Owen Lewis

Research Interests

Natural ecosystems support complex networks of interacting plant and animal species. Our work focuses on the processes that maintain, structure and threaten these ecological communities, particularly in high-diversity tropical forest habitats. DPhil projects within my group focus on the effects of climate change, habitat fragmentation and degradation on interspecific interactions and ecosystem functioning; the structure and dynamics of food webs involving plants, insect herbivores and their parasitoids; and the role of plant pathogens and herbivores in structuring and maintaining the high diversity of tropical plants. Students are expected to contribute to the development of research plans and selection of focal taxa to fit their interests and aptitudes. Most of my DPhil students join active, on-going field-based research programmes in Europe, Central America or S.E. Asia, often employing experimental manipulations to test hypotheses, but collaborative modelling and laboratory-based experimental work is also a possibility.

Qualifications and Experience

MA (Hons.) Biological Sciences (1993; University of Oxford); PhD in Ecology (1997, University of Leeds)

I am Professor of Ecology and co-lead the Community Ecology Research Group (cero.zoo.ox.ac.uk). Our group currently includes about 10 DPhil students and 4 postdocs working on a range of topics including conservation biology, ecosystem functions and services, tropical rainforest ecology and the effects of climate change and habitat fragmentation on trophic interactions and ecological networks. Much of our research is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council. I welcome enquiries from well-qualified prospective graduate students.

Personal Research Keywords

Biodiversity, tropical forests, ecosystems, networks, functioning, global change