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)


Climate suitability for European ticks: assessing species distribution models against null models and projection under AR5 climateWilliams, H., Cross, D., Crump, H. L., Drost, C. & Thomas, C. 2015 In : Parasites & Vectors.8, 440, 15 p.
Academic Institutions and One Health: Building Capacity for Transdisciplinary Research Approaches to Address Complex Health Issues at the Animal–Human–Ecosystem InterfaceAllen-Scott, L. K., Buntain, B., Hatfield, J. M., Meisser, A. & Thomas, C. 2015 In : Academic Medicine.90, 7, p. 866-8716 p.
Mapping hotspots of malaria transmission from pre-existing hydrology, geology and geomorphology data in the pre-elimination context of Zanzibar, United Republic of TanzaniaHardy, A., Mageni, Z., Dongus, S., Killeen, G., Macklin, M. G., Majambare, S., Ali, A., Msellem, M., Al-mafazy, A., Smith, M. & Thomas, C. 2015 In : Parasites & Vectors.8, 1, 41
Habitat hydrology and geomorphology control the distribution of malaria vector larvae in rural Africa.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 In : PLoS One.8, 12, p. n/a13 p., e81931
Landscape movements of Anopheles gambiae malaria vector mosquitoes in rural Gambia.Thomas, C., Cross, D. E. & Bogh, C. 2013 In : PLoS One.8, 7, e68679
Hydrological and geomorphological controls of malaria transmissionSmith, M., Macklin, M. G. & Thomas, C. J. 2013 In : Earth-Science Reviews.116, p. 109-12718 p.
Metapopulation dynamics of a diadromous galaxiid fish and potential effects of salmonid aquacultureVanhaecke, D., Garcia de Leaniz, C., Gajardo, G., Thomas, C. J. & Consuegra Del Olmo, S. 2012 In : Freshwater Biology.57, 6, p. 1241-125212 p.
Transdisciplinary research in sustainability science: practice, principles, and challengesLang, D. J., Wiek, A., Bergmann, M., Stauffacher, M., Martens, P., Moll, P., Swilling, M. & Thomas, C. J. 2012 In : Sustainability Science.7, 1 Supplement, p. 25-4319 p.
A predador-prey system for microbial metapopulation studiesde la Fuente, G., Thomas, C. J. & Newbold, C. J. 2012
No Evidence for Resistance to Fenbendazole in Trichostrongylus tenuis, a Nematode Parasite of the Red GrouseCox, R., Newborn, D., Baines, D., Thomas, C. J. & Sherratt, T. N. 2010 In : Journal of Wildlife Management.74, 8, p. 1799-18057 p.
New diseases: Old evolutionary battlesThomas, C., Smith, S. P. (ed.) & Spikes, K. J. (ed.) 2009 IBERS Knowledge-based Innovations, 2, p. 15-184 p.
Malaria in Africa: spatial and temporal patterns at landscape and continental scalesThomas, C. J. 2009
Modelling Malaria Epidemics in Relation to Future Climate in AfricaThomas, C. J. 2008 First International Conference on Infectious Disease Dynamics, Asilomar CA.p. 03737 p.
Birds of the Badia region of JordanGreen, M. & Thomas, C. J. 2008 In : Sandgrouse.30, 2, p. 125-1339 p.
High spatial resolution mapping of malaria transmission risk in The Gambia, West Africa, using landsat TM satellite imageryBogh, C., Lindsay, S. W., Clarke, S. E., Dean, A., Jawara, M., Pinder, M. & Thomas, C. J. 2007 In : American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.76, 5, p. 875-8817 p.
The impact of climatic variation on the opportunity for sexual selectionTwiss, S. D., Thomas, C., Poland, V., Graves, J. A. & Pomeroy, P. 2007 In : Biology Letters.3, 1, p. 12-154 p.
Monitoring snowmelt across the Arctic forest-tundra ecotone using Synthetic Aperture RadarDean, A. M., Brown, I. A., Huntley, B. & Thomas, C. J. 2006 In : International Journal of Remote Sensing.27, 19, p. 4347-437024 p.
Climate change and malaria risk: complexity and scalingMartens, P. & Thomas, C. 2005 Environmental Change and Malaria Risk: Global and Local Implications. DORDRECHT: Springer Nature, Vol. 9, 13 p. (WAGENINGEN UR FRONTIS SERIES; vol. 9)
The performance of models relating species geographical distributions to climate is independent of trophic levelHuntley, 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 In : Ecology Letters.7, 5, p. 417-42610 p.
Malaria: a changed climate in Africa?Thomas, C. 2004 In : Nature.427, 6976, p. 690-6912 p.
Effect of topography on the risk of malaria infection in the Usambara Mountains, TanzaniaBalls, M. J., Bodker, R., Thomas, C. J., Kisinaz, W., Msangeni, H. A. & Lindsay, S. W. 2004 In : Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.98, 7, p. 400-4089 p.
Global warming and malaria: a call for accuracyReiter, P., Thomas, C. J., Atkinson, P. M., Hay, S. I., Randolph, S. E., Rogers, D. J., Shanks, G. D., Snow, R. W., Spielman, A. & Thomas, C. J. 2004 In : The Lancet Infectious Diseases.4, 6, p. 323-3242 p.
Mixed picture for changes in stable malaria distribution with future climate in AfricaThomas, C. J., Davies, G. & Dunn, C. E. 2004 In : Trends in Parasitology.20, 5, p. 216-2205 p.
Anopheles gambiae and climate in BrazilThomas, C. J. 2003 In : The Lancet Infectious Diseases.3, 6, p. 326-3261 p.
The role of food supply in the dispersal behaviour of juvenile Tawny Owls Strix alucoColes, C. F., Petty, S. J., Mackinnon, J. L. & Thomas, C. J. 2003 In : Ibis.145, 2, p. E59-E6810 p.
Risk of malaria attacks in Gambian children is greater away from malaria vector breeding sitesClarke, S. E., Bogh, C., Brown, R. C., Walraven, G. E. L., Thomas, C. J. & Lindsay, S. W. 2002 In : Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.96, 5, p. 499-5068 p.
Global Warming and Risk of Vivax Malaria in Great BritainLindsay, S. W. & Thomas, C. J. 2001 In : Global Change and Human Health.2, 1, p. 80-844 p.
Dispersal characteristics of seven odonate species in an agricultural landscapeConrad, K. F., Willson, K. H., Harvey, I. F., Thomas, C. J. & Sherratt, T. N. 1999 In : Ecography.22, 5, p. 524-5318 p.
Mapping the ranges and relative abundance of the two principal African malaria vectors, Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto and An. arabiensis, using climate dataLindsay, S. W., Parson, L. & Thomas, C. J. 1998 In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.265, 1399, p. 847-548 p.