Our research

Biodiversity is the variety of all plant and animal life in the world, and the natural systems that support them. It supports all the vital benefits we get from the natural environment and contributes to our economy, our health and wellbeing.

We aim to understand, predict and mitigate future threats to biodiversity, through measuring change in terrestrial populations of native and non-native species and communities in response to multiple drivers; understanding the responses to environmental change of individuals, species and ecological networks, and how this affects ecosystem functions and the delivery of services; and developing effective socio-ecological strategies to restore biodiversity and enhance resilience to future extreme environmental events.

In our Biodiversity science area, we are advancing understanding of ecological and socio-ecological processes and assessing resilience to climate and land use change through targeted, integrated monitoring and mechanistic experiments. We work with recording schemes and societies with long-term, national datasets to assess the status and trends of species populations through long-term, large-scale surveillance and predictive modelling. Our integrated work platform allows us to deliver both policy-level and on-the-ground solutions for conserving and restoring biodiversity.

World-class science and innovation

  • National and international, long-term data and time trends for native and non-native species, pests and diseases
  • New tools and technologies for monitoring biodiversity
  • Understanding ecological and evolutionary processes and how they mediate responses to environmental change
  • How species and community characteristics drive ecosystem function and the delivery of services
  • Identifying key drivers of biodiversity change, how they interact and prediction of their consequences
  • Robust socio-ecological management strategies to restore biodiversity and functions, and increase resilience

Forest, mountains and lake

Science Groups


Inspecting Bombus terrestris hives in field trial
The impact of neonicotinoids, pathogens and disease on wild bees
Investigating the relationships between biodiversity, climate and economy in Latin America
Countryside Survey Data Capture
A recurring national survey of the countryside
Honeybees, image by Shutterstock
A large-scale, pan-European field experiment
A shag and chicks in their nest on the Isle of May
Understanding species dynamics for effective conservation
Man holding a brown trout caught at Loch Leven
OpenNESS project: Loch Leven case study
Guillemot and chick on the Isle of May
Understanding seabird populations and related insights into the health of marine ecosystems
Scots pine tree by a roadside, Sheildaig
Sustainable approaches for addressing threats to trees
Two swallows on a wire
Addressing knowledge gaps about changes in the seasonal timing of biological events