Postgraduate Certificate University College London
2003   Doctor rerum naturalium Universitat Bayreuth
1998   Diplom Universitat Bayreuth
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