UCL Division of Biosciences


CBER External Seminar - Dr Tom Matthews, University of Birmingham

05 February 2024, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Title: 'Assessing the wider implications of species extinctions: island birds and beyond'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Amy Godfrey

Abstract: Humans, through a range of drivers, are known to have increased species extinction rates by orders of magnitude compared to the background extinction rate. Island birds have been particularly impacted, with hundreds of known extinctions. Given the increasing availability of data relating to extinct species and their functional traits, including a novel database on extinct birds that I present here, it is now possible to evaluate many of the wider impacts of anthropogenic extinctions. Focusing primarily on island birds as a case study, I review three such impacts, namely the effect of species loss on: (i) functional and phylogenetic diversity, (ii) island ecosystem functioning, and (iii) our understanding of biogeographic patterns, and the natural world more broadly. 

About the Speaker

Dr Tom Matthews

Senior Research Fellow / Senior Lecturer at University of Birmingham

Tom Matthews is a Senior Research Fellow who researches global environmental change issues using macroecological, macroevolutionary and biogeographical approaches. He applies a mixture of theoretical and empirical methods to investigate various macroecological topics. He has a keen interest in island systems and birds, and has published two recent books on species–area relationships (Cambridge Uni. Press) and island biogeography (Oxford Uni. Press).

His research also aims to provide information of use in biodiversity conservation in island systems and fragmented landscapes, and a number of his papers are focused on conservation biogeography issues. His most recent project is focused on the impact of human-driven species extinctions and introductions on island ecosystem functioning and functional diversity.

More about Dr Tom Matthews