Gareth J. Russell

Gareth J. Russell


grussell [at]




I am broadly interested in community and population dynamics, and conservation biology, especially patterns of extinction. Research in my lab proceeds along two broad fronts. The first combines modelling with data from field studies to try to understand the patterns and dynamics of spatially-distributed populations and communities. We have found ourselves increasingly examining the often profound effects of individual movement patterns and decision-making on the large-scale distribution and dynamics of populations (see, for example, the most recent three papers below). Taxa that we are looking at in this light include birds, bears and elephants.

The second area of research in my lab combines computer science, engineering and ecology, in the form of automated ID systems for species identification. The larger goal of this research is the provide new tools for collecting the kind of intensive and extensive data required to test hypotheses about large-scale ecological dynamics. Without these data, much ecological theory is little better than speculation. Our main push in this area is an NSF-funded project to develop a real-time underwater monitoring system for coral reef fish — a flexible 'fish counter' to act as an early-warning system for change in reef community structure. We are also involved in a variety of other efforts to identify taxa that include spiders, bees, and tropical trees. The 'invertebrate' projects are in collaboration with my wife Kimberly Russell, who is also an ecologist and who works at the American Museum of Natural History.


B.A. in Zoology, Oxford University, 1992.   
Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Tennessee,1996.


Note: see here for lab updates and publication list with download links.

  SCHNELL, J. K., HARRIS, G. M., PIMM, S. L., & G. J. RUSSELL (2013).  Quantitative analysis of forest fragmentation in the atlantic forest reveals more threatened bird species than the current red list.  PLoS One 8(5):e65357. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0065357.

  SCHNELL, J. K., HARRIS, G. M., PIMM, S. L., AND G. J. RUSSELL (2013).  Estimating extinction risk with metapopulation models of large-scale fragmentation.  Conserv Biol. 27(3): 520-530.

   BAISER, B., RUSSELL, G. J., & J. L. LOCKWOOD (2010) Connectance determines invasion success via trophic interactions in model food webs.  Oikos 119(12): 1970-1976.

   PIMM, S. L., JENKINS, C. N., JOPPA, L. N., ROBERTS, D. L., & G. J. RUSSELL (2010) How many endangered species remain to be discovered in Brazil? Natureza & Conservacao 8(1): 71-77.

   RUSSELL, G. J. & A. ROSALES (2010) Sociability leads to instability: site-switching cascades in a colonial species. Theoretical Ecology 3(1): 3-12.

    HARRIS, G. M., G. J. RUSSELL, R. I. VAN AARDE & S. L. PIMM (2008) Rules of habitat use by elephants (Loxodonta africana) in southern Africa: insights for regional management. Oryx 42(1): 66–75.

    RUSSELL, G. J., T. M. REED, J. M. DIAMOND & S. L. PIMM (2006) Breeding birds on small islands: island biogeography or optimal foraging? Journal of Animal Ecology 75(2): 324–339.

    CASSEY, P., T. M. BLACKBURN, G. J. RUSSELL, K. E. JONES & J. L. LOCKWOOD (2004) Influences on the transport and establishment of exotic bird species: an analysis of the parrots (Psittaciformes) of the world. Global Change Biology 10: 417–426.

    FERRAZ, G., G. J. RUSSELL, T. E. LOVEJOY, P. C. STOUFFER, R. O. BIERREGAARD & S. L. PIMM (2004) Rates of species loss from Amazonian forest fragments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 24: 14069–14073.

    RUSSELL, G. J., O. L. BASS & S. L. PIMM (2002) The effects of hydrological patterns and untimely, breeding-season flooding on the numbers and distribution of wading birds in Everglades National Park. Animal Conservation 5: 185–199.

    RUSSELL, G. J., T. M. BROOKS, M. L. MCKINNEY & C. G. ANDERSON (1998) Present and future taxonomic selectivity in bird and mammal extinctions. Conservation Biology 12: 1365–1376.