Prof Chris Thomas BSc Zoology, PhD Zoology

Prof Chris Thomas


Pro Vice-Chancellor – Research and Academic Quality

Contact Details


If you wish to get in touch, please contact Chris' Executive Personal Assistant, Charles Lloyd Harvey, on:

Phone: 01970 622008


Chris was born in Manchester, England but raised in Vancouver, Canada.

He was awarded his PhD in Zoology at Glasgow University in 1994 studying ravens and habitat in the west highlands of Scotland. In 1994 he also joined the faculty at Durham University as lecturer, then senior lecturer, where his research focused on ecological applications of geographic information and spatial population dynamics, particularly in disease vectors. He moved to Aberystwyth University in 2007 to take up the CIRRE Chair in Ecological Modeling and in 2013 was also appointed Chair in Zoology. Chris is an active researcher, leading a team in vector-borne disease hazard mapping and spatial epidemiology using mathematical models, remote sensing & GIS, including in relation to climate change. Much of his group's work in recent years has focused on human malaria in Africa. This research is highly interdisciplinary and Chris collaborates with medics, public health, social scientists, physical geographers, mathematicians and computer scientists. He has published over 60 papers and won research awards totaling over £12m.

Additional Information

Current Awards

NERC: FLOODMAL Malaria vector spatial dynamics in the Zambezi floodplain. Principal Investigator

Recent Awards

NERC : HYDROMAL Hydro-dynamic drivers of malaria transmission hazard in Africa. Principal Investigator.
EU: ANIMALCHANGE Climate change impacts on spread of infectious vector-borne diseases. Task leader. ESPA (RCUK) Partnership and Project Development award. Mapping ecosystem services for agricultural improvement and human health in sub-Saharan Africa. Principal Investigator.
NIH. (NIH/NIEHS), USA: Participatory natural resource management to mitigate health inequities in Africa with a focus on the impacts of human conflicts over natural resources on health-related behaviour with specific reference to malaria. Co-Investigator.



Spatial Ecology

  • disease transmission in relation to vector ecology, landscape composition, structure and dynamics;
  • effect of climate and environmental change on these processes;
  • spatial scaling of these processes.

We employ a broad range of analytical and geographic techniques (e.g. spatial statistical and simulation modelling, Geographic Information Systems, remote sensing and image processing) in addition to traditional field ecological methods. Coupling ecology with geography provides exciting opportunities to link theory to the real world. However, it is clear that the research agenda for many complex ecological systems spans a number of disciplinary boundaries and I often collaborate with scientists from other areas.

Current work includes: developing ecological field and modelling approaches to understand spatial patterns of vector population dynamics and vector-borne disease transmission at local to landscape scales; field, remote sensing and modelling projects for local scale prediction of malaria vector hotspots to plan interventions in Gambia, Tanzania and Zambia; modeling malaria and projected climate in Africa; statistical modelling of climate change impact on vector-borne/intermediate host disease distributions.

Research Team

Donall Cross (PGRA HYDROMAL, PGRA Co-Investigator FLOODMAL)
Dr Nelis Drost (PhD, PDRA, currently at UCL)
Dr Javier Gamarra (Research Fellow , Co-Investigator HYDROMAL, currently at FAO)
Dr Andrew Hardy (PGRA HYDROMAL, now Lecturer in DGES, Co-Investigator FLOODMAL)
Dr Hefin Williams (PhD, PDRA ANIMALCHANGE, now Lecturer in IBERS)



Allen-Scott, L.K., Buntain, B., Hatfield, J.M., Meisser, A., Thomas, C. 2015. Academic Institutions and One Health: Building Capacity for Transdisciplinary Research Approaches to Address Complex Health Issues at the Animal–Human–Ecosystem Interface. Academic Medicine 90 (7) pp. 866-871. Cadair

Williams, H., Cross, D., Crump, H.L., Drost, C., Thomas, C. 2015. Climate suitability for European ticks: assessing species distribution models against null models and projection under AR5 climate. Parasites & Vectors 8 (440) Cadair

Hardy, A., Mageni, Z., Dongus, S., Killeen, G., Macklin, M.G., Majambare, S., Ali, A., Msellem, M., Al-mafazy, A., Smith, M., Thomas, C. 2015. Mapping hotspots of malaria transmission from pre-existing hydrology, geology and geomorphology data in the pre-elimination context of Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania. Parasites & Vectors 8 (1) 41 Cadair


Hardy, A.J., Gamarra, J.G.P., Cross, D.E., Macklin, M.G., Smith, M.W., Kihonda, J., Killeen, G.F., Ling'ala, G.N., Thomas, C.J. 2013. Habitat hydrology and geomorphology control the distribution of malaria vector larvae in rural Africa. PLoS One 8 (12) e81931 Cadair

Smith, M., Macklin, M.G., Thomas, C.J. 2013. Hydrological and geomorphological controls of malaria transmission. Earth-Science Reviews 116 pp. 109-127.

Thomas, C., Cross, D.E., Bogh, C. 2013. Landscape movements of Anopheles gambiae malaria vector mosquitoes in rural Gambia. PLoS One 8 (7) e68679 Cadair


de la Fuente, G., Thomas, C.J., Newbold, C.J. 2012. A predador-prey system for microbial metapopulation studies. INRA-Rowett Symposium on Gut Microbiology, Clermont-Ferrand, France, 17/06/2012 - 20/06/2012.

Vanhaecke, D., Garcia de Leaniz, C., Gajardo, G., Thomas, C.J., Consuegra Del Olmo, S. 2012. Metapopulation dynamics of a diadromous galaxiid fish and potential effects of salmonid aquaculture. Freshwater Biology 57 (6) pp. 1241-1252.

Lang, D.J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., Swilling, M., Thomas, C.J. 2012. Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challenges. Sustainability Science 7 (1 Supplement) pp. 25-43.


Cox, R., Newborn, D., Baines, D., Thomas, C.J., Sherratt, T.N. 2010. No Evidence for Resistance to Fenbendazole in Trichostrongylus tenuis, a Nematode Parasite of the Red Grouse. Journal of Wildlife Management 74 (8) pp. 1799-1805.


Thomas, C.J. 2009. Malaria in Africa: spatial and temporal patterns at landscape and continental scales. Abstracts, American Association for the Advancement of Science Conference, Annual Conference, , 12/02/2009 - 16/02/2009.

Thomas, C.Smith, S.P., Spikes, K.J. 2009. New diseases: Old evolutionary battles. IBERS Knowledge-based Innovations pp. 15-18. Cadair


Green, M., Thomas, C.J. 2008. Birds of the Badia region of Jordan. Sandgrouse 30 (2) pp. 125-133. Cadair Other

Thomas, C.J. 2008. Modelling Malaria Epidemics in Relation to Future Climate in Africa. First International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics, Asilomar CA. First International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics, Asilomar CA, Asilomar, United States of America, 01/12/2008 - 03/12/2008. pp. 037.


Bogh, C., Lindsay, S.W., Clarke, S.E., Dean, A., Jawara, M., Pinder, M., Thomas, C.J. 2007. High spatial resolution mapping of malaria transmission risk in The Gambia, West Africa, using landsat TM satellite imagery. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 76 (5) pp. 875-881. Cadair Other

Twiss, S.D., Thomas, C., Poland, V., Graves, J.A., Pomeroy, P. 2007. The impact of climatic variation on the opportunity for sexual selection. Biology Letters 3 (1) pp. 12-15.


Dean, A.M., Brown, I.A., Huntley, B., Thomas, C.J. 2006. Monitoring snowmelt across the Arctic forest-tundra ecotone using Synthetic Aperture Radar. International Journal of Remote Sensing 27 (19) pp. 4347-4370.


Martens, P., Thomas, C. 2005. Climate change and malaria risk: complexity and scaling. Environmental Change and Malaria Risk: Global and Local Implications. WAGENINGEN UR FRONTIS SERIES, vol. 9 Springer Nature, DORDRECHT


Balls, M.J., Bodker, R., Thomas, C.J., Kisinaz, W., Msangeni, H.A., Lindsay, S.W. 2004. Effect of topography on the risk of malaria infection in the Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 98 (7) pp. 400-408. Cadair

Reiter, P., Thomas, C.J., Atkinson, P., Hay, S., Randolph, S., Rogers, D., Shanks, G., Snow, R., Spielman, A., Thomas, C.J. 2004. Global warming and malaria: a call for accuracy. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 4 (6) pp. 323-324.

Thomas, C. 2004. Malaria: a changed climate in Africa? Nature 427 (6976) pp. 690-691.

Thomas, C.J., Davies, G., Dunn, C.E. 2004. Mixed picture for changes in stable malaria distribution with future climate in Africa. Trends in Parasitology 20 (5) pp. 216-220. Cadair

Huntley, B., Green, R.E., Collingham, Y.C., Hill, J.K., Willis, S.G., Bartlein, P.J., Cramer, W., Hagemeijer, W.J.M., Thomas, C.J. 2004. The performance of models relating species geographical distributions to climate is independent of trophic level. Ecology Letters 7 (5) pp. 417-426. Cadair


Thomas, C.J. 2003. Anopheles gambiae and climate in Brazil. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 3 (6) pp. 326-326. Cadair

Coles, C., Petty, S., Mackinnon, J., Thomas, C. 2003. The role of food supply in the dispersal behaviour of juvenile Tawny Owls Strix aluco. Ibis 145 (2) pp. E59-E68.


Clarke, S., Bogh, C., Brown, R., Walraven, G., Thomas, C., Lindsay, S. 2002. Risk of malaria attacks in Gambian children is greater away from malaria vector breeding sites. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 96 (5) pp. 499-506.


Lindsay, S.W., Thomas, C.J. 2001. Global Warming and Risk of Vivax Malaria in Great Britain. Global Change and Human Health 2 (1) pp. 80-84. Other


Conrad, K., Willson, K., Harvey, I., Thomas, C., Sherratt, T. 1999. Dispersal characteristics of seven odonate species in an agricultural landscape. Ecography 22 (5) pp. 524-531.


Lindsay, S.W., Parson, L., Thomas, C.J. 1998. Mapping the ranges and relative abundance of the two principal African malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and An. arabiensis, using climate data. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 265 (1399) pp. 847-54.