Dr John Tweddle

Dr John Tweddle
  • Head of Angela Marmont Centre
  • Life Sciences department
  • Angela Marmont Centre
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment History

2007-present    OPAL Project Manager, Natural History Museum

2003-2007        Data Manager for National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary Project, 
                           Natural History Museum

2001-2003        Seed Information Database Coordinator, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

1999-2000        Consultant Palynologist and Plant Macrofossil Analyst,
                           Archaeological Consultancy at the University of Sheffield (ARCUS)


1996-2000        PhD. The Department of Archaeology and Prehistory, University of Sheffield
                           Thesis: A high resolution palynological study of the Holocene vegetational 
                           development of Central Holderness, eastern Yorkshire, with particular emphasis
                           on the detection of prehistoric human activity

March 2000      MA Degree in Natural Sciences. Girton College, The University of Cambridge

1993-1996        BA Honours Degree in Natural Sciences. Girton College, 
                           The University of Cambridge Part One: First Class 
                           Part Two: Upper Second Class

Current role

I work within the UK Biodiversity team on a Big Lottery Funded project called OPAL (Open Air Laboratories). OPAL is a partnership initiative running across England from 2007-2012, that aims to inspire people to spend more time outdoors exploring and studying their local environment.

I am responsible for managing and helping to deliver four different OPAL projects and my day to day work ranges from producing wildlife guides and overseeing a grants scheme for natural history groups, to coordinating OPAL’s fleet of vehicles! Our team also runs a wide range of public-facing events and activities, such as the Big Seaweed Search, nature-themed weekends within the Museum grounds and BioBlitzes further afield. BioBlitzes are a brilliant and fun way to discover an areas biodiversity - you can find out more at the link below.


Current research interests

  • Citizen Science: the role that the public can play in biodiversity and environmental knowledge generation
  • BioBlitzes as a mechanism to inspire the exploration of local wildlife by broad audiences, whilst generating genuinely useful biodiversity data
  • Ecological interactions, landscape-change and anthropogenic land-use over Quaternary timescales

Past research interests

  • Comparative ecology and evolution of plant regeneration traits
  • Behavioural ecology of ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)
  • Access methodologies for biodiversity information
  • Databasing taxonomic information


Tweddle, J.C. (2011). London BioBlitz. The GIGLer: The Greenspace Information for Greater London Environmental Recorder, 9. Available online: London BioBlitz

Hemment, D., El-Sherbini, Y., Buontempo, C. and Tweddle, J. (2011). 100 years of climate change: a night-time audio walk. Leonardo, 44, 68-69.

Nold, C., Tweddle, J., Ellis, R., Hemment, D. and Wynne, B. (2011). Biotagging Manchester: interdisciplinary exploration of biodiversity. Leonardo, 44, 66-67. 

Tweddle, J.C. and Edwards, K.J. (2010). Pollen preservation zones
as an interpretative tool in Holocene palynology. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, doi: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.03.004

Tweddle, J.C., Carter, L. and Sewell, J. (2010). Running a BioBlitz: Hints and tips for planning and hosting a BioBlitz in the UK. Available online: http://www.opalexplorenature.org/?q=BioBlitzes (non-peer reviewed)

Tweddle, J.C. and Hussey, C. (2007). Compiling and managing the Taxon Dictionary for the Recorder software package. Ferrantia, 51, 67-79.

Rudd, M. and Tweddle, J. (2007). Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL). Newsletter of the London Natural History Society, 203, 3-5.

Moles, A.T., Ackerly, D.D., Tweddle, J.C., Dickie, J.B., Smith, R., Leishman, M.R., Mayfield, M.M., Pitman, A., Wood, J.T. and Westoby, M. (2007). Global patterns in seed size. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16, 109-116. Published online 22/08/06. doi: 10.1111/j.1466-822X.2006.00259.x

Hussey, C., Wilkinson, S. and Tweddle, J. (2006). Delivering a name-server for biodiversity information. Data Science Journal, 5, 18-28. Available online at http://www.datasciencejournal.org/

Moles, A.T., Ackerly, D.D., Webb, C.O., Tweddle, J.C., Dickie, J.B. and Westoby, M. (2005). Response to comment on “A Brief History of Seed Size”. Science, 310, 783. Full text available online at http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/310/5749/783b.

Moles, A.T., Ackerly, D.D., Webb, C.O., Tweddle, J.C., Dickie, J.B., Pitman, A.J. and Westoby, M. (2005) Factors that shape seed mass evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 10540-10544.

Tweddle, J.C., Edwards, K.J. and Fieller, N.R.J. (2005). Multivariate statistical and other approaches for the separation of cereal from wild Poaceae pollen using a large Holocene dataset. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 14, 15-30.

Moles, A.T., Ackerly, D.D., Webb, C.O., Tweddle, J.C., Dickie, J.B. and Westoby, M. (2005). A brief history of seed size. Science, 307, 576-580.

Tweddle, J.C. and Hussey, C. (2005). Mapping equivalences: the role of a name server in providing access to real-world biodiversity datasets. In Berendsohn, W.G. & Rissoné, A. (eds) Taxonomic Databases Working Group 2005 Annual Meeting, 11-18 September 2005, St Petersburg, Russia: Expanded Abstracts. Zoological Institute and the Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St Petersburg and the Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum, Berlin-Dahlem. 39.

Tweddle, J.C., Dickie, J.B., Baskin, C.C. and Baskin, J.M. (2003). Ecological aspects of seed desiccation tolerance. Journal of Ecology, 91, 294-304.

Bone, J., Turner, R. and Tweddle, J. (2003). The Millennium Seed Bank Project’s specimen and taxon databases. In Smith, R.D., Dickie, J.B., Linington, S.L., Pritchard, H.W. & Probert, R.J. (eds) Seed conservation: turning science into practice. Kew: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 327-336.

Tweddle, J.C., Turner, R.M., and Dickie, J.B. (2002-2003). Seed Information Database (releases 2.0-5.0) http://www.rbgkew.org.uk/data/sid.

Tweddle, J.C. (2001). Regional Vegetational History. In Bateman, M.D., Buckland, P.C., Frederick, C.D. & Whitehouse, N.J. (eds) The Quaternary of East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. Field Guide. London: Quaternary Research Association. 35-46.

Fain, A., Hurst, G.D.D., Tweddle, J.C., Lachlan, R.F., Majerus, M.E.N. & Britt, D.P. (1995). Description and observations of two new species of Hemisarcoptidae from deutonymphs phoretic on Coccinellidae in Britain. International Journal of Acarology, 21, 99-106.