Owen Lewis

Professor of Ecology

Fellow and Tutor in Biological Sciences at Brasenose College


Research Interests

I am a community ecologist and conservation biologist. My interest is in the processes that maintain, structure and threaten biodiversity, particularly in highly diverse tropical forest ecosystems. My current research areas include the impact of human activities (including fragmentation and commercial timber extraction) on the diversity and functioning of tropical forest ecosystems; the structure and dynamics of food webs involving plants, insect herbivores and their parasitoids; the role of plant pathogens and insect herbivores in structuring and maintaining the high diversity of tropical plants; and the impact of climate change, habitat fragmentation and degradation on interspecific interactions and associated ecosystem functions and services.

 For full details of the work of our group, please visit the Community Ecology Research Oxford web site.

Additional Information

I am an associate editor for Journal of Applied Ecology, a member of the editorial board of Ecological Entomology, and a member of the NERC Peer Review College. I was awarded the Founders' Prize of the British Ecological Society in 2010. In April 2016 I was elected a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales.

I am the Lead PI for the LOMBOK consortium funded under NERC's Human Modified Tropical Forests programme. This is a 5-year, £2.3M project investigating biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and land-use policy in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. 



Email: owen.lewis@zoo.ox.ac.uk



Selected Publications

  • Staniczenko, P.P.A., Lewis, O.T., Tylianakis, J.M., Albrecht, M., Coudrain,V., Klein, A-M., Reed-Tsochas, F. (2017). Predicting the effect of habitat modification on networks of interacting species. Nature Communications, 8, 792.

  • Roslin, T, Hardwick, B, Novotny, V…Lewis, O.T.,…& Slade, E.M.  (2017). Higher predation risk for insect prey at low latitudes and elevations. Science 356, 742-744. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaj1631

  • Bagchi, R., Gallery, R.E., Gripenberg, S., Gurr, S.J., Narayan, L., Addis, C.E., Freckleton, R.P. & Lewis, O.T. (2014) Pathogens and insect herbivores drive rainforest plant diversity and composition. Nature, 506, 85-88.

  • Forister, M. L., Novotny, V., Panorska, A. K., Baje, L., Basset, Y., Butterill, P. T., Cizek, L., Coley, P. D., Dem, F., Diniz, I. R., Drozd, P., Fox, M., Glassmire, A., Hazen, R., Hrcek, J., Jahner, J. P., Kama, O., Kozubowski, T. J., Kursar, T. A., Lewis, O. T., Lill, J., Marquis, R. J., Miller, S. E., Morais, H. C., Murakami, M., Nickel, H., Pardikes, N., Ricklefs, R. E., Singer, M. S., Smilanich, A. M., Stireman, J. O., VillamarĂ­n-Cortez, S., Vodka, S., Volf, M., Wagner, D. L., Walla, T., Weiblen, G. D., and L. A. Dyer (2015). The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112, 442-447.
  • Morris, R.J., Gripenberg, S., Lewis, O.T. & Roslin, T. (2014). Antagonistic interaction networks are structured independently of latitude and host guild. Ecology Letters 17, 340-349.

  • Beynon, S.A., Slade, E.M., Mann D.J. & Lewis, O.T. (2012). Species-rich dung beetle communities buffer ecosystem services in perturbed agro-ecosystems. Journal of Applied Ecology 49, 1365–1372.

  • Tylianakis, J.M., Tscharntke, T. & Lewis, O.T. (2007) Habitat modification alters the structure of tropical host-parasitoid food webs. Nature, 445, 202-205