Tim Coulson

Tim Coulson

Tim Coulson is an active researcher who plays a senior academic leadership role at the University of Oxford. He has been Head of the Departments of Zoology and Biology, a trustee of the University, and has chaired various university committees. He is the author of a popular science book published by Penguin on why we exist: “The Universal History of Us”

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Tim Coulson's Biography

Professor Tim Coulson serves as both Professor of Zoology and Joint Head of the Biology Department at the University of Oxford. With over three decades of academic experience, Coulson’s journey into the intricate world of biology began with a fascination for complex systems — a passion that has driven his distinguished career.

Tim Coulson’s research focuses on understanding how changes in apex predator populations impact ecosystems. His work is particularly significant in today's context, as it sheds light on how these changes impact biodiversity and ecological balance. From the iconic reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone National Park to the evolutionary adaptations of guppies in Trinidad, Coulson’s studies reveal how predator-prey dynamics shape our natural world.

His work has taken him to study lions in Kenya with George Adamson (of Born Free fame) to visiting the Large Hadron Collider at CERN where the Higgs Boson was first detected. Tim Coulson’s contributions to science has been recognised with numerous international awards from prestigious institutions such as the Royal Society, the British Ecological Society, and the Zoological Society of London. His expertise is frequently sought by media outlets like the BBC, Sky, and Channel 4, where he shares his knowledge as a trusted voice on ecological matters.

Coulson's popular science book, The Universal History of Us: A 13.8 Billion Year Tale from the Big Bang to You, chronicles the vast history of the universe and our place within it. He was also the lead editor of the leading specialist ecological journal Ecology Letters for many years and has published over 240 peer-reviewed papers, including notable contributions to top-tier journals like Nature, Science, PNAS, and PLoS Biology. His work has been cited more than 25,500 times, and he holds an h-index of 80. Tim Coulson has also appeared in several episodes of Richard E. Grant’s series Seven Deadly Sins and is always happy to communicate science to the public in an accessible way.

Coulson has advised European and African governments on wildlife management, and global corporations such as Rio Tinto on human population growth into the future. Driven by a deep curiosity about the natural world and a dedication to understanding the intricate dance of life within it, Tim Coulson continues to inspire and educate. His work not only advances scientific knowledge but helps people appreciate the delicate interconnections that sustain our ecosystems.

Tim Coulson lives in Oxford with his wife and their dog Woofler.


The Universal History of Us

A 13.8 Billion Year Tale from the Big Bang to You

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