Dr Karl Evans

image of Dr Evans

Tel: +44 (0)114 2220125
Fax: +44 (0)114 2220002

Email: karl.evans@sheffield.ac.uk


Senior Lecturer in Conservation Biology, University of Sheffield (2015-present)
Lecturer in Conservation Biology, University of Sheffield (2011-2014)
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, University of Sheffield (2009-2011)
Post-doctoral researcher, University of Sheffield (2003-2008)
Royal Society Travelling Research Fellow, University of Lincoln, New Zealand (2002)
DPhil, University of Oxford (2001)

Key Research Interests

My primary research tests hypotheses regarding how biodiversity responds to environmental change, and how negative impacts of human activity can be minimised. This research considers a wide range of environmental drivers but focuses on urban development and climate change. I am also interested in how biodiversity responds to natural environmental gradients. My research typically combines large scale macroecological approaches with intensive fieldwork.

Professional activities

Associated editor of Animal Conservation (2012 onwards)
Associate editor of Global Ecology and Biogeography (2010 onwards)
Member of British Ornithologists' Union committee (2013 onwards)
Member of British Ornithologists’ Union meetings committee (2009-2012)

Current Research Group

Dr Georgina Southon: Urban ecosystem services: fragments, functions and flows project. NERC funded through the Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) research programme
Dr Briony Norton: Urban ecosystem services: fragments, functions and flows project. NERC funded through the Biodiversity & Ecosystem Service Sustainability (BESS) research programme
Dr Odhran O'Sullivan: Improving roadside verges for biodiversity and ecosystem services. NERC Impact Accelerator Funded, with industrial funding from Amey.

PhD Students
Debbie Coldwell: Cultural and educational ecosystem services from green-space: environmental and social determinants. NERC studentship funded through the BESS programme with CASE funding from Moors for the Future
Despina Berdeni: Balancing food security and biodiversity - are fungi the answer? NERC open CASE studentship with Heineken
Cecilie Dyngeland: Delivering food security through small scale farmers - lessons from Brazil. Grantham Centre Scholarship
Simon Mills: Impacts of extreme climatic events on European bird and butterfly populations. Science Faculty Teaching Scholarship
Joli Borrah: Cost-effectively enhancing carbon and biodiversity shifting cultivation under REDD plus. University of Sheffield VC Indian Scholarship
Nada Badruddin: Environmental determinants of Malaysian firefly assemblage structure. Malaysian Government Scholarship


My teaching is strongly connected to my environmental change research

At Level 1 I teach on APS 123 Population and Community Ecology, which introduces fundamental principles of ecology, considering individuals, populations and communities. The module then assesses the factors promoting diversity and stability, and the applications of all these principles to applied issues, including control of disease, optimal harvesting and conservation management.

At level 2 I am module co-ordinator for APS 271 Principles of Conservation Biology, which uses a diverse array of case-studies to introduce students to the ecological principles that underpin conservation action. The overall aim is to equip students with the skills required to derive solutions to many of the problems faced by those working in conservation.

At level 3 I teach on APS 329 Issues in Conservation Biology which addresses in detail the most important problems currently faced by conservation biologists, such as over-fishing, climate change, agricultural intensification and urban development.

I supervise a number of level 4 MBiolSci students that conduct research within my fields of interest in ecology and conservation, recent research projects have focused on climate change and urban ecology.

Selected recent publications. Please e-mail me for pdfs and a complete list.


Bonnington, C., Gaston, K.J. & Evans, K.L. 2014 Squirrels in suburbia: influence of urbanisation on the occurrence and distribution of a common exotic mammal. Urban Ecosystems 17: 533-546

Bonnington, C., Gaston, K.J. & Evans, K.L. 2014 Assessing the potential for Grey Squirrels Sciurus carolinensis to compete with birds at supplementary feeding stations. Ibis 156: 220-226

Bonnington, C., Gaston, K.J. & Evans, K.L. 2014 Relative roles of grey squirrels, supplementary feeding, and habitat in shaping urban bird assemblages. PLoS One (In press)

Dìaz-Porras, D.F., Gaston, K.J. & Evans, K.L. 2014 110 years of change in urban tree stocks and associated carbon storage. Ecology and Evolution 4: 1413-1422

Finch, T., Pearce-Higgins, J., Leech, D. & Evans, K.L. 2014 Carry-over effects from passage regions are more important than breeding climate in determining the breeding phenology and performance of three avian migrants of conservation concern. Biodiversity and Conservation 23, 2427-2444

Gullett, P., Evans, K.L., Robinson, R.A., Hatchwell, B.J. 2014 Climate change and annual survival in a temperate passerine: partitioning seasonal effects and predicting future patterns. Oikos 123: 389-400


Gullett, P., Hatchwell, B.J., Robinson, R.A., Evans, K.L. 2013 Phenological indices of avian reproduction cryptic shifts and prediction across large spatial and temporal scales. Ecology and Evolution 3: 1864-1877 doi: 10.1002/ece3.558

Mueller, J.C., Partecke, J., Hatchwell, B.J., Gaston, K.J., Evans, K.L. 2013 Candidate genetic polymorphisms for behavioural adaptations during urbanization in blackbirds. Molecular Ecology 22, 3629-3637

Samaš, P., Grim, T., Hauber, M.E., Cassey, P., Weidinger, K. & Evans, K.L. 2013 Ecological predictors of reduced avian reproductive investment in the southern hemisphere. Ecography 36, 809-818

Bonnington, C., Gaston, K.J. & Evans, K.L. 2013 Fearing the feline: domestic cats reduce avian fecundity through trait mediated indirect effects that increase nest predation by other species. Journal of Applied Ecology 50, 15-24


Hui C, Roura-Pascual N, Brotons L, Robinson R, Evans KL 2012 Flexible dispersal strategies in native and exotic ranges: environmental quality and the ‘good- stay, bad-disperse’ rule. Ecography 35, 1024-1032

Evans KL, Newton J, Gaston KJ, Sharp SP, McGowan A & Hatchwell BJ 2012 Colonisation of urban environments is associated with reduced migratory behaviour, facilitating divergence from ancestral populations. Oikos 121, 634-640.

Evans KL, Newton J, Mallord J & Markman S 2012 Stable isotope analysis reveals novel information on the winter ecology of declining African-Eurasian avian migrants relevant to their conservation. PLoS One 7, e34542. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0034542

Booth, J, Gaston, KJ, Evans, KL & Armsworth, PR. 2011 The value of species rarity in biodiversity recreation: a birdwatching example. Biological Conservation 144, 2728-2732.

Evans KL, Chamberlain DE, Hatchwell BJ, Gregory RD & Gaston KJ 2011 What makes an urban bird? Global Change Biology 17, 32-44

Macleod, R, Herzog, SK, MacCormack, A, Ewing, SR, Bryce, R & Evans, KL 2011. Rapid species abundance monitoring for biodiversity conservation: testing consistency and reliability of the Mackinnon lists technique. Biological Conservation144, 1374-1381


Evans KL 2010 Individual species and urbanisation pp. 53-87 in Gaston KJ (ed.) Urban Ecology. Cambridge University Press

Evans, KL, Hatchwell, BJ, Parnell, M & Gaston, KJ 2010. A conceptual framework for the colonisation of urban areas: the blackbird Turdus merula as a case study. Biological Reviews 85, 643-667.


Evans, KL, Gaston, KJ, Frantz, AC, Sharp, SP, McGowan, A, Simeoni, M, Partecke, J, Burke, T & Hatchwell, BJ. 2009. Independent colonisation of multiple urban centres by a former forest specialist bird species. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 276, 2403-2410.

Evans, KL, Gaston, KJ, Sharp, SP, McGowan, A & Hatchwell, BJ 2009. The effect of urbanisation on avian morphology and latitudinal gradients in body size. Oikos 118, 251-259

Evans, KL, Gaston, KJ, Sharp, SP, McGowan, A, Simeoni, M & Hatchwell, BJ 2009. Effects of urbanisation on disease prevalence and age structure in blackbird Turdus merula populations. Oikos 118, 774-782

Gaston, KJ & Evans, KL 2009. Urbanisation and development. In: Silent Summer: the state of the wildlife in Britain and Ireland. (ed. N. Maclean). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.


Evans, KL, Newson, SE, Storch, D, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2008. Spatial scale, abundance and the species-energy relationship in British birds. Journal of Animal Ecology 77, 395-405

Gaston, KJ, Chown, SL & Evans, KL 2008. Ecogeographical rules: elements of a synthesis. Journal of Biogeography 35, 483-500

Newson, SE, Evans, KL, Noble, DG, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2008. Use of distance sampling to improve estimates of national population sizes for common and widespread breeding birds in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 1330-1338

Sims, V, Evans, KL, Newson, SE, Tratalos, J & Gaston, KJ 2008. Avian assemblage structure and domestic cat densities in urban environments. Diversity & Distributions 14, 387–399


Evans, KL, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2007. The positive correlation between avian species richness and human population density in Britain is not attributable to sampling bias. Global Ecology & Biogeography 16, 300–304

Petchey, OL, Evans, KL, Fishburn, IS & Gaston, KJ 2007. Low functional diversity and no redundancy in British avian assemblages. Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 977–985


Tratalos, J, Fuller, RA, Evans, KL, Davies, RG, Newson, SE, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2007. Bird densities are associated with household densities. Global Change Biology 13, 1685–1695

Evans, KL, Jackson, SF, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2006. Species traits and the form of individual species–energy relationships. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 273, 1779–1787

Evans, KL, James, NA & Gaston, KJ 2006. Abundance, species richness and energy availability in the North American avifauna. Global Ecology and Biogeography 15, 372–385

Evans, KL, Rodrigues, ASL, Chown, SL & Gaston, KJ 2006. Protected areas and regional avian species richness in South Africa. Biology Letters 2,184-188

Evans, KL, van Rensburg, BJ, Gaston, KJ & Chown, SL 2006. People, species richness and human population growth. Global Ecology & Biogeography 15, 625-636


Evans, KL, Duncan, RP, Blackburn, TM & Crick, HQP 2005. Investigating geographical variation in clutch size using a natural experiment. Functional Ecology 19, 616-624

Evans, KL & Gaston, KJ 2005. Can the evolutionary-rates hypothesis explain species-energy relationships? Functional Ecology 19, 899-915

Evans, KL, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2005. Dissecting the species-energy relationship. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 272, 2155-2163

Evans, KL, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2005. The contribution of common and rare species to species-energy relationships. Biology Letters 1, 87-90

Evans, KL, Greenwood, JJD & Gaston, KJ 2005. The roles of extinction and colonisation in generating species-energy relationships. Journal of Animal Ecology 74, 498-507

Evans, KL, Warren, PH & Gaston, KJ 2005. Species-energy relationships at the macroecological scale: a review of the mechanisms. Biological Reviews 80, 1- 25