Associate Professor Will Cornwell
Field of Research: 
Systems ecology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 0028
Room 5104, Level 5 West
Biological Sciences South (E26)

UNSW, Kensington 2052



I did my undergrad work at Cornell University working on species-rich fen ecosystems in New York State.  I then moved to Cambridge for a masters on patterns of richness at local and regional scales in the Central European Flora.  I did my PhD at Stanford working in California, Hawaii, and Australia, on plant trait effects on both community assembly and the carbon cycle.  I continued this work as a post-doc in Holland and at the Biodiveristy Resarch Centre at UBC, espcially focusing on human impacts in the Garry Oak Ecosystem of Vancouver Island.  In 2010, I've been working on a Moore Foundation funded post-doc at UC Berkeley investigating climate change effects on Bay Area terrestrial ecosystems in partnership with the Bay Area Open Space Council. In January 2011, I moved to Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam to work in the Systems Ecology group. 


My research interests lie at the intersection of plant eco-physiology, community ecology and ecosystem ecology. I am especially interested in using basic ecological tools, especially functional traits, to understand the effects of climate change on terrestrial biodiversity. There are four major areas that I am currently working on:

1) Climate change effects on terrestrial vegetation

2) Plant functional variation effects on the carbon cycle

3) Assembly of plant communities, especially considering human impacts via climate change

4) Tempo and mode of evolution of plant traits (esp via a NESCent working group)