Dr Laura Graham

Dr Laura Graham

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Birmingham Fellow
IIASA-NERC Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Laura Graham is a computational and spatial ecologist interested in understanding how anthropogenic changes such as climate and land-use change affect global ecosystems, and how this in turn affects human well-being. Read more about Laura’s research at laurajanegraham.github.io. 

Laura is currently working on the IIASA-NERC funded fellowship A complex-systems approach to improve understanding of the biodiversity-landscape structure relationship.


  • PhD Geography, University of Nottingham
  • MSc Environmental Management, University of Nottingham (Distinction)
  • BSc Mathematics, University of Southampton (First)


Laura completed her PhD at the University of Nottingham where she developed methods for incorporating landscape-scale biodiversity assessment into the urban planning process. She then moved to Stony Brook University, NY where she was a postdoc studying the effect of climate change on hummingbird distributions. Following this, Laura was a postdoc on the ERC Project Scaling Rules for Ecosystem Services. Prior to beginning her career in academic research, Laura was a mathematician and database developer, and has since applied skills learned there to answer ecological questions. 

In 2020, Laura joined GEES as a Birmingham Fellow, with the first 3 years funded by the IIASA-NERC Fellowship A complex-systems approach to improve understanding of the biodiversity-landscape structure relationship.

Postgraduate supervision

Laura Graham welcomes enquiries from students with interests in landscape ecology, macroecology, global change ecology, and human-nature interactions. In particular: 

  • Effect of land-use change (due to agriculture, urbanization) on biodiversity
  • Interactive effects of climate and land-use change on biodiversity
  • Using heterogeneous sources of data (e.g. citizen science, social media, online search histories) to answer ecological and socio-ecological questions.

Current Students

Sonia Bansal (2021- ) The Connected City: balancing equity in access to greenspace with biodiversity Conservation (University of Birmingham, CENTA DTP) 

Kerryn Little (2020 - ) The importance of local landscape controls on fuel moisture content for fire behaviour and fire danger (University of Birmingham, Pyrolife ITN) 

Past Students

Nathan Fox (2017 - 2021) Using big data from social media sites to understand the role of geodiversity in the delivery of cultural ecosystem services (University of Southampton, SPITFIRE DTP)


  • Landscape ecology
  • Macroecology
  • Ecosystem services
  • Statistical & computational methods development

Other activities

  • BES Publications Committee – Committee Member
  • BES Events Committee – Chair
  • BES Quantitative Ecology Group – Secretary
  • Methods in Ecology & Evolution – Associate Editor
  • People & Nature – Associate Editor
  • Fellow of the Turing Institute


Recent publications


Graham, LJ, Watts, K & Eigenbrod, F 2023, 'Teasing apart fine- and coarse-scale effects of environmental heterogeneity on tree species richness in Europe', Basic and Applied Ecology, vol. 66, pp. 78-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2022.12.002

Nogué, S, Nascimento, LD, Graham, L, Brown, LA, González, LAG, Castilla‐Beltrán, A, Peñuelas, J, Fernández‐Palacios, JM & Willis, KJ 2022, 'The spatiotemporal distribution of pollen traits related to dispersal and desiccation tolerance in Canarian laurel forest', Journal of Vegetation Science, vol. 33, no. 5, e13147. https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.13147

Novella‐Fernandez, R, Juste, J, Ibáñez, C, Rebelo, H, Russo, D, Alberdi, A, Kiefer, A, Graham, L, Paul, H, Doncaster, CP, Razgour, O & Capinha, C (ed.) 2021, 'Broad‐scale patterns of geographic avoidance between species emerge in the absence of fine‐scale mechanisms of coexistence', Diversity and Distributions, vol. 27, no. 9, pp. 1606-1618. https://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.13375

Fox, N, Graham, L, Eigenbrod, F, Bullock, JM & Parks, KE 2021, 'Enriching social media data allows a more robust representation of cultural ecosystem services', Ecosystem Services, vol. 50, 101328. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2021.101328

Hesselbarth, MHK, Nowosad, J, Signer, J & Graham, LJ 2021, 'Open-source tools in R for landscape ecology', Current Landscape Ecology Reports. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40823-021-00067-y

Fox, N, Graham, L, Eigenbrod, F, Bullock, JM & Parks, KE 2021, 'Reddit: a novel data source for cultural ecosystem service studies', Ecosystem Services, vol. 50, 101331. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2021.101331

Graham, L 2020, 'Identifying Agricultural Frontiers for Modeling Global Cropland Expansion', One Earth, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 504-514. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.09.006

Fox, N, Graham, LJ, Eigenbrod, F, Bullock, JM & Parks, KE 2020, 'Incorporating geodiversity in ecosystem service decisions', Ecosystems and People, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 151-159. https://doi.org/10.1080/26395916.2020.1758214

Fox, N, August, T, Mancini, F, Parks, KE, Eigenbrod, F, Bullock, JM, Graham, L & Sutter, L 2020, '“photosearcher” package in R: An accessible and reproducible method for harvesting large datasets from Flickr', SoftwareX. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.softx.2020.100624

Spake, R, Bellamy, C, Graham, LJ, Watts, K, Wilson, T, Norton, LR, Wood, CM, Schmucki, R, Bullock, JM & Eigenbrod, F 2019, 'An analytical framework for spatially targeted management of natural capital', Nature Sustainability, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 90-97. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0223-4

Calderon-Aguilera, LE, Graham, LJ & Eigenbrod, F 2019, 'Ignoring the spatial structure of the sea cucumber Isostichopus fuscus distribution when granting quotas can be costly', Ocean and Coastal Management, vol. 178, 104859. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2019.104859

Graham, LJ, Spake, R, Gillings, S, Watts, K & Eigenbrod, F 2019, 'Incorporating fine-scale environmental heterogeneity into broad-extent models', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 10, no. 6, pp. 767-778. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.13177

Yu, W, Wardrop, NA, Bain, RES, Alegana, V, Graham, LJ & Wright, JA 2019, 'Mapping access to domestic water supplies from incomplete data in developing countries: An illustrative assessment for Kenya', PLoS ONE, vol. 14, no. 5, e0216923. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0216923

Graham, LJ, Eigenbrod, F & Hoyle, H (ed.) 2019, 'Scale dependency in drivers of outdoor recreation in England', People and Nature, vol. 1, no. 3. https://doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10042


McCrea, R, King, R, Graham, L & Börger, L 2023, 'Realising the promise of large data and complex models', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 4-11. https://doi.org/10.1111/2041-210X.14050

View all publications in research portal