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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Dr Rebecca (Becks) Spake BSc, PhD

Research Fellow in Applied Biogeography

Dr Rebecca (Becks) Spake's photo

I am an ecologist with keen interests in forest biodiversity, ecosystem services, land use and conservation.

The scale problem: Understanding the relationships between pattern and process, “the essence of science” (Levins, 1992), explicitly or implicitly incorporates scale into the process of identifying research objectives (Gibson et al. 2000).



Work history

2016 - Present: Research Fellow in applied biogeography, University of Southampton.

2016:   Post-doctoral researcher in ecosystem service modelling, University of Southampton.

2012-2016:      Ph.D., University of Southampton. Thesis title: “Evaluation of strategies for conserving biodiversity in temperate and boreal forests”

2008-2011:      B.Sc. Zoology (First Class Hons.), University of Southampton. Dissertation title: “Density estimation of jaguars and spatio-temporal interactions with pumas in a wildlife corridor”

Research interests

I take a landscape ecological approach to understand how ecosystem functioning and biodiversity vary across heterogeneous regions.  In particular, I am interested in how the spatial arrangement of natural land cover within the human-dominated matrix affects ecosystem functioning.

I am also interested in data synthesis by systematic review and meta-analysis to identify general patterns in ecology.

Research group

Global Environmental Change and Earth Observation

Affiliate research group

Palaeoenvironmental Laboratory at the University of Southampton (PLUS)

Research project(s)


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Spake, R., Martin, P. M., Ezard, T. H. G., Newton, A. C. & Doncaster, C. P. (2015) A meta-analysis of functional group responses to forest recovery outside of the tropics. Conservation Biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12548

Harris, Z., Spake, R., Taylor, G. (2015) Land use change to bioenergy: A meta-analysis of soil carbon and GHG emissions. Biomass and Bioenergy. 82, 27-39. DOI:10.1016/j.biombioe.2015.05.008

Spake, R., Barsoum, N., Newton, A.C., & Doncaster, C.P. (2016) Drivers of the composition and diversity of carabid functional traits in UK coniferous plantations. Forest Ecology and Management. 359, 300-308. DOI: 10.1016/j.foreco.2015.10.008

Spake, R., van der Linde, S., Suz, M.L., Bidartondo, I.M., Newton, A.C. & Doncaster, C. P. (2016) Similar biodiversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi in set-aside plantation and ancient old-growth broadleaved forests. Biological Conservation, 194, 71-79. DOI:10.1016/J.BIOCON.2015.12.003





Dr Rebecca (Becks) Spake
Building 44 University of Southampton University Road Southampton SO17 1BJ

Room Number: 44/2101

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