Professor Barry Brook

Professor Barry Brook

Professor Barry Brook is a leading environmental scientist, holding the Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and is also Director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide’s Environment Institute.

He has published three books, 240 refereed scientific papers (lists here and here and full text here), is an ISI highly cited researcher, and regularly writes popular articles for the media.

He has received a number of distinguished awards for his research excellence (including the Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal) and was awarded the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year for his public outreach activities. 

His research interests are climate change impacts, species extinctions, simulation and statistical modelling, energy systems analysis (with a focus on modelling future nuclear and large-scale renewable energy scenarios), and synergistic human impacts on the biosphere.

He runs a popular climate science and energy options blog at He has written a popular book on sustainable nuclear energy, is an International Award Committee member for the Global Energy Prize, and considers himself a ‘Promethean environmentalist' (seeking effective techno-fixes to solve entrenched sustainability problems).

B.Sc. (Hons I) 1996, Ph.D. 1999, Macquarie University, Sydney

Awards and Prizes

2013: Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Award (SYRA2013): Life and Biological Sciences

2013: Institute for Scientific Information "Highly Cited" researcher in Ecology/Environment

2011: Mid-Career Research Excellence Award, Faculty of Sciences, The University of Adelaide

2011: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (Level 3)

2010: Community Science Educator of the Year, SA Excellence Awards

2007: Cosmos Bright Sparks Award: One of the top 10 young scientists in Australia

2007: H.G. Andrewartha Medal: Royal Society of SA. Awarded for outstanding research by a scientist under 40 years (any discipline)

2006: Fenner Medal: Australian Academy of Science. Awarded for distinguished research in biology by a scientist under 40 years

2006: Edgeworth David Medal: Royal Society of NSW. Awarded for outstanding research by a scientist under 35 years (any discipline)

2006: Who's Who in Australia? (Crown Content Publishing) bibliographic entry

2005: 2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century, bibliographic entry (International Biographical Centre, Cambridge)

1999: Australian Flora Foundation PhD Prize, Australian Flora Foundation

Effective teaching, outreach and communication of the science of climate change, energy sustainability and biodiversity conservation is fundamental to providing policy makers with the type of evidence required to institute meaningful mitigation policy and adaptation options.

Professor Brook has taken an active leadership role in the communication of the science of global change to government, industry and the community (directly, via public lectures and workshops and advisory committees, and indirectly via the media - including television, radio, the print media and popular science articles). It is his belief that presenting hard-won technical scientific evidence to a broad audience in an intelligible way is the surest path to provoking meaningful societal change towards long-term sustainability.

At the Global Ecology Lab, a range of opportunities are available for Ph.D., Masters and Honours students for specific on-going research projects with existing funding. General inquiries for projects on topics of a student's own choosing, on research problems in climate change impacts on biodiversity, paleoecology, extinction modelling and energy generation systems (nuclear and renewable policy and modelling) are also welcome. 

Current Ph.D. projects on offer in the Global Ecology Lab are listed here.

Current Research Graduate Students: Mr Sanhyung Hong (PhD), Mr Michael Stead (PhD), Mr Tony Griffiths (PhD), Mr Dandong Zheng (PhD), Mr Tim Kelly (MA).

Recently Graduated: Dr Lochran Traill (PhD 2010, Marie Curie Fellow at Imperial College London), Dr Thomas Wanger (PhD 2011, postdoc at Stanford University), Dr Siobhan de Little (PhD 2011, research fellow at University of Melbourne), Mr Bert Harris (PhD 2013, postdoc at Princeton University), Dr Nerissa Haby (PhD 2012), Dr Salvador Herrando Perez (PhD 2012).

Potential Student Projects (for specific projects, see here)

  • Linking population viability models to bioclimatic projections: Develop bioclimatic projections for a range of well-studied species and compare these projections of geographic range shifts to those generated via population viability assessments.
  • Sustainable energy systems modelling - deployment scenarios and energy mix options.
  • Climate change impacts on Adelaide's biodiversity (e.g., analysis of DEH biosurvey data, computational modelling of landscape and community change)
  • Development of numerical simulation models for wildlife management and conservation recovery programmes, including meta-model development (integrative tools)
  • Statistical/simulation modelling of long-term time series and geographic databases

Click here for Google Scholar research publication citation analysis for Brook, B.W.

Topics: My research methods focus primarily on the statistical analysis, interpretation and computational modelling of complex systems, long-term data, and meta-analysis of large-scale databases. Scenarios for future impacts are modelled at global, regional and local scales, to provide a robust scientific underpinning for scientific management and government policy.

My current work is aimed at determining the extent to which climate change amplifies other major anthropogenic threats to biodiversity (e.g., demographic and genetic stress, habitat degradation, introduced predator and competitor species), and developing new modelling systems which realistically captures this information and so can be used for the purposes of prediction, adaptation and ecosystem management and restoration and forecasts of extinction risk (using population viability analysis and metapopulation risk assessment).

I also undertake systems modelling for sustainable energy, including scenario modelling of future low-carbon energy mixes (nuclear power and renewables) and the critical evalatuion of large-scale deployment options, energy backup, and variability control.

My lab has comprehensive research facilities and professional development programmes available via the Environment Institute, its support staff, and the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences infrastructure. Through internal University grants and substantial ARC funding (e.g., Future Fellowship infrastructure and ARC Discovery grants), I have established a ‘supercomputer' cluster (Windows-64-bit OS, 64 x high-performance Intel processor cores, 32 GB RAM each, 10 TB RAID 0 storage). This facility has greatly increased the scope of computational analysis available to the Faculty, and is managed by eResearch SA.

Current Postdoctoral Research StaffDr Damien FordhamDr Thomas Prowse (with 8 new positions currently being advertised, as of May 2013).

Major CollaboratorsProf Corey BradshawDr Phill CasseyProf Chris JohnsonDr Miguel AraújoDr Tom WigleyDr Bob LacyProf Resit Akçakaya, Members of the Science Council for Global Initiatives.

Citation rates: According to Google Scholar (author: "brook bw"), I have 7,000 citations: 5 with > 300 cites, 19 with >100 cites and 36 with >50 cites (h-index of 41). I am listed by ISI's Essential Science Indicators as one of the top 20 in the world for scientist rankings in environment/ecology (out of >3,500 E/E scientists who qualify at the 1% of cited scientists level, requiring at least 470 citations in the past 10 years). Six of my papers are currently listed as top 0.01 % cited papers.

Output type and quantity: In my career, I have 230 peer-reviewed outputs, including 3 authored books. For just the 2012 peer-reviewed outputs, I had 4 book chapters and 22 journal papers published. See below for my full publication list.

Publication quality: My books have been published by Cambridge University Press and Wiley-Blackwell, two of the premier global academic book publishing houses with a rigorous pre-selection and review process.

My papers have been published consistently in high-quality outlets, including the following notables (below lists the ISI 2010 Impact Factor [IF] and number of papers [n] in each outlet): Nature (IF = 36.1, n = 6), Science (IF = 31.4, n = 2), Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (IF = 9.8, n= 3), as well as and the following ERA A* journals: Trends in Ecology & Evolution (IF = 14.5, n = 4), Quarterly Review of Biology (IF = 10.2, n = 4), Conservation Biology (IF = 4.9, n = 10),Proceedings of the Royal Society B (IF = 5.1, n = 3), Ecological Applications (IF = 4.2, n = 4),Ecology (IF = 5.1, n = 3), Ecology Letters (IF = 15.2, n = 1), Global Change Biology (IF = 6.4, n = 2), PLoS Biology (IF = 12.9, n = 3), Global Ecology & Biodiversity (IF = 5.3, n = 1), Quaternary Science Reviews (IF = 4.7, n = 4) and Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (IF = 8.8, n = 4).

Other: I have given 100s of invited national and international keynote and plenary addresses, and have been awarded 16 competitive ARC research grants (8 Discovery, 8 Linkage, 1 Super Science, 1 Future Fellowship) as a Chief Investigator, totalling >$10 million (plus >$8M cash and in-kind contribution from industry partners).

Editorial Board/PanelBiology Letters (2011-), Biological Conservation (2009-), Environmental Evidence (2012-), Sustainability (2009-), Ecological Research (2004-2011), Quarterly Review of Biology (2012-), Raffles Bulletin of Zoology (2003-), Faculty of 1000 Biology [Theoretical Ecology section]


Brook, B.W. & Lowe, I. (2010) Why vs Why: Nuclear Power. Pantera Press, Sydney. ISBN 978-0-9807418-5-8.

Sodhi, N.S., Brook, B.W. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2007) Tropical Conservation Biology. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK. ISBN 978-1-4051-5073-6.336, 344 p.

 Sodhi, N.S. & Brook, B.W. (2006) Southeast Asian Biodiversity in Crisis. Tropical Biology Series, Cambridge University Press, London, UK. ISBN 978-0-521-83930-3, 212 p.


(email: for a PDF reprint; for a full PDF list of 250 publications and an Endnote Library, see bottom of page)

Brook B.W. (2012) Climate change implications of a large Australian population. In: A Greater Australia: Population, Policies and Governance (eds J. Pincus & G. Hugo), pp 98-106. CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Melbourne.

Brook, B.W. & Barnosky, A.D. (2011) Quaternary extinctions and their link to climate change. In: Saving a Million Species: Extinction Risk from Climate Change (ed. L. Hannah), pp 179-198. Island Press, NY. ISBN 987-159-726-570-6.

Brook B.W. (2011) The role of nuclear fission energy in mitigating future carbon emissions. In: Australia's Nuclear Option  (ed. N. Taylor), pp 11-21. CEDA – the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, Melbourne.

Brook, B.W., Ellis, E.C., Perring, M.P., Mackay, A.W. & Blomqvist, L. (2013) Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.01.016

Hong, S., Bradshaw, C.J.A. & Brook, B.W. (2013) Evaluating options for the future energy mix of Japan after the Fukushima nuclear crisis. Energy Policy, doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.01.002

Brook B.W. (2012) Could nuclear fission energy etc., solve the greenhouse problem? The affirmative case. Energy Policy, 42, 4-8. doi: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.11.041

Brook B.W. & Bradshaw C.J.A. (2012) Strange bedfellows? Techno-fixes to solve the big conservation issues in southern Asia. Biological Conservation, 151, 7-10. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.007

Fordham D.A., Akçakaya H.R., Araújo M.B., Elith J., Keith D., Pearson R., Auld T.D., Mellin C., Morgan J.W., Regan T.J., Tozer M., Watts M.J., White M., Wintle B., Yates C. & Brook B.W. (2012) Plant extinction risk under climate change: are forecast range shifts alone a good indicator of species vulnerability to global warming? Global Change Biology, 18, 1357-1371. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02614.x

Fordham D.A., Wigley T.M.L., Watts, M.J. & Brook B.W. (2012) Strengthening forecasts of climate change impacts with multi-model ensemble averaged projections using MAGICC/SCENGEN 5.3. Ecography, 35, 4-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07398.x

Harris, J.B.C., Fordham, D.A., Mooney, P.A., Pedler, L.P., Araújo, M.B., Paton, D.C., Stead, M.G., Watts, M.J., Akçakaya, H.R. & Brook, B.W. (2012) Managing the long-term persistence of a rare cockatoo under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49, 785-794. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02163.x

Herrando-Pérez, S., Delean, S., Brook, B.W. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2012) Decoupling of component and ensemble density feedbacks in birds and mammals. Ecology, 93, 1728-1740. doi: 10.1890/11-1415.1

Rule S., Brook B.W., Haberle S.G., Turney C.S.M., Kershaw A.P. & Johnson C.N. (2012) The aftermath of megafaunal extinction: ecosystem transformation in Pleistocene Australia. Science, 335, 1483-1486. doi: 10.1126/science.1214261

Fordham, D.A., Wigley, T.M.L. & Brook, B.W. (2011) Multi-model climate projections for biodiversity risk assessments. Ecological Applications 21, 3317-3331. doi: 10.1890/11-0314.1

Gibson, L., Lee, T.M., Koh, L.P., Brook, B.W., Gardner, T.A., Barlow, J., Peres, C.A., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Laurance, W.F., Lovejoy, T.E. & Sodhi, N.S. (2011) Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity. Nature, 478, 378-381 doi: 10.1038/nature10425

Johnson, C.N. & Brook, B.W. (2011) Reconstructing the dynamics of ancient human populations from radiocarbon dates: 10 000 years of population growth in Australia. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London – Series B, 278, 3748-3754. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2011.0343

Nicholson, M., Biegler, T. & Brook, B. W. (2011) How carbon pricing changes the relative competitiveness of low-carbon baseload generating technologies. Energy, 36, 305-313. doi: 10.1016/

Prowse T.A.A. & Brook B.W. (2011) Climate change, variability and adaptation options for Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology, 17, 168-178.

Clark, F., Brook, B.W., Delean, S., Akçakaya, H.R. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2010) The theta-logistic is unreliable for modelling most census data. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 1, 253-262. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-210X.2010.00029.x

Fordham, D. & Brook, B.W. (2010) Why tropical island endemics are acutely susceptible to global change. Biodiversity & Conservation, 19, 329-342. doi: 10.1007/s10531-008-9529-7

Roberts, R.G. & Brook, B.W. (2010) And then there were none? Science, 327, 420-422. doi: 10.1126/science.1185517.

Traill, L.W., Brook, B.W., Frankham, R. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2010) Pragmatic population viability targets in a rapidly changing world. Biological Conservation, 143, 28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.09.001

Brook, B.W., Akçakaya,         H.R., Keith, D.A., Mace, G.M., Pearson, R.G. & Araújo, M.B. (2009) Integrating bioclimate with population models to improve forecasts of species extinctions under climate change. Biology Letters, 5, 723-725. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0480

Anderson, B.J., Akçakaya, H.R., Araujo, M.B., Fordham, D.A., Martinez-Meyer, E., Thuiller, W. & Brook, B.W. (2009) Dynamics of range margins for metapopulations under climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London – Series B, 276, 1415-1420. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2008.1681

Bradshaw, C.J.A. & Brook, B.W. (2009) The Cronus hypothesis - extinction as a necessary and dynamic balance to evolutionary diversification. Journal of Cosmology 2, 221-229.

Bradshaw, C.J.A., Sodhi, N.S. & Brook, B.W. (2009) Tropical turmoil – a biodiversity tragedy in progress. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 7, 79-87. doi: 10.1890/070193

Haile, J., Froese, D., MacPhee, R., Roberts, R., Arnold, L., Reyes, A., Rasmussen, M., Nielsen, R., Brook, B.W., Robinson, S., Demuro, M., Gilbert, T., Munch, K., Austin, J., Cooper, A., Barnes, I., Moller, P. & Willerslev, E. (2009) Ancient DNA reveals late survival of mammoth and horse in interior Alaska. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 106, 22352–22357. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0912510106

Sodhi, N.S., Lee, T.M., Koh, L.P. & Brook, B.W. (2009) A meta-analysis of the impact of anthropogenic forest disturbance on Southeast Asia's biotas. Biotropica 41, 103-109. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2008.00460.x

Brook, B.W. (2008) Synergies between climate change, extinctions and invasive vertebrates. Wildlife Research, 35, 249-252. doi: 10.1071/WR07116

Brook, B.W., Sodhi, N.S. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2008) Synergies among extinction drivers under global change. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 23, 453-460. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2008.03.011

Brook, B.W., Rowley, N., & Flannery, T.F. (2007) Kyoto: doing our best is no longer enough. Nature, 450, 478. doi: 10.1038/450478d

Brook, B. W., Bowman, D.M.J.S., Burney, D.A., Flannery, T.F., Gagan, M.K., Gillespie, R., Johnson, C.N., Kershaw, A.P., Magee, J.W., Martin, P.S., Miller, G.H., Peiser, B., & Roberts, R.G. (2007) Would the Australian megafauna have become extinct if humans had never colonised the continent? Quaternary Science Reviews, 26, 560-564. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.10.008

Elliott, L.P. & Brook, B.W. (2007) Revisiting Chamberlin: multiple working hypotheses for the 21st century. BioScience, 57, 608-614. doi: 10.1641/B570708

Pandit, M.K., Sodhi, N.S., Koh, L.P., Bhaskar, A. & Brook, B.W. (2007) Unreported yet massive deforestation driving loss of endemic biodiversity in Indian Himalaya. Biodiversity and Conservation, 16, 153-163. doi: 10.1007/s10531-006-9038-5

Traill, L.W., Bradshaw, C.J.A., & Brook, B.W. (2007) Minimum viable population size: a meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates. Biological Conservation, 139, 159-166, doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2007.06.011

Brook, B.W. & Bradshaw, C.J.A. (2006) Strength of evidence for density dependence in abundance time series of 1198 species. Ecology, 87, 1445-1451. doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[1445:SOEFDD]2.0.CO;2

Brook, B.W., Bradshaw, C.J.A., & Traill, L.W. (2006) Minimum viable populations and global extinction risk are unrelated. Ecology Letters, 9, 375-382. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2006.00883.x

Brook, B.W., Bradshaw, C.J.A., Koh, L.P., & Sodhi, N.S. (2006) Momentum drives the crash: mass extinction in the tropics. Biotropica, 38, 302-305. doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00141.x

Brook, B.W. & Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2005) One equation fits overkill: why allometry underpins both prehistoric and modern body size-biased extinctions. Population Ecology, 42, 147-151. doi: 10.1007/s10144-005-0213-4

Brook, B.W. & Whitehead, P.J. (2005) Sustainable harvest regimes for magpie geese (Anseranas semipalmata) under spatial and temporal heterogeneity. Wildlife Research, 32, 459-464. doi: 10.1071/WR02104

Brook, B.W. (2004) Australasian bird invasions: accidents of history? Ornithological Science, 3, 33-42. doi: 10.2326/osj.3.33

Brook, B.W. & Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2004) The uncertain blitzkrieg of Pleistocene megafauna. Journal of Biogeography, 31, 517-523. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2699.2003.01028.x

O'Grady, J.J., Reed, D.H., Brook, B.W., & Frankham, R. (2004) What are the best correlates of predicted extinction risk? Biological Conservation, 118, 513-520. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2003.10.002

Sodhi, N.S., Koh, L.P., Brook, B.W., & Ng, P.K.L. (2004) Southeast Asian biodiversity: an impending disaster. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 19, 654-660. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2004.09.006

Spielman, D., Brook, B.W., & Frankham, R. (2004) Most species are not driven to extinction before genetic factors impact them. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101, 15261-15264. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0403809101

Brook, B.W., Sodhi, N.S., & Ng, P.K.L. (2003) Catastrophic extinctions follow deforestation in Singapore. Nature, 424, 420-423. doi: 10.1038/nature01795

Reed, D.H., O'Grady, J.J., Brook, B.W., Ballou, J.D., & Frankham, R. (2003) Estimates of minimum viable population sizes for vertebrates and factors influencing those estimates. Biological Conservation, 113, 23-34. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00346-4

Brook, B.W. & Bowman, D.M.J.S. (2002) Explaining the Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions: Models, chronologies, and assumptions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99, 14624-14627. doi: 10.1073/pnas.232126899

Brook, B.W., Tonkyn, D.W., O'Grady, J.J., & Frankham, R. (2002) Contribution of inbreeding to extinction risk in threatened species. Conservation Ecology, 6, 16. [online] URL:

Brook, B.W. (2000) Pessimistic and optimistic bias in population viability analysis. Conservation Biology, 14, 564-566. doi: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.99039.x

Brook, B.W., O'Grady, J.J., Chapman, A.P., Burgman, M.A., Akçakaya, H.R., & Frankham, R. (2000) Predictive accuracy of population viability analysis in conservation biology. Nature, 404, 385-387. doi: 10.1038/35006050

Brook, B.W., Lim, L., Harden, R., & Frankham, R. (1997) Does population viability analysis software predict the behaviour of real populations? A retrospective study on the Lord Howe Island woodhen Tricholimnas sylvestris (Sclater). Biological Conservation, 82, 119-128. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3207(97)00026-8


Professional Societies

CategoriesEnvironment, Science & Technology
Expertiseclimate change; global change biology; ecology; tropical biology; extinction; habitat loss; invasive species; palaeontology; modelling; conservation biology; endangered species; climate policy; sustainability; conservation genetics; nuclear energy; greenhouse gases
NotesB.Sc. (Hons I), Ph.D., Macquarie University 2007: Cosmos Bright Sparks Award: One of the top 10 young scientists in Australia 2007: H.G. Andrewartha Medal: Royal Society of SA. 2006: Fenner Medal: Australian Academy of Science. 2006: Edgeworth David Medal: Royal Society of NSW. 2006: Who's Who in Australia? 2005: 2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 21st Century
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Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016