UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr Alex Pigot

Dr Alex Pigot

Research Fellow

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2016

Research summary

My research seeks to understand the mechanisms underpinning the major patterns observed in biodiversity at large spatial, temporal and taxonomic scales, such as why different places on the surface of the Earth hold different number of species, why diversity varies across the tree of life, and why some species are so rare while others are so common. We are increasingly interested in applying this knowledge to understand how biodiversity is responding to current anthropogenic environmental change, especially the spread of alien species and climate warming. 

To address these questions my research takes two approaches. First, develop new computational and mathematical models to train our intuition of the patterns expected under particular processes and second, apply these models to large empirical datasets on species phylogenetic relationships, geographic distributions, and functional traits to reveal the mechanisms generating these patterns and how they change over time.

We work on a range of organism groups but historically with a particular focus on birds, where the wealth of information available on species phylogenetic relationships, traits and geographic distributions, offers enormous opportunities to advance our understanding of how biodiversity is formed and is distributed.

More information about the research we do in our group is available at my personal website: https://alexpigot.weebly.com


Teaching summary

I currently convene the Analytical tools module of the MRes in Biodiversity, Evolution and Conservation on which I teach courses on modelling the evolution and dynamics of biodiversity, from the origin of large-scale biodiversity gradient to the risk from future climate change. I also lecture on the second year course 'Fundamentals in Ecology'.


Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2011
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
Other higher degree, Master of Research | 2006
University College London
First Degree, Bachelor of Science | 2005


I moved to UCL in October 2016 as a Leverhulme funded PDRA and was appointed a Royal Society Research Fellowship in January 2018. Prior to this I held a VENI fellowship at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands (2013-2016), and a post-doctoral research position in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford (2011-2013).