Clive was educated at school in Bradford and as a student in Oxford, obtaining a BA in Zoology (converted to an MA). After graduation he worked on international research expeditions and as a professional conservationist and environmental consultant. He undertook nature reserve surveys and management, and performed environmental impact assessment on developments including motorways, railways, airports, power stations and new towns. His research and teaching led him back into academia, whilst helping develop the first conservation courses in Oxford.
His book Conservation (Cambridge University Press, 2004) was described as “…the best current introduction to conservation” (Bulletin of the British Ecological Society). The second edition, co-authored with Dr. Susan Canney in 2013, is described as “A must read for everyone, and especially for students, researchers, and conservation practitioners.” (Russell A. Mittermeier, President, Conservation International).
Clive has been a College Lecturer in biology at Merton, St Anne’s, Pembroke and Oriel, often acting as the course director of studies for a college. He joined Hertford in 1998 and is the college’s director of studies for Human Sciences. He works in Oxford’s faculties of Zoology, Geography and Anthropology.
Clive is an active supporter of the Oxford tutorial system, based on critical discussion in very small groups. He teaches particularly in ecology and conservation, but at times also helps with behaviour and evolution. He tutors and supervises work on courses in Biological Sciences, Human Sciences and occasionally in Geography and Archaeology & Anthropology. Clive is a member (and former Chair) of the Oxford University Expeditions Council, helping numerous student expeditions study and explore around the world.
Clive teaches conservation and biodiversity in residential field courses on Oxford’s MSc in Environmental Change and Management (a course he helped design). He is a College Advisor to graduate students on courses related to biology, geography and medicine.
Clive is an ecologist and researches a wide variety of environmental management problems. The central theme of his work is reduction of extinction rates, globally and nationally. His international fieldwork has monitored a wide range of organisms, identified the threats to them, and contributed to management for them. These are some of the questions which Clive’s research addresses:
Clive was the first to demonstrate that recent extinction rates for many types of organism on land and in freshwater are very similar to each other – and proposed that birds and fish be used as novel indicators to monitor the rates more easily. He suggested the similarity of extinction rates points to habitat destruction as the main cause of extinction. He has shown a global extinction rate of 40 species per day is plausible, whilst the extinction rate in England is around one species per month and increasing. Clive argues that some recent claims of insect decline globally and in Germany are based on faulty methods – and may only be showing a change in insect activity.
Beyond basic physics: the advanced biology of climate change.
Clive researches the biological feedbacks which stabilise or destablise the climate; these are amongst the greatest uncertainties in climate science – and may explain why the predictive models ‘run hot’. He proposed a new interpretation of the Gaia hypothesis as ‘global stability due to life’, and investigates the biogeochemical, ecological and evolutionary processes that maintain the atmosphere in states that physics and chemistry alone cannot predict. He has discovered extremely strong relationships between sea ice, carbon dioxide and methane – challenging conventional views of the global carbon cycle. One of the first scientists to examine the risks, benefits and causes of carbon dioxide changes, Clive is now leading the argument that renewable energy (incuding biomass, tidal lagoons, barrages, dams and wind energy) are likely to cause more extinctions than anthropogenic climate change. He accurately predicted the rediscovery of the only species whose “extinction” was firmly attributed to climate change, leading to the ‘Snailgate’ controversy. His research into bird deaths from fossil fuel revealed substantial overstatement in the peer reviewed literature and the IPCC assessment.
Rewilding and sustainability: how should we manage habitats?
Clive started the debate on rewilding Britain when his results challenged traditional conservation management. He defined rewilding as restoration towards greater naturalness – a key aim being to reduce the extinction rate. Working with colleagues, he demonstrated the increasing value of dark, damp, ‘neglected’ woodland for many types of wildlife, and the surprisingly high value of conifer forests due to their stuctural complexity and microclimate. Clive’s results demonstrated impacts of activities such as coppicing and benefits of allowing recovery from exploitation management. This work revealed the risks many species face from forest edges, gaps and over-management – including supposedly ‘sustainable’ traditional use.
How can we measure, restore and ‘offset’ ecosystem function and ‘services’?
Since 1985 Clive has worked on the Gibson long-term ecology experiment at Wytham Woods, investigating how restored grassland responds to grazing at different seasons, and how to resolve complex management trade-offs between species diversity, vulnerable species and various ecosystem services such as pollination, predation or carrion removal. This project has demonstrated the long timescales (decades to centuries) often required for attempted ‘biodiversity offsetting’ by developers – even for grassland.
Hambler, C., Wint, G. R. W. & Rogers, D. J. (2010) Invertebrates. In Wytham Woods. Oxford’s Ecological Laboratory, eds. P. S. Saville, C. M. Perrins, K. J. Kirby & N. Fisher, Oxford University Press, pp. 109-144.
Hambler, C., Henderson, P. A. & Speight, M. R. (2005) Elephants, ecology and non-equilibrium? Science, 307, 637.
Hambler, C. (2004) Conservation, Cambridge University Press.
Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (2004) Extinction rates and butterflies. Science, 305, 1563.
Hambler, C. (2004) Virgin rainforests and conservation. Science, 305, 943-944.
Bell, J., Johnson, P. J., Hambler, C., Haughton, A. J., Smith, H., Feber, R. E., Tattersall, F.H., Hart, B.H., Manley, W. & Macdonald, D.W. (2002) Manipulating the abundance of Lepthyphantes tenuis (Ananeidae: Linyphiiidae) by field margin management. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 93, 295-304.
Canney, S. & Hambler, C. (2001) Biological feedback. In Encyclopedia of Global Change: Environmental Change and Human Society, eds. A. Goudie & D. J. Cuff, Oxford University Press, pp. 100-103.
Foggo, A., Ozanne, C. M. P., Speight, M. R. & Hambler, C. (2001) Edge effects and tropical forest canopy invertebrates. Plant Ecology, 153, 347-359.
Ozanne, C. M. P. Speight, M. R., Hambler, C. & Evans, H. F. (2000) Isolated trees and forest patches: patterns in canopy arthropod abundance and diversity in Pinus sylvestris (Scots Pine). Forest Ecology and Management, 137, 53-63.
Hambler, C .(1999) Gaia’s body. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 8, 315-316.
Rispoli, D. & Hambler, C. (1999) Public attitudes to wetland conservation in Oxfordshire and Cambridgeshire, UK. International Journal of Science Education, 21, 467-484.
Chey, V. K., Holloway, J. D, Hambler, C., & Speight, M. R. (1998) Canopy knockdown of arthropods in exotic plantations and natural forest in Sabah, north-east Borneo, using insecticidal mist-blowing. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 88, 15-24.
Hambler, C. (1998) Ecology, biodiversity and gaia – forging links. Diversity and Distributions, 4, 45-46.
Baines, M., Hambler, C, Johnson, P. J., Macdonald, D. W. & Smith, H. E. (1998) The effects of arable field margin management on the abundance and species richness of Araneae (spiders). Ecography, 21, 74-86.
Ozanne, C. M. P., Hambler, C., Foggo, A. & Speight M. R. (1997) The significance of edge effects in the management of forests for invertebrate biodiversity. In Canopy Arthropods, eds. N. E. Stork, J. Adis & R. K. Didham,Chapman & Hall, London, pp. 534-551.
Hambler, C. (1997) The new Gaia. British Ecological Society Bulletin, 28, 101-104.
Hambler, C. (1997) Gaian feedback British Ecological Society Bulletin, August 1997, 192-193.
Hambler, C. & Wragg, G. M. (1997) British biodiversity overseas: saving the irreplaceable. British Wildlife, 9, 100-108.
Hambler, C. & Speight, M. R. (1997) ESUs and the conservation of pests. Conservation Biology, 11, 304.
Treweek, J. R., Watt, T. A. & Hambler, C. (1997) Integration of sheep production and nature conservation: experimental management. Journal of environmental management 50, 193-210.
Hambler, C. (1994) Giant tortoise Geochelone gigantea translocation to Curieuse Island (Seychelles): success or failure? Biological Conservation, 69: 293-299.
Hambler, C (1994) Report on the environmental consequences of uncontrolled population growth. The Council of Europe, Strasbourg.
Hambler, C. (1994) Plenty to think about. Biodiversity Letters, 2, 149-151.
Hambler, C. (1994) Towards an understanding of rarity. Biodiversity Letters, 2, 153-154.
Hambler, C. (1994) The biodiversity bandwagon. Biodiversity Letters, 2, 155-156.
Hambler, C., Newing, J. M. & Hambler K. (1993) Population monitoring for the flightless rail Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus. Bird Conservation International, 3, 307-318.
Linfield, M., Raubenheimer, D. R., Hambler, C .& Speight M. R. (1993) Leaf miners on Ochna ciliata (Ochnaceae) growing on Aldabra Atoll: patterns of herbivory in relation to goat browsing and exposure to the sun. Ecological Entomology, 18, 332-338.
Gibson, C. W. D., Hambler, C. & Brown, V. K. (1992) Changes in spider (Araneae) assemblages in response to succession and grazing management. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 132-142.
Hambler, C. (1992) Sustainable populations? Nature, 356, 294.