Uri Roll 2009-2010

Institution of PhD:
Tel Aviv University
Academic Discipline of PhD:
PhD Advisor/s:
Prof. Lewi Stone
Dissertation Topic:
Spatial Perspectives of Epidemiological and Ecological Problems
Year Awarded PhD:
Institution of Postdoc:
University of Oxford
Present Institution:
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Present Academic Position:
Senior Lecturer
+972 (0)8-6596775

Uri Roll, an ecologist by training, is highly interested in various aspects of conservation biology. His principal research involves looking at problems with spatial components in them or at spatial aspects of ecological problems, from both the local and the global perspective.

Uri is currently a Yad Hanadiv (Rothschild) Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Research Associate at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, England.

Many interactions of animals and plants take place in highly specific and influential environmental spatial settings, making this aspect highly important for ecological studies.  In epidemiological research, the main interaction is between the host (human or other) and an epidemic-generating vector.  Nevertheless, the spread of the disease, in essence, takes place in a particular spatial setting.

Uri’s M.A. research dealt with invasive species, whose introduction into non-native environments is considered the second most damaging human practice in natural ecosystems. At the beginning of his research, this globally important research field was almost unknown to Israeli academic institutions, conservation organizations or the general public. As part of his research, Uri built and analyzed a database of invasive animal species in Israel, tabulating various attributes of their natural history, arrival and spread in Israel, and data on their invasion elsewhere. His analysis was conducted separately on the four major invasive groups of animals in Israel and later published.

Uri’s PhD research explored patterns in the influenza epidemics in Israel by integrating data on members of the Maccabi and Clalit health funds into a GIS system. He used into more sophisticated statistical models to use in analyzing the spatio-temporal dynamics of influenza. Congruently with this, he collected data on animal and plant species numbers throughout the world, in order to explore patterns of biodiversity hotspot regions in relation to various geographical and climatic parameters.  He uses several statistical methods to correctly and objectively identify regions with high species richness.

Uri’s findings have been published in a variety of journals including Biological Invasions, Evolutionary Ecology and the Journal of Applied Ecology.