Biology / Biomedical Sciences
School of Environmental Sciences / Life Sciences

Prof. Roland Ennos

Roland Ennos

Professor of Biological Sciences

School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Key Publications
  • Brief CV
  • Profile


Module number

Module name



58130 Biodiversity of Life   Lecturer 4


I am interested in the ways in which organisms interact with the physical world, particularly in their structural engineering. I have investigated the mechanical design of insect wings and plant root systems and the mechanical defences of grasses, but recently I have become particularly fascinated with wood. We have been studying how and why branches fracture, how trees strengthen their forks and how primates build their nests in trees.  

In the last few years I have also worked on the environmental benefits of trees in urban areas, and their role in climate-proofing our cities. We have been investigating how the cooling, shading and flood-prevention benefits they provide are affected by the species of tree and the growing conditions. All this will help us appreciate the importance of man’s long relationship with trees and with the wood they produce.

Key Publications


Ennos, A.R (2011). Solid Biomechanics. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Ennos, A.R. (2011) Statistical and Data Handling Skills in Biology. 3rd Edition, Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Ennos, A.R (2001) Trees. Natural History Museum, London.

Ennos, A.R, & Sheffield, E. (2000) Plant Life. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Ennos, A.R. & Bailey, S.E.R. (1995) Problem Solving in Environmental Biology.  Longman's Higher Education, Harlow.



Slater, D. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). Determining the mechanical properties of hazel forks by testing their component parts. Trees 27, 1515-1524.

van Casteren, A., Sellers, W., Thorpe, S. ,Coward, S., Crompton, R. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). Factors affecting the compliance and sway properties of tree branches used by the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). Plos One 8:7, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067877.

van Casteren, A., Sellers, W., Thorpe, S. ,Coward, S., Crompton, R. and Ennos, A.R. (2012). Why don’t branches snap? The mechanics of bending failure in three temperate angiosperm trees Trees: Structure and Function 26, 789-797.

van Casteren, A., Sellers, W., Thorpe, S. ,Coward, S., Crompton, R., Myatt, J.P. and Ennos, A.R. (2012). Nest Building Orangutans Demonstrate Engineering Know-How to Produce Safe, Comfortable Beds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, 6873-6877.

Christensen – Dalsgaard, K.K. and  Ennos, A.R.  (2012). Effects of drought acclimation on the mechanical properties of Ochroma pyramidale, Betula pendula and Acacia karoo tree seedling stems. Forestry 85,215-223.

Ennos, A.R. and van Casteren, A. (2010). Transverse stresses and modes of failure in tree branches and other beams. Proceedings of the Royal Society, B. 277, 1253-1258.

van Casteren, A.  Codd, J.R., Gardiner, J.D., McGhie, H. and Ennos, A.R. (2010). Sonation in the male common snipe (Capella gallinago gallinago L.) is achieved by a flag-like fluttering of their tail feathers and consequent vortex shedding. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 1602-1608 

Massey, F.P., Massey, K., Ennos, A.R. and Hartley, S.E. (2009). Impacts of silica-based defences in grasses on the feeding preferences of sheep. Basic and Applied Ecology 10, 622-630.

Farran, L., Ennos, A.R., Starkie, M. and Eichhorn, S.J. (2009). Tensile and shear properties of fingernails as a function of a changing humidity environment. Journal of Biomechanics 42, 1230-1235.

Warman, P.H and Ennos, A.R. (2009). Fingerprints are Unlikely to Increase the Friction of Primate Finger Pads. Journal of Experimental Biology  212, 2015-2021.

Urban Trees

Armson, D., Rahman, M.A. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). A comparison of the shading effectiveness of five different street tree species in Manchester U.K. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 39, 157-163

Armson, D., Stringer, P. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). The effect of street trees and amenity grass on urban surface water runoff in Manchester UK. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 12, 282-286.

Gill, S., Rahman, M.A., Handley, J.F. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). Modelling water stress to urban amenity grass in Manchester UK under climate change and its potential impacts in reducing urban cooling Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 12, 350-358.

Rahman, M.A., Stringer, P. and Ennos, A.R. (2013). Effect of pit design and soil composition on performance of Pyrus calleryana street trees in the establishment period. Arboriculture & Urban Forestry. 39, 256-266.

Hall, J.M., Handley, J.F. and Ennos, A.R. (2012) The Potential of Tree Planting to Climate-Proof High Density Residential Areas in Manchester, UK. Landscape and Urban Planning 104, 410-417.

Rahman, M.A., Smith, J.G., Stringer, P. and Ennos, A.R. (2011). Effect of rooting conditions on the growth and cooling ability of Pyrus calleryana. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening. 10, 185-192.

Gill, S., Handley, J.F., Ennos, A.R. and Pauleit, S. (2007). Adapting cities for climate change: the role of the green infrastructure. Built Environment 33, 97-115.

Brief CV

B.A. Natural Sciences (Zoology), Cambridge University 1981-4       

Ph.D. Biomechanics, Exeter University 1984-7

NERC Research Fellow, York University, 1988-90

Lecturer, Senior Lecture and Reader in Ecology, University of Manchester 1990-2013

Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Hull 2013-Present



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