Terry Dawson

Professor Terry Dawson

SAGES Chair in Global Environmental Change

  • Tel: +44 (0)1382 388064
  • Email: t.p.dawson@dundee.ac.uk
  • Geography, School of Social Sciences, University of Dundee, Perth Rd, Dundee, DD1 4HN


Research Interests

My current research interests are very cross-disciplinary and focus on: Complex Systems and Earth Systems Science; Application of Integrated Assessment (IA) techniques for evaluating environmental change and anthropogenic impacts on landscapes, biodiversity, natural resources and ecosystem services; Development of remote sensing, GIS and environmental modelling tools for studying and understanding sustainability and the interaction between climate change and social-ecological systems. Much of my traditional work has been investigating conservation and policy responses to climate change impacts on the distribution of species. More recently, I have been interested in human-induced land-use and land-cover change due to the recognition that the transformation of landscapes is the greatest driver of biodiversity loss. Increasing, and unsustainable, demands on our natural resources due to a rapidly growing global population is a challenging phenomenon, which now takes up much of my thinking time. This has led to an interest in novel computational techniques that are able to integrate the social and biophysical sciences, such as agent-based-modelling, and the investigation of social-ecological tipping points and critical thresholds.

Recent Research Grants

2014-2016 Principal-Investigator, MIning Relationships Among variables in large datasets from CompLEx systems (MIRACLE), an International project with partners from USA, the Netherlands and Canada. Awarded circa US$500,000 (£125K to Dundee) under the ESRC ‘Digging into Data’ programme, 2014-2016.
2013-2017 Principal-Investigator, A Sustainable Marine and fisheries Management Plan for the Pitcairn Islands. Awarded £250,000 by the DEFRA Darwin Initiative (Ref: 20-006).
2013-2014  Principal-Investigator, Modelling human behaviour at the science-policy interface, Awarded £2,000 jointly by the CECHR Incubator fund and SAGES Society Theme small projects award. 
2013-2017 Co-Investigator (Lead PI: James Bullock, CEH), WISER (Which Ecosystem Service Models Best Capture the Needs of the Rural Poor?). Awarded £500,000 under the NERC ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) programme.
2012-2016 Co-Investigator (Lead PI: Mark Cutler, Dundee), Global Observatory of Lake Responses to Environmental Change (GloboLakes). Awarded £2.4M (£500K to Dundee) under a NERC Consortium grant.
2012-2015 Co-Investigator (PI: Ken Collins, University of Southampton) Galapagos marine invasive species: prevention, detection and management. Awarded £252,000 by the DEFRA Darwin Initiative.
2012-2016 Co-Principal Investigator (Lead PI: Guy Poppy, Southampton), Managing ecosystem services for food security and the nutritional health of the rural poor at the forest-agricultural interface, Awarded £2.4M under the NERC ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) programme (Consortium grant).
2011-2012 Co-Investigator (PI: Christopher Spray, UNESCO IHP-HELP) Scottish Government Centre for Expertise for Waters (CREW) project “Fully integrated catchment management planning (CATCH-II)”, £34,987.00 awarded to University of Dundee.
2011-2012 Co-Investigator (PI: Met Office, Hadley Centre) AVOID project on "Near-term climate impacts on water resources, crop productivity and food security" funded by UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), £6,000 awarded to University of Dundee.
2010-2012 Co-Investigator (PI: John Dearing, University of Southampton), Poverty and ecology: developing a new evolutionary approach. Awarded £250,000 under the NERC ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) programme (Framework grant)
2010- 2011 Principal Investigator - Developing a community-led marine management action plan for the Pitcairn Islands (Awarded £25,000 by the DEFRA Darwin Initiative UKOT Challenge Fund)
2010-2011 Principal Investigator, Food security at the forest-agriculture Interface: A complex systems analysis of ecosystem services trade-offs and tipping points. Awarded £50,000 under the NERC ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) programme (Partnership and Project Development grant)
2009-2011 Co-Investigator (PI: Met Office, Hadley Centre) AVOID 'O' project on "Simulation of AVOIDed impacts on crop productivity and food security". Awarded £25,000 by UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
2009-2010 Co-Investigator (PI: Met Office, Hadley Centre) Avoided consequences of climate change: impacts of climate policy on water and food security (AVOID 'add-on' to QUEST GSI) project, £55,200 funded by UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) (£18,418 awarded to University of Southampton)
2007-2010 Co-Principal Investigator, Global scale impacts of climate change: a multi-sectoral analysis (Consortium bid led by Reading University), NERC QUEST Theme 3 invited submission - NERC reference NE/E001866/1 (£1.3 Million, £130,000 to work packages on Land-use Change and Food Security)
2008-2011 Co-Investigator, Challenges in assessing and forecasting biodiversity and ecosystem changes in Europe (ECOCHANGE). Integrating different modelling approaches (niche-based, dynamic, dispersal) to estimate uncertainties associated with projected impacts on terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems under climate and land use change, EU 6th Framework programme (Awarded 42,000 Euros)
2007-2008 Principal Investigator, DEFRA Darwin Initiative Biodiversity and Climate Change Review, £6,750
2007-2008 Co-investigator (PI: Dr R Mitchell, Centre for Health Behaviour and Community Change) - Multiple environmental classification of areas for researching spatial health inequalities, NERC Environment and Human Health Programme - Ref NE/E008720/1 (Awarded £150,000)
2005-2009 Principal Investigator - Galapagos Coral Conservation: Impact Mitigation, Mapping and Monitoring, in collaboration with the Charles Darwin Research Station, Galapagos National Park, Conservation International and WildAID (Awarded £150,000 by the DEFRA Darwin Initiative)
2007-2009 Co-Investigator, Rationalising Biodiversity Conservation in Dynamic Ecosystems (RUBICODE). Project to assess the ecological resilience of those components of biological diversity essential for maintaining ecosystem services, EU 6th Framework programme (£3,000 )


Academic Background

1994-1997 Ph.D. - Remote Sensing and Forest Ecology. Thesis entitled A Modelling Approach to the Biochemical Assay of Vegetation Canopies from Remote Sensing, Department of Geography, University of Southampton
1993-1994 M.Phil. - Geographical Information Systems and Remote Sensing. Thesis entitled Towards a Spatial Thesaurus - An Expert System Approach to Fuzzy Map Extent, Department of Geography and St. Catharine's College, University of Cambridge
1987-1990 B.Sc. (Honours) Class 2.1 in Computer Science, University of Exeter


Jan 2011 - Date Professor (SAGES Chair in Global Environmental Change)
School of the Environment, University of Dundee
Oct 2007 - Jan 2011 Professor (Chair in Remote Sensing)
Leader, Global Environmental Change and Earth Observation Research Theme
School of Geography, University of Southampton
Sept 2004 - Sept 2007 Senior Lecturer
Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability
Director, MSc in Environment and Development
School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
Jan 1998 - Aug 2004 University Research Lecturer
Environmental Change Institute;
Program leader, Terrestrial Ecology and Biodiversity Group, School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford;
Fellow, Green College, University of Oxford

Professional Memberships

  • Registered Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.); Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (MIET).
  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society / Institute of British Geographers (FRGS);
  • Member of the British Ecological Society;
  • Member of the Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society;

Professional Roles

  • Trustee, Galapagos Conservation Trust, London (April 2008 - date).
  • Associate Editor (member of the Editorial Board), Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, (2007-date).
  • Scientific Advisor, DEFRA review of research gaps on global biodiversity in support of a new Global Biodiversity Research & Development unit within DEFRA, (December 2008-April 2009).
  • Member of the Moderating Panel, NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Quinquennial Review (August 2005).
  • Member of the External Advisory Committee for the Science and Management Audit of the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (2004)
  • Member, External Scientific Committee, US National Science Foundation programme: e-Science Environment for Ecological Knowledge (SEEK), New Mexico, USA, 2003-2008.
  • Member, Biodiversity and Sustainability Experts Committee of the Rio Tinto - QIT Madagascar Minerals (QMM) mining programme, Madagascar (2003 - 2005).


Selected Publications

Soler, G., Edgar, G.J., Russell Thomson, R., Kininmonth, S., Stuart Campbell, Dawson, T.P., Barrett, N., Bernard, A., Galvan, D., Willis, T., Alexander, T.J. & Stuart-Smith, R., 2015, Reef fishes at all trophic levels respond positively to effective marine protected areas, PLOS One 10(10): e0140270.

Dawson, T.P., 2015, The UK Government agrees to create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands, a UK Overseas Territory in the South Pacific, Pacific Conservation Biology, online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PC14916.

Irving, R.A., Dawson, T.P. and Koldewey, H., 2015, The Pitcairn Islands – The case for protecting their marine environment, Pacific Conservation Biology, in press.

Campbell, M.L., Keith I., Hewitt C.L. and Dawson T.P., 2015, Evolving Marine Biosecurity in the Galapagos Islands, Management of Biological Invasions, Volume 6, Issue 3: 227–230.

Butt, N., Seabrook, L., Maron M., Law, B.S., Dawson, T.P., Syktus, J. and McAlpine, C.A., 2015, Cascading effects of climate extremes on vertebrate fauna through changes to low-latitude tree flowering and fruiting phenology, Global Change Biology, online: DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12869.

Zhang, K.,  Dearing, J.A., Dawson, T.P., Dong, X., Yang, X., and Zhang, W., 2015, Poverty alleviation strategies in eastern China lead to critical ecological dynamics, Science of the Total Environment 506–507, 164–181.

Dawson, T.P., Perryman, A.N. and Osborne, T., 2014, Modelling impacts of climate change on global food security, Climatic Change, online: DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1277-y.

Stuart-Smith, R.D., A.E. Bates, J.S. Lefcheck, J.E. Duffy, S.C. Baker, R.J. Thomson, J.F. Stuart-Smith, N.A. Hill, S.J. Kininmonth, L. Airoldi, M.A. Becerro, S.J. Campbell, T.P. Dawson, S.A. Navarette, G.A. Soler, E.M.A. Strain, T.J. Willis, & G.J. Edgar, 2015, Integrating the potential of trait-based approaches to contribute to marine conservation, Marine Policy 51, 148–150.

Dearing J.A., Dyke, J.G., Haberl, H., Hossain, S.M., Langdon, P.G., Lenton, T.M., Raworth, K., Wang, R., Zhang, K., Brown, S., Carstensen, J.,  Cole, M.J., Cornell, S.E., Dawson, T.P., Doncaster, P.C., Eigenbrod, F., Flörke, M., Jeffers, E., Mackay, A.W., Nykvist, B., Poppy, G.M., 2014, Safe and just operating spaces for regional social-ecological systems, Global Environmental Change, 28, 227-238. (doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2014.06.012).

Poppy, G.M., Chiotha, S., Eigenbrod, F., Harvey, Celia A., Honzák, M., Hudson, M.D., Jarvis, A.J., Madise, Nyovani J., Schreckenberg, Kate, Shackleton, C.M., Villa, F. and Dawson, T.P., 2014, Understanding food Security in a perfect storm:  An ecosystem services approach, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Series B, 369, 20120288 (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0288).

Ogutu, B., Dash, J, and Dawson, T.P., 2014, Evaluation of the influence of two operational fraction of absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (FAPAR) products on terrestrial ecosystem productivity modelling, International Journal of Remote Sensing 35 (1), 321-340.

Ogutu, B., Dash, J, and Dawson, T.P., 2014, Corrigendum to “Assessing the capacity of three production efficiency models in simulating gross carbon uptake across multiple biomes in conterminous USA” [Agric. Forest Meterol. 174–175 (2013) 158–169], Agriculture and Forest meteorology 189–190, Page 1.

Stuart-Smith, R.D., A.E. Bates, J.S. Lefcheck, J.E. Duffy, S.C. Baker, R.J. Thomson, J.F. Stuart-Smith, N.A. Hill, S.J. Kininmonth, L. Airoldi, M.A. Becerro, S.J. Campbell, T.P. Dawson, S.A. Navarette, G.A. Soler, E.M.A. Strain, T.J. Willis, & G.J. Edgar, 2013, Integrating abundance and functional traits reveals new global hotspots of fish diversity, Nature 501 (7468), 539-542.

McGeoch, M.A., Dawson, T.P. and Gillson, L., 2013, Accommodating the human response for realistic adaptation planning: response to Watson and Segan, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28, 574–575 (online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2013.07.001).

Ogutu, B., Dash, J, and Dawson, T.P., 2013, Developing a diagnostic model for estimating terrestrial vegetation gross primary productivity using the photosynthetic quantum yield and Earth Observation data, Global Change Biology, online DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12261.

Gillson, L., Dawson, T.P., Jack, S. and McGeoch, M.A., 2013, Accommodating climate change contingencies in conservation strategy, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28 (3), 135-142. (online DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2012.10.008.).

Ogutu, B., Dash, J, and Dawson, T.P., 2013, Assessing the capacity of three production efficiency models in simulating gross carbon uptake across multiple biomes in conterminous USA, Agriculture and Forest meteorology, 174, 158-169.  

Dearing, J., X. Yang, X. Dong, E. Zhang, X. Chen, P.G. Langdon, K. Zhang, W. Zhang, and T.P. Dawson, 2012, Extending the timescale and range of ecosystem services through paleoenvironmental analyses: the example of the lower Yangtze basin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109 (18), E1111-E1120.

Tarka Sanchez, S., Woods, J., Akhurst, M., Brander, M., O’Hare M., Dawson, T.P., Edwards R., and Liska, A.J., 2012, Accounting for indirect land use change in the life cycle assessment of biofuel supply chains, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9 (71), 1105-1119. DOI:10.1098/rsif.2011.0769.

Ogutu, B., Dash, J, and Dawson, T.P., 2012, Evaluation of Leaf Area Index (LAI) estimated from medium spatial resolution remote sensing data in a broadleaf deciduous forest in southern England, UK, Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing, in press.

Dawson, T.P., Jackson, S.T., House, J.I., Prentice, I.C. and Mace, G.M., 2011, Beyond Predictions: Biodiversity Conservation in a Changing Climate, Science Vol. 332 no. 6025, 53-58.

Murray-Rust, D., Dendoncker, N., Dawson, T.P, Acosta-Michlik, L., Karali, E., Guillem, E. and Rounsevell, M., 2011, Conceptualising the analysis of socio-ecological systems through ecosystem services and agent based modelling, Journal of Land Use Science, Vol. 6, 83-99.

Dawson, T.P., Rounsevell, M.D.A., Kluvánková-Oravská, T., Chobotová, V. and Stirling, A., 2010, Dynamic properties of complex adaptive ecosystems: implications for the sustainability of service provision, Biodiversity and Conservation 19, 2843-2853.

E.A. Richardson, R. J. Mitchell. R.J., Shortt, N.K., Pearce, J. and, Dawson, T.P., 2010, Developing summary measures of health-related multiple physical environmental deprivation for epidemiological research, Environment and Planning A 42, 1650-1668.

Rounsevell M.D.A, Dawson T.P., Harrison P.A., 2010, A conceptual framework to assess the effects of environmental change on ecosystem services, Biodiversity and Conservation 19, 2823-2842.

Feld C.K., Sousa J.P., Martins da Silva P. and Dawson T.P., 2010, Indicators for biodiversity and ecosystem services: towards an improved framework for ecosystems assessment, Biodiversity and Conservation 19, 2895-2919.

Arnell, N.W., Osborne, T., Hooker, J., Dawson, T.P., Perryman, A.N. and Wheeler, T., 2010, Simulation of AVOIDed impacts on crop productivity and food security, AVOID Workstream 2 Report to DECC/DEFRA, Met Office, Exeter, UK.

Arnell, N.W., Wheeler, T., Osborne, T., Rose, R., Gosling, S.N., Dawson, T.P., Penn, A.S., and Perryman, A.N., 2010, The implications of climate policy for avoided impacts on water and food security, Report to DECC/DEFRA, Met Office, Exeter, UK.

E.A. Richardson, Richard J. Mitchell. R.J., Shortt, N.K., Pearce, J. and, Dawson, T.P., 2009, Evidence-based selection of environmental factors and datasets for measuring multiple environmental deprivation in epidemiological research, Environmental Health, Vol 8, Supplement 1, S18.

Dawson, T.P., Henderson, S.J. and Banks, S., 2009, Galapagos Coral Conservation: Impact, mitigation, mapping and monitoring, Galapagos Research 66, 3-5.

Dawson, T.P., Jarvie, F. and Reitsma, F., 2009, A habitat suitability model for predicting coral reef distributions in the Galápagos Islands, Galapagos Research 66, 20-26.

Luck, G.W., Harrington, R., Harrison, P.A., Kremen, C., Berry, P.M., Bugter, R., Dawson, T.P., de Bello, F., Díaz, S., Feld, C.K., Haslett, J.R., Hering, D., Kontogianni, A., Lavorel, S, Rounsevell, R., Samways, M.J., Sandin, L., Settele, J., Sykes, M.T., van den Hove, S., Vandewalle, M., and Zobel, M., 2009, Quantifying the Contribution of Organisms to the Provision of Ecosystem Services, Bioscience, 59, 223-235.

Henderson, S.J. and Dawson, T.P., 2009, Alien invasions from space: detecting feral goat depredation in the Galapagos Islands using AVHRR, International Journal of Remote Sensing 30 (2), 423-433.

Trivedi, M.R., Morecroft M.D., Berry, P.M. and Dawson, T.P., 2008, Potential effects of climate change on plant communities in three montane nature reserves in Scotland, UK, Biological Conservation 141, 1665-1675.

Trivedi, M.R., Berry, P.M., Morecroft M.D. and Dawson, T.P., 2008, Spatial scale affects bioclimate model projections of climate change impacts on mountain plants, Global Change Biology 14, 1089-1103.

Dawson, T.P. and Ingram, J.C., 2008, Sustainable livelihoods and forest resources in Madagascar: A multi-scale analysis of resilience using remote sensing, Environmental Sciences 5, 129-143.

Rowland, C.S., H. Balzter, T.P. Dawson, A. Luckman, G. Patenaude and L. Skinner, 2008, Airborne SAR monitoring of tree growth in a coniferous plantation, International Journal of Remote Sensing 29, 3873-3889.

Mendelsohn, J. and Dawson, T.P., 2008, Climate and cholera in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: An analysis of environmental factors and implications for epidemic preparedness, International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 211 (1-2), 156-162.

Ellis, C.J., Coppins, B.J., Dawson, T.P. and Seaward, M.R.D., 2007, Response of British lichens to climate change scenarios: trends and uncertainties in the projected impact for contrasting biogeographic groups, Biological Conservation 140, 217-235.

Trivedi, M., Browne, M.K., Berry, P.M., Dawson T.P. and Morecroft, M.D., 2007, Projecting climate change impacts on mountain snow cover in central Scotland from historical patterns, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 39 (3), 488-499.

Dawson, T.P. and Allen, S.J. 2007, Poverty reduction must not exacerbate climate change, Nature Vol. 446, 372-372.

Botkin, D.B., Saxe, H., Araújo, M.B., Betts, R., Bradshaw, R., Cedhagen, T., Chesson, P., Davis, M.B., Dawson, T.P., Etterson, J., Faith, D.P., Ferrier, S., Guisan, A., Skjoldborg, A., Hansen, D.H., Kareiva, P., Loehle, Margules, C., New, M., Skov, F., Sobel, M.J., Stockwell, D., and Svenning, J-C., 2007, Forcasting effects of global warming on Biodiversity, BioScience 57, 227-236.

Ellis, C.J., Coppins, B.J. and Dawson, T.P., 2007, Predicted response of the lichen epiphyte lecanora populicola to climate change scenarios in a clean-air region of northern Britain, Biological Conservation, 135, 396-404.

Balzter, H., Luckman, A., Skinner, L., Rowland, C. and Dawson, T.P., 2007, Observations of forest stand top height and mean height from interferometric SAR and LIDAR over a conifer plantation at Thetford Forest, UK, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 28, 1173-1197.

Ingram, J.C. and Dawson, T.P., 2006, Forest Cover, Condition, and Ecology in Human-Impacted Forests, South-Eastern Madagascar, Conservation and Society 4, 194-230.

Pearson, R.G., Thuiller, W., Araújo, M.B., Martinez-Meyer, E., Brotons, L., McClean, C., Miles, L., Segurado, P., Dawson, T.P. and Lees, D.C., 2006, Model-based uncertainty in species' range prediction, Journal of Biogeography, 33, 1704-1711.

Del Barrio, G. Harrison, P.A., Berry, P.M., Butt, N., Sanjuan, M., Pearson, R.G. and Dawson, T.P., 2006, Predicting the potential impacts of climate change on species' distributions in a temperate and a Mediterranean region: comparison and implications for policy, Environmental Science and Policy, 9, 129-147.

Henderson. S. , Dawson, T.P. and Whittaker, R.J., 2006, Progress in invasive plants research, Progress in Physical Geography, 30, 1-22.