Researchers at UCD


Jonathan Yearsley

College Lecturer

School of Biology & Environmental Science
Science Centre East
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 716 2265


Employment History:

9/08 - present  School of Biology and Environmental Science, UCD, Dublin


1/06-8/08 Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

     Senior postdoc. Evolutionary genetics and demography in metapopulations

1/00 - 12/05 The Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen

    Researcher. Evolutionary theory of food intake, demography and biogeography

9/99 - 11/99 Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

    Visiting Researcher with Prof. Henrick Moller. Population demography of seabirds and sustainable harvests

6/97 - 8/99 Department of Zoology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

    Postdoc. Modelling seabird foraging and behaviour

7/96 - 5/97 University of Sussex, School of Biological Sciences

    Visiting researcher with Dr Joel Peck. Geographic distribution of parthenogenesis

2/95 - 5/96 Institut de Biologie Théorique, Université d'Angers, France

    Postdoc. Modelling systems of human physiology



1995 PhD "Anisotropic cosmological models and the role of matter" University of Sussex, UK  (Prof. John D. Barrow)

1991 Part III of the Mathematical Tripos, University of Cambridge, UK

1990 BSc. Hons. Physics, University of Birmingham, UK




Association: International Biometric Society, Function/Role: Member
Association: Royal Astronomical Society, Function/Role: Member
Association: British Ecological Society, Function/Role: Member

Conference Contributions

Yearsley, JM; Viard, F; Broquet, T; (2012) Population Consequences of Collective Dispersal. [Oral Presentation], British Ecological Society Winter Meeting, Birmingham, UK , 18-DEC-12 - 21-DEC-12.
Yearsley, JM; Prat, N; Belcher, C;Rein, G; Hadden, R; (2013) Linking smouldering experiments with simple cellular automata models of smouldering combustion. [Invited Oral Presentation], 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference, Rayleigh, North Carolina, USA , 18-FEB-13 - 22-FEB-13.
Jon Yearsley, Claire Belcher, Rory Hadden, Guillermo Rein (2012) Cellular Automata Modelling of Peat Fires. [Invited Oral Presentation], Workshop on Smouldering Wildfires and The Earth System, Kings Buildings, Edinburgh University , 27-JUL-12 - 27-JUL-12.
Belcher, C M et al.; (2011) The fireox model and the baseline flammability of the Earth's ecosystems estimated from palaeoatmospheric oxygen over the past 350 million years. [Chaired Session], 2011 GSA Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, USA , 09-OCT-11 - 12-OCT-11.
Broquet, T and Yearsley, JM and Viard, F; (2011) Using coancestry modeling and individual-based simulations to explore the apparently chaotic patterns of genetic structure frequently observed in marine species. [Chaired Session], Models in evolutionary ecology, Montpellier, France , 08-JUN-11 - 10-JUN-11.
Yearsley, J.M. and others; (2011) FIREOX: an SIR model to describe the spread of smouldering peatland fire. [Chaired Session], Mathematical Models in Ecology and Evolution, Groningen, Netherlands , 17-AUG-11 - 19-JUL-11.
Golléty, C and others; (2011) Annual carbon budget of a canopy-dominated intertidal community surpasses traditional estimates for macroalgae. [Chaired Session], 9th International Temperate Reefs Symposium, Plymouth , 26-JUN-11 - 01-JUL-11.
Yearsley, JM and Broquet, T and Viard, F; (2011) Another look at propagule pool dispersal and its impact upon patterns of genetic differentiation. [Chaired Session], International Conference in Landscape Genetics, Bialowieza, Poland , 10-OCT-11 - 12-OCT-11.
Jon Yearsley and Julia Sigwart; (2010) Data from the deep: autonomous oceanographic probes and their application to the dispersal of deep-sea marine invertebrates. [Invited Lecture], Invited talk to BRE Department, Edinburgh University , 11-NOV-10 - 11-NOV-10.
Varian, S. et al.; (2010) The science of mermaids' purses: Using public participation as a tool for investigating egglaying elasmobranch nursery areas in Ireland. [Poster Presentation], 14th Annual European Elasmobranch Association Conference, Galway , 10-NOV-10 - 13-NOV-10.
O'Gorman, E.J., Yearsley, J.M., Crowe T.P., Emmerson, M.C., Jacob, U. and Petchey, O.L.; (2010) Loss of functionally unique species may gradually undermine ecosystems. [Oral Presentation], British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 2010, University of Leeds, UK , 06-SEP-10 - 09-SEP-10.
O'Gorman, E.J., Yearsley, J.M., Crowe T.P., Emmerson, M.C., Jacob, U. and Petchey, O.L.; (2010) Loss of functionally unique species may gradually undermine ecosystems. [Oral Presentation], 3rd International SIZEMIC Workshop, Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona, Spain , 24-JUN-10 - 25-JUN-10.
Sigwart, J D and Yearsley J M; (2010) Larval transport modelling of deep-sea invertebrates points to potential undiscovered populations. [Chaired Session], 12th Deep-sea Biology Symposium, Iceland , 07-JUN-10 - 11-JUN-10.
Sigwart, J D and Yearsley, J M; (2010) You Can't Get There from Here: South Pacific Distributions of Deep Sea Chitons (Mollusca: Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida). [Chaired Session], 17th International Congress of UNITAS MALACOLOGICA, Thailand , 18-JUL-10 - 24-AUG-10.
Yearsley, J M and Sigwart, J D; (2010) Larval transport modelling of deep-sea invertebrates. [Chaired Session], BES Annual Meeting, Leeds , 07-SEP-10 - 09-SEP-10.
Yearsley J M and Sigwart J D; (2010) Inferring population connectivity in the deep-sea from Argo profiling probes. [Invited Oral Presentation], Marine Station External Seminar, Station Biologique de Roscoff , 23-FEB-10 - 26-AUG-10.
Broquet, T, Yearsley, J M, Viard, F; (2010) Quelle est l'origine des mosaïques génétiques fluctuantes observées chez les invertébrés marins ?. [Poster Presentation], Ecologie 2010, Montpellier , 02-SEP-10 - 04-SEP-10.
Yearsley, J.; (2008) Preparing to do research abroad. [Invited Lecture], The Source Event, NatureJobs 2008, London , 26-SEP-08 - 26-SEP-08.
Yearsley, J., Vuilleumier, S. and Perrin, N.; (2008) Invasion of beneficial alleles in heterogeneous landscapes. [Oral Presentation], European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology 2008, Edinburgh, Scotland , 29-JUN-08 - 04-JUL-08.
Yearsley, J., Vuilleumier, S. and Perrin, N.; (2008) Random walks in allelic and geographical space - Fixation probability in heterogeneous environments. [Invited Oral Presentation], International Workshop on Multi-Rate Processes and Hysteresis, University College Cork, Ireland , 31-MAR-08 - 05-APR-08.



Book Chapters

Prat-Guitart, N;Hadden, R M; Belcher, C M; Rein, G; Yearsley, J M (2015) 'Infrared Image Analysis as a Tool for Studying the Horizontal Smoldering Propagation of Laboratory Peat Fires' In: Stracher, GB; Prakash, A; Rein, G (eds). Coal and Peat Fires: A Global Perspective Volume 4: Peat - Geology, Combustion, and Case Studies. Amsterdam: Elsevier. [Details]
Ollason, J.G., Yearsley, J.M., Liu, K. and Ren, N.; (2006) 'Modelling the behaviour of individuals and groups of animals foraging in heterogeneous environments' In: Boyd, I., Wanless, S. and Camphuysen, C.J (eds). Top Predators in Marine Ecosystems: Their role in monitoring and management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. , pp.294-309 [Details]
Peck, J.R., Yearsley, J. and Waxman, D.; (1999) 'Why do asexual and self-fertilising populations tend to occur in marginal environments?' In: Nehaniv, C.L (eds). Lectures on Mathematics in the Life Sciences. Vol. 26: Mathematical and Computational Biology: Computational Morphogenesis, Hierarchical Complexity, and Digital Evolution. USA: American Mathematical Society. , pp.121-132 [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Prat-Guitart, N; Belcher, CB; Thompson, DK; Burns, P; Yearsley, JM (2017) 'Fine-scale distribution of moisture in the surface of a degraded blanket bog and its effects on the potential spread of smouldering fire'. Ecohydrology, . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Nally, JE; Arent, Z; Bayles, DO; Gilmore, C; Regan, S; McDevitt, A; Yearsley, J; Fanning, S; McMahon, BJ; (2016) 'Emerging infectious disease implications of invasive mammalian species: the greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) is associated with a novel serovar of pathogenic Leptospira in Ireland'. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 10 (12):e0005174. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Eldon, B; Riquet, F; Yearsley, J; Jollivet, D; Broquet, T (2016) 'Current hypotheses to explain genetic chaos under the sea'. Current Zoology, 62 (6):551-556. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Elliott-Kingston1, C; Haworth, M; Yearsley, JM; Batke, SP; Lawson, T; McElwain, JC (2016) 'Does size matter? Atmospheric CO2 may be a stronger driver of stomatal closing rate than stomatal size in taxa that diversified under low CO2'. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7 :1253. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Dussex, N; Broquet, T; Yearsley, JM (2016) 'Contrasting dispersal inference methods for the greater white-toothed shrew'. Journal of Wildlife Management, 80 (5):812-823. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Prat-Guitart, N; Rein, G; Hadden, RM; Belcher, CM; Yearsley, JM; (2016) 'Effects of spatial heterogeneity in moisture content on the horizontal spread of peat fires'. Science of the Total Environment, 572 :1422-1430. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Prat-Guitart, N; Rein, G; Hadden, RM; Belcher, CM; Yearsley, JM; (2016) 'Spread rate of self-sustained smouldering fires under controlled moisture content and bulk density conditions'. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25 (4):456-465. Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Gargan, LM; Cornette, RI; Yearsley, JM; Montgomery, WI; Pauper, J; Alves, PC; Butler, F; . Pascal, M; Tresset, A; Herrel, A; Lusby, J; Tosh, DG; Searle, JB; McDevitt, AD; (2016) 'Molecular and morphological insights into the origin of the invasive greater white-toothed shrew (Crocidura russula) in Ireland'. Biological Invasions, 18 (3):857-871. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Yannic, G; Yearsley, JM;Sermier, R;Dufresnes, C; Gilg, O;Aebischer, A; Gavrilo, MV;Strøm, H; Mallory, ML;Morrison, RIG; Gilchrist, HG;Broquet, T (2015) 'High connectivity in a long-lived high-Arctic seabird, the ivory gull Pagophila eburnea'. Polar Biology, 39 (2):221-236. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Hudspith, V A; Belcher, C M;Yearsley, J M (2014) 'Charring temperatures are driven by the fuel types burned in a peatland wildfire'. Frontiers in Plant Science, . Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
McDevitt, AD; Montgomery, WI; Tosh, DG; Lusby, J; Reid, N; White, TA; McDevitt, CD;O'Halloran, J;Searle, JB;Yearsley JM (2014) 'Invading and Expanding: Range Dynamics and Ecological Consequences of the Greater White-Toothed Shrew (Crocidura russula) Invasion in Ireland'. PLoS ONE, 9 (6). Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
Yearsley, JM; Viard, F; Broquet,T (2013) 'The effect of collective dispersal on the genetic structure of a subdivided population'. Evolution, 67 (6):1649-1659. [DOI] [Details]
Kochmann, J; O'Beirn, F; Yearsley, JM; Crowe, TP; (2013) 'Environmental factors associated with invasion: modelling occurrence data from a coordinated sampling programme for Pacific oysters'. Biological Invasions, 15 (10):2265-2279. [DOI] [Details]
Ryan, D; Yearsley, JM; Kelly-Quinn, M (2013) 'Quantifying the effect of Semi-Natural Riparian Cover on Stream Temperatures: Implications for Salmonid Habitat Management'. Fisheries Management and Ecology, 20 (6):494-507. [DOI] [Details]
Broquet, T; Viard, F; Yearsley, JM (2013) 'Genetic drift and collective dispersal can result in chaotic genetic patchiness'. Evolution, 67 (6):1660-1675. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M. and Sigwart, J.D.; (2011) 'Larval transport modelling of deep-sea invertebrates can aid the search for undiscovered populations'. PLoS ONE, 6(8) e23063 . Available Online [DOI] Link to full text [Details]
O'Gorman, E.J., Yearsley, J.M., Crowe T.P., Emmerson, M.C., Jacob, U. and Petchey, O.L.; (2011) 'Loss of functionally unique species may gradually undermine ecosystems'. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 278 (1713):1886-1893. [DOI] [Details]
Jaquiéry, J., Broquet, T., Hirzel, A.H., Yearsley, J. and Perrin, N.; (2011) 'Inferring landscape effects on dispersal from genetic distances: how far can we go?'. Molecular Ecology, 20 (4):692-705. [DOI] [Details]
Vuilleumier, S., Buttler, A., Perrin, N. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2011) 'Invasion and eradication of a competitively superior species in heterogeneous landscapes'. Ecological Modelling, 222 (3):398-406. [DOI] [Details]
Belcher, C.M., Yearsley, J.M., Hadden, R., McElwain, J.C. and Rein, G.; (2010) 'Baseline intrinsic flammability of Earth's ecosystems estimated from paleoatmospheric oxygen over the past 350 million year'. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 107 (52):22448-22453. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Beale, C.M., Lennon, J.L., Yearsley, J.M, Brewer, M.J. and Elston, D.A.; (2010) 'Regression analysis of spatial data'. Ecology Letters, 13 (2):246-264. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Pérez-Barberíaa, F.P. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2010) 'Sexual selection for fighting skills as a driver of sexual segregation in polygynous ungulates: an evolutionary model'. Animal Behaviour, 80 :745-755. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Broquet, T., Yearsley, J. Hirzel, A.H., Goudet, J. and Perrin, N.; (2009) 'Inferring recent migration rates from individual genotypes'. Molecular Ecology, 18 :1048-1060. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Vuilleumier, S., Yearsley, J.M. and Perrin, N.; (2008) 'The fixation of locally beneficial alleles in a metapopulation'. Genetics, 178 :467-475. [DOI] [Details]
Beale, C.M., Lennon, J.J., Elston, D.A., Brewer, M.J. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2007) 'Red herrings remain in geographical ecology: a reply to Hawkins et al. (2007)'. Ecography, 30 :845-847. [DOI] [Details]
Tolkamp, B.J., Yearsley, J.M., Gordon, I., Illius, A., Speakman, J. and Kyriazakis, I.; (2007) 'Predicting the effects of body fatness on food intake and performance of sheep'. British Journal of Nutrition, 97 :1206-1215. [DOI] [Details]
Duncan, A.J., Elwert, C., Villalba, J.J., Yearsley, J., Pouloupoulou, I. and Gordon, I.J.; (2007) 'How does pattern of feeding and rate of nutrient delivery influence conditioned food preferences?'. Oecologia, 153 :617-624. [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, S.L., Souter, D.M., Erwin, S.S., Tolkamp, B.J., Yearsley, J.M., Gordon, I.J., Illius, A.W., Kyriazakis, I. and Speakman, J.R.; (2007) 'Associations between basal metabolic rate and reproductive performance in C57BL/6J mice'. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210 :65-74. [DOI] [Details]
Mertens, S.K., Yearsley, J.M., van den Bosch, F., Gilligan, C.A.; (2006) 'Transient Population Dynamics in Periodic Matrix Models: Effects of Cyclic Permutations'. Ecology, 87 (9):2338-2348. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Villalba, j., Gordon, I.J., Kyriazakis, I, Speakman, J.R., Tolkamp, B.J., Illius, A.W. and Duncan, A.; (2006) 'A theory of associating food types with their post-ingestive consequences'. The American Naturalist, 167 (5):705-716. [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, S.L., Grune, T., Bell, L.M., Murray, S.J., Souter, D.M., Erwin, S.S., Yearsley, J.M., Gordon, I.J., Illius, A.W., Kyriazakis, I and Spearman, J.R.; (2006) 'Having it all: historical energy intakes do not generate the anticipated trade-offs in fecundicity'. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 273 (1592):1369-1374. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Kyriazakis, I., Gordon, I.J., Speakman, J.R., Tolkamp, B.J. and Illius, A.W.; (2005) 'A life history model of somatic damage associated with resource acquisition: damage protection or prevention?'. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 235 (3):305-317. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Perez-Barberia, F.J.; (2005) 'Does the activity budget hypothesis explain sexual segregation in ungulates?'. Animal Behaviour, 69 (2):257-267. [DOI] [Details]
Foereid, B. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2004) 'Modelling carbon and nitrogen turnover in the rhizosphere and the impact of microbial grazers'. Plant and Soil, 267 (1-2):329-342. [DOI] [Details]
Johnston, S.L., Bell, L.M., Murray, S.J., Tolkamp, B.J., Yearsley, J., Kyriazakis, I, Illius, A.W. and Speakman, J.R.; (2004) 'Individual variations in resting metabolic rate in C57BL/6J mice do no predispose to weight or fat gain over 6 months on diets of varying fat content'. International Journal of Obesity, 28 (Suppl. 1):S17-S17. [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Kyriazakis, I. and Gordon, I.J.; (2004) 'Delayed costs of growth and compensatory growth rates'. Functional Ecology, 18 (4):563-570. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M.; (2004) 'Transient population dynamics and short-term sensitivity analysis of matrix population models'. Ecological Modelling, 177 (3-4):245-258. [DOI] [Details]
Emmerson, M. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2004) 'Weak interactions, omnivory and emergent food-web properties'. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 271 (1537):397-405. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.; (2003) 'Optimal diet selection, frequency-dependence and prey renewal'. Theoretical Population Biology, 64 (2):129-139. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Fletcher, D. and Hunter, C.; (2003) 'Sensitivity analysis of equilibrium population size in a density-dependent model for Short-tailed Shearwaters'. Ecological Modelling, 163 (1-2):119-129. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J., Hastings, I.M., Gordon, I.J., Kyriazakis, I, Illius, A.W.; (2002) 'A Lifetime Perspective on Foraging and Mortality'. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 215 (4):385-397. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M. and Fletcher, D.; (2002) 'Equivalence relationships between stage-strctured population models'. Mathematical Biosciences, 179 (2):131-143. [Details]
Illius, A.W., Tolkamp, B.J. and Yearsley, J.; (2002) 'The evolution of the control of food intake'. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 61 (04):465-472. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.M., Tolkamp, B.J. and Illius, A.W.; (2001) 'Theoretical developments in the study and prediction of food intake'. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 60 (1):145-156. [DOI] [Details]
Ollason, J.G. and Yearsley, J.M.; (2001) 'The Approximately Ideal, More or Less Free Distribution'. Theoretical Population Biology, 59 (2):87-105. [DOI] [Details]
Peck, J.R., Yearsley, J. and Barreau, G.; (1999) 'The maintenance of sexual reproduction in a structured population'. Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences, 266 (1431):1857-1863. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J.; (1998) 'Hawks and Doves in Heterogeneous Environments'. Mathematical and Computer Modelling, 27 (4):99-108. [DOI] [Details]
Peck, J.R., Yearsley, J. and Waxman, D.; (1998) 'Explaining the geographic distributions of sexual and asexual populations'. Nature, 391 (6670):889-891. [DOI] [Details]
Yearsley, J. and Barrow, J.D.; (1996) 'Cosmological models of dimensional segregation'. Classical and Quantum Gravity, 13 :2693-2706. [Details]
Drinkwater, M.J., Currie, M.J., Young, C.K., Hardy, E. and Yearsley, J.M.; (1996) 'Blue compact dwarf galaxies and new velocities in Virgo'. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 279 :595-595. [Details]

Other Journals

Prat, N; Belcher, C; Hadden, R; Rein, G; Yearsley,J (2013) 'A laboratory study of the effect of moisture content on the spread of smouldering fires' FLAMMA 6 (1) :35-38. Available Online [Details]

Conference Publications

Yearsley, JM; Belcher, C; Hadden, R; Prat, N; Rein, G (2014) Linking smouldering experiments with simple cellular automata models of smouldering fire Proceedings of 4th Fire Behavior and Fuels Conference Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, , 18-FEB-13 - 22-FEB-13 , pp.156 Available Online [Details]
Prat, N;Rein, G; Belcher, CM; Hadden, R; Yearsley, JM (2014) Effect of peat moisture content on smouldering fire propagation Proceedings of 4th Fire Behaviour and Fuels Conference Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, , 18-FEB-13 - 22-FEB-13 , pp.248 Available Online [Details]

Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed

Yearsley, J; (2008) One man team. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) Serial postdoc. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) The Very Hungry Postdoc. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) Job transplant. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) I'm an alien. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) Taking steps. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]
Jon Yearsley; (2008) Judging me, judging you. London: Monographs:- Non Peer Reviewed Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

Full information on research topics can be found at the UCD Ecological Modelling webpage

My main research interests are in spatial ecology and population genetics, and look at dispersal ecology and invasion dynamics. This research addresses both applied and theoretical issues in spatial ecology by combining ecological data with mathematical models.

1. Dispersal Ecology

a. Estimating metapopulation demographic parameters (e.g. dispersal rates) from genetic data
b. Larval dispersal of deep-sea invertebrates
c. Population genetics of collective dispersal

Invasion Dynamics

a. Invasion success of biocontrol species
b. Fixation probability of beneficial alleles in heterogeneous environments
c. Propagation of smouldering fire.

I have also worked on life history theory (food intake, compensatory growth and sexual segregation), community ecology, matrix population models (transient dynamics and density dependence), soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics, foraging ecology and spatial models of parthenogenesis.


Postgraduate and postdoctoral research positions are available in my group. 

We welcome people with:

  • strong biological skills and an interest in developing quantitative modelling skills
  • strong mathematical skills and an interest in applying these skills to ecological problems