Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab

Long-Term Ecology, Biodiversity Conservation, and Environmental Stewardship Technologies

Long-Term Ecology

The history of biodiversity and ecosystems

We undertake fieldwork globally to collect environmental data, including using paleo-ecological methods. We also make use of existing spatiotemporal datasets to generate novel datasets on the distribution of biodiversity.

Learn more about our current research

Resource Stewardship Technologies

Tools to inform environmental descision making

Robust ecological, socio-economic information is important for planning, accounting, and reporting at local and national levels. We are developing techniques and tools that make a contribution to resource stewardship and ecosystem services assessments.

Learn more about our current research

Biodiversity & Conservation

Species and ecosystems

We study how disturbances alter the biodiversity and functioning of natural ecosystems. Our aim is to provide policy and management solutions for complex social, economic and environmental challenges.

Learn more about our current research

Lab News

September 21, 2016

Launch of the latest phase of the Local Ecological Footprinting Tool (LEFT) – 7th October 2016 – 5.00 – 6.30pm – Oxford Martin School


  We are delighted to announce the launch of the Local Ecological Footprinting Tool (LEFT) - the latest development phase of our web-based decision support tool for assessing risk in environmental management - https://www.left.ox.ac.uk/ (see brief details below) – previous iterations of which have already delivered critical benefits in business applications and academic research over the last four years. Many of you have already used the Tool during its pre-launch free access period. You are warmly invited to the launch and reception. There will ... Continue reading

July 19, 2016

Global Pollen Project reaches 1,000 species

Persicaria in the Global Pollen Project

The Global Pollen Project - a tool for pollen identification created and developed by members of the Oxford Long-Term Ecology Lab (Andrew Martin and William Harvey) - now has over 1,000 plant species, in 534 genera and 142 families. The project aims to provide a global reference library for pollen grain identification and study, by enabling the easy digitisation of existing collections in institutions anywhere in the world. It also provides a platform for crowdsourcing identifications for unknown ... Continue reading

April 25, 2016

NaturEtrade Spring workshop


Another successful workshop for the EU/University of Oxford-funded LIFE+ project NaturEtrade was held on April 22nd at the Sylva Foundation in Little Wittenham, Oxfordshire. Around 30 people attended from a range of organizations with an interest in natural capital, assessing ecosystem services and monitoring environmental change. The workshop covered the motivation for developing resource stewardship tools that combine ease of use with robust behind-the-scenes science to provide land managers with affordable, reliable ways of assessing the ... Continue reading

February 18, 2016

Sensitivity of global terrestrial ecosystems to climate variability


In a new Nature letter published on17 February 2016 authors Alistair Seddon, Marc Macias-Fauria, Peter R. Long, David Benz & Kathy J. Willis, from the Universities of Bergen and Oxford, report a novel approach that provides empirical baseline measurements on a key component of ecosystem resilience, namely the relative response of vegetation in comparison to environmental perturbations over time, as well as the climatic drivers of change across landscapes ... Continue reading

February 10, 2016

Genes to beans: polyploidy on a plate. Michael Faraday 2015 Prize lecture


Kathy Wills will deliver the 2015 Michael Faraday prize lecture at the Royal Society, London on Feb 11th at 6.30. Kathy's overview of the talk (from the RGS website): "From the food on our plates to the greens in our garden, many plants share one extraordinary characteristic – they contain two, three or even ten copies of their entire genetic code in each of their cells. This so called ‘polyploidy’ crams cells full of DNA and not only gives us ... Continue reading

Research Blog

Making Science Training Fun – Insights from the Lacrosse Pitch

By Dr. Elizabeth S. Jeffers on April 27, 2016
Little Laxers learning fun stick tricks at the Tucker Lacrosse camp, July 2015.

Stiff competition for research funding has created a highly stressful environment for early career researchers trying to persist in academic science. We have to produce more papers, presentations, and grant applications than ever before. I don’t expect that the pressure ... Continue reading

Meeting the President of Madagascar

By Herizo Andrianandrasana on November 27, 2015

Meeting my President at Chatham House in London was a day to remember for me! I am a Merton College final year DPhil candidate working with Professor Kathy Willis in the Zoology Department of the University of Oxford and the last ... Continue reading

What are we rewilding for?

By Dr. Elizabeth S. Jeffers on May 31, 2015
Bison at Konza Prairie Biological Station helping to spread seeds across the prairie. Source: Joe Craine http://wildplantspost.blogspot.co.uk

By Elizabeth Jeffers One of the primary objectives of rewilding* projects is the restoration of important ecological processes that have been lost due to the past extirpation of key members of the floral or faunal community. A main argument for ... Continue reading