Dr Tom Harwood

Contact details:

  • GPO BOX 1700


Dr. Tom Harwood is an advanced spatial modeller in the Macroecological Modelling Team, developing, implementing and running new tools for biodiversity planning at the continental to global scales at fine resolution (250m-1km).

Following a PhD in 3D microclimatic and ecophysiological responses of heathland communities to climate change, Dr. Harwood has developed models of plant physiology and phenology in production systems, predictive and inferential models of geneflow across the landscape, models of pathogen and insect dispersal, linked network and raster epidemiological models with agent-based management at the University of Reading and Imperial College London. He possesses expert programming skills in C/C++ following two years experience as a software engineer, and more recently incorporates OpenMP/OpenMPI parallelisation to push the computational boundaries of ecological modelling.

Since joining CSIRO in 2009, Dr, Harwood has created a climate- change robust approach to the terrain-based downscaling of climate model outputs and the calculation of derived variables, and is currently developing global paleo-climate surfaces. These data have underpinned a series of groundbreaking analyses of the effects of climate change on biodiversity, based on the community level Generalised Dissimilarity Modelling of Dr. Simon Ferrier, including a range of metrics on the ecologically scaled impacts of climate change, (e.g. disappearing and novel habitats) and to inform spatial conservation planning (e.g. revegetation benefit, identification of climate change refugia). He has also worked with Dr, Karel Mokany to develop dynamic metacommunity models of climate change, and with the Australian National Outlook project to couple macroecological models to an integrated assessment model.

Recently, Dr. Harwood has been working on new global biodiversity indices, based on 1km resolution models of all plants, vertebrates and invertebrates for each WWF Biome, terrain adjusted climate surfaces, and a revolutionary downscaling of the Harmonised Land Use time series, for a) the detection of landscape level change (BHI: Biodiversity Habitat Index) and of representation of protected areas (PARC: Protected Area Representativeness & Connectedness Index).

Dr. Harwood is currently working with the Commonwealth Department of the Environment to improve on a prototype approach to the assessment of habitat condition for biodiversity using remote sensing time series.

Academic Qualifications

  • 1989

    BSc.(Hons) Ecological Science (Wildlife & Fisheries Management)
    University of Edinburgh

  • 1996

    PhD. "Ecospace" A Dynamic 3D Plant-Microclimate Model
    University of Edinburgh


We have publications by Dr Tom Harwood