Professor Rob Freckleton

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0017
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 0002

email :


2006 – (Present) – Royal Society University Research Fellow and Professor of Population Biology, University of Sheffield
2004 – 2006 - Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Oxford
2002 – 2004 – Departmental Lecturer, University of Oxford
2000 – 2002 – Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Oxford
1998 – 2000 – Postdoctoral Researcher, University of East Anglia

Key Research Interests

My research focuses on modelling population and community dynamics. I am particularly interested in large scale population dynamics, although have a range of interests, including:

  • Plant population ecology, modelling plant populations, modelling weed populations.
  • Evolutionary ecology, phylogenetic comparative methodology and its application to ecological problems.
  • Theoretical ecology, statistical methodology.

Professional Activities

Founding Editor, Methods in Ecology & Evolution (2009 - present)
Senior Editor, Journal of Applied Ecology
NERC Peer Review Panel (2004-2006)


At Level 1 I lecture for APS121 (evolution) and at Level 3 I lecture for APS342 (Evolutionary Ecology).

At level 3 I teach on a 10 day residential course in Borneo (APS 306) and I supervise projects (APS330) on herbivore-plant interactions, spatial ecology and plant population dynamics, usually field-based.

I have supervised Level 4 projects on conservation, macroecology and evolution.

Current Research Group

Post-Doctoral Reseachers

Dr Mark Ooi
Leverhulmn Trust funded project on the effects of climate change on the evolutionary ecology of annual plants

Dr Mark Ooi's website

(with Colin Osborne) Vernon Vissor JISC funded project, Grassportal to provide an information portal for grasses.

PhD students

Kirsty Burnet Developing and testing density-structured models for arable weed populations (NERC).

Rachel George Metabolomic consequences of climate change for annual plants (Leverhulme).

Daniel Garcia Life-history consequences of climate change for annual plants (Leverhulme).

Simon Doxford Effects of climate change on annual plant communities (Leverhulme).

Tom Swinfield Jansen Connell effects in tropical forests (NERC).

Former Group Members

Dr Tom Webb Royal Society University Research Fellow at APS Sheffield.

Dr Simon Queenborough Research fellow at NCEAS.

Dr Colin Harrower Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

Dr Rémi Vergnon University of Waageningen.


I also have collaborative projects with the following:

Walter Jetz – phylogenetic & spatial analysis of comparative data (Yale:

Tamas Szekely – Sexual conflict in birds (University of Bath

John Pannell – Large scale dynamics and sexual systems in annual mercury (University of Oxford, Plant Sciences

Owen Lewis – Density-dependence and pathogens in tropical forests (University of Oxford, Zoology

Bill Sutherland – Developing models for arable farming systems (University of Cambridge).

Andrew Watkinson – Plant population and community ecology (University of East Anglia).

Recent Publications (2001 to date). Please email me for pdfs


Weiner, J. & Freckleton, R.P. Constant Final Yield. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, in press.


Buckley, H. & Freckleton, R.P. (2010) Understanding the role of species´ dynamics in abundance-occupancy relationships. Journal of Ecology.

Christin, P-A, Freckleton, R.P. & Osborne, C.P. (2010) Evolutionary reversibility of C4 photosynthesis? Trends in Ecology and Evolution, in press.

Freckleton, R.P. Dealing with collinearity in behavioural and ecological data: model averaging and the problems of measurement error. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, in press.

Nakagawa, S. and Freckleton, R.P. Model averaging, missing data and multiple imputation: a case study for behavioural ecology. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, in press.

Saether, B-E, Grøtan, V., Engen, S., Noble, D.G. & Freckleton, R.P. Rarity and scaling of the dynamics in time and space of British birds. Journal of Animal Ecology.

Webb, T.J., Olson V.A,  Szekeley, T. & Freckleton, R.P. (2010) Who cares? Quantifying the evolution of division of parental effort. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, in press.


Whittingham, M.J., Krebs, J.R., Swetnam, R.D., Thewlis, R.M., Wilson, J.D., & Freckleton, R.P. (2009) Habitat associations of British breeding farmland birds. Bird Study, 56, 43-52. Vergnon, R., Dulvy, N.K., & Freckleton, R.P. (2009) Niches versus neutrality: uncovering the drivers of diversity in a species-rich community. Ecology Letters, 12, 1079-1090.

Saether, B.E., Grotan, V., Engen, S., Noble, D.G., & Freckleton, R.P. (2009) Critical parameters for predicting population fluctuations of some British passerines. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78, 1063-1075.

Queenborough, S.A., Mazer, S.J., Vamosi, S.M., Garwood, N.C., Valencia, R., & Freckleton, R.P. (2009) Seed mass, abundance and breeding system among tropical forest species: do dioecious species exhibit compensatory reproduction or abundances? Journal of Ecology, 97, 555-566.

Osborne, C.P. & Freckleton, R.P. (2009) Ecological selection pressures for C-4 photosynthesis in the grasses. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 276, 1753-1760.

Olson, V.A., Webb, T.J., Freckleton, R.P., & Szekely, T. (2009) Are parental care trade-offs in shorebirds driven by parental investment or sexual selection? Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22, 672-682.

Freckleton, R.P., Watkinson, A.R., & Rees, M. (2009) Measuring the importance of competition in plant communities. Journal of Ecology, 97, 379-384.

Freckleton, R.P. & Stephens, P.A. (2009) Predictive models of weed population dynamics. Weed Research, 49, 225-232.

Freckleton, R.P. & Jetz, W. (2009) Space versus phylogeny: disentangling phylogenetic and spatial signals in comparative data. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 276, 21-30.

Freckleton, R.P. (2009) The seven deadly sins of comparative analysis. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22, 1367-1375.

Freckleton, R.P. (2009) A Darwinian approach to community ecology. Frontiers in Biogeography, in press.

Cooke, I.R., Queenborough, S.A., Mattison, E.H.A., Bailey, A.P., Sandars, D.L., Graves, A.R., Morris, J., Atkinson, P.W., Trawick, P., Freckleton, R.P., Watkinson, A.R., & Sutherland, W.J. (2009) Integrating socio-economics and ecology: a taxonomy of quantitative methods and a review of their use in agro-ecology. Journal of Applied Ecology, 46, 269-277.


Webb, T.J., O'Hara, B., & Freckleton, R.P. (2008) Does double-blind review benefit female authors? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23, 351-353.

Sutherland, W.J., Bailey, M.J., Bainbridge, I.P., Brereton, T., Dick, J.T.A., Drewitt, J., Dulvy, N.K., Dusic, N.R., Freckleton, R.P., Gaston, K.J., Gilder, P.M., Green, R.E., Heathwaite, A.L., Johnson, S.M., Macdonald, D.W., Mitchell, R., Osborn, D., Owen, R.P., Pretty, J., Prior, S.V., Prosser, H., Pullin, A.S., Rose, P., Stott, A., Tew, T., Thomas, C.D., Thompson, D.B.A., Vickery, J.A., Walker, M., Walmsley, C., Warrington, S., Watkinson, A.R., Williams, R.J., Woodroffe, R., & Woodroof, H.J. (2008) Future novel threats and opportunities facing UK biodiversity identified by horizon scanning. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 821-833.

Olson, V.A., Liker, A., Freckleton, R.P., & Szekely, T. (2008) Parental conflict in birds: comparative analyses of offspring development, ecology and mating opportunities. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 275, 301-307.

Nakagawa, S. & Freckleton, R.P. (2008) Missing inaction: the dangers of ignoring missing data. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23, 592-596.

Holman, L., Freckleton, R.P., & Snook, R.R. (2008) What use is an infertile sperm? A comparative study of sperm-heteromorphic Drosophila. Evolution, 62, 374-385.

Freckleton, R.P., Sutherland, W.J., Watkinson, A.R., & Stephens, P.A. (2008) Modelling the effects of management on population dynamics: some lessons from annual weeds. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 1050-1058.

Freckleton, R.P., Phillimore, A.B., & Pagel, M. (2008) Relating traits to diversification: A simple test. American Naturalist, 172, 102-115.


Whittingham, M.J., Krebs, J.R., Swetnam, R.D., Vickery, J.A., Wilson, J.D., & Freckleton, R.P. (2007) Should conservation strategies consider spatial generality? Farmland birds show regional not national patterns of habitat association. Ecology Letters, 10, 25-35.

Webb, T.J., Noble, D., & Freckleton, R.P. (2007) Abundance-occupancy dynamics in a human dominated environment: linking interspecific and intraspecific trends in British farmland and woodland birds. Journal of Animal Ecology, 76, 123-134.

Ridley, J., Kolm, N., Freckelton, R.P., & Gage, M.J.G. (2007) An unexpected influence of widely used significance thresholds on the distribution of reported P-values. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 20, 1082-1089.

Pybus, O.G., Rambaut, A., Belshaw, R., Freckleton, R.P., Drummond, A.J., & Holmes, E.C. (2007) Phylogenetic evidence for deleterious mutation load in RNA viruses and its contribution to viral evolution. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 24, 845-852.

Prosser, J.I., Bohannan, B.J.M., Curtis, T.P., Ellis, R.J., Firestone, M.K., Freckleton, R.P., Green, J.L., Green, L.E., Killham, K., Lennon, J.J., Osborn, A.M., Solan, M., van der Gast, C.J., & Young, J.P.W. (2007) Essay - The role of ecological theory in microbial ecology. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 5, 384-392.

Phillimore, A.B., Orme, C.D.L., Davies, R.G., Hadfield, J.D., Reed, W.J., Gaston, K.J., Freckleton, R.P., & Owens, I.P.F. (2007) Biogeographical basis of recent phenotypic divergence among birds: A global study of subspecies richness. Evolution, 61, 942-957.


Whittingham, M.J., Stephens, P.A., Bradbury, R.B., & Freckleton, R.P. (2006) Why do we still use stepwise modelling in ecology and behaviour? Journal of Animal Ecology, 75, 1182-1189.

Thomas, G.H., Freckleton, R.P., & Szekely, T. (2006) Comparative analyses of the influence of developmental mode on phenotypic diversification rates in shorebirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 273, 1619-1624.

Sutherland, W.J., Armstrong-Brown, S., Armsworth, P.R., Brereton, T., Brickland, J., Campbell, C.D., Chamberlain, D.E., Cooke, A.I., Dulvy, N.K., Dusic, N.R., Fitton, M., Freckleton, R.P., Godfray, H.C.J., Grout, N., Harvey, H.J., Hedley, C., Hopkins, J.J., Kift, N.B., Kirby, J., Kunin, W.E., Macdonald, D.W., Marker, B., Naura, M., Neale, A.R., Oliver, T., Osborn, D., Pullin, A.S., Shardlow, M.E.A., Showler, D.A., Smith, P.L., Smithers, R.J., Solandt, J.L., Spencer, J., Spray, C.J., Thomas, C.D., Thompson, J., Webb, S.E., Yalden, D.W., & Watkinson, A.R. (2006) The identification of 100 ecological questions of high policy relevance in the UK. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43, 617-627.

Phillimore, A.B., Freckleton, R.P., Orme, C.D.L., & Owens, I.P.F. (2006) Ecology predicts large-scale patterns of phylogenetic diversification in birds. American Naturalist, 168, 220-229.

McKechnie, A.E., Freckleton, R.P., & Jetz, W. (2006) Phenotypic plasticity in the scaling of avian basal metabolic rate. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 273, 931-937.

Freckleton, R.P., Watkinson, A.R., Green, R.E., & Sutherland, W.J. (2006) Census error and the detection of density dependence. Journal of Animal Ecology, 75, 837-851.

Freckleton, R.P., Noble, D., & Webb, T.J. (2006) Distributions of habitat suitability and the abundance-occupancy relationship. American Naturalist, 167, 260-275.

Freckleton, R.P. & Lewis, O.T. (2006) Pathogens, density dependence and the coexistence of tropical trees. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 273, 2909-2916.

Freckleton, R.P. & Harvey, P.H. (2006) Detecting non-Brownian trait evolution in adaptive radiations. Plos Biology, 4, 2104-2111.

Birkhead, T.R., Immler, S., Pellatt, E.J., & Freckleton, R. (2006) Unusual sperm morphology in the Eurasian Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). Auk, 123, 383-392.

Bell, T., Freckleton, R.P., & Lewis, O.T. (2006) Plant pathogens drive density-dependent seedling mortality in a tropical tree. Ecology Letters, 9, 569-574.


Whittingham, M.J., Swetnam, R.D., Wilson, J.D., Chamberlain, D.E., & Freckleton, R.P. (2005) Habitat selection by yellowhammers Emberiza citrinella on lowland farmland at two spatial scales: implications for conservation management. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 270-280.

Reynolds, J.D. & Freckleton, R.P. (2005) Population dynamics: Growing to extremes. Science, 309, 567-568.

Freckleton, R.P., Hulme, P., Giller, P., & Kerby, G. (2005) The changing face of applied ecology. Journal of Applied Ecology, 42, 1-3.

Freckleton, R.P., Gill, J.A., Noble, D., & Watkinson, A.R. (2005) Large-scale population dynamics, abundance-occupancy relationships and the scaling from local to regional population size. Journal of Animal Ecology, 74, 353-364.

View Full Publication List


APS121 Evolution

APS306 Borneo fieldcourse

APS342 Evolutionary Biology

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