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


Wayman, JP, Sadler, J, Martin, TE, Graham, L, White, HJ, Tobias, JA & Matthews, T 2024, 'Unravelling the complexities of biotic homogenization and heterogenization', Journal of Animal Ecology.

Crowley, LM, Ivison, K, Enston, A, Garrett, D, Sadler, JP, Pritchard, J, MacKenzie, AR & Hayward, SAL 2023, 'A comparison of sampling methods and temporal patterns of arthropod abundance and diversity in a mature, temperate, Oak woodland', Acta Oecologica, vol. 118, 103873.

Rogers, CDF, Grayson, N, Sadler, JP, Chapman, L, Bouch, CJ, Cavada, M & Leach, JM 2023, 'Delivering sustainable, resilient and liveable cities via transformed governance', Frontiers in Sustainable Cities, vol. 5, 1171996.

Jahangir, M, Griffiths, D, White, D, Donlan, G, Ren, X, Kannanthara, J, Singh, Y, Wayman, JP, Baker, CJ, Sadler, JP, Reynolds, J & Antoniou, M 2023, 'Development of a networked photonic‐enabled staring radar testbed for urban surveillance', IET Radar, Sonar & Navigation.

Mayoral, C, Ioni, S, Luna, E, Crowley, LM, Hayward, SAL, Sadler, JP & Mackenzie, AR 2023, 'Elevated CO2 does not improve seedling performance in a naturally regenerated oak woodland exposed to biotic stressors', Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, vol. 6, 1278409.

Asuk, SA, Matthews, TJ, Sadler, JP, Pugh, TAM, Ebu, VT, Ifebueme, NM & Kettridge, N 2023, 'Impact of human foraging on tree diversity, composition, and abundance in a tropical rainforest', Biotropica, vol. 55, no. 1, pp. 1-14.

Wayman, JP, Atkinson, G, Jahangir, M, White, D, Matthews, T, Antoniou, M, Reynolds, J & Sadler, J 2023, 'L-band radar quantifies major disturbance of birds by fireworks in an urban area.', Scientific Reports, vol. 13, no. 1, 12085.

Sultan, H, Grayson, N, Jones, S, Pike, D, Greenham, S, Needle, D, Sadler, J & Frew, E 2023, 'Mapping Environmental Justice – a first for the United Kingdom', Journal of Town and Country Planning .

Hahs, AK, Fournier, B, Aronson, MFJ, Nilon, CH, Herrera-Montes, A, Salisbury, AB, Threlfall, CG, Rega-Brodsky, CC, Lepczyk, CA, La Sorte, FA, MacGregor-Fors, I, Scott MacIvor, J, Jung, K, Piana, MR, Williams, NSG, Knapp, S, Vergnes, A, Acevedo, AA, Gainsbury, AM, Rainho, A, Hamer, AJ, Shwartz, A, Voigt, CC, Lewanzik, D, Lowenstein, DM, O’Brien, D, Tommasi, D, Pineda, E, Carpenter, ES, Belskaya, E, Lövei, GL, Makinson, JC, Coleman, JL, Sadler, JP, Shroyer, J, Shapiro, JT, Baldock, KCR, Ksiazek-Mikenas, K, Matteson, KC, Barrett, K, Siles, L, Aguirre, LF, Armesto, LO, Zalewski, M, Herrera-Montes, MI, Obrist, MK, Tonietto, RK, Gagné, SA, Hinners, SJ, Latty, T, Surasinghe, TD, Sattler, T, Magura, T, Ulrich, W, Elek, Z, Castañeda-Oviedo, J, Torrado, R, Kotze, DJ & Moretti, M 2023, 'Urbanisation generates multiple trait syndromes for terrestrial animal taxa worldwide', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 4751.

Conference contribution

White, D, Jahangir, M, Wayman, JP, Reynolds, J, Sadler, J & Antoniou, M 2023, Bird and micro-drone spectral width and classification. in 2023 24th International Radar Symposium (IRS). Proceedings International Radar Symposium, IEEE, International Radar Symposium IRS 2023, Berlin, Germany, 24/05/23.

Jahangir, M, Atkinson, G, White, D, Griffiths, D, Ren, X, Wayman, JP, Baker, C, Sadler, J, Reynolds, J & Antoniou, M 2023, Networked staring radar testbed for urban surveillance: Status and preliminary results. in International Conference on Radar Systems (RADAR 2022). International Conference on Radar Systems, Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), pp. 471-476, International Conference on Radar Systems (RADAR 2022), Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 24/10/22.

Atkinson, G, Jahangir, M, White, D, Wayman, JP, Baker, C, Sadler, J, Reynolds, J & Antoniou, M 2023, The role of target signatures in bird-drone classification. in 2023 IEEE Radar Conference (RadarConf23)., 10149665, Proceedings of the IEEE Radar Conference, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 2023 IEEE Radar Conference, RadarConf23, San Antonia, United States, 1/05/23.


Dawson, MN, Fraser, C, Matthews, T, Procheş, Ş & Sadler, J 2023, 'Journal of Biogeography Innovation Awards, 2023', Journal of Biogeography, vol. 50, no. 7, pp. 1329-1330.

Review article

Mansfield, I, Reynolds, J, Lynch, I, Matthews, T & Sadler, J 2024, 'Birds as bioindicators of plastic pollution in terrestrial and freshwater environments: A 30-year review', Environmental Pollution, vol. 348, 123790.

Benavides Rios, E, Sadler, J, Graham, L & Matthews, T 2024, 'Species distribution models and island biogeography: challenges and prospects', Global Ecology and Conservation, vol. 51, e02943.

View all publications in research portal