Anne Oxbrough

Anne Oxbrough, Reader in Ecology pictured in woodland

Anne joined the Biology Department in 2012 and is a Reader in Ecology. In 2006 she received her PhD in Ecology from University College Cork, Ireland, which investigated the potential of plantation forests to support a diverse spider fauna. Following this she spent time as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ireland and as a Marie Curie International Fellow in Canada researching the impacts of forest management on biodiversity in temperate and boreal ecosystems. This work included research in both managed and natural forests as well as a range of grassland and peatland habitats and has involved extensive collaboration with stakeholders to ensure a sound evidence base for policy.

In 2015 Anne became a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society. She is coordinator of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations – IUFRO Sub-division 8.02 Forest Biodiversity group, the IUFRO working party on Forest biodiversity and resilience and the Royal Entomological Society special interest group on Forest insects and their allies.


Anne’s Research explores the juxtaposition between biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and resilience in response to environmental change with focus on the sustainable management of ecosystems in forestry and agriculture. Anne is a specialist in arthropod ecology and she has worked extensively with botanists and ornithologists, adopting a multi-taxon approach to biodiversity research.

Current research projects:

  • Landscape connectivity and fragment isolation influencing forest spider dispersal. Jack Priestly, MRes project 2021-2022
  • Forest management strategies driving forest structural change and mediating prey-predator interactions – a potential tool for pest control? Research project. 2021-2023
  • Achieving mire restoration success: Determining change in above and below ground biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Research project. 2021-2024
  • Soil microbial functioning in mixed forest ecosystems. Research project. 2019-2023
  • Ecological Genetics of Maritime Species in Carex sect. Phacocystis. Jenni Clayton-Brown PhD project, 2019-2023.
  • The influence of habitat quality on oviposition site selection for the high brown fritillary (Argynnis adippe). Julia Simons PhD Project 2019-2023

Completed research:


In 2014 Anne completed a PGCE in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education with Distinction and became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is programme leader for the MSc Conservation Management and she teaches on a range of programmes across academic levels:

Undergraduate modules:

  • Ecology SCI1112 (Module Lead)
  • Biology in Practice SCI1107
  • Research Methods in Biology SCI2308
  • Invertebrate Ecology SCI2317 (Module Lead)
  • Invertebrate Ecology SCI3318 (Module Lead)
  • Dissertation SCI3330/SCI3333
  • Biodiversity and Conservation SCI3309 (Module Lead)
  • Ecological Interactions SCI3325 (Module Lead)

MSc Conservation Management:

  • Research Project MCM4001 (Module Lead)
  • Conservation Placement MCM4006 (Module Lead)
  • Vertebrate Monitoring and Management MCM4008 (Module Lead)
  • Invertebrate Ecology MCM4013 (Module Lead)

MRes and PhD researcher training:

  • Research practice in the Sciences
  • Research design and implementation
  • Engaging with wider impact
  • Writing abstracts
  • Publishing research


Anne Oxbrough
Biosciences Building
Department of Biology
Edge Hill University
Ormskirk, Lancashire
L39 4QP
01695 584 149
[email protected]

Professional and society memberships

  • International Union of Forest Research Organisations, member
  • Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, FRES
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA
  • British Arachnological Society, member
  • British Ecological Society, member


Journal Articles

Seibold, S., Rammer, W., Hothorn, T. ~ Oxbrough,  A.,~ et al. The contribution of insects to global forest deadwood decomposition. Nature 597, 77–81 (2021).
Access an online version of the article here:

Osbiston, K., Oxbrough, A., & Fernández-Martínez, L. T. (2020). Antibiotic resistance levels in soils from urban and rural land uses in Great Britain. Access microbiology3(1), acmi000181. (Free PDF download via

Esh, M., Oxbrough, A. Macrohabitat associations and phenology of carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae, Leiodidae: Cholevinae). J Insect Conserv (2020).

Hunt N., Mercer D. & Oxbrough A. (2019) Grazing and scrub clearance promote open dune habitat regeneration in pine plantation canopy gaps in Merseyside, UK. Conservation Evidence, 16, 43-47. 

Lyons A., Oxbrough A. and Ashton P.* (2018) Managing biodiversity in upland calcareous grassland landscapes: a case study of spiders and ground beetles. Edge Hill University, Lancashire, UK. Pages 1-32. ISBN: 978-1-900230-62-9′. (Free PDF Download of Managing biodiversity in upland calcareous grassland landscapes: a case study of spiders and ground beetles)

García-Tejero, S., Spence, J. R., O’Halloran, J., Bourassa, S., Oxbrough, A. 2018. Natural succession and clearcutting as drivers of environmental heterogeneity and beta diversity in North American boreal forests. Accepted: PLOS One.  Free PDF Download

Lyons, A., Ashton, P., Powell, I., Oxbrough, A., 2018. Epigeal spider assemblage responses to vegetation structure under contrasting grazing management in upland calcareous grasslands. Insect Conservation and Diversity. DOI: 10.1111/icad.12287

Lyons A., Ashton P.A., Powell I., Oxbrough A. (2018) Habitat associations of epigeal spiders in upland calcareous grassland landscapes: the importance for conservation. Biodiversity in Conservation, 27:1201-1219.

Brockerhoff EG, Barbaro L, Castagneyrol B, Forrester DI, Gardiner B, González-Olabarria JR, Lyver PO’B, Meurisse N, Oxbrough A, Taki H, Thompson ID, van der Plas F, Jactel H 2017 Forest biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the provision of ecosystem services. Biodiversity and Conservation (in press).

Lyons, A., Ashton, P., Powell, I., Oxbrough, A., 2017 Impacts of contrasting conservation grazing management on plants and carabid beetles in upland calcareous grasslands. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment. 244: 22-31.

OxbroughA., García-Tejero, S., Spence J., O’Halloran, J. 2016. Can mixed stands of native and non-native tree species enhance diversity of epigaeic arthropods in plantation forests? Forest Ecology and Management. 367: 21-29. DOI:10.1016/j.foreco.2016.02.023.

Pedley, S. M., Oxbrough, A., Martin, R. D., Irwin, S., Kelly, T. C., O’Halloran, J. 2016.  Can ground-based assessments of forest biodiversity reflect the biological condition of the canopy assemblage? Forest Ecology and Management, 359, 190-198.

Irwin,S., Pedley, S.M., Coote, L., Dietzsch, A.C, Wilson, M. W., Oxbrough, A., Sweeney, O., Moore, K. M., Martin, R., Kelly, D. L., Mitchell, F, J,G., Kelly, T. C., O’Halloran, J. 2014. The value of plantation forests for plant, invertebrate and bird diversity and the potential for cross-taxon surrogacy. Biodiversity and Conservation, DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0627-4

Pedley, S. M., Martin, R. D., Oxbrough, A., Irwin, S., Kelly, T. C., O’Halloran, J. 2014. Commercial spruce plantations support a limited canopy fauna: Evidence from a multi taxa comparison of native and plantation forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 314, 172-182.

Oxbrough, A., Irwin, S., Wilson, M., O’Halloran, J. 2014. Mechanisms and predictors of ecological change in managed forests: A selection of papers from the second international conference on biodiversity in forest ecosystems and landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management, 321, 1-4.

Fuller, L., Oxbrough, A., Gittings T., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C., O’Halloran J. 2014. The response of ground-dwelling spiders (Araneae) and hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae) to afforestation assessed using within site tracking. Forestry: An International Journal of Forest Research, 87, 301-312.

Fuller, L., Oxbrough, A., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C., O’Halloran J. 2013. The importance of young plantation forest habitat and forest road verges for ground-dwelling spider diversity. Biology and environment. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,113B, No. 2, 1-13.

Irwin, S., Kelly, D.L., Kelly, T.C., Mitchell, F.J.G., Coote, L., Oxbrough, A., Wilson, M.W., Martin, R., Moore, K., Sweeney, O., Dietzsch, A., O’Halloran, J. 2013. Do Irish forests provide habitat for species of conservation concern? Biology and environment. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 113B, No. 3, 1-7.

Oxbrough, A., French, V., Irwin, S., Kelly, T. C., Smiddy, P., O’Halloran, J . 2012. Can mixed species stands enhance arthropod diversity in plantation forests? Forest Ecology and Management, 270, 11-18.

Oxbrough, A., Irwin, S., Kelly, T.C., O’Halloran, J. 2010. Ground-dwelling invertebrates in reforested conifer plantations. Forest Ecology and Management, 259, 2111-2121.

Oxbrough, A., Gittings, T., Kelly, T.C., O’Halloran, J. 2010. Can malaise traps be used to sample spiders for biodiversity assessment? Journal of Insect Conservation, 14, 169-179.

Oxbrough, A. 2008 Irish spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) collected during a five-year, island-wide study including 696 new county records. Bulletin of the Irish Biogeographical Society: 32.

Smith, G. F., Gittings, T., Wilson, M., French, L., Oxbrough, A., et al. 2008. Identifying practical indicators of biodiversity for stand-level management of plantation forests. Biodiversity & Conservation, 17, 991-1015.

Oxbrough, A. G., Gittings T., O’Halloran J., Giller, P. S., Kelly, T.C,. 2007. Biodiversity of the ground-dwelling spider fauna of afforestation habitats. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 120, 433-441.

Oxbrough, A. 2007. Distribution records of some uncommonly recorded spiders in Ireland including a new Irish record: Meioneta mollis (O.P.-Cambridge,1871). Irish Naturalists Journal, 28, 406-409.

Oxbrough, A. G., Gittings T., O’Halloran J., Giller, P. S., Kelly, T.C,.2006. The initial effects of afforestation on ground-dwelling spider fauna among several habitat types. Forest Ecology and Management, 237, 478–491.

Oxbrough, A. G., Gittings T., O’Halloran J., Giller, P. S., Kelly, T.C,. 2006. The influence of open space on ground-dwelling spider assemblages within plantation forests. Forest Ecology and Management, 237, 404-417.

Oxbrough, A. G., Gittings, T., O’Halloran, J., Giller, P. S., Smith, G. S. 2005. Structural indicators of spider communities across the forest plantation cycle. Forest, Ecology and Management, 213, 171-183.

Book Contributions

Oxbrough, A., & Pinzon, Z. 2019. Advances in understanding forest ecosystem services: conserving biodiversity. In: Advances in understanding forest ecosystem services: conserving biodiversity. Ed Stanturf, J. A. Burleigh Dodds Science Publishing. Cambridge.

Oxbrough A., Ziesche, T. 2013. Spiders in Forest Ecosystems. In: Integrative approaches as an opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity. Eds. Kraus, D., Krumm, F. European Forest Institute, pp284.Available for download on my ResearchGate

Oxbrough, A. G., & Ramsay, P. M. (1999). Páramo spiders of Volcán Chiles, Ecuador. In: The Ecology of Volcán Chiles, Ramsay, P., M. (Ed.). Pebble & Shell.

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