UCL Division of Biosciences


Jessica J Williams (GEE PhD student representative)

Jess Williams

How does climate modify the response of biodiversity to land use?

Current Research

Rapid human population growth has resulted in increasing exploitation of the environment and conversion of land for human use. This has led to global biodiversity loss and deteriorations in ecosystem condition. Consequently, the ecosystem functions that provide key benefits to humans, such as pollination, continue to decline; this may have detrimental impacts on human societies.

To reduce the negative effects of changing land use, it is important to understand how biodiversity responds under different pressures, such as climate change. As human-induced climate change accelerates, it is predicted to become one of the greatest global threats to biodiversity. The individual effects of changing climate and land use on biodiversity have been studied extensively. However, it remains unclear how biodiversity responds to these two pressures combined.

My PhD will explore how past and present climate modifies the effects of changing land use on biodiversity. This will be accomplished using existing databases and statistical models. Furthermore, I will investigate how the interaction between changing climate and land use alters current predictions of how biodiversity will respond to land use in the future.

The findings of this study will inform, with an aim to improve, management and conservation strategies at a global scale.




Brief CV

 2017- PresentPhD StudentCBER, University College London
2015-2016MSc Conservation ScienceImperial College London 
2015GVI Field Staff Costa Rica 
2011-2014BSc (Hons) Biology and Animal BehaviourUniversity of Exeter

Other interests

I thoroughly enjoy travelling, hiking and outdoor sports. Most recently, I carried out a 3-day hike in the Gila National Park, New Mexico, which tested my nerves as we were camping alongside 2 reintroduced packs of wolves, bears, cougars and coyotes! I am also a keen netball player and have played both socially and competitively for over 15 years.