Timothy Harris is a PhD student in the Department of Geography. He is interested in plant biogeography, plant conservation, and the monitoring of plant diversity.
Thesis title: 'Assessing the spatial distribution of plant species traits across the continent of Africa in relation to environmental variables'
Timothy's research aims to identify aspects of functional diversity that correlate with environmental variables. Using a random sample of plant species across the continent of Africa, the geographic areas where functional plant traits are most constrained by environmental variables will be identified.
Research into plant functional traits will build on several strands of current research including identifying plant traits associated with rarity and using the major axes of plant functional diversity that define plant form to show wherein this multidimensional 'trait space' rare species are found.
This research is done with the aim of informing the process of choosing Essential Biodiversity Variables applicable to plants and supporting the process of incorporating plant traits into conservation assessments. This work will also inform current research into better delimiting different ecosystems.