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Dr. Ruth Kelly

Dr Ruth Kelly

School of Natural Sciences (Zoology Building)
Trinity College Dublin
Dublin 2

Tel: + 353 1 896 2780
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Research interests


I am a conservation biologist interested in conducting fundamental ecological research, which can be applied to the management of species and habitats. To this end, I have worked with a broad range of taxa, including plants, invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles and birds. I am very interested in broad-scale statistical ecology, including species distribution modelling, dispersal modelling and trait-based comparative approaches. I currently organise regular GIS and R programming groups for staff and PhD students at Trinity College Dublin. I enjoy collaborative working and am actively working with international scientific initiatives on ecosystem service provision (P4ges) and population ecology (PlantPopNet).  

Current projects


“Linking demography, dispersal and landscape characteristics to inform conservation in an era of global change

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on an Irish Research Council funded project.  This project aims to use broad-scale comparative approaches to examine the associations between plant life-history strategies, dispersal capacity and landscape characteristics. Population processes such as dispersal and life-history strategies are key determinants of how organisms respond to global change. Furthermore, the evolution of dispersal and demographic life-history strategies are hypothesised to be strongly influenced by the spatial and environmental characteristics of the landscape.  Hence, an understanding of the associations between these key elements, demography, dispersal and landscape is essential for conservation planning.

Selected publications


Davis, E.S., Kelly, R., Maggs, C.A. & Stout, J.C. (In press) Contrasting impacts of high priority invasive species on pollinator communities. Biodiversity and conservation

Kelly, R., Montgomery, W.I. and Reid, N. (2018) Differences in soil chemistry remain following wildfires on temperate heath and blanket bog sites of conservation concern. Geoderma, 315, 20-26. link to journal

O’Neill, D., Kelly, R., Dick, J., Ricciardi, A., MacIsaac, H. & Emmerson, M. (2016) On the context-dependent scaling of consumer feeding rates (2016) Ecology Letters, 19, 668–678 link to journal

Kelly, R., Boston, E., Montgomery, W.I. & Reid N. (2016) The role of the seed-bank in the recovery of temperate heath and blanket bog following wildfires. Applied Vegetation Science, 19, 620-633 link to journal

Leach, K, Kelly, R, Cameron, A, Montgomery, WI, Reid, N (2015) Expertly validated models and phylogenetically-controlled analysis suggests responses to climate change are related to species traits in the Order Lagomorpha. PLoS One 10(4): e0122267 link to journal

Kelly, R., Harrod, C., Maggs C.A. & Reid, N. (2015) Effects of Elodea nuttallii on temperate freshwater plants, microalgae and invertebrates: small differences between invaded and uninvaded areas. Biological Invasions, 17, 2123-2138. link to journal

Kelly, R., Lundy, M., Mineur, F., Harrod, C., Maggs, C., Humphries, N., Sims, D. & Reid, N. (2014) Historical data reveal power-law dispersal patterns of invasive plant species. Ecography, 37, 581–590. link to journal

Kelly, R, Leach, K, Cameron, A, Maggs, CA & Reid, N (2014) Combining global climate and regional landscape models to improve prediction of invasion risk. Diversity & Distributions, 20, 884-894. link to journal

Provan, J., Glendinning, K., Kelly, R & Maggs, C.A. (2013) Levels and patterns of population genetic diversity in the red seaweed Chondrus crispus (Florideophyceae): a direct comparison of single nucleotide polymorphisms and microsatellites. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 108, 251-262.  link to journal

For more publications and reports see: