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Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

Dr Daniel Cox

Dr Daniel Cox

Research Fellow

 01326 259490

 Environment and Sustainability Institute 1.03


Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK


My research explores the ecology of the nighttime. Broadly, this encompasses (1) how anthropogenic pressures differentially impact the nighttime compared to the daytime and the impact this has on ecosystem functioning, (2) mapping the geographical extent of artificial light at night nationally, globally and in multi-dimensional niche space, and (3) determining macroecological patterns of time partitioning in mammals.


2012 PhD in Life History of Tropical Birds (University of St Andrews) 
2008 MSc Conservation and Biodiversity (Distinction; University of Exeter) 
2002 BSc Medical Microbiology (University of Edinburgh)


2018 - Research fellow, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter

2017 - 2018: Research fellow, European Centre for the Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter

2017: Research fellow, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter

2013 - 2016: Associate Research Fellow, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter

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Research interests

I am interested in applying an interdisciplinary approach to broadly focus on the relationship between the natural world and human health. Working on the Seas, Oceans and Public Health in Europe project, I systematically mapped the literature on the benefits and costs for human health of exposure to the marine environment. I have also worked on the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability project where I applied theory based in ecology, the health sciences and social science to quantify the health benefits from ‘doses’ of nature. I am interested in exploring the role of different biological components in providing these benefits, and how they flow around the landscape.

Research topics

  • Ecology of the night time
  • Seas, Oceans and Public health in Europe
  • Birds and mental health
  • Nature and human health
  • Life history of African birds

Publications Google scholar

Research gate

Follow me on twitter

Research projects

Ecology of the nighttime

Seas, Oceans and Public Health In Europe

Fragments, Functions, Flows and Urban Ecosystem Services

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Sustainability

Research networks

A. P. Leventis Ornithological Research Institute

European Centre for the Environment and Human Health 

Environment and Sustainability Institute

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Journal articles

Cox D, Sanchez De Miguel A, Dzurjak S, Bennie J, Gaston K (In Press). National scale spatial variation in artificial light at night. Remote Sensing
Gaston K, Ackermann S, Bennie J, Cox D, Phillips B, Sanchez De Miguel A, Sanders D (In Press). Pervasiveness of biological impacts of artificial light at night. Integrative and Comparative Biology
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2024). Cathemerality: a key temporal niche. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc, 99(2), 329-347. Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2024). Ecosystem functioning across the diel cycle in the Anthropocene. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 39(1), 31-40.
Gaston KJ, Gardner AS, Cox DTC (2023). Anthropogenic changes to the nighttime environment. BioScience, 73(4), 280-290. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Gardner AS, Gaston KJ (2023). Diel niche variation in mammalian declines in the Anthropocene. Sci Rep, 13(1). Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2023). Global erosion of terrestrial environmental space by artificial light at night. Sci Total Environ, 904 Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Baker DJ, Gardner AS, Gaston KJ (2023). Global variation in unique and redundant mammal functional diversity across the daily cycle. Journal of Biogeography, 50(4), 629-640. Abstract.
Evans MJ, Gaston KJ, Cox DTC, Soga M (2023). The research landscape of direct, sensory human–nature interactions. People and Nature, 5(6), 1893-1907. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Gardner AS, Gaston KJ (2022). Global and regional erosion of mammalian functional diversity across the diel cycle. Science Advances, 8(32). Abstract.
Cox DTC, Sánchez de Miguel A, Bennie J, Dzurjak SA, Gaston KJ (2022). Majority of artificially lit Earth surface associated with the non-urban population. Sci Total Environ, 841 Abstract.  Author URL.
Chang C-C, Cox DTC, Fan Q, Nghiem TPL, Tan CLY, Oh RRY, Lin BB, Shanahan DF, Fuller RA, Gaston KJ, et al (2022). People's desire to be in nature and how they experience it are partially heritable. PLoS Biol, 20(2). Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox D, Gardner A, Gaston K (2021). Diel niche variation in mammals associated with expanded trait space. Nature Communications, 12, 1753-1753.
Soga M, Evans MJ, Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2021). Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on human–nature interactions: Pathways, evidence and implications. People and Nature, 3(3), 518-527. Abstract.
Marselle MR, Hartig T, Cox DTC, de Bell S, Knapp S, Lindley S, Triguero-Mas M, Böhning-Gaese K, Braubach M, Cook PA, et al (2021). Pathways linking biodiversity to human health: a conceptual framework. Environ Int, 150 Abstract.  Author URL.
Short RE, Cox DTC, Ling Tan Y, Bethel A, Eales JF, Garside R (2021). Review of the evidence for oceans and human health relationships in Europe: a systematic map. Environ Int, 146 Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Maclean IMD, Gardner AS, Gaston KJ (2020). Global variation in diurnal asymmetry in temperature, cloud cover, specific humidity and precipitation and its association with leaf area index. Global Change Biology, 26(12), 7099-7111. Abstract.
Shanahan DF, Astell-Burt T, Barber EA, Brymer E, Cox DTC, Dean J, Depledge M, Fuller RA, Hartig T, Irvine KN, et al (2019). Nature-Based Interventions for Improving Health and Wellbeing: the Purpose, the People and the Outcomes. Sports (Basel), 7(6). Abstract.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Bennie J, Casalegno S, Hudson HL, Anderson K, Gaston KJ (2019). Skewed contributions of individual trees to indirect nature experiences. Landscape and Urban Planning, 185, 28-34. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Hudson HL, Plummer KE, Siriwardena GM, Anderson K, Hancock S, Devine-Wright P, Gaston KJ (2018). Covariation in urban birds providing cultural services or disservices and people. Journal of Applied Ecology, 55(5), 2308-2319. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2018). Human–nature interactions and the consequences and drivers of provisioning wildlife. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 373(1745). Abstract.
Gaston KJ, Soga M, Duffy JP, Garrett JK, Gaston S, Cox DTC (2018). Personalised Ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 33(12), 916-925. Abstract.
Gaston KJ, Cox DTC, Canavelli SB, García D, Hughes B, Maas B, Martínez D, Ogada D, Inger R (2018). Population Abundance and Ecosystem Service Provision: the Case of Birds. BioScience, 68(4), 264-272. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Shanahan DF, Hudson HL, Fuller RA, Gaston KJ (2018). The impact of urbanisation on nature dose and the implications for human health. Landscape and Urban Planning, 179, 72-80. Abstract.
Anderson K, Hancock S, Casalegno S, Griffiths A, Griffiths D, Sargent F, McCallum J, Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2018). Visualising the urban green volume: Exploring LiDAR voxels with tangible technologies and virtual models. Landscape and Urban Planning, 178, 248-260. Abstract.
Cox DTC, Shanahan DF, Hudson HL, Plummer KE, Siriwardena GM, Fuller RA, Anderson K, Hancock S, Gaston KJ (2017). Doses of Neighborhood Nature: the Benefits for Mental Health of Living with Nature. BIOSCIENCE, 67(2), 147-155.  Author URL.
Cox DTC, Shanahan DF, Hudson HL, Fuller RA, Anderson K, Hancock S, Gaston KJ (2017). Doses of nearby nature simultaneously associated with multiple health benefits. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(2). Abstract.
Casalegno S, Anderson K, Cox DTC, Hancock S, Gaston KJ (2017). Ecological connectivity in the three-dimensional urban green volume using waveform airborne lidar. Scientific Reports, 7 Abstract.
Soga M, Cox DTC, Yamaura Y, Gaston KJ, Kurisu K, Hanaki K (2017). Health benefits of urban allotment gardening: Improved physical and psychological well-being and social integration. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(1). Abstract.
Cox DTC, Hudson HL, Shanahan DF, Fuller RA, Gaston KJ (2017). The rarity of direct experiences of nature in an urban population. Landscape and Urban Planning, 160, 79-84. Abstract.
Shanahan DF, Cox DTC, Fuller RA, Hancock S, Lin BB, Anderson K, Bush R, Gaston KJ (2017). Variation in experiences of nature across gradients of tree cover in compact and sprawling cities. Landscape and Urban Planning, 157, 231-238. Abstract.
Inger R, Cox DTC, Per E, Norton BA, Gaston KJ (2016). Ecological role of vertebrate scavengers in urban ecosystems in the UK. Ecology and Evolution, 6(19), 7015-7023. Abstract.
Inger R, Per E, Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2016). Key role in ecosystem functioning of scavengers reliant on a single common species. Scientific Reports, 6 Abstract.
Cox DTC, Inger R, Hancock S, Anderson K, Gaston KJ (2016). Movement of feeder-using songbirds: the influence of urban features. Scientific Reports, 6 Abstract.
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2016). Urban bird feeding: Connecting people with nature. PLoS ONE, 11(7). Abstract.
Cox DTC, Gaston KJ (2015). Likeability of garden birds: Importance of species knowledge & richness in connecting people to nature. PLoS ONE, 10(11). Abstract.
Cox DTC, Cresswell W (2014). Mass gained during breeding positively correlates with adult survival because both reflect life history adaptation to seasonal food availability. Oecologia, 174(4), 1197-1204.
Cox DTC, Brandt MJ, McGregor R, Ottosson U, Stevens MC, Cresswell W (2013). The seasonality of breeding in savannah birds of West Africa assessed from brood patch and juvenile occurrence. Journal of Ornithology, 154(3), 671-683.
COX DTC, BRANDT MJ, MCGREGOR R, OTTOSSON ULF, STEVENS MC, CRESSWELL W (2011). Patterns of seasonal and yearly mass variation in West African tropical savannah birds. Ibis, 153(4), 672-683. Abstract.

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