Dr Joseph J Bailey


Faculty:Faculty of Science and Engineering

School:Life Sciences

Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Conservation , Ecology , Sustainability

Research Supervision:Yes

Joseph’s work explores the relationship between biodiversity and geodiversity (surface and subsurface materials, landforms, and processes) to advance ecological theory, biodiversity modelling, and practical conservation.

Follow Joseph on Twitter @josephjbailey
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Joseph joined ARU in September 2022, as a Lecturer in Ecology, Conservation and Sustainability. He previously lectured at York St John University 2018–2022, and did his PhD and held research and teaching positions at the University of Nottingham 2013–2018. He is Fellow of both the Higher Education Academy (FHEA; also an assessor) and Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), Chair of the British Ecological Society’s (BES) Macroecology Special Interest Group, a member of the IUCN WCPA and its Specialist Group on Geoheritage, and a volunteer lead scientist for Operation Wallacea in Romania (a UK-based conservation research organisation). Joseph welcomes enquiries about PhD projects in relation to the areas discussed below.

Joseph’s PhD was on 'Advancing biodiversity modelling using geodiversity information' and the role of geodiversity in understanding biodiversity remains central to his work across theoretical ecology, biodiversity modelling (e.g. species traits), and applied conservation. In particular, recent work has tackled the important role that geodiversity (e.g., landforms, geology, hydrology) can and should explicitly play in global conservation practice and policy, given its known importance for many species and ecosystems. This work also extends to efforts to measure geodiversity consistently worldwide, and Joseph is part of the ‘Essential Geodiversity Variables’ team.

Elsewhere, Joseph recently led a British Ecological Society policy report on 'Protected areas and nature recovery: Achieving the goal to protect 30% of UK land and seas for nature by 2030' (https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/policy/protected-areas/), which covered marine and terrestrial policy and practice and involved media engagement.

Joseph has worked in the field in the UK, Greenland, Romania (sustainable farming and grasslands), and Madagascar (various projects), and conducted research remotely on Finland (protected areas) and the whole Arctic (productivity change using remote sensing).

Research interests

  • Geodiversity-biodiversity relationships and modelling (globally, and across scales and taxa)
  • Geoheritage
  • Geodiversity in biodiversity conservation
  • Protected areas (monitoring, social aspects, policy, practice)
  • Grassland ecology

Areas of research supervision

Joseph encourages all enquiries on PhD projects broadly relating to protected areas, geodiversity (including its measurement and sustainability), geoheritage, biodiversity modelling, high altitude and high latitude ecology, and grassland ecology. There is a huge amount of important and exciting work to do across all these themes.


Joseph is the module director for Marine and Terrestrial Communities (Level 5) and Field Skills in Biology (Level 5), with contributions elsewhere, including on MSc Applied Wildlife Conservation and on a forensics module relating to the wildlife trade.


  • PhD in Geography, University of Nottingham: Advancing biodiversity modelling using geodiversity information

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Fellow, Royal Geographical Society
  • Member, British Ecological Society (BES)
  • Chair, BES Macroecology Special Interest Group
  • Fellow, Mentor, and Assessor, Higher Education Academy (HEA)
  • Member, IUCN WCPA (The International Union for Conservation of Nature World Commission on Protected Areas)
  • Member, IUCN WCPA Geoheritage Specialist Group

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • NERC Highlight Topic. Soil survival and re-emergence: the continued threat of plague
  • Journal of Biogeography geodiversity-biodiversity colloquium/workshop grant
  • Royal Society Theo Murphy international scientific meeting on Geodiversity for Science and Society

Selected recent publications

Bailey, J. J., Boyd, D. S., & Field, R. (2018). Models of upland species’ distributions are improved by accounting for geodiversity. Landscape Ecology, 33(12), 2071–2087. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-018-0723-z.

Bailey, J. J., Boyd, D. S., Hjort, J., Lavers, C. P., & Field, R. (2017). Modelling native and alien vascular plant species richness: At which scales is geodiversity most relevant? Global Ecology and Biogeography, 26(7), 763–776. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12574.

Gordon, J. E., Bailey, J. J., & Larwood, J. G. (2022). Conserving nature’s stage provides a foundation for safeguarding both geodiversity and biodiversity in protected and conserved areas. Parks Stewardship Forum, 38(1), 46–56. https://doi.org/10.5070/P538156118.

Lembrechts, J. J., Aalto, J., Ashcroft, M. B., De Frenne, P., Kopecký, M., Lenoir, J., Luoto, M., Maclean, I. M. D., Roupsard, O., Fuentes‐Lillo, E., García, R. A., Pellissier, L., Pitteloud, C., Alatalo, J. M., Smith, S. W., Björk, R. G., Muffler, L., Cesarz, S., Gottschall, F., … , Bailey, J.  J., … Nijs, I. (2020). SoilTemp: a global database of near‐surface temperature. Global Change Biology, 131, gcb.15123. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15123.

Lembrechts, J. J., den Hoogen, J., Aalto, J., Ashcroft, M. B., De Frenne, P., Kemppinen, J., Kopeck\`y, M., Luoto, M., Maclean, I. M. D., Crowther, T. W., … , Bailey, J.  J., …, Nijs, I,, Lenoir, J. (2021). Global maps of soil temperature. Global Change Bology. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.16060.

Pett, B. L., & Bailey, J. J. (2019). GHOST-BUSTING: Patch occupancy and habitat preferences of Ocyale ghost (Araneae: Lycosidae), a single site endemic in north-western Madagascar. Austral Entomology, 58(4), 875–885. https://doi.org/10.1111/aen.12425.

Schrodt, F., Bailey, J. J., Kissling, W. D., Rijsdijk, K. F., Seijmonsbergen, A. C., van Ree, D., Hjort, J., Lawley, R. S., Williams, C. N., Anderson, M. G., Beier, P., van Beukering, P., Boyd, D. S., Brilha, J., Carcavilla, L., Dahlin, K. M., Gill, J. C., Gordon, J. E., Gray, M., … Field, R. (2019). Opinion: To advance sustainable stewardship, we must document not only biodiversity but geodiversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(33), 16155–16158. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1911799116.

Tukiainen, H., Bailey, J. J., Field, R., Kangas, K., & Hjort, J. (2017). Combining geodiversity with climate and topography to account for threatened species richness. Conservation Biology, 31(2), 364–375. https://doi.org/10.1111/cobi.12799.

Tukiainen, H. and Bailey, J. J. (2022, in press). Enhancing global nature conservation by integrating geodiversity in policy and practice. Conservation Biology.

Recent presentations and conferences

BES Edinburgh conference, December 2022, Co-leader and speaker of a thematic session entitled 'How can we make the 30×30 target work for biodiversity conservation?' relating to the global 30% protected areas by 2030 target.

BES Macroecology conference, July 2022, Attended.

Invited speaker for Woodland Trust webinar, August 2022.

Invited departmental seminar speaker, University of Essex, May 2022.

Media experience


Press briefing and interviews associated with the release of BES 30x30 protected areas report, available at https://www.britishecologicalsociety.org/policy/protected-areas/