School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

Staff Profile

Dr Mark Goddard

Research Associate in Urban Ecology

Background

Introduction and background

I’m a Research Associate in Urban Ecology on the SUCCESS project (Sustainable Urban Carbon Capture: Engineering Soils for Climate Change) funded by EPSRC.  For more information see: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/success/.  I carry out experimental and observational studies of the botanical and invertebrate ecology of urban land designed to have a carbon capture function.  

I’m an ecologist by training and have been working on biodiversity conservation in urban environments for over 10 years.  I started as a Project Officer at the Tees Valley Wildlife Trust, seeking ways to improve the habitat management of the East Middlesbrough beck valleys for the water vole, a nationally declining mammal.  I then spent three years as a professional ecological consultant where I furthered my interest in the ecological design of urban green spaces and the integration of wildlife features within the built environment. In 2007 I moved into academia to start my PhD at the University of Leeds on the ecological and social drivers of biodiversity in private gardens, and in 2011 I began my post-doc career on the Urban Pollinators Project, a UK-wide collaborative project researching the ecology and conservation of insect pollinators in cities. 

Qualifications

PhD (University of Leeds, 2012: ‘The socio-ecological drivers of biodiversity in residential landscapes at multiple spatial scales: an interdisciplinary approach’)

MRes Ecology & Environmental Management (University of York, 2003)

BSc (Hons) Zoology (University of Nottingham, 2001)

Previous positions

2011-2014: Research Assistant, Urban Pollinators Project, School of Biology, University of Leeds

2007: Consultant Ecologist, Ecology Consultancy Ltd, London

2004-2007: Consultant Ecologist, EcoSchemes Ltd, Axminster

2005: Volunteer Field Research Assistant, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia

2003 -2004: Water Vole Project Officer, Tees Valley Wildlife Trust

2001–2002: Practical Conservation Volunteer Officer, TCV Nottinghamshire

Professional activities and collaborations

2014-2018: Steering Committee member and Coordinator of the Urban Socio-ecological Linkages Working Group of US National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network (RCN) project: ‘UrbioNet: A Global Network of Urban Biodiversity Research and Practice’

2014-2015: Core participant in the National Socio-environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) project: ‘Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ (University of Maryland)

2014: Guest lecturer for third year undergraduate course Advanced Topics in Zoology (University of Leeds)

2014: Keynote speaker at the RHS Britain in Bloom Finalists Seminar, Stadium of Light, Sunderland. 

2013: Grant Reviewer for US National Science Foundation (NSF)

2012: Co-organiser and invited speaker of a symposium at ESA 97th Annual Meeting: ‘Tales from the concrete jungle understanding and sustaining the earth’s urban biodiversity from local to global scales’ (Portland, Oregon)

2011 to date: Core participant in National Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) working group: ‘Comparative ecology of cities: What makes an urban biota ‘urban’‘ (University of California, Santa Barbara)

2010: Session chair at British Ecological Society AGM (University of Leeds)

2010 to date: Reviewer for 24 peer-reviewed journals:  Basic & Applied Ecology; Biodiversity & Conservation; Biological Conservation; Conservation Biology; Diversity & Distributions; Ecological Applications; Ecological Entomology; Ecological Restoration; Ecology and Evolution; Ecology and Society; Ecosphere; Environmental Research; Functional Ecology; Insect Conservation and Diversity; Journal of Applied Ecology; Landscape Ecology; Landscape & Urban Planning; Land Use Policy; Oikos; Pakistan Journal of Zoology; PLoS One; Urban Ecosystems; Urban Forestry & Urban Greening; Wildlife Research 

Awards

2013: British Ecological Society Training and Travel grant to present a research poster at INTECOL 2013, London (‘The ‘burbs and the bees: Income predicts wild bee diversity in two contrasting city suburbs’)

2012: Member of academic team advising on the design of the University of Leeds gold-medal winning exhibit on urban ecosystem services ‘Gardening for Champions’ at the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Chelsea Flower Show.

2010: British Ecological Society Training and Travel grant to give a presentation at the URBIO Conference, Nagoya, Japan (‘Scaling up from gardens: Avian diversity in a residential ecosystem’)

Memberships

Member, British Ecological Society

Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Ecology & Environmental Management (ACIEEM)

Research

Research Interests

My research focuses on biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services in human-modified landscapes, in particular urban environments.  I am currently working as a Research Associate in Urban Ecology on the SUCCESS project (Sustainable Urban Carbon Capture: Engineering Soils for Climate Change) funded by EPSRC.  I carry out experimental and observational studies of the botanical and invertebrate ecology of urban land designed to have a carbon capture function.  

In 2014, I finished my previous position at the University of Leeds on the ‘Urban Pollinators: their Ecology and Conservation’ project (www.urbanpollinators.org), funded by the Insect Pollinators Initiative (NERC, BBSRC, Defra, Scottish Government and The Wellcome Trust). The project studied pollinators in replicate cities, farms and nature reserves UK-wide, sampled 700 sites in four cities to assess the suitability of different urban habitats for pollinators and planted 60 flower meadows to examine their benefit to pollinators. The project was a collaboration between four UK universities, and I was responsible for managing the research in Leeds. I developed a working relationship with green space managers at Leeds City Council and I continue to collaborate with academics and other practitioners to find ways of improving urban habitat management for pollinators.

In 2012, I completed my PhD on the ecological and social drivers of bird and bee diversity in residential landscapes. This work has led to an interest in how we can incentivise householders, communities and local authorities to manage cities more sympathetically for wildlife.  This involves an understanding of how socio-economic factors and human decision-making influence the management of private gardens and other green spaces at multiple scales in urban ecosystems.

Collaborative research projects 

I am actively collaborating with overseas researchers on a number of international urban biodiversity projects, including:

  • NCEAS Working Group (University of California, Santa Barbara) that has compiled the largest database to date of the flora and avifauna of cities around the world.  'Comparative Ecology of Cities: What Makes an Urban Biota "Urban"?' (www.nceas.ucsb.edu/featured/aronson).
  • SESYNC project (University of Maryland/SDiv Leipzig,Germany) on planning and policy approaches to managing urban biodiversity and ecosystem services.  'Ecological and Social Linkages among Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Environmental Policy and Management in the World’s Cities (http://sesync.org/project/urban-biodiversity-ess).
  • US National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network grant to build a global network called UrBioNet to support urban biodiversity research, monitoring and practice. 'UrBioNet: A Global Network for Urban Biodiversity Research and Practice' (http://urbionet.weebly.com/)

Publications