Scharlemann Lab

Research

Our research attempts to quantitatively assess the impacts of environmental changes on biodiversity and ecossytems using a variety of usually global datasets and tools, including modelling, statistics, GIS, and remote-sensing. In our research we aim to help infom decision-making to result in strategies that reduce the negative impacts of humans on nature. Work in our group can be grouped into two parts:

Modelling global biodiversity and ecosystems

Effective policy and adaptive management strategies in the face of global environmental change require anticipation of future changes. Mid- to long-term planning will therefore depend, at least in part, on model-based projections. Apart from building our own models (Madingley and PREDICTS) to project future change, we are helping to bring the global biodiversity modelling community together to harmonize biodiversity models (HarmBio) to feed into assessments to inform policy, for example the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiveristy and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Current projects include:

Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS) In collaboration with Imperial College London, UNEP-WCMC, UCL, and Microsoft Research Cambridge, we are aim to build a global model of how local biodiversity responds to human impacts such as land-use change, pollution, invasive species and infrastructure, and ultimately to improve our ability to predict future biodiversity changes. NERC funded

Madingley Model In collaboration with Microsoft Research Cambridge and UNEP-WCMC we aim to simulate how the structure and function of ecosystems at global scales emerges from the underlying ecology of individual organisms. Funded by Microsoft Research and UNEP-WCMC

Harmonizing Global Biodiversity Modelling (HarmBio) is an EU COST Action that aims to harmonize current models and datasets of terrestrial, freshwater and marine biodiversity to improve the reliability of future projections of biodiversity change under various policy options enabling better environmental decision making. EU COST funded.

Evaluating outcomes of environmental decisions 

Our research aims to help inform better decision making by providing information and methodologies on the likely environmental outcomes of decisions. Current projects include:

Developing a methodology for comparing the impact of conventional oil and biofuels on ecosystem services globally In collaboration with the University of Southampton, Imperial College London and UNEP-WCMC we will develop a methodology to compare the impact on ecosystem services of two very different sources of transport fuel – biofuels and petroleum. UKERC funded.

Trends and gaps in protection of the world's biodiversity. In collaboration with BirdLife International, IUCN, Dept of Zoology University of Cambridge and UNEP-WCMC, we will develop a robust, comprehensive, multi-scale, spatial and temporal analysis of the degree to which the current global protected area network covers biodiversity, and will help to set priorities for filling remaining gaps. Cambridge Conservation Initiative funded.