Professor Nick Williams


I am an ecologist who works predominantly in urban areas because, although cities cause of many of the world’s environmental problems, they offer one of humanity’s best hopes for a sustainable future.

I seek to understand urban biodiversity patterns and ecosystem processes and develop applied solutions to reduce negative impacts of urbanisation such as biodiversity loss, excess urban heat, stormwater runoff and CO2 emissions.

My biodiversity research focuses on vegetation, in particular native grasslands and plant traits, but I have also worked on mammals, molluscs and increasingly with insects.

Together with social scientist colleagues I have even investigated the most complex aspect of urban environments―humans!

In 2007 I established a research program to develop and evaluate the benefits of green infrastructure, in particular vegetated roofs, as a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy for Australian cities. This has evolved into one of the largest green roof research programs in the world attracting substantial funding and publicity.

Together with colleagues Steve Livesley and John Rayner I lead the Green Infrastructure Research Group which is studying how we can maximise the benefits plants provide to the urban environment.

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