Mathew Rees

Thesis title: Unexplored transitions between forests and savannas in Africa


I'm currently a PhD candidate in the E4 Doctoral Training Partnership and am based at the University of Edinburgh and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

I originally trained as a botanical horticulturist, focusing on using ex-situ plant collections for research and conservation. I have worked for several botanic gardens in the UK and France for the past 10 years.


Undergraduate teaching

School of GeoSciences


  • Ecological and Environmental Science field course (including management) (ECSC10033)
  • Field Ecology (ECSC08007)

  • Professional Skills in Environment & Development (PGGE11267)


  • Principles of Ecology (ECSC08012)


School of Biological Sciences


  • Population and Community Ecology (BILG09009)

Postgraduate teaching

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

  • Taxonomy & Plant Collections (PLSC11006)
  • Conservation and Sustainability (PGBI11043)

Current PhD students supervised

Luisa Dickenmann (BSc)

Past PhD students supervised

Theodora Chan (MSc)

Research summary

My main interests include Botany, Plant Taxonomy and Systematics, Phylogenetics, Biogeography, Population Genetics, Conservation and Tropical Ecology.

I am interested in learning about the processes that shape plant communities and how these in turn contribute to the broader patterns of floristic composition, mainly across tropical forests and savannas. 

Affiliated research centres