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Dr Hannah White

Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Research Supervision:

Hannah is a macroecologist interested in how biodiversity is arranged in space and time, and the processes that underlie these patterns. Her research investigates how global change may impact biodiversity and ecosystem functioning across multiple spatial scales.

[email protected]

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Hannah joined the School of Life Sciences in July 2021. She is a macroecologist with broad research interests covering the spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity, ecosystem stability and the mechanisms underlying these. Her research has spanned a wide range of taxa from birds to plants to soil micro-organisms.  

After developing an interest in the importance of ecological traits during her MSc at Imperial College London, Hannah completed her PhD at Queen’s University Belfast studying spatial and temporal patterns of functional diversity in UK birds and Scottish plants. Her research positions at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin have covered topics including ecosystem stability using remotely sensed data and the contribution of common and rare species to functional diversity, respectively. Her research has been awarded the Elton Prize from the British Ecological Society and the Excellence in Ecology Early Career Researcher from the Irish Ecological Association.  

Research interests
  • macroecology and biogeography
  • spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity
  • functional diversity and ecological traits
  • scaling of ecological relationships
  • impact of diversity on ecosystem functioning and stability
  • species commonness and rarity

Hannah is a member of the Applied Ecology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision
  • biodiversity modelling
  • distribution modelling
  • functional ecology
  • community ecology
  • BSc (Hons) Natural Sciences (University of Birmingham)
  • MSc Ecology, Evolution and Conservation (Imperial College London)
  • PhD Ecology (Queen’s University Belfast)
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Associate Editor, Journal of Animal Ecology
  • Member, British Ecological Society
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

2020: Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship (€91,970) (Principal Investigator)

Selected recent publications

Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., White, H.J., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M.C., Murray, T. & Yearsley, J.M. (2022) Modelling the distribution of rare invertebrates by correcting class imbalance and spatial bias. In press in Diversity and Distributions. doi: 10.1111/ddi.13619

White, H.J. (2022) The global impact of management on soil nematode abundances. Journal of Animal Ecology. 91: 1736-1739. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.13765

White, H.J., Pakeman, R.J., & Buckley, Y. Common species contribute little to spatial patterns of functional diversity across scales in coastal grasslands. Journal of Ecology 110: 1149-1160. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.13858

White, H.J., Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M.C. & Yearsley, J. (in press) Ecosystem stability at the landscape scale is primarily associated with climatic history. Functional Ecology

Capdevila, P., Stott, I., Oliveras Menor, I., Stouffer, D. B., Raimundo, R. L. G., White, H. J., Barbour, M., & Salguero-Gómez, R. (2021) Reconciling resilience across ecological systems, systems and subdisciplines. Journal of Ecology 109:3102-3113. doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.13775

White, H.J., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M.C. & Yearsley, J. (2021) Predicting future stability of ecosystem functioning under climate change. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 320:107600. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2021.107600

Zhang, J., Gillet, F., Bartha, S., Alatalo, J. M., Biurrun, I., Dembicz, I., … White, H. J., Wu, J., Dengler, J., 2021. Scale dependence of species-area relationships is widespread but generally weak in Palaearctic grasslands. Journal of Vegetation Science 32, e13044. doi: 10.1111/jvs.13044

Dembicz, I., Dengler, J., Steinbauer, M. J., Matthews, T. J., Bartha, S., Burrascano, S., … White, H. J., … Biurrun, I., 2021. Fine-grain beta diversity of Palaearctic grassland vegetation. Journal of Vegetation Science 32, e13045. doi: 10.1111/jvs.13045

Thornhill, I., Cornelissen, H., McPherson, J., MacBride-Stewart, S., Mohamad, Z., White, H. J., Wiersma, Y. F., 2021. Towards ecological science for all by all. Journal of Applied Ecology 58, pp. 206-213. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13841

White, H. J., León-Sánchez, L., Burton, V. J., Cameron, E. K., Caruso, T., Cunha, L., Dirilgen, T., Jurburg, S. D., Kelly, R., Kumaresan, D., Ochoa-Hueso, R., Ordonez, A., Phillips, H. R. P., Prieto, I., Schmidt, O., Caplat, P., 2020. Methods and approaches to advance soil macroecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 29(10), pp. 1674-1690. doi: 10.1111/geb.13156

White, H. J. Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M. C., Yearsley, J., 2020. Quantifying large-scale ecosystem stability with remote sensing data. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, 6(3), pp. 354-365.doi: 10.1002/rse2.148

Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., White, H. J., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M. C., Murray, T., Yearsley, J. M., 2020. Data quantity is more important than its spatial bias for predictive species distribution modelling. PeerJ 8, e10411. doi: 10.7717/peerj.10411

Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., Roark, E., White, H. J., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M. C., Yearsley, J. M., 2020. What have biological records ever done for us? A systematic scoping review. Frontiers of Biogeography, 12(4), e48607. doi: 10.21425/F5FBG48607

Dengler, J., Matthews, T. J., Steinbauer, M. J., Wolfrum, S., Boch, S., Chiarucci, A. … White, H. J., Winkler, M., Biurrun, I., 2020. Species-area relationships in continuous vegetation: evidence from Palaearctic grasslands. Journal of Biogeography, 47(1), pp. 72-86. doi: 10.1111/jbi.13697

Tiley, A. M. M., White, H. J., Foster, G. D., Bailey, A. M., 2019. The ZtvelB gene is required for vegetative growth and sporulation in the wheat pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10, pp. 2210. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02210

White, H. J., Gaul, W., Sadykova, D., León-Sánchez, L., Caplat, P., Emmerson, M. C. & Yearsley, J., 2019. Land cover drives large scale productivity-diversity relationships in Irish vascular plants. PeerJ, 7, e7035. doi: 10.7717/peerj.7035

White, H. J., Montgomery, W. I., Lennon, J. J., 2018. Contribution of local rarity and climatic suitability to local extinction and colonisation varies with species traits. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87(6), pp. 1560-1572. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12881

White, H. J., Montgomery, W. I., Storchová, L., Hořák, D., Lennon, J. J., 2018. Does functional homogenisation accompany taxonomic homogenisation of British birds and do biotic factors and climate affect these processes? Ecology and Evolution, 8(15), pp. 7365-7377. doi: 10.1002/ece3.4267

White, H. J., Montgomery, W. I., Pakeman, R. J, Lennon, J. J., 2018. Spatiotemporal scaling of plant species richness and functional diversity in a temperate semi-natural grassland. Ecography, 41(5), pp. 845-856. doi: 10.1111/ecog.03111

Dengler, J., Wagner, V., Dembicz, I., Garcia-Mijangos, I., Naqinezhd, A., Boch, S. … White, H. J. … Biurrun, I., 2018. GrassPlot – a database of multi-scale plant diversity in Palaearctic grasslands. Phytocoenologia, 48(3), pp. 331-347. doi: 10.1127/phyto/2018/0267

Phillips, N. D., Reid, N., Thys, T., Harrod, C., Payne, N., Morgan, C., White, H. J., Porter, S., Houghton, J. D. R., 2017. Applying species distribution modelling to a data poor, pelagic fish complex: the ocean sunfishes. Journal of Biogeography, 44(10), pp. 2176-2187. doi: 10.1111/jbi.13033

Hudson, L. N., Newbold, T., Contu, S., Hill, S. L. L., Lysenko, I., De Palma, A. … White, H. J. … Purvis, A., 2017. The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project. Ecology and Evolution, 7(1), pp. 145-188. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2579

Newbold, T., Hudson, L., Hill, S. L. L., Contu, S., Lysenko, I., Senior, R. A. … White, H. J., Ewers, R. M., Mace, G. M., Scharlemann, J. P. W., Purvis, A., 2015. Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature, 520(7545), pp. 45-50. doi: 10.1038/nature14324

Hudson, L., Newbold, T., Contu, S., Hill, S. L. L., Lysenko, I., De Palma, A. … White, H. J., Collen, B., Ewers, R. M., Mace, G. M., Purves, D., Scharlemann, J. P. W., Purvis, A., 2014. The PREDICTS database: a global database of how local terrestrial biodiversity responds to human impacts. Ecology and Evolution, 4(24), pp. 4701-4725. doi: 10.1002/ece3.1303

Recent presentations and conferences
Selected recent conference presentations

Using a response-effect trait framework to study community stability, British Ecological Society Macroecology Meeting, Sheffield, July 2022

Contribution of common and rare species to spatial patterns of functional diversity, Irish Ecological Association, Cork (virtual), January 2021

Investigating landscape-scale stability of plant productivity using remotely sensed data, British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Belfast, December 2019

Land cover drives large-scale productivity-diversity relationships in Irish vascular plants, International Association of Vegetation Science, Bremen, July 2019

Functional and taxonomic homogenisation of birds, Student Plenary Speaker, British Ecological Society Macroecology Meeting, Oxford, July 2016

Media experience

How green does Ireland look from space? RTÉ Brainstorm, 23/06/2020