Photograph of Professor Chris J Thomas.Professor Chris J Thomas

University Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research
BSc Zoology, PhD Zoology


Office: Vice-Chancellor's Office, Aberystwyth University, Visualisation Centre, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3BF
Phone: +44 (0)1970 621987 (Direct, Executive PA: Charles Lloyd Harvey


Teaching Areas

Contribute to modules:


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: an ecological approach to understanding spatial patterns of malaria transmission at local to landscape scales in Africa; modeling malaria and projected climate in Africa; UG99 wheat rust global risk; and the relationship between bovine tuberculosis and climate in the UK; livestock infectious diseases and climate change in Europe.

Research Team

Donall Cross (Research Assistant)
Nelis Drost (PhD student, supervised with Dr Gamarra)
Heather Crump (PhD student, supervised with Professor Lucas, IGES and industrial partner Ecology Matters)
Dr Javier Gamarra (Research Fellow)
Dr Andrew Hardy (Lecturer)
Rebecca Thomas (Research Assistant)
Dr Hefin Williams (Lecturer)

Research Group Affiliations


Chris holds a PhD in Zoology from the University of Glasgow (1993), and was at Durham University from 1993 – 2006.  In 2007 he was appointed as Chair in Ecological Modelling in CIRRE (Centre for Integrated Research in the Rural Environment). In 2013 he was also made a Professor of Zoology and appointed as University Pro-Vice Chancellor.

Additional Interests

Current Awards

NERC. HYDROMAL: Hydro-dynamic drivers of malaria transmission hazard in Africa. (£505,000). Principal Investigator.
EU 7th Framework Programme. ANIMALCHANGE: AN Integration of Mitigation and Adaptation options for sustainable Livestock production under climate CHANGE. Task leader:  Climate change impacts on spread of infectious vector-borne diseases.  

Recent Awards

NERC. ESPA Partnership and Project Development award (£50K) (2010-11). Mapping ecosystem services for agricultural improvement and human health in sub-Saharan Africa. Principal Investigator.
NIH. National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS), USA ($317,000 2007-2010): 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 (Principal Investigator: Dr Christine Dunn, Durham University).



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. 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000639

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 and Vectors Parasites & Vectors 8 (440) 10.1186/s13071-015-1046-4

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 and Vectors Parasites & Vectors 8 (1) 41 10.1186/s13071-015-0652-5


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 10.1371/journal.pone.0081931

Smith, M., Macklin, M.G., Thomas, C.J. 2013. Hydrological and geomorphological controls of malaria transmission. Earth-Science Reviews 116 pp. 109-127. 10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.11.004

Thomas, C., Cross, D.E., Bogh, C. 2013. Landscape movements of Anopheles gambiae malaria vector mosquitoes in rural Gambia. PLoS One 8 (7) e68679 10.1371/journal.pone.0068679


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. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2012.02794.x

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. 10.1007/s11625-011-0149-x


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. 10.2193/2009-114


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., 2009. New diseases: Old evolutionary battles. IBERS Knowledge-based Innovations pp. 15-18.


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. 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0559


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 for Remote Sensing International Journal of Remote Sensing 27 (19) pp. 4347-4370. 10.1080/01431160600851793


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, 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. 10.1016/j.trstmh.2003.11.005 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 Lancet Infectious Diseases 4 (6) pp. 323-324. 10.1016/S1473-3099(04)01038-2

Thomas, C. 2004. Malaria: a changed climate in Africa? Nature 427 (6976) pp. 690-691. 10.1038/427690b

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. 10.1016/ 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. 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00598.x Cadair


Thomas, C.J. 2003. Anopheles gambiae and climate in Brazil. The Lancet Infectious Diseases Lancet Infectious Diseases 3 (6) pp. 326-326. 10.1016/S1473-3099(03)00650-9 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. 10.1046/j.1474-919X.2003.00158.x


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. 10.1016/S0035-9203(02)90419-0


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. 10.1023/A:1011995115713 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. 10.1111/j.1600-0587.1999.tb01282.x


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. 10.1098/rspb.1998.0369