School of Natural and Environmental Sciences

Staff Profile

Dr Darren Evans

Reader in Ecology and Conservation


I am an ecologist and conservationist using network theory and DNA-metabarcoding to understand the impacts of environmental change on species-interactions and ecosystem functioning.

Find out more at Google Scholar, ResearchGate, Mendeley & ORCID. Follow me on Twitter @DarrenMarkEvans

Brief CV

  • 2016-present: Reader in Ecology and Conservation, Newcastle University
  • 2010-2015:  Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader in Conservation Biology, University of Hull
  • 2006-2010: Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate working on the BBSRC/Defra funded project: Biodiversity on Farms: A Complex Systems Approach with Prof. Jane Memmott, University of Bristol
  • 2002-2005: Postdoctoral Avian Ecologist working on a Scottish Government funded project investigating the impacts of livestock grazing on upland Birds (GRUB) with Prof. Steve Redpath, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Banchory
  • 1996-2000: DPhil 'Ecology and Spatial Dynamics of wintering Wildfowl on Lough Neagh'. DENI CAST Award with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Department of Education for Northern Ireland, University of Ulster

University Administrative Roles

  • Chair, School of Biology Board of Studies
  • Degree Programme Director MSc Ecology and Conservation

External Activities

  • BBSRC Pool of Experts (2016 - present)
  • External Examiner for the Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds (2015 - present)
  • Senior Editor of the ZSL journal Animal Conservation, a top 10 journal in biodiversity conservation
  • British Ornithologists' Union - Council member, Chair of the Meetings Committee and member of Engagement Committee (2015 - present)
  • British Ecological Society - Vice-Chair of the Policy Committee (2014 - present) 
  • Member of the Conservation Science Advisory Council for A Rocha International

Membership of Learned Societies


Current PhD opportunities (2018 start)

Developing DNA-metabarcoding technologies for the nationwide surveillance of pest and beneficial insects. With Fera Science, Rothamsted Research, University of Hull (funding: IAFRI)

Closing date: 31 March 2018

Research summary

I combine advances in ecological network analysis with DNA-metabarcoding to examine the impacts of environmental change on species-interactions and ecosystem functioning. I am currently studying the consequences of altered network structure on fungi, plant and animal populations, mainly within forest- and agro-ecosystems.

Key indicative publications

Macgregor, C. J., Evans, D. M., Fox, R. & Pocock, M. J. O (2017) The dark side of street lighting: impacts on moths and evidence for the disruption of nocturnal pollen transport. Global Change Biology 23, 697-707.

Evans, D. M., Kitson, J. N., Lunt, D. H., Straw, N. A. & Pocock, M. J. O. (2016) Merging DNA metabarcoding and ecological network analysis to understand and build resilient terrestrial ecosystems. Functional Ecology 30, 1904-1916.

Evans, D. M., Villar, N., Littlewood, N. A., Pakeman, R. J., Evans, S. A. Dennis, P., Skartveit, J. & Redpath, S. M. (2015) The cascading impacts of livestock grazing in upland ecosystems: a 10-year experiment. Ecosphere 6, 1-15.

Macgregor, C. J., Pocock, M. J. O., Fox, R. & Evans, D. M. (2015) Pollination by nocturnal Lepidoptera, and the effects of light pollution: a review. Ecological Entomology 40, 187-198. (2016 winner of the RES Journal Award)

Evans D. M., Pocock M. J. O. & Memmott J. (2013). The robustness of a network of ecological networks to habitat loss. Ecology Letters, 16, 844-852.

Pocock, M. J. O., Evans, D. M. & Memmott, J. (2012) The robustness and restoration of a network of ecological networks. Science 335, 973-977.

Network Ecology Group

Follow us on Twitter @NCLNEG

Dr. James Kitson (PDRA) 'Determining the parasitoids of Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) using DNA-metabarcoding' (2014 - present). In collaboration with Dr. Nigel Straw (Forest Research) and Dr. Dave Lunt (University of Hull). Funding: Forestry Commission England.

Ellen Moss (PhD) 'Impacts of climate change on plant-pollinator interactions and ecosystem services' (2013 - present). In collaboration with Prof. Jonathan Atkins (University of Hull). Funding: University Scholarship.

Lisa Malm (PhD) 'The impacts of habitat modification on avian food-web structure and resilience' (2014 - present). In collaboration with Dr. Nick Littlewood (James Hutton Institute), Dr. Alison Karley (James Hutton Institute) and Dr. James Pearce-Higgins (British Trust for Ornithology). Funding: Joint Studentship between Newcastle University and The James Hutton Institute (with support from BTO).

Justin Byrne (PhD) 'Merging DNA-metabarcoding and ecological network analysis to monitor forest biodiversity and ecosystem functioning' (2016 - present). In collaboration with Sian Atkinson (Woodland Trust), Dr. Julia Cooper (SNES, Newcastle) and Prof. Hans-Peter Klenk (SNES, Newcastle). Funding: Woodland Trust.

Kieran Peel (PhD) 'Designing dynamic models to understand and predict the responses of complex ecological networks to environmental perturbations' (2017 - present). In collaboration with Dr. Clive Emary (PI, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, Newcastle). Funding: Research Excellence Academy, Newcastle.

PhD co-supervision: Paula Banza (University of Évora); Alex Austin (University of Hull); Cat Carrick (University of Hull); Eilidh McNab (University of Stirling)


Anne-Kathleen Malchow (RA) 'Dynamical models to predict the response of farmland ecological networks to environmental change' (2017 - present). In collaboration with Dr. Clive Emary (PI, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics, Newcastle). Funding: Institute for Sustainability, Newcastle University.

Peter Orrell (PhD) 'Linking above and below-ground interactions in agro-ecosystems: an ecological network approach' (2013 - 2017). In collaboration with Dr Alison Bennett and Prof Maria Nijnik (James Hutton Institute). Funding: Joint Studentship between Newcastle University and The James Hutton Institute. Dr. Orrell was awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship.

Eleanor Collinson (RA) 'Oak Processionary Moth nest processing'. In collaboration with Dr. Nigel Straw (Forest Research) and Dr. James Kitson (SNES, Newcastle). Funding: Forestry Commission England. Ms. Collinson was awarded a place on University of Amsterdam's Science Programme in Biological Sciences.

Callum Macgregor (PhD) 'Understanding the importance of moths as pollinators: an ecological network approach' (2013 - 2017). In collaboration with Dr. Michael Pocock (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology) and Richard Fox (Butterfly Conservation). Funding: NERC CASE. Dr. Macgregor took up a post-doctoral position at the University of York.


I am the Degree Programme Director for the MSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation degree

I currently contribute towards the following undergraduate and postgraduate modules:

  • BIO1010 Biology in Action
  • BIO3022 Residential Field Course (Kielder Forest)
  • BIO3040 Applied Ecology
  • BIO3194/5/6 Undergraduate Research Projects
  • BIO8095 Ecological Consultancy Project
  • BIO8060 Wildlife Research Project