Professor Jon Sadler

Professor Jon Sadler

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor of Biogeography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jon Sadler is a biogeographer and ecologist whose research focuses on species population and assemblage dynamics in animals (sometimes plants). His work is highly interdisciplinary, bisecting biogeography, ecology, urban design, riparian management and island Biogeography. It uses approaches that combine detailed field studies, field and laboratory experimentation, sometimes with social science to examine the links between environmental variability and species (including humans) responses. His research has significant blue skies and applied implications for understanding and responding to the impacts of climate and environmental change variability on urban and island ecosystems, hydrological systems, riparian/riverine ecology, the management/conservation of freshwaters. He is a fan of numbers and coding (especially using open source software such as R).

Jon is part of the Birmingham Plastics Network, an interdisciplinary team of more than 40 academics working together to shape the fate and sustainable future of plastics.  This unique team brings together chemists, environmental scientists, philosophers, linguists, economists, and experts in many other fields, to holistically address the global plastics problem.


Jon Sadler teaches on the following topics:

  • Earth and ecological systems
  • Landscape and urban ecology
  • Environmental assessment and modelling in R 
  • (Tutorials and fieldwork)

Postgraduate supervision

Jon Sadler’s research focuses on the ecology of two very different environments (riparian and urban) that are subjected to periodic disturbances by either natural and/or anthropogenic processes. The main thrust of the work is to disentangle the often conflicting influences of the landscape ecology of riverscapes and urban landscapes on the ecology of animals that live there. Within these broad areas there are two key linking and cross-cutting themes: gaining an improved understanding of how disturbance affects ecological communities and ecosystem function across a range of spatial (landscape-individual habitat patches) and temporal (millennial-diurnal) scales; how landscape configuration (pattern and form) affects community assembly and individual species movement (hence populations), community persistence and links to variability in ecological and ecosystem function. Professor Sadler's current ornithological project is investigating the ecological significance of linkage and connectivity for avian biodiversity in urban areas. He welcomes enquiries from prospective doctoral researchers in his areas of interest.

Other activities

Jon is Editor in Chief of the Journal of Biogeography, a fellow of Royal Geographical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society and a member of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly Sub-Division on Estuaries, Wetlands & Eco-Hydrology Steering Committee. He was an assessor for REF2014 (UoA 17).


Recent publications


Goddard, MA, Davies, ZG, Guenat, S, Ferguson, MJ, Fisher, JC, Akanni, A, Ahjokoski, T, Anderson, PML, Angeoletto, F, Antoniou, C, Bates, AJ, Barkwith, A, Berland, A, Bouch, CJ, Rega-Brodsky, CC, Byrne, LB, Cameron, D, Canavan, R, Chapman, T, Connop, S, Crossland, S, Dade, MC, Dawson, DA, Dobbs, C, Downs, CT, Ellis, EC, Escobedo, FJ, Gobster, P, Gulsrud, NM, Guneralp, B, Hahs, AK, Hale, JD, Hassall, C, Hedblom, M, Hochuli, DF, Inkinen, T, Ioja, IC, Kendal, D, Knowland, T, Kowarik, I, Langdale, SJ, Lerman, SB, MacGregor-Fors, I, Manning, P, Massini, P, McLean, S, Mkwambisi, DD, Ossola, A, Luque, GP, Pérez-Urrestarazu, L, Perini, K, Perry, G, Pett, TJ, Plummer, KE, Radji, RA, Roll, U, Potts, SG, Rumble, H, Sadler, JP, de Saille, S, Sautter, S, Scott, CE, Shwartz, A, Smith, T, Snep, RPH, Soulsbury, CD, Stanley, MC, Van de Voorde, T, Venn, SJ, Warren, PH, Washbourne, CL, Whitling, M, Williams, NSG, Yang, J, Yeshitela, K, Yocom, KP & Dallimer, M 2021, 'A global horizon scan of the future impacts of robotics and autonomous systems on urban ecosystems', Nature Ecology and Evolution, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 219-230.

Croghan, D, Khamis, K, Bradley, C, Van Loon, AF, Sadler, J & Hannah, DM 2021, 'Combining in-situ fluorometry and distributed rainfall data provides new insights into natural organic matter transport dynamics in an urban river', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 755, 142731.

Crowley, LM, Sadler, JP, Pritchard, J & Hayward, SAL 2021, 'Elevated co2 impacts on plant–pollinator interactions: A systematic review and free air carbon enrichment field study', Insects, vol. 12, no. 6, 512, pp. 1-14.

Wayman, JP, Sadler, JP, Pugh, TAM, Martin, TE, Tobias, JA & Matthews, TJ 2021, 'Identifying the drivers of spatial taxonomic and functional beta-diversity of British breeding birds', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 9, 620062.

Marchant, P, Hale, JD & Sadler, JP 2020, 'Does changing to brighter road lighting improve road safety? Multilevel longitudinal analysis of road traffic collision frequency during the relighting of a UK city', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, vol. 74, no. 5, pp. 467-472.

Garrett, LJH, Myatt, JP, Sadler, JP, Dawson, DA, Hipperson, H, Colbourne, JK, Dickey, RC, Weber, SB & Reynolds, SJ 2020, 'Spatio-temporal processes drive fine-scale genetic structure in an otherwise panmictic seabird population', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 20725.

Matthews, T, Sadler, J, Carvalho, R, Nunes, R & Borges, PAV 2019, 'Differential temporal beta-diversity patterns of native and non-native arthropod species in a fragmented native forest landscape', Ecography, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 45-54.

Matthews, T, Borregaard, MK, Gillespie, CS, Rigal, F, Ugland, KI, Ferreira Krüger, R, Marques, R, Sadler, J, Borges, PAV, Kubota, Y & Whittaker, RJ 2019, 'Extension of the gambin model to multimodal species abundance distributions', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 432-437.

Lafage, D, Bergman, E, Eckstein, RL, Österling, EM, Sadler, JP & Piccolo, JJ 2019, 'Local and landscape drivers of aquatic-to-terrestrial subsidies in riparian ecosystems: a worldwide meta-analysis', Ecosphere, vol. 10, no. 4, e02697.

Croghan, D, Van Loon, AF, Sadler, JP, Bradley, C & Hannah, DM 2019, 'Prediction of river temperature surges is dependent on precipitation method', Hydrological Processes, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 144-159.

Hopper, N, Gosler, A, Sadler, J & Reynolds, S 2019, 'Species’ cultural heritage inspires a conservation ethos: the evidence in black and white', Conservation Letters.

Matthews, T, Sadler, J, Kubota, Y, Woodall, CW & Pugh, T 2019, 'Systematic variation in North American tree species abundance distributions along macroecological climatic gradients', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 601-611.


Palahí, M, Valbuena, R, Senf, C, Acil, N, Pugh, TAM, Sadler, J, Seidl, R, Potapov, P, Gardiner, B, Hetemäki, L, Chirici, G, Francini, S, Hlásny, T, Lerink, BJW, Olsson, H, González Olabarria, JR, Ascoli, D, Asikainen, A, Bauhus, J, Berndes, G, Donis, J, Fridman, J, Hanewinkel, M, Jactel, H, Lindner, M, Marchetti, M, Marušák, R, Sheil, D, Tomé, M, Trasobares, A, Verkerk, PJ, Korhonen, M & Nabuurs, GJ 2021, 'Concerns about reported harvests in European forests', Nature, vol. 592, no. 7856, pp. E15-E17.

Review article

Krause, S, Baranov, V, Nel, HA, Drummond, JD, Kukkola, A, Hoellein, T, Sambrook Smith, GH, Lewandowski, J, Bonnet, B, Packman, AI, Sadler, J, Inshyna, V, Allen, S, Allen, D, Simon, L, Mermillod-Blondin, F & Lynch, I 2021, 'Gathering at the top? Environmental controls of microplastic uptake and biomagnification in freshwater food webs', Environmental Pollution, vol. 268, no. Pt A, 115750.

Borg Galea, A, Sadler, JP, Hannah, DM, Datry, T & Dugdale, SJ 2019, 'Mediterranean intermittent rivers and ephemeral streams: Challenges in monitoring complexity', Ecohydrology, vol. 12, no. 8, e2149.

View all publications in research portal