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Tom Bishop  BA (Hons) MRes DIC PhD FHEA

Dr Tom Bishop



Lecturer in Biosciences – Ecology/Zoology (T&R)

School of Biosciences

+44 29225 12322
Sir Martin Evans Building, Room C/6.03, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am an ecologist interested in using morphology and physiology to understand the distribution of biodiversity, particularly that of the ants. My work uses lab, field, and computational approaches to describe and explain how global biodiversity is generated and maintained. Specifically, my work combines detailed information on the lifestyles of individual species with large-scale data on their geographic distributions to answer my research questions. Consequently, my work spans the fields of functional trait ecology, macroecology, and macrophysiology.

My research is focussed on the ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). These social insects dominate most terrestrial ecosystems on our planet with their vast numbers and biomass, and they underpin a variety of critical ecosystem functions. They also display a rich diversity of ecological strategies: different ant species are predators, scavengers, parasites, farmers, nomads, and city-builders. These properties make ants a useful model taxonomic group for my research questions.

As well as my research and teaching commitments at Cardiff University, I am an Associate Editor for the Journal of Animal Ecology and am the Treasurer of the British Ecological Society's Macroecology Special Interest Group.
















Why do some parts of the globe have more species than others? The tropics and lowlands teem with life, but the polar and mountainous regions have few species, and comparatively less biological activity. I am fascinated by the diversity of species on our planet, and the variety of ways in which they make a living. Through my research, I am trying to further our understanding of the processes that drive these kinds of patterns, and in turn, what consequences they may have in the face of global change.

These interests have developed into two interlinked, research themes:

First, my research is interested in understanding how temperature controls life. My work makes connections between the thermal traits of individuals, population fluctuations and distribution patterns (Bishop et al. 2016, 2017; Nowrouzi et al. 2018; Law et al. 2020). I shed light on how species and ecological communities are constrained by temperature in the present and, in doing so; I aim to predict our ecological future (Bishop et al. 2019). I use laboratory, field, and eco-informatics approaches to achieve this.

Second, my research tests the functional significance of species' level traits and analyses whether they can explain species' geographic distributions. Some of these traits are explicitly linked to temperature, and tie into the first theme, but I also have a range of global collaborations interested in quantifying broad patterns of variation in insect phenotype (Parr et al. 2017; Schofield et al. 2016). Currently, I am leading a global analysis into ant morphological variation and convergence at both the species and community-level.



2021 – present           Lecturer in Ecology and Zoology, Cardiff University, UK

2018 – present           Extraordinary Lecturer, University of Pretoria, South Africa

2018 – 2021               Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, University of Liverpool, UK

2016 – 2018               Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow, University of Pretoria, South Africa


2012 – 2016               PhD, Environmental Science, University of Liverpool, UK

2011 – 2012               MRes, Entomology, Imperial College London,  UK

2008 – 2011               BA (Hons), Biological Sciences, Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford, UK

2001 – 2008               GCSEs and A levels, Whitchurch High School, Cardiff, UK

Honours and awards

2019                            National Research Foundation (South Africa) Rated Scientist: Y (young) category

2018                            Best paper in Ecological Entomology during 2016/2017

Committees and reviewing


2019 – present            British Ecological Society Macroecology Special Interest Group

Journal editing

2021 – present            Associate Editor, Journal of Animal Ecology

Journal reviewing

Publons verified profile

Acta Oecologica; American Naturalist; Applied Vegetation Science; Asian Myrmecology; Basic and Applied Ecology; Biodiversity and Conservation; Biological Conservation; Biotropica; Community Ecology; Diversity and Distributions; Ecography; Ecological Entomology; Ecology; Ecology Letters; Entomological Science; European Journal of Entomology; Functional Ecology; Global Ecology and Biogeography; Insect Conservation and Diversity; Insectes Sociaux; Journal of Animal Ecology; Journal of Biogeography; Journal of Hymenoptera Research; Journal of Insect Conservation; Journal of the Royal Society Interface; Methods in Ecology and Evolution; Myrmecological News; PeerJ; PLOS One; Royal Society Open Science; Scientific Reports; Zoologischer Anzeiger.

Grant reviewing

Czech Science Foundation (Czech Republic); National Research Foundation (South Africa); Liverpool ECR Fund.