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Rob Brooker

Staff picture: Rob Brooker
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Plant Ecologist
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


Rob is a plant ecologist with over 23 years’ experience of ecological research. He has extensive experience of ecology in a wide range of environments, including arctic, montane, alpine, semi-arid and arable ecosystems, and currently undertakes research at sites across Scotland.

Current research interests

Rob's research examines how plant-plant interactions regulate species diversity and ecosystem functions, and how these relationships are regulated by environmental drivers such as climate and land management. Over the last two decades this field has seen a considerable expansion of interest, particularly with respect to the study of beneficial plant-plant interactions (e.g. Brooker et al. 2008; Callaway et al. 2002). Underlying all of this work is a strong focus on fundamental ecological theory. Understanding these processes in detail is Rob’s current research focus, and Rob is pursuing these questions through studies based in Scottish environments including crop production systems.

Throughout his work, Rob integrates field-based, controlled environment, and modelling studies to address key ecological issues. He has led substantial research projects, including reviews of the impacts of driven grouse shooting on biodiversity for Scottish Government, and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity for both Scottish Government and Defra.

Rob leads the Natural Assets Theme of the current five-year (2016-2021) Scottish Government Strategic Research Programme, a role building on his genuine interest in communicating the outcome of biodiversity research to relevant stakeholders, in particular in the policy arena. Rob has played active roles in this area for the British Ecological Society (establishing and chairing the Society’s Scottish Policy Group to 2017) and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy’s Science Support Group, which he previously chaired. Rob is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen.


  • Travis, J.M.J.; Brooker, R.W.; Clark, E.J.; Dytham, C. (2006) The distribution of positive and negative species interactions across environmental gradients on a dual-lattice model., Journal of Theoretical Biology, 241, 896-902.

  • Brooker, R.W. (2016) Nature’s role in feeding the 10 billion: how biodiversity can benefit agriculture., In: Gordon, I.J., Prins, H.H.T. & Squire, G.R. (ed.). Food Production and Nature Conservation: Conflicts and Solutions. Routledge, London, Chapter 12, pp238-257.
  • Brooker, R.; Eastwood, A.; Gimona, A.; Poggio, L.; Genney, D.; Ellis, C.; Brewer, M.I. (2016) Opportunities for translocating mountain species., In: Irvine, R.J. (ed.) Biodiversity and Upland Management. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, Chapter 11, pp24-25.
  • Eastwood, A.; Brooker, R.; Irvine, R.J.; Pakeman, R.J. (2016) Nature conservation and ecosystem services delivery., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp26-27.
  • Gimona, A.; Baggio Compagnucci, A.; Poggio, L.; Castellazzi, M.; Brooker, R.; Pakeman, R.J. (2016) Modelling and mapping key ecosystem services., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R.J. (eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp8-9.
  • Brooker, R.; Karley, A.; Pakeman, R.J.; Newton, A.; Schob, C.; Morcillo, L. (2016) Biodiversity and function., In: Brooker, R., Hester, A. & Pakeman, R.J.(eds.). Ecosystem Services. The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, pp6-7.
  • Callaghan, T.V.; Matvayeva, N.; Chernov, Y.; Schmidt, N.M.; Brooker, R.; Johannson, M. (2013) Arctic terrestrial ecosystems., In: Levin, S. (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Biodiversity. 2nd ed. Academic Press, San Diego.
  • Brooker, R. (2011) The changing nature of Scotland’s uplands - an interplay of processes and timescales., In: Marrs, S.J., Foster, S., Hendrie, C., Mackey, E.C. & Thompson, D.B.A. (eds.). The Changing Nature of Scotland. TSO Scotland, Edinburgh, Chapter 32, pp381-396.
  • Brooker, R.W. (2010) Plant communities, plant-plant interactions, and climate change., In: Pugnaire, F.I. Positive Plant Interactions and Community Dynamics. CRC Press, pp99-123.
  • Brooker, R.W. (2008) Climate change and upland biodiversity: targeted research and strengthening the science-policy interface., In: Ranade, P.S. (ed.). Climate Change and Biodiversity: Perspectives and Mitigation Strategies. Icfai University Press, Hyderabad, India, 171-178.
  • Hester, A.J.; Brooker, R.W. (2007) Threatened habitats: marginal vegetation in upland areas., In: Hester, R.E. & Harrison, R.M. (eds.). Biodiversity under Threat. Issues in Environmental Science and Technology 25, Royal Society of Chemistry, London, pp106-134. ISBN: 9780854042517

  • Brooker, R.; Thomson, S.; Matthews, K.B.; Hester, A.J.; Newey, S.; Pakeman, R.J.; Miller, D.R.; Mell, V.; Aalders, I.H.; McMorran, R.; Glass, J. (2018) Socioeconomic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors in Scotland: Summary report., Report to Scottish Government as part of the outputs from a PAWSA project, 19pp.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Hester, A.J.; Newey, S.; Pakeman, R.J. (2018) Socio-economic and biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors in Scotland: Part 2 Biodiversity impacts of driven grouse moors in Scotland., Report to Scottish Government as part of Grouse Moor Management PAWSA Project, 49pp.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Eastwood, A.E. (2018) A report on work undertaken in year 2 (2017-2018) of the Scottish Government's Strategic Research Programme in support of the Natural Capital Asset Index., James Hutton Institute, 11pp. (Theme 1 Website and direct circulation to Scottish Natural Heritage).
  • Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.W. (2018) Developing an Ecosystem Health Indicator based on Scottish bryophyte records., Report to the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Science and Technical Subgroup on Indicators, 9pp.
  • Brooker, R.; Paterson E.; Glendell, M.; Ellis, C.; Eastwood, A.; Fraser, F.; Wilkinson, M.; Skuce, P.; Macleod, C.; Carvalho, L.; Fischer, A.; Comerford, D.; Holland, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; McVittie, A. (2017) Report on natural assets theme science day, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, 2 October 2017., Theme 1 Web pages, 6pp.
  • Brooker, R.; Mitchell, R.J.; Iason, G.; Stone, D. (2017) The application of resilience to conservation of the natural environment., Resilience 2017 Edinburgh Workshop, Silvan House, Edinburgh, 26 October 2017. Final meeting notes circulated to Workshop attendees and also made available via Theme 1 web pages.
  • Brooker, R.; Iannetta, P.; Karley, A.; Newton, A.; Pakeman, R. (2017) Crop mixtures in the Strategic Research Programme., Workshop Report, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, 27 July 2017. Report circulated to workshop attendees.
  • Blackstock, K.L.; Brooker, R.; Pakeman, R.J.; Ellis, C.; George, T.; Iason, G.; Gilbert, L.; Artz, R,.R.E.; Irvine, R.J.; McVittie, A.; Newey, S.; Mitchell, R.; Gimona, A.; Fischer, A.; Begg, G.; Maxwell, J. (2017) Ecosystems and Land Use Stakeholders Engagement Group (ELSEG) Workshop Report., Workshop, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, 20 November 2017.
  • Eastwood, A.; Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J. (2017) Developing an ecosystem health indicator for urban green space: the current state of play., Information Note for Scottish Natural Heritage, EHI Green Space Final Draft, 8pp.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Eastwood, A. (2017) Developing a "complex, multi-species" Ecosystem Health Indicator using bryophyte and lichen data., Information Note for Scottish Natural Heritage, James Hutton Institute, 5pp.
  • Brooker, R.J.; Eastwood, A.; Pakeman, R.J. (2017) Report on assessment of new indicators include within the NCAI., Short Report to Scottish Natural Heritage, 7pp.
  • Irvine, R.J.; Miller, D.R.; Artz, R.R.E.; Brooker, R.; Chapman, S.J.; Newey, S.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J. (2016) Scoping a strategic vision for the uplands: A response from the James Hutton Institute., Response to a Consultation for Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Matthews, K.B.; Miller, D.G.; Towers, W.; Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A. (2016) CAP Greening Review, Summary., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Website.
  • Squire, G.R.; Hawes, C.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.; Brown, I.; Towers, W.; Owen, J.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.J.A. (2016) CAP Greening Review, Part 4, Expert Panel Review. Views of members of the expert panel on CAP Greening., Scottish Government and The James Hutton Institute Websites.
  • Miller, D.G.; Matthews, K.B.; Towers, W.; Pakeman, R.J.; Brooker, R.J.; Squire, G.; Hawes, C.; Vinten, A.J.A.; MacLeod, C.; Owen, J.; Wardell-Johnson, D.H. (2014) CAP Greening Review - Expert panel - Interim results., Technical Report for Policy.
  • Brooker, R.W.; Ahrends, A.; Bond, C.; Castellazzi, M.; Ellis, C.; Gimona, A.; Harding, A.; Kirkbride, V.; Poggio, L.; Rowan, J.; Wignall, R. (2014) Summary Report: Climate change risk-based assessment for notifiable features in Scotland., Summary Report for CXC, December 2014.
  • Miller, D.R.; Towers, W.; Ruffell, A.; Morrice, J.; Dawson, L.A.; Brooker, R. (2014) A land strategy for Northern Ireland., Report to Land Matters Task Force, Northern Ireland.
  • Mitchell, R.J.; Broome, A.; Harmer, R.; Beaton, J.K.; Bellamy, P.E.; Brooker, R.W.; Duncan, R.; Ellis, C.J.; Hester, A.J.; Hodgetts, N.G.; Iason, G.R.; Littlewood, N.A.; Mackinnon, M.; Pakeman, R.J.; Pozsgai, G.; Ramsey S.; Riach, D.; Stockan, J. A.; Taylor, A.F.S.; Woodward, S. (2014) Assessing and addressing the impacts of ash dieback on UK woodlands and trees of conservation importance (Phase 2)., Natural England Report.
  • Albon, S.; Balana, B.; Brooker, R.; Eastwood, A. (2014) A systematic evaluation of Scotland's Natural Capital Asset Index., Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 751
  • Brooker, R.W.; Ahrends, A.; Bailey, D.; Brewer, M.; Brown, I.; Castellazzi, M.; Gimona, A.; Ellis, C.; Harding, A.; Harrison, P.; Hopkins, C.; Moss, A.; Muir, M.; Poggio, L. (2014) Phase 1 Final Report: Climate change risk-based assessment for notifiable features in Scotland., Report produced for Scottish Natural Heritage.

Printed from /staff/rob-brooker on 06/12/19 08:47:57 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.