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Ian Thornhill

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Personal statement

Ian lectures on a wide variety of topics, specialising in environmental sustainability, ecosystem and environmental management, citizen science and ecological principles. He is particularly responsible for the MSc in Environmental Management at Bath Spa University.

After completing a BA and MSc at the University of Manchester, he went on to a PhD at the University of Birmingham. He has also spent over ten years in industry holding roles in private consultancy, local government and the not-for-profit sector. This varied background enables Ian to couple his lectures with vocational experience from a number of different sectoral perspectives.

Ian’s main research interests tend to focus on urban and freshwater ecology, with a specific focus on pond ecosystems. Specifically, he researches ecosystem functioning, biodiversity conservation and landscape-scale processes.

In recent years his research has been supported by citizen science; the involvement of volunteers in scientific pursuits. As well as supporting research in the physical sciences, citizen science has also enabled Ian to consider what motivates people to engage with science.

In industry, Ian has worked with a range of organisations including local authorities, corporates, several water companies, the Environment Agency, Earthwatch Institute and Wildlife Trusts. As a consequence he maintains a network of industry contacts.

In addition, he carries out his research within a network of international collaborators based in research institutions worldwide.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, University of Birmingham
  • MSc, University of Manchester
  • BA (Hons), University of Manchester

Professional memberships

  • Full member, Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (MCIEEM), since 2014
  • British Ecological Society (BES) since 2008, active participant in a number of British Ecological Society Special Interest Groups including citizen science, teaching and learning and freshwater ecology
  • Associate member, Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (AIEMA), (2006 - 2012)
  • Member, Association for Local Government Ecologists (ALGE), (2013 - 2015). 

Other external roles

  • Associate editor, Freshwater Science (2017- present)
  • Guest editor, Science of the Total Environment (2016 - 2017)

Areas of expertise

Environmental management, sustainability, freshwater ecology, urban ecology, landscape ecology and Geographical Information Systems, ecosystem functioning and resilience, water quality, non-native species, development control, citizen science. 

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

The functional response and resilience in small waterbodies along land-use and environmental gradients
article

Thornhill, I, Biggs, J, Hill, M, Briers, R, Gledhill, D, Wood, P, Gee, J and Hassall, C (2018) 'The functional response and resilience in small waterbodies along land-use and environmental gradients.' Global Change Biology. ISSN 1354-1013


Community heterogeneity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in urban ponds at a multi-city scale
article

Hill, M.J, Biggs, J, Thornhill, I, Briers, R.A, Ledger, M.E, Gledhill, D.G, Wood, P.J and Hassall, C (2018) 'Community heterogeneity of aquatic macroinvertebrates in urban ponds at a multi-city scale.' Landscape Ecology, 33 (3). pp. 389-405. ISSN 0921-2973


The application of graph theory and percolation analysis for assessing change in the spatial configuration of pond networks
article

Thornhill, I, Batty, L, Hewitt, M, Friberg, N.R and Ledger, M.E (2017) 'The application of graph theory and percolation analysis for assessing change in the spatial configuration of pond networks.' Urban Ecosystems, 21 (2). pp. 213-225. ISSN 1083-8155


Getting the full picture: assessing the complementarity of citizen science and agency monitoring data
article

Hadj-Hammou, J, Loiselle, S, Ophof, D and Thornhill, I (2017) 'Getting the full picture: assessing the complementarity of citizen science and agency monitoring data.' PLoS ONE, 12 (12). e0188507. ISSN 1932-6203


Citizen scientists supporting environmental research priorities
article

Loiselle, S.A, Frost, P.C, Turak, E and Thornhill, I (2017) 'Citizen scientists supporting environmental research priorities.' Science of the Total Environment, 598. p. 937. ISSN 0048-9697


Effects of dispersal mode on the environmental and spatial correlates of nestedness and species turnover in pond communities
article

Hill, M.J, Heino, J, Thornhill, I, Ryves, D.B and Wood, P.J (2017) 'Effects of dispersal mode on the environmental and spatial correlates of nestedness and species turnover in pond communities.' Oikos, 126 (11). pp. 1575-1585. ISSN 0030-1299


Local and landscape scale determinants of macroinvertebrate assemblages and their conservation value in ponds across an urban land-use gradient
article

Thornhill, I, Batty, L, Death, R.G, Friberg, N.R and Ledger, M.E (2017) 'Local and landscape scale determinants of macroinvertebrate assemblages and their conservation value in ponds across an urban land-use gradient.' Biodiversity and Conservation, 26 (5). pp. 1065-1086. ISSN 0960-3115


Prioritising local action for water quality improvement using citizen science; a study across three major metropolitan areas of China
article

Thornhill, I, Ho, J.G, Zhang, Y, Li, H, Ho, K.C, Miguel-Chinchilla, L and Loiselle, S.A (2017) 'Prioritising local action for water quality improvement using citizen science; a study across three major metropolitan areas of China.' Science of the Total Environment, 584. pp. 1268-1281. ISSN 0048-9697


The contribution of volunteer-based monitoring data to the assessment of harmful phytoplankton blooms in Brazilian urban streams
article

Cunha, D.G.F, Casali, S.P, de Falco, P.B, Thornhill, I and Loiselle, S.A (2017) 'The contribution of volunteer-based monitoring data to the assessment of harmful phytoplankton blooms in Brazilian urban streams.' Science of the Total Environment, 584. pp. 586-594. ISSN 0048-9697


Urban ponds as an aquatic biodiversity resource in modified landscapes
article

Hill, M.J, Biggs, J, Thornhill, I, Briers, R.A, Gledhill, D.G, White, J.C, Wood, P.J and Hassall, C (2017) 'Urban ponds as an aquatic biodiversity resource in modified landscapes.' Global Change Biology, 23 (3). pp. 986-999. ISSN 1354-1013


Citizen science: advantages of shallow versus deep participation
article

Loiselle, S, Thornhill, I and Bailey, N (2016) 'Citizen science: advantages of shallow versus deep participation.' Frontiers in Environmental Science, 4. Conference abstract: Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2016. ISSN 2296-665X


The citizen science opportunity for researchers and agencies
article

Thornhill, I, Loiselle, S, Lind, K and Ophof, D (2016) 'The citizen science opportunity for researchers and agencies.' BioScience, 66 (9). pp. 720-721. ISSN 0006-3568


The Research Derby: a potentially important tool for bridging interdisciplinary boundaries
article

Thornhill, I (2013) 'The Research Derby: a potentially important tool for bridging interdisciplinary boundaries.' Ideas in Ecology and Evolution, 6 (1). pp. 49-51. ISSN 1918-3178


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