About The Authors

Colin R. Townsend obtained his DPhil at the University of Sussex before taking up teaching positions at Oxford University and the University of East Anglia. In 1989 he moved from the UK to New Zealand to the University of Otago where he was chair of the Zoology Department and is now Director of the Ecology, Conservation and Biodiversity Research Group. Colin is co-editor of the international journal Freshwater Biology. He was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1997.

A major theme of his research has been the performance of complementary studies at different levels in the ecological hierarchy, moving from the ecology of individuals, through populations and communities to the functioning of whole ecosystems. This approach has been applied to understand the impact on stream ecology of introduced species, agricultural development and flow disturbances. In recent years, Colin has paid increasing attention to making his work accessible and useful to local communities and resource managers. He has also assisted indigenous Maori people to gain a greater say in assessing river ecosystem health.

Colin plays golf (badly), enjoys cooking (moderately well) and sampling New Zealand wines (very good at this).

Mike Begon moved, in 1975, straight from his Ph.D. at The University of Leeds to the University of Liverpool, where he has been ever since, now as Professor of Ecology in the School of Biological Sciences.

His research interests have evolved from the population genetics of insects, to the population ecology of insects, to the population ecology of insect-pathogen interactions, and now to population ecology of small mammal-pathogen interactions. This allows him to combine studies of the role of pathogens in the dynamics of wildlife populations with investigations of 'zoonotic' human pathogens that are of medical importance but circulate naturally in wildlife reservoirs. Most recently, for example, this work has been extended to bubonic plague circulating in Great gerbils in Kazakhstan.

He tries to fit this, and teaching students, around playing tennis and football ('soccer' in the USA) and supporting Liverpool FC.

John L. Harper is an award-winning biologist and a leading figure in plant population biology. He has served as a council member of the Fellowship of the Royal Society and received the Darwin Arward in 1990. He is also the author of Population Biology of Plants and a co-author of Ecology.