The whole world is a savanna; forests and grasslands are just special cases.
Niall is a Professor of Dryland Ecology in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at New Mexico State University, and Co-PI of the Jornada Basin long-term ecological research site near Las Cruces. He grew up and went to school in the UK and received a PhD in Biology from Queen Mary College, London. Niall held post-doctoral appointments in Geography at the University of Maryland, and in Wageningen (The Netherlands), and faculty positions in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory (NREL) at Colorado State University, and Geospatial Science Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University, before moving to NMSU in January 2017. His research focuses on the ecology and management of drylands in temperate grasslands and shrublands of the southwestern USA and tropical savannas of Africa and globally.
Niall is a community and ecosystem ecologist with particular interests in the structure, function and ecology of temperate and tropical grazing lands, including the shrublands and grasslands of the Northern Chihuahuan Desert. His research approach traverses spatial and temporal scales, from detailed plot-based experimentation, to landscape-scale observations, to landscape, regional and global scale remote sensing and modeling. His on-going research projects are strongly interdisciplinary, including theoretical, empirical and model-based studies of climate and management impacts on dryland vegetation structure and dynamics and the ecology and function of semi-arid ecosystems.