Janet Gardner


Group Research Focus.

We are interested in understanding species’ responses to environmental change. We make novel use of time-series available through museum collections and citizen science, with a particular focus on the effects of climate change on avian morphology. We work at a range of scales, from local, within-population dynamics up to continental-wide comparisons of different species in different climatic regions and regimes. We seek to understand the consequences of environmental change for the viability of populations: how climate drives changes in body size and shape, associated fitness costs for individuals and demographic consequences for populations. These factors ultimately determine the abundance and distribution of species so our work has a bearing on environmental management.

What do you enjoy most about research  

The excitement of first insights.

Finding patterns in data and relating them back to the natural world. Approaching the same problem from different perspectives.

Contributing to conservation planning.

Knowing that answering one question always leads to another.

What else do you have underway?

One current focus is setting up targeted field projects to test mechanisms of change in different climatic regions, work that will complement our continent-wide comparisons of species in different climatic regions and regimes.

Who is your science hero?

It would have to be Dame Miriam Rothschild, once described as “Beatrix Potter on amphetamines”. She was a brilliant amateur naturalist and conservationist who had the freedom to follow her wide-ranging interests with zest and passion. Despite having no formal qualifications, she published more than 300 scientific papers, and took time out during WWII to help the Allied war effort by decoding encrypted Enigma messages at Bletchley Park. Independent, inspirational and unconventional, she made an enormous contribution to science and society during her lifetime.