Dr Shan Huang PhD

Dr Shan Huang

Assistant Professor in Paleobiology

Contact details

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

Dr Huang is a macroecologist interested in understanding broad-scale biodiversity dynamics in space and time, particularly about the role of history in shaping the biota. Her primary research approach is to synthesize large data sets of both extinct and extant organismal systems and their environmental templates to investigate processes that give rise to the dramatic temporal and spatial variation in different aspects of biodiversity and its future.

More information on Dr Huang's website.


  • PhD in Ecology, University of Georgia
  • MSc in Scientific, Technical & Medical Translation with Translation Technology, Imperial College London
  • MSc in Ecology, Evolution & Conservation, Imperial College London
  • BSc in Biological Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University


2023-present Assistant Professor in Paleobiology, University of Birmingham

2019-2022 Postdoc fellow funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG; an Eigene Stelle grant), Senckenberg Biodiversity & Climate Research Centre.

2015-2019 Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow, Senckenberg Biodiversity & Climate Research Centre.

2012-2015 Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Chicago (Advisor: Dr. David Jablonski)

2012 PhD, Unviersity of Georgia (Advisor: Dr. Sonia Altizer & Dr. John Gittleman)

Postgraduate supervision

Shan is happy to supervise projects on large-scale dynamics of biodiversity, from the deep-time history to the future, especially:
- the ecology and evolution of body size
- extinction mechanisms
- morphological consequences of extinctions
- the future of our blue food
- macroecology in parasites


Macroecology & Macroevolution: Biodiversity dynamics in time and space.

Shan is broadly interested in understanding broad-scale biodiversity dynamics, in space and time, particularly the dramatic temporal and spatial variation in different aspects of biodiversity. She investigates the processes underlying biodiversity patterns, with an emphasis on the role of history in shaping global and regional biota, including evolutionary history of the organisms (e.g. extinction, range dynamics and morphological evolution) and historical environmental transitions (e.g. landscape evolution and paleoclimate change).

Shan takes an interdisciplinary approach to research by synthesising large datasets from ecology, evolution, palaeontology, geoscience, etc. She also integrates knowledge from studying various organismal systems, including terrestrial mammals, marine bivalves, and infectious diseases.

Google Scholar Profile


Recent publications


Huang, S, Edie, SM, Collins, KS, Crouch, NMA, Roy, K & Jablonski, D 2023, 'Diversity, distribution and intrinsic extinction vulnerability of exploited marine bivalves', Nature Communications, vol. 14, no. 1, 4639. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40053-y

Huang, S, Saarinen, J, Eyre, A, Eronen, J & Fritz, S 2022, 'Mammalian body size evolution was shaped by habitat transitions as an indirect effect of climate change', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 31, no. 12, pp. 2463-2474. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13594

Morales-Castilla, I, Pappalardo, P, Farrell, MJ, Aguirre, AA, Huang, S, Gehman, AM, Dallas, T, Gravel, D & Davies, TJ 2021, 'Forecasting parasite sharing under climate change', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 376, no. 1837, 20200360. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0360

Teitelbaum, CS, Amoroso, CR, Huang, S, Davies, TJ, Rushmore, J, Drake, JM, Stephens, PR, Byers, JE, Majewska, AA & Nunn, CL 2020, 'A comparison of diversity estimators applied to a database of host–parasite associations', Ecography, vol. 43, no. 9, pp. 1316-1328. https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.05143

Pappalardo, P, Morales-Castilla, I, Park, AW, Huang, S, Schmidt, JP & Stephens, PR 2020, 'Comparing methods for mapping global parasite diversity', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 182-193. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13008

Song, H, Huang, S, Jia, E, Dai, X, Wignall, PB & Dunhill, AM 2020, 'Flat latitudinal diversity gradient caused by the Permian–Triassic mass extinction', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 117, no. 30, pp. 17578-17583. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1918953117

Dallas, T, Gehman, ALM, Aguirre, AA, Budischak, SA, Drake, JM, Farrell, MJ, Ghai, R, Huang, S & Morales-Castilla, I 2019, 'Contrasting latitudinal gradients of body size in helminth parasites and their hosts', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 28, no. 6, pp. 804-813. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12894

Stephens, PR, Altizer, S, Ezenwa, VO, Gittleman, JL, Moan, E, Han, B, Huang, S & Pappalardo, P 2019, 'Parasite sharing in wild ungulates and their predators: Effects of phylogeny, range overlap, and trophic links', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 88, no. 7, pp. 1017-1028. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.12987

Huang, S, Meijers, MJM, Eyres, A, Mulch, A & Fritz, SA 2019, 'Unravelling the history of biodiversity in mountain ranges through integrating geology and biogeography', Journal of Biogeography, vol. 46, no. 8, pp. 1777-1791. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13622

Park, AW, Farrell, MJ, Schmidt, JP, Huang, S, Dallas, TA, Pappalardo, P, Drake, JM, Stephens, PR, Poulin, R, Nunn, CL & Davies, TJ 2018, 'Characterizing the phylogenetic specialism-generalism spectrum of mammal parasites', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 285, no. 1874, 20172613. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.2613

Dallas, TA, Aguirre, AA, Budischak, S, Carlson, C, Ezenwa, V, Han, B, Huang, S & Stephens, PR 2018, 'Gauging support for macroecological patterns in helminth parasites', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 27, no. 12, pp. 1437-1447. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12819

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Huang, S, Eyres, A, Fritz, SA, Eronen, JT & Saarinen, J 2023, Environmental Change and Body Size Evolution in Neogene Large Mammals. in I Casanovas-Vilar, LW van den Hoek Ostende, CM Janis & J Saarinen (eds), Evolution of Cenozoic Land Mammal Faunas and Ecosystems: 25 Years of the NOW Database of Fossil Mammals. 1 edn, Vertebrate Paleobiology and Paleoanthropology, Springer, pp. 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-17491-9_6


Huang, S, Farrell, M & Stephens, PR 2021, 'Infectious disease macroecology: parasite diversity and dynamics across the globe', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, vol. 376, no. 1837, 20200350. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0350


Huang, S, Tucker, MA, Hertel, AG, Eyres, A & Albrecht, J 2021, 'Scale-dependent effects of niche specialisation: the disconnect between individual and species ranges', Ecology Letters, vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 1408-1419. https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13759

Review article

Farrell, MJ, Park, AW, Cressler, CE, Dallas, T, Huang, S, Mideo, N, Morales-Castilla, I, Davies, TJ & Stephens, P 2021, 'The ghost of hosts past: impacts of host extinction on parasite specificity', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol. 376, no. 1837, 20200351. https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2020.0351

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