Charlie Hackforth

Charlie Hackforth

Profile Display Name:
Charlie Hackforth
E-mail Address:
Start Year
2020 (Cohort 7)
Research interests:

I’m primarily interested in the ecology of climate change in terrestrial ecosyetms. My work to now has focussed on the demographic responses of insect species to climatic anomalies, but I’m also interested in how animals, including insects, may feedback or mitigate the consequences of anthropogenic climate change on ecosystems. Thus, I am also interested in ecosystem carbon and ecological networks, particularly in tropical forests.

Hobbies and interests:

PhD Project
PhD Title
Insect communities of the Congolese peat swamp forests
Research Theme
Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation
Primary Supervisor

Jan Axmacher

Primary Institution
Secondary Supervisor

Simon Lewis

Secondary Institution

Insects are by far the largest and most diverse group of multicellular organisms on Earth, but worldwide trends point towards sharp declines in abundance and diversity in many groups and systems. One important group are the pollinating insects, yet most research on pollinator decline and its functional consequences is focussed on a tiny subset of pollinator diversity. I will address this knowledge gap by constructing pollinator networks for the newly discovered peat swamp forest ecosystems of the Congo Basin, the first ever data on the insects of these ecosystems. Research into the relative importance of diurnal and nocturnal pollinators and comparison of these communities with those of terra firme rainforest will provide insight into network structure and ecosystem functioning – and potential consequences of species loss. Odonata communities form a second focal group to allow for assessments of differences in diversity patterns between terrestrial and partially aquatic species. Trait-based approaches will be used to understand shifts in community structure across forest types and the environmental filters in place. This work will provide crucial insight into ecosystem functioning dynamics in tropical forests, the importance of nontraditional pollinators for functioning, and how environmental gradients may impact pollination services in a changing natural world.

Policy Impact
Background Reading
Grants and awards
  • ATBC Seed Research Grant – Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation

Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, supervised by Yves Basset. January 8, 2020 – September 25, 2020.

Social Links
University Departmental Website:
Personal Website:

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