Professor Timothy BarracloughBack to People

Subjects: Biology
Department: Zoology
College appointment: Tutorial Fellow
Academic position: Professor of Zoology
Officer: Garden Master


Professor Tim Barraclough is from Bradford, West Yorkshire, and graduated in Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge. He completed his DPhil research on the evolution of biodiversity in the Department of Zoology at Oxford. He spent 23 years at Imperial College London’s Silwood Park campus, initially as a post-doctoral researcher and Royal Society University Research Fellow, later as Professor of Evolutionary Biology and deputy head of department responsible for the Silwood Park campus. He moved to Oxford in 2019.


Tim has taught evolutionary biology and ecology extensively at undergraduate and post-graduate levels, including introductory evolution classes, evolutionary modelling and class projects that gather useful scientific data for non-academic partners.

Research Interests

Tim works on the evolutionary biology of species diversity. Why does life evolve into distinct species? What processes shape speciation, adaptive divergence and diversity patterns? How does diversity affect the evolution of species living in complex ecosystems? In order to tackle these questions, his work combines theory and statistical analysis with molecular, genomic, experimental and field data across a wide range of animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. Current projects include comparative genomics to understand the bizarre asexual life-style of bdelloid rotifers – microscopic animals living in moss and freshwater – evolutionary time-series of pathogenic fungi from cryopreserved living samples, and ‘evolution and speciation in action’ within complex microbial communities.

Selected Publications

1. Nowell, R.W., Wilson, C.G., Almeida, P., Schiffer, P.H., Fontaneto, D., Becks, L., Rodriguez, F., Arkhipova, I.R., Barraclough, T.G. 2021. Evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements in bdelloid rotifers. eLife 10: e63194.
2. Schley, R.J., Pennington, R.T., Pérez‐Escobar O.A., Helmstetter, A. J., de la Estrella, M., Larridon I., Kikuchi, I.A.B.S., Barraclough, T.G., Forest F., Klitgård B. 2020. Introgression across evolutionary scales suggests reticulation contributes to Amazonian tree diversity. Molecular Ecology. 29:4170-4185.
4. Kontopoulos, D.G., Smith, T.P., Barraclough, T.G., Pawar, S. 2020. Adaptive evolution shapes the present-day distribution of the thermal sensitivity of population growth rate. PLoS Biology 18: e3000894
5. Pathak, A., Nowell, R.W., Wilson, C.G., Ryan, M.J., Barraclough, T.G. 2020. Comparative genomics of Alexander Fleming’s celebrated fungus Penicillium rubens (IMI 15378) reveals sequence divergence of penicillin synthesis genes. Sci. Reports. 10: 15705
6. Scheuerl, T., Hopkins, M., Nowell, R. W., Rivett, D. W., Barraclough, T. G., and Bell, T. 2020. Bacterial adaptation is constrained in complex communities. Nature Communications 11:1-8.
7. Barraclough, T.G. 2019. The Evolutionary Biology of Species. Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
8. Nowell, R.W., Almeida, P., Wilson, C.G., Smith, T.P., Fontaneto, D., Crisp, A., Micklem, G., Tunnaclife, A., Boschetti, C., Barraclough, T.G. 2018. Comparative genomics of bdelloid rotifers: Insights from desiccating and nondesiccating species. PLoS Biology 16: e2004830
9. Fujisawa, T., Aswad, A. and Barraclough, T.G. 2016. A rapid and scalable method for multilocus species delimitation using Bayesian model comparison and rooted triplets. Systematic Biology. 65: 759-771.
10. Barraclough, T.G. 2015. How do species interactions affect evolutionary dynamics across whole communities? Ann. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 46:25–48