Ms Emma Underwood

Research project: Modelling the role of multiple global change drivers on future range shifts in a Biodiversity Hotspot


Climate and land use land cover change (LULCC) are expected to greatly impact the future distributions of species, particularly in tropical regions. Climate change is anticipated to have the greatest influence at broad regional scales, while LULCC may drive and concentrate the impact of climate change at local scales, resulting in regional intensification of both these drivers of environmental change. One consequence of the coupled effect of climate and LULCC in tropical habitats is predicted to be widespread range shifts for many species across multiple taxa. There is little information about how the synergistic effects of multiple global change drivers will influence future range shifts. Equally, how the absence of dispersal corridors and landscape connectivity will influence species' movement through landscapes, and in turn, their ability to colonise new habitats which could execrate future gaps. The goal of this PhD is couple the latest in species distribution and spatial predictive modelling to improve our understanding of how biodiversity patterns in tropical regions will be affected by the synergistic effects of multiple global change drivers. The project will focus on future range shifts in plants on the island of Madagascar. 

  • Research degree: PhD
  • Title of project: Modelling the role of multiple global change drivers on future range shifts in a Biodiversity Hotspot
  • Research supervisor: Dr Kerry Brown
  • Other research supervisor: Professor Nigel Walford


Emma Underwood is an experienced geospatial professional who has worked in public, private and academic sectors in consulting, teaching, and research-based roles. First within local government, then for a renewable energy firm, before going onto teach GIS and Remote Sensing to Environmental Science, and Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation Science students within Higher Education. Emma is an environmental advocate, whose beliefs have strongly shaped the type of GIS experience and research that has led her to study at Kingston. Her passion is researching ways in which GIS can help tackle the world's most pressing environmental issues. Emma believes that the way we use, and share data holds the key to understanding and protecting people and our planet. Most recently, Emma became a MapAction volunteer where she is using her skills in mapping and data science to support global humanitarian disaster relief efforts.

Areas of research interest

  • Plant Ecology
  • Enviromental Biology
  • Conservation
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Landscape Connectivity
  • GIS
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Predictive Modelling


  • MRes in Applied Sciences (Conservation & GIS), University of the West of England, Bristol
  • BSc in Geographical Information Science (GIS), Newcastle University
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA)

Funding or awards received

  • PhD Studentship, Kingston University London (2020-2023)
  • Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Researcher Award - Albert Reckitt Award and Dudley Stamp Memorial Award (2022-23)
  • Jack Dangermond Young Scholar Award, Esri UK (2022)
  • Best Poster Presentation Award, Geographical Information Science Research UK (GISRUK) Conference (2022)
  • 1st Place Winner of "Communicating Science Spatially" category, Esri User Conference Map Gallery Competition (2020)


Jump to: Article
Number of items: 2.


Fialas, Penelope C., Gilmour, Lia R. V., Vickress, Sophie, Underwood, Emma, Williams, Carol A., Miller, Helen and Lintott, Paul R. (2022) Sexual segregation occurs in bats within fragmented remnant woodlands in an agricultural landscape. Ecology and Evolution, 12(10), e9350. ISSN (online) 2045-7758

Borgerson, Cortni, Johnson, Steig E., Hall, Emma, Brown, Kerry A., Narváez-Torres, Pamela R., Rasolofoniaina, Be Jean Rodolph, Razafindrapaoly, Be Noel, Merson, Samuel D., Thompson, Katharine E. T., Holmes, Sheila M., Louis Jr, Edward E. and Golden, Christopher D. (2022) A national-level assessment of lemur hunting pressure in Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology, 43, pp. 92-113. ISSN (print) 0164-0291

This list was generated on Fri Jul 12 05:38:29 2024 BST.