Dr Tom Matthews

Senior Research Fellow

Tom is an ecologist and biogeographer, with a keen interest in the natural world. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Birmingham, before moving to the University of Oxford to do a masters and PhD (on the impacts of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity). He also worked for a short time as an ecological consultant in the private sector. He started at Birmingham as a Birmingham Fellow in 2016 and has been there ever since. Outside of work Tom is a keen bird watcher and traveller.

Research interests

Tom researches global environmental change issues using macroecological, macroevolutionary and biogeographical approaches. He applies a mixture of theoretical and empirical methods to investigate various macroecological topics, including species-area relationships and species abundance distributions. He has a keen interest in island systems and birds, with a particular focus on how human-driven extinctions on islands have impacted ecosystem functioning in these environments.

Current Projects and Collaborations

Recent research projects include assessing species extinctions on islands, generating a dataset of functional traits for all the world’s 10,000 bird species, writing a book on island ecology and evolution, using radar technology to monitor flighted biodiversity, assessing variation in biodiversity through time, and testing various macroecological theories using a range of datasets, from Azorean beetles to Palearctic grasslands.

Dr Tom Matthews's papers