Nicholas Williams

Senior Lecturer in Urban Ecology and Urban Horticulture, University of Melbourne

I’m a plant ecologist who likes to address applied ecological problems using multiple approaches such as field experiments, GIS analyses and modelling.

Although I have conducted research in agricultural, forest and alpine environments I am particularly interested in the ecology of urban areas. This is because they are a unique combination of habitats that are becoming increasingly prevalent on a global scale and present many important research questions.

My interest in urban ecology was developed during nine years working at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE), a division of the Royal Botanic Gardens based in the Botany School at Melbourne University. While there I completed a PhD investigating how the ecology of native grasslands changed across an urban to rural gradient.

This research highlighted how surrounding landscapes influence the processes which occur in remnant habitats, such as edge effects and local extinctions. I continue to conduct urban ecology and native grassland research with a number of collaborators.

In 2007 I established a research program to develop green infrastructure, in particular vegetated roofs, suitable for Australian conditions as a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy. This has since become a research focus on the Burnley Campus and attracted substantial publicity and funding.

Experience

  • –present
    Senior Lecturer in Urban Ecology and Urban Horticulture, University of Melbourne

Education

  • 2006 
    University of Melbourne, PhD