Dr Nadia Bystriakova

Nadia Bystriakova
  • Researcher, Botanical Diversity
  • Life Sciences department
  • Plants Division
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road


Employment history

  • Researcher in Botanical Diversity, The Natural History Museum, 2009.
  • Consultant, Seinajoki University of Applied Sciences, Finland, 2009.
  • International Programme Development Officer, Plantlife International, UK, 2003-04.
  • Program Officer, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan, PR China, 2000-03.
  • Consultant, Danish Forest and Landscape Research Institute, 2000-01.
  • Researcher, Forestry Faculty, University of Joensuu, Finland, 1999.
  • Consultant, Forest and Environment Group Ltd (FEG Oy.), Joensuu, Finland, 1999.
  • Researcher, European Forest Institute, Finland, 1997-99.
  • Research Secretary, St.Petersburg Forest Technical Academy, Russia, 1993-97.
  • University Lecturer, St.Petersburg Forest Technical Academy, Russia, 1992-93.


  • PhD, Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2008.
  • MSc, Forestry, St.Petersburg Forest Technical Academy, Russia, 1987.

Professional Roles

External collaborations

Forest Ecology and Conservation Group, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge

Selected talks

  • Schneider, H., Bystriakova, N., Ansell, S., Grundmann, M., Rumsey, F., Vogel, J. 2010. Integrating bioclimatic modelling and phylogeography: A case study of Iberian bluebells. Evolution2010, Oregon, USA.
  • Janssen,, T., Bystriakova, N., Rakotondrainibe, F., Coomes, D., Labat, J.-N., Schneider, H. 2010. Neoendemisms in the rainforests of Madagascar: the diversity and evolution of tree ferns (Cyatheaceae). AETFAT 2010. Anatoananarivo, Madagascar.
  • Schneider, H., Bystriakova, N. 2009. Climatic niche conservatism in higher plants. Botanikertagung 2009, Plants for the Future. University Leipzig, Germany.
  • Schneider, H., Bystriakova, N. 2008. Reconstructing climatic niches in ferns. Evolution2008. Minneapolis, USA.
  • Bystriakova, N. Kunstler, G. 2007. Tree ferns on oceanic islands. Symposium "Ferns on Oceanic Islands – from dispersal to long lasting diversity", Botany2007, Chicago, USA.


Research Interests

The key goal of my research is to achieve better understanding of trends and patterns of global biodiversity and better predictive capacity, by studying the imprint of paleoclimates on biodiversity.

My research questions:

1. How climate change has influenced biodiversity in a relatively short timeframe (thousands of years), through niche conservatism,

  • In areas severely affected by the Late Quaternary Ice Ages through extensive ice sheets and/or severe cooling and drying (e.g. Northern Europe, European Alpine habitats)
  • In areas affected by the Late Quaternary Ice Ages through moderate cooling and drying (e.g. Mediterranean climates)
  • In areas mildly affected by Late Quaternary Ice Ages (e.g. tropical climates)

2. How climate change has influenced biodiversity in evolutionary timeframe (millions of years), i.e. through niche shifts and niche conservatism?

Selected Research Projects

Exploring controversial biogeographical hypotheses in Eastern Europe using ecological niche modelling

External collaborators: Mykyta Peregrym (University of Kyiv, Ukraine); Roy H.J. Erkens (Utrecht University, The Netherlands).

Objectives: To achieve better understanding of the pan-European legacy of the ice ages for species and genetic diversity, the existing controversy as to the exact number and locations of the Pleistocene refugia, presence or absence of migration routes for plants, and the ages of some relicts in Eastern Europe (EE) needs to be resolved. We propose to resolve the controversial biogeographical situation of EE using species distribution models. As a study group, we will use the fern genus Asplenium, for species of which European distributions are well documented except for the eastern part, where available data are often incomplete. The evidence from ecological niche modelling will be verified against the existing biogeographical hypotheses and conclusions will be drawn about the fate of EE plant diversity in a changing climate.

Integration of niche modelling and phylodiversity studies to explore Altai plant diversity

External collaborators: A. Shmakov (Barnaul State University, Russian Federation); Niklaus Zimmermann (Swiss Federal Research Institute, Switzerland)

Objectives: Global climate change poses a number of risks to mountain habitats, where species are faced with the reduced amount of habitat, or may disappear completely. The unique plant diversity of the Altai Mountain County is characterised by complex community structure, high endemism and presence of the Tertiary relicts. We propose to test the hypothesis that the robustness of different plant communities to climate change will depend on their ecological and phylogenetic structure, by integrating environmental niche modelling and phylodiversity approach using the existing taxonomic knowledge as a background. The results will form a baseline record for future research and conservation.

FP7 Marie Curie Project INTERCROSSING under the sub-programme Initial Training Network (ITN). http://intercrossing.wikispaces.com/


  • Bystriakova, N., Peregrym, M., Erkens, R.H.J., Bezsmertna, O., Schneider, H. ( 2012 ) Sampling bias in geographic and environmental space and its effect on the predictive power of species distribution models. Systematics and Biodiversity in review : .
  • Desamore, A., Laenen, B,  Gonzalez-Mancebo, J.M., Jaen Molina, R..
    Bystriakova, N., Martinez-Klimova, E.,  Carine, M.A., Vanderpoorten, A. ( 2012 ) Inverted patterns of genetic diversity in continental and island populations of the heather Erica scoparia s.l. Journal of Biogeography 39 : 574-584 . doi:10.1111/j.1365-2699.2011.02622.x
  • Bystriakova, N., Bader, M., Coomes, D. ( 2011 ) Long-term tree fern demography linked to disturbance and shade tolerance: the dynamics of five sympatric species in a lowland temperate rain forest. Journal of Vegetation Science 22 : 72-84 .
  • Bystriakova, N., Schneider, H., Coomes, D. ( 2011 ) The evolution of climatic niche in scaly tree ferns (Cyatheaceae, Polypodiopsoda). Botanical Journal of Linnean Society 165 : 1-9 .
  • Wang, L., Zhi-qiang Wu, Z., Bystriakova, N., Ansell, S., Qiao-ping, X., Heinichs, J., Schneider, H., Zhang, X. ( 2011 ) Phylogeography of the alpine fern L. clathratus complex on “The Roof of the World”. PLoS ONE 6 : e25896 .
  • Janssen, T., Bystriakova, N., Rakotondrainibe, F., Coomes, D.A., Labat, J.-N., Schneider, H. ( 2008 ) Neoendemism in Madagascan scaly tree ferns results from recent, coincident diversification bursts. Evolution 62 : 1876 - 1879 .
  • Bystriakova, N., Kapos, V. ( 2006 ) Bamboo diversity:The need for a Red List review. Biodiversity 6(4) : 12-17 .
  • Hunter, I., Bystriakova, N. ( 2005 ) Tropical Ecosystems: Bamboos, Palms and Rattans, In: Encyclopaedia of Forest Sciences . Elsevier .
  • Sampson, N., Bystriakova, N., Brown, S., Gonzalez, P., Irland, L.C., Kauppi, P. Sedjo, R., Thompson, I.D., Barber, C.V., Offerll, R. ( 2005 ) Timber, fuel and fiber, In: Ecosystems and human well-being: current state and trends. Findings of the Condition and Trends Working Group. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Series . Island Press .
  • Bystriakova, N., Kapos, V., Lysenko, I. ( 2004 ) Bamboo biodiversity: Africa, Madagascar and the Americas . UNEP-WCMC/INBAR : Cambridge , .
  • Bystriakova, N., Kapos, V., Lysenko, I., Stapleton, C.M.A. ( 2003 ) Distribution and conservation status of forest bamboo biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific Region. Biodiversity and Conservation 12 : 1833 – 1841 .
  • Bystriakova, N., Kapos, V., Stapleton, C.M.A., Lysenko, I. ( 2003 ) Bamboo biodiversity: information for planning conservation and management in the Asia-Pacific region . UNEP-WCMC/INBAR : Cambridge , .
  • Bystriakova, N., Schuck, A. ( 2001 ) Forest Research Capacities in 18 European Countries, In: Palo, M., Uusivuori, J. and Mery, G. (eds.). World Forests, Markets and Policies . Kluwer Academic Publishers .
  • Bystriakova, N., Schuck, A. ( 2000 ) Forstwissenschaftliche Forschung in Europa AFZ/DerWald 22 : 573-574 .
  • Bystriakova, N., Schuck, A. ( 1999 ) Forest Research Capacities in 18 European Countries . European Comission : Brussels , 378 pp .
  • Bystriakova, N., Denisova, N. ( 1995 ) Pine mortality and population dynamics of bark beetle in stands damaged by hurricane, In: Izvestiya of St.-Petersburg Forest Technical Academy . : St.Petersubrg , 41-45 .
  • Polubojarinov, O.I., Bystriakova, N. ( 1989 ) Some characteristics of timber of Pseudotsuga menziesii and recommendations for its use. Forest Journal (Lesnoi Zhurnal) 2 : 63-67 .