The University of Sheffield
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Dr Gavin Thomas

Dr Gavin Thomas

Room B2 207, Alfred Denny Building
Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0136
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 0002
email: gavin.thomas@sheffield.ac.uk

Personal website: gavinhthomas.wordpress.com

Bird phylogeny website: birdtree.org

Career

Research Interests

Phylogeny, diversification and trait evolution

My research focuses on modelling the diversification of species and traits at a macroevolutionary scale. I am particularly interested in how we can use information on the phylogenetic relationships among species to infer how present day biodiversity has arisen over time and ask:

Recently I have been most occupied with constructing a global phylogeny of birds to understand avian diversity in space and time (more information at birdtree.org )

Phylogenetic bird tree

Current Research Group

PhD Students

Mark Puttick: Selectivity through mass extinctions (lead supervisor Mike Benton, University of Bristol)

Laszlo Talas: Studying cultural evolution through science: the phylogeny of camouflage uniform patterns (lead supervisor Innes Cuthill, University of Bristol)

Naomi Apostolaki: Dinosaurian body size (lead supervisor Mike Benton, University of Bristol)

Professional Activities

Reviewing Editor, Journal of Evolutionary Biology (2011-present)

Publications

Jetz, W.*, Thomas, G.H.*, Joy, J.B.*, Hartmann, K., Mooers, A.O.* 2012 The global diversity of birds in space and time. Nature Online early DOI: 10.1038/nature11631  *equal contributions

Cassey, P., Thomas, G.H., Portugal, S.J., Maurer, G., Hauber, M.E., Grim, T., Lovell, P.G., Miksik, I. 2012 Why are birds' eggs colourful? Eggshell pigments covary with life history and nesting ecology among British breeding non-passerine birds. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 106: 657-672

Davies, T.J., Cooper, N., Diniz-Filho, J.A.F., Thomas, G.H., Meiri, S. 2012 Using phylogenetic trees to test for character displacement: a model and an empirical example. Ecology 93 (supplement) S54-S51

Jenkins, T., Thomas, G.H., Hellgren, O., Owens, I.P.F. 2012 Migratory behaviour of birds affects their coevolutionary relationship with blood parasites. Evolution 66: 740-751

Thomas, G.H. and Freckleton, R.P. 2012 MOTMOT: models of trait macroevolution on trees. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 3: 144-151

McInnes, L., Baker, W.J., Barraclough, T.G., Dasmahapatra, K.K., Goswami, A., Harmon, L.J., Morlon, H., Purvis, A., Rosindell, J., Thomas, G.H., Turvey, S.T., Phillimore, A.B. 2011 Integrating ecology into macroevolutionary research. Biology Letters 7: 644-646

Kuhn, T.S., Mooers, A.O., Thomas, G.H. 2011 A simple polytomy resolver for dated phylogenies. Methods in Ecology and Evolution. 2: 427-436

Garcia-Pena, G.E., Thomas, G.H., Reynolds, J.D., Székely, T. 2009 Breeding systems, climate and the evolution of migration in shorebirds. Behavioural Ecology 20: 1026-1033

Thomas, G.H., Meiri, S., Phillimore, A.B. 2009 Body size diversification in Anolis: novel environments and island effects. Evolution 63: 2017-2030

Thomas, G.H. 2009 Bergmann's idiosyncratic rule: a role for fecundity selection? Molecular Ecology 18: 1027-1029

Olson, V.A., Davies, R.G., Orme, C.D.L., Thomas, G.H., Meiri, S., Blackburn, T.M., Gaston, K.J., Owens, I.P.F., Bennett, P.M. 2009 Global biogeography and ecology of body size in birds. Ecology Letters 12: 249-259

Thomas, G.H. 2008 Phylogenetic distributions of British birds of conservation concern. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275: 2077-2083

Thomas, G.H., Orme, C.D.L., Davies, R.G., Olson, V.A., Bennett, P.M., Gaston, K.J., Owens, I.P.F., Blackburn, T.M. 2008 Regional variation in the historical components of global avian species richness. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17: 340-351

Phillimore, A.B., Orme, C.D.L., Thomas, G.H., Blackburn, T.M., Bennett, P.M., Gaston, K.J., Owens, I.P.F. 2008 Sympatric speciation in birds is rare: insights from range data and simulations. American Naturalist 171: 646-657

Cooper, N., Bielby, J., Thomas, G.H., Purvis, A. 2008 Macroecology and extinction risk in frogs. Global Ecology and Biogeography 17: 211-221

Thomas, G.H., Székely, T., Reynolds, J.D., 2007 Sexual conflict and the evolution of breeding systems in shorebirds. Advances in the Study of Behaviour 37: 279-342

Meiri, S. and Thomas, G.H. 2007 The geography of body size - challenges of the interspecific approach. Global Ecology and Biogeography 16: 689-693

Gaston, K.J., Davies, R.G., Orme, C.D.L., Olson, V.A., Thomas, G.H., Ding, T.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Lennon, J.J., Bennett, P.M., Owens, I.P.F., Blackburn, T.M. 2007 Spatial turnover in the global avifauna. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 1567-1574

Davies, R.G., Orme, C.D.L., Storch, D., Olson, V.A., Thomas, G.H., Ross, S.G., Ding, T.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Bennett, P.M., Owens, I.P.F., Blackburn, T.M., Gaston, K.J. 2007 Topography, energy and the global distribution of bird species richness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 274: 1189-1197

Lislevand, T. and Thomas, G.H. 2006 Limited male incubation and the evolution of egg size in shorebirds. Biology Letters 2: 206-208

Thomas, G.H., Lanctot, R.B., Székely, T. 2006 Can intrinsic factors explain population declines in North American breeding shorebirds? A comparative analysis. Animal Conservation 9: 252-258

Grenyer, R., Orme, C.D.L., Jackson, S.F., Thomas, G.H., Davies, R.G., Davies, T.J., Jones, K.E., Olson, V.A., Ridgely, R.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Ding, T.S., Bennett, P.M., Blackburn, T.M., Gaston, K.J., Gittleman, J.L., Owens, I.P.F. 2006 Global distribution and conservation of rare and threatened vertebrates. Nature 444: 93-96

Székely, T., Thomas, G.H., Cuthill, I.C. 2006 Sexual conflict, ecology and breeding systems in shorebirds. Bioscience 56: 801-808

Thomas, G.H., Freckleton, R.P., Székely, T. 2006 Comparative analyses of the influence of developmental mode on phenotypic diversification rates in shorebirds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273: 1619-1624

Storch, D., Davies, R.G., Zajicek, S., Orme, C.D.L., Olson, V., Thomas, G.H., Ding, T.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Ridgely, R.S., Bennett, P.M., Blackburn, T.M., Owens, I.P.F., Gaston, K.J. 2006 Energy, range dynamics and global species richness patterns: reconciling mid-domain effects and environmental determinants of avian diversity. Ecology Letters 9: 1308-1320

Davies, R.G., Orme, C.D.L., Olson, V.A., Thomas, G.H., Ross, S.G., Ding, T.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Stattersfield, A.J., Bennett, P.M., Blackburn, T.M, Owens, I.P.F., Gaston, K.J. 2006 Human impacts and the global distribution of extinction risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273: 2127-2133

Orme, C.D.L., Davies, R.G., Olson, V.A., Thomas, G.H., Ding, T.S., Rasmussen, P.C., Ridgely, R.S., Stattersfield, A.J., Bennett, P.M., Owens, I.P.F., Blackburn, T.M., Gaston, K.J. 2006 Global patterns of geographic range size in birds. PLoS Biology 4: 1276-1283

Thomas, G.H. and Székely, T. 2005 Evolutionary pathways in shorebird breeding systems: Sexual conflict, parental care and chick development. Evolution 59: 2222-2230

Thomas, G.H., Wills, M.A., Székely, T. 2004 A supertree approach to shorebird phylogeny. BMC Evolutionary Biology 4: 28

Thomas, G.H., Wills, M.A., Székely, T. 2004 Phylogeny of shorebirds, gulls and alcids (Aves: Charadrii) from the cytochrome-b gene: parsimony, Bayesian inference, minimum evolution and quartet puzzling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 30: 516-526