Dr Will Barker

Dr Will Barker


I am an ecologist interested in plant-animal interactions, biogeochemistry and biodiversity, with expertise on herbivory and nitrogen cycling. My PhD studying the role of herbivory in governing tropical nitrogen fixation was carried out at the University of Leeds, supervised by Sarah Batterman, Sheila Palmer and Oliver Phillips. As an academic, I am passionate about improving equality and diversity within academia and about the role that scientists can play in confronting the climate crisis.

Research interests

I am interested in how the interactions between species shape ecosystem functioning. In particular, I am fascinated by the ecosystem effects of the often imperceptible yet pervasive interactions between plants and their herbivores. For example, one aspect of my research focuses on the role of herbivory in governing tropical nitrogen fixation – investigating how herbivory affects the growth, survival, fixation rates and distribution of nitrogen-fixing trees in tropical forests and globally – and what this role of herbivory means for nitrogen cycling and atmospheric carbon sequestration. 

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Ecology and Global Change, School of Geography, University of Leeds
  • BSc (Hons) Plant Science, University of Manchester