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Mr James Johnston

PhD candidate, Clare College, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA, Northern Ireland).

Conserving a Safe Operating Space for Terrestrial Ecosystem Functioning via Integration of Plant- and Animal-based Ecologies and Models



  • October 2020 – Present: PhD in Geography, University of Cambridge, DAERA funded.
  • September 2018 – September 2019: MRes in Biodiversity Conservation and Evolution, University College London
  • October – December 2017: Tropical Biology Association Conservation Science Field Course
  • October 2014 – June 2017: BA in Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge


  • MRes in Biodiversity Conservation and Evolution, University College London
  • BA in Natural Sciences, Clare College, University of Cambridge


  • DAERA NI Postgraduate Studentship (2020-2023)
  • Clare College Undergraduate Travel Grant (2016)


Interested in plant-animal interactions, ecological modelling, and the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.

My research focuses on looking for knowledge gaps within ecological modelling approaches of plant-animal interactions, and aims to incorporate these into existing models (HYBRID vegetation and Madingley general ecosystem models). I’m interested in exploring what results from coupling these models and in doing so attempting to look for potential “tipping points” in the biodiversity/ecosystem function relationship.

My PhD is jointly supervised by academics in the Department of Geography and UNEP-WCMC.


  • Letessier, T.B., Johnston, J., Delarue, J., Martin, B. and Anderson, R.C. (2022), Spinner dolphin residency in tropical atoll lagoons: Diurnal presence, seasonal variability and implications for nutrient dynamics. J Zool.

External activities

  • Member of the British Ecological Society