Skip to content

OpenLearn Profile

Profile: Dr Phil Wheeler

Dr Phil Wheeler

The Open University, School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences

Phil is an ecologist and conservation biologist in the School of Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences interested in a wide range of conservation and environmental management questions. His areas of teaching and research are quite varied, ranging from species ecology to wildlife monitoring and conservation, quantitative methods and spatial modelling. 

Phil joined The Open University in 2015. Prior to coming to the OU, he was at the University of Hull's Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences.

Research interests

Urban trees and Citizen Science.

Phil leads the OU's citizen science project Treezilla: the Monster Map of Trees aiming to engage members of the public, local authorities and voluntary organisations in mapping and measuring urban trees in the UK. This work is a collaboration with Forest Research's Urban Forest Research Group and Treeconomics and has been supported by NERC and InnovateUK. 

Ecology of Brown Hares and Rabbits in agroecosystems.

Work investigating the distribution and ecology of these species which are of conservation interest as well as agricultural pests. Thus work is in collaboration with the Animal and Plant Health Agency, York.

Ecology and conservation of large tropical forest mammals.

Work on species including the highly endangered anoa, a dwarf buffalo endemic to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, with perhaps only 3000 individuals in the wild, and Baird's Tapir in Honduras. This work informs activities of the IUCN Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group and Tapir Specialist Group.

Phil always looks to take on suitably qualified research students in any of the above areas. 

Teaching interests

Phil teaches a wide range of subjects across ecology and environmental science. He is the module team chair for the OU's core Environmental Science module (S206/SXF206) and input into SDT306 Environment: responding to change.

Impact and engagement

Phil research's work is very applied and several previous and current projects have inputted into active wildlife monitoring and conservation, notably guidelines on surveying brown and mountain hares for ecological impact assessments and information for conservation action plans for tropical forest large mammals.

His current work on engaging people in monitoring and mapping urban trees and their ecosystem services works closely with large numbers of individual volunteers, groups and the public and private sectors to improve the understanding of the value of urban trees and promote their conservation.

Dr Phil Wheeler's activities

Browse 2 OpenLearn items Dr Phil Wheeler has worked on