A/PROF Nicholas Williams

A/PROF Nicholas Williams


  • Grassland Ecology and Restoration
  • Green Infrastructure (Living roofs, green walls etc)
  • Urban Plant Ecology
  • Weed Invasions (Hawkweeds (Hieracium sp), Willows)



  • I am an ecologist who works predominantly in urban areas because although they are the cause of many of the world’s environmental problems cities also offer humanity great hope for a sustainable future. I seek to understand urban biodiversity patterns and ecosystem processes and then develop applied solutions to reduce the negative impacts of urbanization such as biodiversity loss, excess urban heat, stormwater runoff and CO2 emissions. I am predominantly a plant ecologist with particular expertise in how urbanisation influences plant traits, native grassland conservation and restoration and weed invasions but I have also worked on mammals, molluscs and insects. Together with social scientist colleagues I have even investigated the most complex aspect of urban environments – humans! In 2007 I established a research program to develop and evaluate the benefits of green infrastructure, in particular vegetated roofs and facades, as a climate change mitigation and adaptation strategy for Australian cities. This has since become a major research focus of the Burnley Campus, attracting substantial funding and has led to the construction of three green roofs and development of specialist subjects and courses.   


Member of

  • Ecological Society of America. member 2009 -
  • Green Roofs Australia. member 2009 -
  • Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Member 2005 -
  • Ecological Society of Australia. Member 1999 -
  • Evans St Wildflower Grassland Advisory Commitee (for City of Hume). Chair 2004 - 2010
  • British Ecological Society. Member 2005 - 2006


Selected publications


Investigator on


Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 2006
  • BA, University of Melbourne 1997
  • BSc (Hons), University of Melbourne 1996

Awards and honors

  • Project: Biodiversity Monitoring in Melbourne’s East with City of Boroondara and Easten Alliance for Greenhouse Action, Premiers Sustainability Award, 2016
  • Nancy Millis Science in Parks Award, Parks Victoria, 2014
  • Vice-Chancellors Engagement Award, University of Melbourne, 2013



Available for supervision

  • Y