Dr Mark Goddard


I am an ecologist who has been working on biodiversity conservation in urban environments for the past 15 years. I gained experience of working in a number of sectors, including NGOs and ecological consultancy, before moving into academia in 2007 to begin my PhD at the University of Leeds on the socio-ecological drivers of biodiversity in private gardens. In 2011, I began my research career on the Urban Pollinators Project, a UK-wide collaborative project investigating the ecology and conservation of insect pollinators in cities. I moved to Newcastle University in 2014 to work on the SUCCESS project, exploring the potential for urban and engineered soils to capture carbon and provide other ecosystem services. In 2018 I returned to Leeds as a Research Fellow in Urban Ecology on the Self-Repairing Cities project where I am researching the impact of automating cities with robots on urban biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function.

Research interests

My research focuses on biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services in human-modified landscapes, in particular urban environments. I am currently working as a Research Fellow in Urban Ecology on the Self-Repairing Cities project, researching the impact of automating cities with robots on urban biodiversity and ecosystem function.

I have worked on a number of large research projects, including SUCCESS (Sustainable Urban Carbon Capture: Engineering Soils for Climate Change) funded by EPSRC at Newcastle University. My role on this multidisciplinary project was to examine the plant and pollinator ecology of urban land designed to have a carbon capture function, and to explore the trade-offs and synergies between carbon capture and other urban ecosystem services. Before that, I was in the School of Biology at the University of Leeds, working on the ‘Urban Pollinators: their Ecology and Conservation’ project. The project studied pollinators in replicate cities, farms and nature reserves UK-wide, sampled 700 sites in four cities to assess the suitability of different urban habitats for pollinators and planted 60 flower meadows to examine their benefit to pollinators.

In 2012, I completed my interdisciplinary PhD at Leeds on the ecological and social drivers of bird and bee diversity in residential landscapes. This work has led to an interest in how we can incentivise householders, communities and local authorities to manage cities more sympathetically for wildlife. This involves an understanding of how socio-economic factors and human decision-making influence the management of private gardens and other green spaces at multiple scales in urban ecosystems.

Collaborative research projects

I am actively collaborating with overseas researchers on a number of international urban biodiversity projects, including:

  • NCEAS Working Group (University of California, Santa Barbara) that has compiled the largest database to date of the flora and avifauna of cities around the world. 'Comparative Ecology of Cities: What Makes an Urban Biota 'Urban'?'.
  • SESYNC project (University of Maryland/SDiv Leipzig,Germany) on planning and policy approaches to managing urban biodiversity and ecosystem services. 'Ecological and Social Linkages among Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, and Environmental Policy and Management in the World’s Cities.
  • US National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Coordination Network grant to build a global network called UrBioNet to support urban biodiversity research, monitoring and practice. 'UrBioNet: A Global Network for Urban Biodiversity Research and Practice'.
<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, Urban Ecology, University of Leeds
  • MRes, Ecology & Environmental Management, University of York
  • BSc, (Hons) Zoology, University of Nottingham

Professional memberships

  • Member, British Ecological Society
  • Associate Member, Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management (ACIEEM)

Student education

I contribute to undergraduate and masters courses within the Faculty of Environment, focusing on urban ecology and sustainable cities.

Research groups and institutes

  • Sustainability Research Institute
  • Environment and Development