People

All Exeter Staff | All Cornwall Staff

Loading content
Dr Robert Wilson

Dr Robert Wilson

Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology

 5322

 Hatherly C5

 

Hatherly Building, University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, EX4 4PS, UK

Silver-spotted skipper butterfly

Silver-spotted skipper butterfly

I am a conservation biologist interested in the responses of biodiversity to environmental change. My research to date has mainly focused on the effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation on the conservation of butterflies, with particular interest in the distributions and dynamics of species near their geographic range margins. I am a member of the Environmental Biology group at Streatham Campus. I was formerly based in the Ecology and Conservation research group and collaborate closely with colleagues at Penryn Campus.

I am Chair of the Athena SWAN Working Group for Biosciences at Streatham Campus. Athena SWAN is a charter for the advancement of gender equality in science, for which Biosciences has achieved the Bronze award in 2015 and 2017.

Qualifications

1993 BA Hons (Oxford)
2000 PhD (Leeds)

Career

2007-present Lecturer in Conservation Biology, University of Exeter
2003-2007 Ramon y Cajal Research Fellow, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Madrid)
2000-2003 Named NERC Post-doctoral researcher, University of Leeds

Apollo butterfly in central Spain

Apollo butterfly in central Spain

Surveying chalk grassland in Southern England

Surveying chalk grassland in Southern England

Butterfly habitat in central Spain

Butterfly habitat in central Spain

Research

Research interests

I am interested in the responses of biodiversity to climate change and habitat fragmentation. I focus on the distributions and dynamics of butterflies at their geographic range margins, as model systems for species persistence in the face of environmental change. I take an integrated, multi-scale approach, from fine-scale studies of behaviour (dispersal, phenology, habitat use) to landscape-scale research into metapopulation dynamics (colonization and extinction) and large-scale patterns and processes of distribution change.

Recent Highlights

Evidence that both the availability of habitat and topography of landscapes influence how species distributions change under a variable climate. Ecology Letters 16: 921-929 Abstract. Featured as a Research Highlight in Nature Climate Change and widely in the local and national media.

Evidence that protected areas help species to colonize new regions under climate change Proc Natl Acad Sci 109: 14063-1406 Link. Featured widely by the media, including Telegraph, Daily Mail

Evidence that managing natural habitats as well as the landscape around them is important to support species in a changing climate Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 552-561 Link. Covered by the Journal of Applied Ecology podcast and The European Commission’s Science for Environment Policy newsletter

Evidence that the threat to biodiversity from climate change has not been exaggerated: 10% of species could face extinction this century if recent declines continue (Proc Natl Acad Sci 108: 12337-12342 link). Featured widely in international media, including The Independent and Time.

 

Research projects

I am developing research using the habitat associations and distribution patterns of species across expanding, contracting and stable parts of their ranges to address outstanding questions about the effects of global change on biodiversity. My recent work on butterflies at their 'warm' southern margins in Spain shows how climate warming forces species distributions to retreat towards cooler locations, reducing their range size and increasing their risk of extinction. I am now focusing on how habitat and interacting species influence these range shifts and rates of decline. This work is key to understanding the factors behind the distributions and diversity of species in the modern world, with important conservation implications.

The role of fine resolution topographic heterogeneity in providing refugia from climate change: distribution and conservation of the butterflies of the Sierra de Guadarrama (2017)

I was funded by the Comunidad de Madrid (Spain) to conduct field research based at the Madrid Autonomous University and in the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain in Central Spain on the ongoing responses of butterfly distributions, abundance and diversity to climate warming. Information on the environmental features of locations where butterfly populations have survived recent warming will help to understand the factors which may buffer species against climate change, and will inform measures to adapt conservation to climate change.

Effects of habitat and climate change on conservation of the Lulworth Skipper butterfly (2016-2021)

The entire UK distribution of the Lulworth Skipper butterfly has been surveyed for populations of the species and its habitat in 1978, 1997, 2010 and 2017. Working with a NERC CASE PhD student (Rachel Jones) and Dr Nigel Bourn (Butterfly Conservation UK) this project is applying new research to this unique dataset, to test how landscape-scale conservation can aid the recovery of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies.

Using microclimate to adapt conservation to climate change (NERC 2013-2015; Natural England, 2012-2013)

Dr Ilya Maclean of the University of Exeter's Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) (www.exeter.ac.uk/esi/people/maclean/ ) and I worked alongside Natural England and several other UK partners from the conservation and environment sector, to gather evidence that particular features of the landscape help alleviate the threat of climate change to wild species in England. Using national species distribution records in collaboration with the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, we have shown that heterogeneity in topography and protected areas of habitat can reduce rates of regional extinction. We are investigating whether this beneficial effect is at least partly due to the effects of topography and habitat on the microclimates experienced by animals and plants, and are working with our partners to apply these findings to conservation in a changing climate.

Metapopulation dynamics and climate change in a model system: the silver-spotted skipper (NERC project) (2009-2012)

New approaches are needed to understand and predict the responses of species to climate change and habitat fragmentation when they act in combination. This project developed a model to incorporate variation over time in climate-driven habitat availability, using large-scale data on the British distribution, habitat and population sizes of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly, a species which reaches the cool northern edge of its European distribution in England. The project allowed us to test how accurately we can predict changes in species distributions as they respond to climate change, and the importance of climate, habitat and their interactions in explaining the rates at which species extend their distributions (Bennie et al. 2013, Abstract, Wilson et al. 2009, Full publication). This step is vital to determine whether conservation actions can alleviate the effects of climate change on biodiversity, and which actions are most efficient in this process of adapting conservation to climate change (Lawson et al. 2012, Abstract, Lawson et al. 2013, Abstract).

This research has a wider impact for practical measures to adapt conservation to climate change. As a result we produced a conservation report on the recent recovery of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly and held a workshop on the importance of microclimate in adapting conservation to climate change. Our research was covered by the NERC Planet Earth podcast, and its implications for conservation management have been highlighted by the Journal of Applied Ecology podcast and the European Commission Science for Environment Policy newsletter

Climate change and metapopulation dynamics at a contracting range margin (Royal Society International Joint Project) (2011-2012)

This joint project with Dr David Gutierrez at Rey Juan Carlos University in Spain examined how the abundance and distribution of butterfly species at their low-latitude range margins in Spain are responding to climate change. We focus on the Apollo butterfly, a mountain species whose behaviour and ecology are very sensitive to climatic conditions (Ashton et al 2009 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2008.01068.x/abstract ), but our collaboration also addresses how the life-cycles and abundance of a wider range of butterflies respond to environmental change over elevation gradients (Illan et al 2012 http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2012.01345.x/abstract ).

Research grants

  • 2017 Comunidad de Madrid / Universidad Autonoma de Madrid
  • The role of fine resolution topographic heterogeneity in providing refugia from climate change: distribution and conservation of the butterflies of the Sierra de Guadarrama
  • 2016 NERC Industrial CASE studentship
  • Effects of habitat and climate change on conservation of the Lulworth Skipper butterfly
  • 2015 NERC
    Mitigating present and future climate risks to winemaking
  • 2014 NERC
    A microclimate and landscape permeability tool to enhance the adaptive capacity of conservation to climate change
  • 2014 European Social Fund
    Prospects for Cornish wine in a warmer world
  • 2013 NERC
    Using microclimate to adapt conservation to climate change
  • 2013 Natural England
    Palaeoecological evidence to inform identification of potential climate change refugia
  • 2012 Natural England
    Research into potential climate change refugia for wild species in England
  • 2011 Royal Society
    Climate change and metapopulation dynamics at a contracting range margin
  • 2009 NERC
    Metapopulation dynamics and climate change in a model system: the silver-spotted skipper
  • 2009 ESF
    Climate Change - Imagining the Future. Ecological Responses to Climate Change in Key Areas for Biodiversity Conservation
  • 2007 Comunidad de Madrid / Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (Spain)
    Predictive models applied to the conservation of species at the edge of their distributions
  • 2006 Ministry of Education and Science (Spain)
    Host versus climatic limitation as mechanisms governing the limits to species distributions
  • 2004 British Ecological Society (UK)
    Climatic and topographic determinants of species distributions: fine-scale testing of climate-response models in a region of high topographic diversity
  • 2004 Ministry of Education and Science (Spain)
    Establishment of a network of researchers for the climatic modelling of species distributions

Research networks

  • Dr J.R. Bridle (University of Bristol, UK)
  • Dr C.R. Bulman (Butterfly Conservation, UK)
  • Dr D. Gutiérrez (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain)
  • Dr O.T. Lewis (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Dr M. Munguira (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain)
  • Dr D.B. Roy (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK)
  • Professor C.D. Thomas (University of York, UK)

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Key publications


Maclean IMD, Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, Duffy JP, Bennie JJ (In Press). Fine-scale climate change: modelling spatial variation in biologically meaningful rates of warming. Glob Chang Biol, 23(1), 256-268. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Gutierrez D, Vila R, Wilson RJ (2016). Asymmetric constraints on limits to species ranges influence consumer-resource richness over an environmental gradient. Global Ecology and Biogeography: a journal of macroecology Abstract.  Full text.
Nieto-Sanchez S, Gutierrez D, Wilson RJ (2015). Long-term change and spatial variation in butterfly communities over an elevation gradient: driven by climate, buffered by habitat. Diversity and Distributions: a journal of conservation biogeography Abstract.  Full text.
Maclean IMD, Hopkins JJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Wilson RJ (2015). Microclimates buffer the responses of plant communities to climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(11), 1340-1350. Abstract.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Bennie JJ, Thomas CD, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ (2014). Active Management of Protected Areas Enhances Metapopulation Expansion Under Climate Change. Conservation Letters, 7(2), 111-118. Abstract.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2014). Topographic microclimates drive microhabitat associations at the range margin of a butterfly. Ecography, 37(8), 732-740. Abstract.  Full text.

Publications by category


Journal articles

Laing LV, Viana J, Dempster EL, Trznadel M, Trunkfield LA, Uren Webster TM, van Aerle R, Paull GC, Wilson RJ, Mill J, et al (In Press). Bisphenol a causes reproductive toxicity, decreases dnmt1 transcription, and reduces global DNA methylation in breeding zebrafish (Danio rerio). Epigenetics, 11(7), 526-538. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Mosedale JR, Abernethy KE, Smart RE, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (In Press). Climate change impacts and adaptive strategies: lessons from the grapevine. Glob Chang Biol, 22(11), 3814-3828. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Maclean IMD, Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, Duffy JP, Bennie JJ (In Press). Fine-scale climate change: modelling spatial variation in biologically meaningful rates of warming. Glob Chang Biol, 23(1), 256-268. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Hamston TJ, Wilson RJ, de Vere N, Rich TCG, Stevens JR, Cresswell JE (2017). Breeding system and spatial isolation from congeners strongly constrain seed set in an insect-pollinated apomictic tree: Sorbus subcuneata (Rosaceae). Sci Rep, 7 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Zografou K, Wilson RJ, Halley JM, Tzirkalli E, Kati V (2017). How are arthopod communities structured and why are they so diverse? Answers from Mediterranean mountains using hierarchical additive partitioning. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26(6), 1333-1351. Abstract.
Donaldson L, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2017). Old concepts, new challenges: adapting landscape-scale conservation to the twenty-first century. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26(3), 527-552. Abstract.  Full text.
Gutierrez D, Vila R, Wilson RJ (2016). Asymmetric constraints on limits to species ranges influence consumer-resource richness over an environmental gradient. Global Ecology and Biogeography: a journal of macroecology Abstract.  Full text.
Fitzgerald JA, Jameson HM, Fowler VHD, Bond GL, Bickley LK, Webster TMU, Bury NR, Wilson RJ, Santos EM (2016). Hypoxia Suppressed Copper Toxicity during Early Development in Zebrafish Embryos in a Process Mediated by the Activation of the HIF Signaling Pathway. Environ Sci Technol, 50(8), 4502-4512. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Donaldson L, Woodhead AJ, Wilson RJ, Maclean IM (2016). Subsistence use of papyrus is compatible with wetland bird conservation. Biological Conservation, 201, 414-422. Full text.
Suggitt AJ, Jones RT, Caseldine CJ, Huntley B, Stewart JR, Brooks SJ, Brown E, Fletcher D, Gillingham PK, Larwood J, et al (2015). A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 24(6), 743-747. Abstract.
Suggitt AJ, Jones RT, Caseldine CJ, Huntley B, Stewart JR, Brooks SJ, Brown E, Fletcher D, Gillingham PK, Larwood J, et al (2015). A reply to ‘A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England: missing data’ (Tooley 2015). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
Mosedale J, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2015). Climate Change and Crop Exposure to Adverse Weather: Changes to Frost Risk and Grapevine Flowering Conditions. PLOS ONE, 10(10). Abstract.  Full text.
Nieto-Sanchez S, Gutierrez D, Wilson RJ (2015). Long-term change and spatial variation in butterfly communities over an elevation gradient: driven by climate, buffered by habitat. Diversity and Distributions: a journal of conservation biogeography Abstract.  Full text.
Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, August TA, Fox R, Isaac NJB, Macgregor NA, Morecroft MD, Maclean IMD (2015). Microclimate affects landscape level persistence in the British Lepidoptera. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(2), 237-253. Abstract.
Maclean IMD, Hopkins JJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Wilson RJ (2015). Microclimates buffer the responses of plant communities to climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(11), 1340-1350. Abstract.  Full text.
Wilson RJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Pearson D, Ortúzar-Ugarte G, Gutiérrez D (2015). Population turnover, habitat use and microclimate at the contracting range margin of a butterfly. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(2), 205-216. Abstract.  Full text.
Hodgson JA, Bennie JJ, Dale G, Longley N, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2015). Predicting microscale shifts in the distribution of the butterfly Plebejus argus at the northern edge of its range. Ecography, 38(10), 998-1005. Abstract.  Full text.
Gillingham PK, Bradbury RB, Roy DB, Anderson BJ, Baxter JM, Bourn NAD, Crick HQP, Findon RA, Fox R, Franco A, et al (2015). The effectiveness of protected areas in the conservation of species with changing geographical ranges. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115(3), 707-717. Abstract.
Zografou K, Adamidis GC, Grill A, Kati V, Wilson RJ, Halley JM (2015). Who flies first? - habitat-specific phenological shifts of butterflies and orthopterans in the light of climate change: a case study from the south-east Mediterranean. Ecological Entomology, 40(5), 562-574. Abstract.
Lawson CR, Bennie JJ, Thomas CD, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ (2014). Active Management of Protected Areas Enhances Metapopulation Expansion Under Climate Change. Conservation Letters, 7(2), 111-118. Abstract.  Full text.
Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2014). Climate conditions and resource availability drive return elevational migrations in a single-brooded insect. Oecologia, 175(3), 861-873. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Voskamp A, Rode EJ, Coudrat CNZ, Wirdateti, Abinawanto, Wilson RJ, Nekaris KAI (2014). Modelling the habitat use and distribution of the threatened Javan slow loris Nycticebus javanicus. Endangered Species Research, 23(3), 277-286. Abstract.
Wilson RJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Pearson D, Ortúzar-Ugarte G, Gutiérrez D (2014). Population turnover, habitat use and microclimate at the contracting range margin of a butterfly. Journal of Insect Conservation Abstract.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ, Richards SA (2014). Prevalence, thresholds and the performance of presence-absence models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5(1), 54-64. Abstract.
Bennie J, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD, Suggitt AJ (2014). Seeing the woods for the trees - when is microclimate important in species distribution models?. Global Change Biology, 20(9), 2699-2700. Full text.
Zografou K, Kati V, Grill A, Wilson RJ, Tzirkalli E, Pamperis LN, Halley JM (2014). Signals of climate change in butterfly communities in a Mediterranean protected area. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2014). Topographic microclimates drive microhabitat associations at the range margin of a butterfly. Ecography, 37(8), 732-740. Abstract.  Full text.
Gutiérrez D, Harcourt J, Díez SB, Gutiérrez Illán J, Wilson RJ (2013). Models of presence-absence estimate abundance as well as (or even better than) models of abundance: the case of the butterfly Parnassius apollo. Landscape Ecology, 28(3), 401-413. Abstract.
Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Lawson CR, Holloway CTR, Roy DB, Brereton T, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2013). Range expansion through fragmented landscapes under a variable climate. Ecol Lett, 16(7), 921-929. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Maclean IMD, Bennie JJ, Scott AJ, Wilson RJ (2012). A high-resolution model of soil and surface water conditions. Ecological Modelling, 237-238, 109-119. Abstract.
Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Díez SB, Wilson RJ (2012). Elevational trends in butterfly phenology: Implications for species responses to climate change. Ecological Entomology, 37(2), 134-144. Abstract.
Lawson CR, Bennie JJ, Thomas CD, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ (2012). Local and landscape management of an expanding range margin under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49(3), 552-561. Abstract.
Thomas CD, Gillingham PK, Bradbury RB, Roy DB, Anderson BJ, Baxter JM, Bourne NAD, Crick HQP, Findon RA, Fox R, et al (2012). Protected areas facilitate species' range expansions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(35), 14063-14068. Abstract.
Wilson RJ, Roy DB (2011). Butterflies reset the calendar. Nature Climate Change, 1(2), 101-102.
Maclean IMD, Wilson RJ, Hassall M (2011). Predicting changes in the abundance of African wetland birds by incorporating abundance-occupancy relationships into habitat association models. Diversity and Distributions, 17, 480-490.
Maclean IMD, Wilson RJ (2011). Recent ecological responses to climate change support predictions of high extinction risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 12337-12342.
Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2011). Recent evidence for the climate change threat to Lepidoptera and other insects. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15(1-2), 259-268.
Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2010). Fine-scale determinants of butterfly species richness and composition in a mountain region. Journal of Biogeography, 37(9), 1706-1720. Abstract.
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2010). Linking habitat use to range expansion rates in fragmented landscapes: a metapopulation approach. Ecography, 33, 73-82.
Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2010). The contributions of topoclimate and land cover to species distributions and abundance: Fine-resolution tests for a mountain butterfly fauna. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(2), 159-173. Abstract.
Ashton S, Gutierrez D, Wilson RJ (2009). Effects of temperature and elevation on habitat use by a rare mountain butterfly: implications for species responses to climate change. ECOL ENTOMOL
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2009). Modelling the effect of habitat fragmentation on range expansion in a butterfly. P ROY SOC LOND B BIO
Merrill RM, Gutiérrez, D. Lewis, O.T. Gutiérrez, J. Diez SB, Wilson RJ (2008). Combined effects of climate and biotic interactions on the elevational range of a phytophagous insect. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77, 145-155.
Thomas CD, Bulman CR, Wilson RJ (2008). Where within a geographical range do species survive best? a matter of scale. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 1, 2-8.
Wilson RJ, Gutiérrez, D. Gutiérrez, J. Monserrat, V.J. (2007). An elevational shift in butterfly species richness and composition accompanying recent climate change. Global Change Biology, 13, 1873-1887.
Dormann CF, McPherson JM, Araujo MB, Bivand R, Bolliger J, Carl G, Davies RG, Hirzel A, Jetz W, Kissling WD, et al (2007). Methods to account for spatial autocorrelation in the analysis of species distributional data: a review. ECOGRAPHY, 30, 609-628.
Bulman CR, Wilson RJ, Holt AR, Early RI, Galvez Bravo L, Warren MS, Thomas CD (2007). Minimum viable metapopulation size, extinction debt and the conservation of a declining species. ECOL APPL, 17, 1460-1473. Abstract.
Davies ZG, Wilson, R.J. Coles, S. Thomas, C.D. (2006). Changing habitat associations of a thermally constrained species, the silver-spotted skipper butterfly, in response to climate warming. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75, 247-256.
Wilson RJ, Gutierrez D, Gutierrez J, Martinez D, Agudo R, Monserrat VJ (2005). Changes to the elevational limits and extent of species ranges associated with climate change. ECOL LETT, 8(11), 1138-1146.
Burke S, Pullin AS, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2005). Selection for discontinuous life-history traits along a continuous thermal gradient in the butterfly Aricia agestis. ECOL ENTOMOL, 30, 613-619.
Davies ZG, Wilson, R.J. Brereton, T.M. Thomas, C.D. (2005). The re-expansion and improving status of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Hesperia comma) in Britain: a metapopulation success story. Biological Conservation, 124, 189-198.
Cabeza M, Araújo MB, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD, Cowley MJR, Moilanen A (2004). Combining probabilities of occurrence with spatial reserve design. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41(2), 252-262. Abstract.
RJWilson, Fox R, Roy DB, Thomas CD (2004). Spatial patterns in species distributions reveal biodiversity change. Nature, 432(7015), 393-396.
RJWilson, Baker JS, Ellis S, Lineham ME (2002). Large-scale patterns of distribution and persistence at the range margins of a butterfly. Ecology, 83(12), 3357-3368.
Thomas CD, Wilson RJ, Lewis OT (2002). Short-term studies underestimate 30-generation changes in a butterfly metapopulation. Proc Biol Sci, 269(1491), 563-569. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cowley MJR, Thomas CD, Roy DB, Wilson RJ, León-Cortés JL, Gutiérrez D, Bulman CR, Quinn RM, Moss D, Gaston KJ (2001). Density-distribution relationships in British butterflies I: the effect of mobility and spatial scale. Journal of Animal Ecology, 70, 410-425.
Cowley MJR, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ, Leon-Cortes JL, Gutierrez D, Bulman CR (2001). Density-distribution relationships in British butterflies. II. An assessment of mechanisms. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, 70(3), 426-441.
Thomas CD, Bodsworth EJ, Simmons AD, RJWilson (2001). Ecological and evolutionary processes at expanding range margins. Nature, 411(6837), 577-581.
Gutiérrez D, León-Cortés JL, Menendez R, Wilson RJ, Cowley MJR, Thomas CD (2001). Metapopulations of four lepidpteran herbivores on a single host plant Lotus corniculatus. Ecology, 82, 1371-1386.
Cowley MJR, Wilson RJ, León-Cortés JL, Gutiérrez D, Bulman CR, Thomas CD (2000). Habitat-based statistical models for predicting the spatial distribution of butterflies and day-flying moths in a fragmented landscape. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 60-72.
Lewis OT, Wilson RJ, Harper MC (1998). Endemic butterflies on Grande Comore: habitat preferences and conservation priorities. Biological Conservation, 85, 113-121.

Chapters

Wilson RJ, Gutierrez D (2011). Effects of Climate Change on the Elevational Limits of Species Ranges. In Beever EA, Belant JL (Eds.) Ecological Consequences of Climate Change: Mechanisms, Conservation, and Management, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
Wilson RJ, Roy DB (2009). Butterfly population structure and dynamics. In Settele J, Shreeve T, Konvicka M, Dyck HV (Eds.) Ecology of Butterflies in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 81-96.
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2007). Insects and climate change: processes, patterns and implications for conservation. In Stewart AJA, New TR, Lewis OT (Eds.) Insect Conservation Biology. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society's 22nd Symposium, CABI Publishing, 245-279.
Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2002). Dispersal and the spatial dynamics of butterfly populations. In Bullock J, Kenward R, Hails R (Eds.) Dispersal Ecology, Blackwell Scientific Publishers, 257-278.
Taneyhill DE, Mallet JB, Wynne IR, Burke S, Pullin AS, Wilson RJ, Butlin RK, Hatcher MJ, Shorrocks B, Thomas CD, et al (2002). Estimating gene flow in endemic butterfly races: the effect of metapopulation dynamics. In Hails RS, Beringer JE, Godfray HCJ (Eds.) Genes in the Environment, Blackwell Scientific Publishers, 3-25.

Publications by year


In Press

Laing LV, Viana J, Dempster EL, Trznadel M, Trunkfield LA, Uren Webster TM, van Aerle R, Paull GC, Wilson RJ, Mill J, et al (In Press). Bisphenol a causes reproductive toxicity, decreases dnmt1 transcription, and reduces global DNA methylation in breeding zebrafish (Danio rerio). Epigenetics, 11(7), 526-538. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Mosedale JR, Abernethy KE, Smart RE, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (In Press). Climate change impacts and adaptive strategies: lessons from the grapevine. Glob Chang Biol, 22(11), 3814-3828. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Maclean IMD, Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, Duffy JP, Bennie JJ (In Press). Fine-scale climate change: modelling spatial variation in biologically meaningful rates of warming. Glob Chang Biol, 23(1), 256-268. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2017

Hamston TJ, Wilson RJ, de Vere N, Rich TCG, Stevens JR, Cresswell JE (2017). Breeding system and spatial isolation from congeners strongly constrain seed set in an insect-pollinated apomictic tree: Sorbus subcuneata (Rosaceae). Sci Rep, 7 Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Zografou K, Wilson RJ, Halley JM, Tzirkalli E, Kati V (2017). How are arthopod communities structured and why are they so diverse? Answers from Mediterranean mountains using hierarchical additive partitioning. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26(6), 1333-1351. Abstract.
Donaldson L, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2017). Old concepts, new challenges: adapting landscape-scale conservation to the twenty-first century. Biodiversity and Conservation, 26(3), 527-552. Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Gutierrez D, Vila R, Wilson RJ (2016). Asymmetric constraints on limits to species ranges influence consumer-resource richness over an environmental gradient. Global Ecology and Biogeography: a journal of macroecology Abstract.  Full text.
Fitzgerald JA, Jameson HM, Fowler VHD, Bond GL, Bickley LK, Webster TMU, Bury NR, Wilson RJ, Santos EM (2016). Hypoxia Suppressed Copper Toxicity during Early Development in Zebrafish Embryos in a Process Mediated by the Activation of the HIF Signaling Pathway. Environ Sci Technol, 50(8), 4502-4512. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Donaldson L, Woodhead AJ, Wilson RJ, Maclean IM (2016). Subsistence use of papyrus is compatible with wetland bird conservation. Biological Conservation, 201, 414-422. Full text.

2015

Suggitt AJ, Jones RT, Caseldine CJ, Huntley B, Stewart JR, Brooks SJ, Brown E, Fletcher D, Gillingham PK, Larwood J, et al (2015). A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 24(6), 743-747. Abstract.
Suggitt AJ, Jones RT, Caseldine CJ, Huntley B, Stewart JR, Brooks SJ, Brown E, Fletcher D, Gillingham PK, Larwood J, et al (2015). A reply to ‘A meta-database of Holocene sediment cores for England: missing data’ (Tooley 2015). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany
Mosedale J, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2015). Climate Change and Crop Exposure to Adverse Weather: Changes to Frost Risk and Grapevine Flowering Conditions. PLOS ONE, 10(10). Abstract.  Full text.
Nieto-Sanchez S, Gutierrez D, Wilson RJ (2015). Long-term change and spatial variation in butterfly communities over an elevation gradient: driven by climate, buffered by habitat. Diversity and Distributions: a journal of conservation biogeography Abstract.  Full text.
Suggitt AJ, Wilson RJ, August TA, Fox R, Isaac NJB, Macgregor NA, Morecroft MD, Maclean IMD (2015). Microclimate affects landscape level persistence in the British Lepidoptera. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(2), 237-253. Abstract.
Maclean IMD, Hopkins JJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Wilson RJ (2015). Microclimates buffer the responses of plant communities to climate change. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(11), 1340-1350. Abstract.  Full text.
Wilson RJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Pearson D, Ortúzar-Ugarte G, Gutiérrez D (2015). Population turnover, habitat use and microclimate at the contracting range margin of a butterfly. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(2), 205-216. Abstract.  Full text.
Hodgson JA, Bennie JJ, Dale G, Longley N, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2015). Predicting microscale shifts in the distribution of the butterfly Plebejus argus at the northern edge of its range. Ecography, 38(10), 998-1005. Abstract.  Full text.
Gillingham PK, Bradbury RB, Roy DB, Anderson BJ, Baxter JM, Bourn NAD, Crick HQP, Findon RA, Fox R, Franco A, et al (2015). The effectiveness of protected areas in the conservation of species with changing geographical ranges. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 115(3), 707-717. Abstract.
Zografou K, Adamidis GC, Grill A, Kati V, Wilson RJ, Halley JM (2015). Who flies first? - habitat-specific phenological shifts of butterflies and orthopterans in the light of climate change: a case study from the south-east Mediterranean. Ecological Entomology, 40(5), 562-574. Abstract.

2014

Lawson CR, Bennie JJ, Thomas CD, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ (2014). Active Management of Protected Areas Enhances Metapopulation Expansion Under Climate Change. Conservation Letters, 7(2), 111-118. Abstract.  Full text.
Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2014). Climate conditions and resource availability drive return elevational migrations in a single-brooded insect. Oecologia, 175(3), 861-873. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Voskamp A, Rode EJ, Coudrat CNZ, Wirdateti, Abinawanto, Wilson RJ, Nekaris KAI (2014). Modelling the habitat use and distribution of the threatened Javan slow loris Nycticebus javanicus. Endangered Species Research, 23(3), 277-286. Abstract.
Wilson RJ, Bennie J, Lawson CR, Pearson D, Ortúzar-Ugarte G, Gutiérrez D (2014). Population turnover, habitat use and microclimate at the contracting range margin of a butterfly. Journal of Insect Conservation Abstract.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ, Richards SA (2014). Prevalence, thresholds and the performance of presence-absence models. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5(1), 54-64. Abstract.
Bennie J, Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD, Suggitt AJ (2014). Seeing the woods for the trees - when is microclimate important in species distribution models?. Global Change Biology, 20(9), 2699-2700. Full text.
Zografou K, Kati V, Grill A, Wilson RJ, Tzirkalli E, Pamperis LN, Halley JM (2014). Signals of climate change in butterfly communities in a Mediterranean protected area. PLoS One, 9(1). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Lawson CR, Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2014). Topographic microclimates drive microhabitat associations at the range margin of a butterfly. Ecography, 37(8), 732-740. Abstract.  Full text.

2013

Gutiérrez D, Harcourt J, Díez SB, Gutiérrez Illán J, Wilson RJ (2013). Models of presence-absence estimate abundance as well as (or even better than) models of abundance: the case of the butterfly Parnassius apollo. Landscape Ecology, 28(3), 401-413. Abstract.
Bennie J, Hodgson JA, Lawson CR, Holloway CTR, Roy DB, Brereton T, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ (2013). Range expansion through fragmented landscapes under a variable climate. Ecol Lett, 16(7), 921-929. Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.

2012

Maclean IMD, Bennie JJ, Scott AJ, Wilson RJ (2012). A high-resolution model of soil and surface water conditions. Ecological Modelling, 237-238, 109-119. Abstract.
Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Díez SB, Wilson RJ (2012). Elevational trends in butterfly phenology: Implications for species responses to climate change. Ecological Entomology, 37(2), 134-144. Abstract.
Lawson CR, Bennie JJ, Thomas CD, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ (2012). Local and landscape management of an expanding range margin under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49(3), 552-561. Abstract.
Thomas CD, Gillingham PK, Bradbury RB, Roy DB, Anderson BJ, Baxter JM, Bourne NAD, Crick HQP, Findon RA, Fox R, et al (2012). Protected areas facilitate species' range expansions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(35), 14063-14068. Abstract.

2011

Wilson RJ, Roy DB (2011). Butterflies reset the calendar. Nature Climate Change, 1(2), 101-102.
Wilson RJ, Gutierrez D (2011). Effects of Climate Change on the Elevational Limits of Species Ranges. In Beever EA, Belant JL (Eds.) Ecological Consequences of Climate Change: Mechanisms, Conservation, and Management, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group.
Maclean IMD, Wilson RJ, Hassall M (2011). Predicting changes in the abundance of African wetland birds by incorporating abundance-occupancy relationships into habitat association models. Diversity and Distributions, 17, 480-490.
Maclean IMD, Wilson RJ (2011). Recent ecological responses to climate change support predictions of high extinction risk. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 12337-12342.
Wilson RJ, Maclean IMD (2011). Recent evidence for the climate change threat to Lepidoptera and other insects. Journal of Insect Conservation, 15(1-2), 259-268.

2010

Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2010). Fine-scale determinants of butterfly species richness and composition in a mountain region. Journal of Biogeography, 37(9), 1706-1720. Abstract.
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2010). Linking habitat use to range expansion rates in fragmented landscapes: a metapopulation approach. Ecography, 33, 73-82.
Illán JG, Gutiérrez D, Wilson RJ (2010). The contributions of topoclimate and land cover to species distributions and abundance: Fine-resolution tests for a mountain butterfly fauna. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 19(2), 159-173. Abstract.

2009

Wilson RJ, Roy DB (2009). Butterfly population structure and dynamics. In Settele J, Shreeve T, Konvicka M, Dyck HV (Eds.) Ecology of Butterflies in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 81-96.
Ashton S, Gutierrez D, Wilson RJ (2009). Effects of temperature and elevation on habitat use by a rare mountain butterfly: implications for species responses to climate change. ECOL ENTOMOL
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2009). Modelling the effect of habitat fragmentation on range expansion in a butterfly. P ROY SOC LOND B BIO

2008

Merrill RM, Gutiérrez, D. Lewis, O.T. Gutiérrez, J. Diez SB, Wilson RJ (2008). Combined effects of climate and biotic interactions on the elevational range of a phytophagous insect. Journal of Animal Ecology, 77, 145-155.
Thomas CD, Bulman CR, Wilson RJ (2008). Where within a geographical range do species survive best? a matter of scale. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 1, 2-8.

2007

Wilson RJ, Gutiérrez, D. Gutiérrez, J. Monserrat, V.J. (2007). An elevational shift in butterfly species richness and composition accompanying recent climate change. Global Change Biology, 13, 1873-1887.
Wilson RJ, Davies ZG, Thomas CD (2007). Insects and climate change: processes, patterns and implications for conservation. In Stewart AJA, New TR, Lewis OT (Eds.) Insect Conservation Biology. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society's 22nd Symposium, CABI Publishing, 245-279.
Dormann CF, McPherson JM, Araujo MB, Bivand R, Bolliger J, Carl G, Davies RG, Hirzel A, Jetz W, Kissling WD, et al (2007). Methods to account for spatial autocorrelation in the analysis of species distributional data: a review. ECOGRAPHY, 30, 609-628.
Bulman CR, Wilson RJ, Holt AR, Early RI, Galvez Bravo L, Warren MS, Thomas CD (2007). Minimum viable metapopulation size, extinction debt and the conservation of a declining species. ECOL APPL, 17, 1460-1473. Abstract.

2006

Davies ZG, Wilson, R.J. Coles, S. Thomas, C.D. (2006). Changing habitat associations of a thermally constrained species, the silver-spotted skipper butterfly, in response to climate warming. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75, 247-256.

2005

Wilson RJ, Gutierrez D, Gutierrez J, Martinez D, Agudo R, Monserrat VJ (2005). Changes to the elevational limits and extent of species ranges associated with climate change. ECOL LETT, 8(11), 1138-1146.
Burke S, Pullin AS, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2005). Selection for discontinuous life-history traits along a continuous thermal gradient in the butterfly Aricia agestis. ECOL ENTOMOL, 30, 613-619.
Davies ZG, Wilson, R.J. Brereton, T.M. Thomas, C.D. (2005). The re-expansion and improving status of the silver-spotted skipper butterfly (Hesperia comma) in Britain: a metapopulation success story. Biological Conservation, 124, 189-198.

2004

Cabeza M, Araújo MB, Wilson RJ, Thomas CD, Cowley MJR, Moilanen A (2004). Combining probabilities of occurrence with spatial reserve design. Journal of Applied Ecology, 41(2), 252-262. Abstract.
RJWilson, Fox R, Roy DB, Thomas CD (2004). Spatial patterns in species distributions reveal biodiversity change. Nature, 432(7015), 393-396.

2002

Wilson RJ, Thomas CD (2002). Dispersal and the spatial dynamics of butterfly populations. In Bullock J, Kenward R, Hails R (Eds.) Dispersal Ecology, Blackwell Scientific Publishers, 257-278.
Taneyhill DE, Mallet JB, Wynne IR, Burke S, Pullin AS, Wilson RJ, Butlin RK, Hatcher MJ, Shorrocks B, Thomas CD, et al (2002). Estimating gene flow in endemic butterfly races: the effect of metapopulation dynamics. In Hails RS, Beringer JE, Godfray HCJ (Eds.) Genes in the Environment, Blackwell Scientific Publishers, 3-25.
RJWilson, Baker JS, Ellis S, Lineham ME (2002). Large-scale patterns of distribution and persistence at the range margins of a butterfly. Ecology, 83(12), 3357-3368.
Thomas CD, Wilson RJ, Lewis OT (2002). Short-term studies underestimate 30-generation changes in a butterfly metapopulation. Proc Biol Sci, 269(1491), 563-569. Abstract.  Author URL.

2001

Cowley MJR, Thomas CD, Roy DB, Wilson RJ, León-Cortés JL, Gutiérrez D, Bulman CR, Quinn RM, Moss D, Gaston KJ (2001). Density-distribution relationships in British butterflies I: the effect of mobility and spatial scale. Journal of Animal Ecology, 70, 410-425.
Cowley MJR, Thomas CD, Wilson RJ, Leon-Cortes JL, Gutierrez D, Bulman CR (2001). Density-distribution relationships in British butterflies. II. An assessment of mechanisms. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, 70(3), 426-441.
Thomas CD, Bodsworth EJ, Simmons AD, RJWilson (2001). Ecological and evolutionary processes at expanding range margins. Nature, 411(6837), 577-581.
Gutiérrez D, León-Cortés JL, Menendez R, Wilson RJ, Cowley MJR, Thomas CD (2001). Metapopulations of four lepidpteran herbivores on a single host plant Lotus corniculatus. Ecology, 82, 1371-1386.

2000

Cowley MJR, Wilson RJ, León-Cortés JL, Gutiérrez D, Bulman CR, Thomas CD (2000). Habitat-based statistical models for predicting the spatial distribution of butterflies and day-flying moths in a fragmented landscape. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 60-72.

1998

Lewis OT, Wilson RJ, Harper MC (1998). Endemic butterflies on Grande Comore: habitat preferences and conservation priorities. Biological Conservation, 85, 113-121.

robert_wilson Details from cache as at 2018-04-20 07:54:35

Refresh publications

Committee/panel activities

External Examiner – MSc Conservation Science, Imperial College London

Member – British Ecological Society Peer Review College


Editorial responsibilities

Associate Editor – Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Editorial Board member – Ecological Entomology


Invited lectures

2014 7th International Conference on the Biology of Butterflies. Turku (Finland)

2013 Symposium on Biodiversity and climate change. Frederick Research Center, Nicosia (Cyprus)

2012 Congress on the Future of Butterflies III, Wageningen (Netherlands)

2012 Royal Entomological Society Conference, Cambridge

2010 Climate Change, Health and Ecology. Uppsala (Sweden).

2010 Foundations of Biodiversity: Saving the World’s Non-Vertebrates. Zoological Society of London.

2009 Group of Experts on Climate Change and Biodiversity. Council of Europe (Strasbourg, France).

2008 Future of Butterflies in Europe International Symposium (Wageningen, NL)

2007 First Spanish National Congress on Global Change (Madrid, Spain)

2006 European Union Green Week (Brussels, Belgium)

2005 Symposium of the Royal Entomological Society (Brighton, UK)

2002 European Congress of Lepidopterology (Korsor, Denmark)


Media Coverage

My research into extinction risk from climate change, and the adaptation of conservation to climate change, has been covered widely in the national and international press, including The Independent, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Time, and Metro (see Research Highlights). I have been interviewed by local and national radio and television in Britain and Spain.

I have also contributed a blog for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds on “One Big Thing for Nature” in response to the 2013 national State of Nature report.


Workshops/Conferences organised

Co-organiser of a NERC-funded workshop on the potential role of microclimate in adapting conservation to climate change.

Dr Rob Wilson

Dr Rob Wilson

I convene ecology modules for the Biological Sciences degree programme at the Streatham Campus. The first year module (BIO1336) provides a basic introduction to ecology. The second year module (BIO2076) considers how ecological theory and research inform practical applications, with a strong focus on conservation. The third year module (BIO3037) critically evaluates the roles of ecology and environmental science in understanding and tackling environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability and food security. I teach on all these modules with Dr James Cresswell, and on the second and third year modules with colleagues including Dr Matthew Witt and Dr Dan Bebber.

I also contribute teaching on terrestrial ecology and conservation to the second year module BIO2096 – Practical Skills in Field Ecology, a two week summer field course based around Devon. I was formerly based at the university’s Penryn Campus, where I taught undergraduate and MSc modules in ecology and conservation biology, including field courses in Britain and Europe.

Year 1

  • BIO1336 – Ecology

Year 2

  • BIO2076 – Ecology and Environment
  • BIO2096 – Practical Skills in Field Ecology

Year 3

  • BIO3037 – The Ecology of Environmental Change

Apollo butterfly caterpillar

Apollo butterfly caterpillar

Postdoctoral researchers

Postgraduate researchers

  • Leonardo Gubert (2nd supervisor)
  • Lee Bassett
  • Lynda Donaldson (2nd supervisor)
  • Richard Fox
  • Owen Greenwood (2nd supervisor)
  • Rachel Jones
  • James Stewart

Alumni

Back | Edit Profile