Dr. Jason Matthiopoulos

Dr. Jason Matthiopoulos

Professor of Spatial and Population Ecology, and Head of Ecology and Environmental Change, University of Glasgow

Environmental crisis-management in the 21st century must be global and targeted. Our most difficult environmental problems manifest as trade-offs between conflicting priorities involving nature conservation, economics, human lives and livelihoods. Navigating these narrow passages and reaching applicable solutions can only be done with accurate and precise quantitative science. We must take the best mathematical theory and data science, apply it to real-world problems and see those applications all the way to international policy. Jason is a mathematician and statistician with a track record of 34 years in the ecological sciences. His career path has connected the development of cutting-edge mathematical theory and statistical methods with the conservation of wildlife, epidemic control and the management of fisheries, forestry and the renewables industry. He develops novel methodologies for the analysis of data-limited crises, addressing time-limited environmental questions, providing scientific advice to governmental and non-governmental organisations across the globe.

Spanning more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, his theoretical research deals with species distributions and population dynamics. His work has unified these two cornerstones into a data-driven theory for the fundamental niche of species, opening the road for reliable predictions of population viability, in changing environments and drastically enhancing our ability to avoid rare species extinctions, control pests and prevent disease spillovers.

Jason has been teaching advanced statistics and modelling to ecologists since 1998. He has published two popular textbooks on quantitative ecology and has delivered multiple fee-free quantitative ecology courses to students in Scotland, England, Greece, Ireland, Spain and Croatia. He has supervised 21 Doctoral, and 39 Masters students to completion.

His research group in Glasgow comprises mathematicians, statisticians, veterinarians, ecologists, engineers, and epidemiologists. In terrestrial systems the group has been instrumental in researching and directing policy in one of the world’s most prized UNESCO ecosystems, the Bangladesh Sundarbans mangrove forest. They have conducted biodiversity research for Cacao-producing agroforestry ecosystems in Africa and South America. Their high-impact analysis of large-scale biodiversity patterns on US bird populations has provided extensive evidence for extinction debts as a result of shifts in land use and climate. In marine ecosystems the group has worked on the conservation of seals, whales and seabirds, particularly on their interactions with human structures and fisheries. 

Jason has also led the development of crucial analyses of data for malaria, rabies, avian influenza, canine distemper, COVID19 and metastatic cancer. His epidemiological work has focused on the reconstruction of hidden processes (particularly, rates of transmission) and the quantification and design of intervention impacts (e.g., spatial vaccination strategies).