Doctor Manuel Esperon

Manuel was awarded a Research Support Program Fellowship in 2021. His research centres on the Urban Transformation and Climate Change.

Manuel had previously been working on the project “Which Plant Where” in the module ‘Successes and failures’ within the Institute. The project was funded by the Hort Frontiers Green Cities Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Macquarie University, Western Sydney University and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and contributions from the Australian Government. The Which Plant Where project is a five-year series of research that will find out where current favourites are unlikely to thrive under the more extreme climates that Australian cities face, learn from past successes, and stress-test major landscape species to find opportunities for new species and varieties to be planted.

Manuel did his doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). His project assessed vulnerability to climate change in the cloud forest in Mexico. His research mainly focused on plant ecophysiological responses to climate change; however, being concern about the local human population, he also assessed the socio-economic vulnerability in the region.  During his Ph. D, Manuel demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry by given the lectures of Ecology and Biodiversity. He also is skilled in plant ecology, urban ecology, vulnerability, environmental awareness, climate change, and climatology.

Manuel moved to Australia in 2015, when he joined Macquarie University as a Visiting Associated and later as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the project “Identifying likely climate refugia and corridors to support species range shifts”, part of the Biodiversity Node - Adapt NSW and funded by the Office of Environmental Heritage. During this project, Manuel developed skills in species distribution modeling and research leadership.

Manuel is interested in species responses to climatic and environmental changes, and his current areas of research mainly focus on urban ecology, landscape ecology, vulnerability and climate change. The main goals of his current project are to assess the factors that contribute to the success or failure of urban plantings and the additional benefits that urban greening brings to the cities, such as greater biodiversity, cleaner air and cooler temperatures and associated benefits to human health and well-being.

Areas of Research

climate change, urban transformation, biodiversity, environmental science, urban ecology, urban greening, urban trees, liveability of cities

Supervision Opportunities

There are supervision opportunities for Master of Research (MRes) interested in working on urban ecology, climate change, and plant ecophysiology.


  • Research Support Program Fellow (Level B) - Urban Transformation and Climate Change (2 yrs), 2021


  • EDEN Parramatta Creative Development - A Partnership with FORM Dance Project, City of Parramatta Community Grants 2023.
  • Hermon Slade Foundation 2022. Project: Climate change and the long-term health and sustainability of Australia’s urban forests
  • WSU-DPE 2022. Project: Stories hidden in tree rings: Exploring climate change impacts on urban trees in Australia
  • WSU 2022. Project: Lively Laboratories: SHAPing STEM for Contemporary Australia
  • WSU Seed/Seedling FUNDING 2022 Initiative. Project: Cultural, Ecological and Climatic Factors Shaping Native Nursery Production, 1850 to 2022

Teaching expertise

  • Advance Science Project 2018, WSU
  • Advance Science Project 2020, WSU
  • Advance Science Project 2021, WSU
  • Climate Change Science 2020, WSU
  • Climate Change Science 2021, WSU
  • Field Project 1 2021, WSU
  • Field Project 2 2021, WSU
  • Research Development 2, 2021, WSU
  • Climate Change Science 2022, WSU
  • Field Project 1 2022, WSU
  • Field Project 2 2022, WSU
  • Sustainable Environments 2022, WSU

Selected publications

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Quintans D, Rymer PD, (2023) 'Urban tree inventories as a tool to assess tree growth and failure: The case for Australian cities', Landscape and Urban Planning, vol.233, Article no. 104705

Sánchez-Falfan A, Esperón-Rodríguez M, Cervantes-Pérez J, Ballinas M, Barradas VL, (2023) 'How Important Are Fog and the Cloud Forest as a Water Supply in Eastern Mexico?', Water (Switzerland), vol.15, no.7, Article no.1286

Sharmin M, Tjoelker MG, Pfautsch S, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Rymer PD, Power SA, (2023) 'Tree crown traits and planting context contribute to reducing urban heat', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.83, Article no.127913

Sharmin M, Tjoelker MG, Pfautsch S, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Rymer PD, Power SA, (2023) 'Tree Traits and Microclimatic Conditions Determine Cooling Benefits of Urban Trees', Atmosphere, vol.14, no.3, Article no.606

Barradas VL, Miranda JA, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Ballinas M, (2022) '(Re)Designing Urban Parks to Maximize Urban Heat Island Mitigation by Natural Means', Forests, vol.13, no.7, Article no.1143

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Ordoñez C, van Doorn NS, Hirons A, Messier C, (2022) 'Using climate analogues and vulnerability metrics to inform urban tree species selection in a changing climate: The case for Canadian cities', Landscape and Urban Planning, vol.228, Article no.104578

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Power SA, Tjoelker MG, Rymer PD, (2022) 'Future climate risk and urban tree inventories in Australian cities: Pitfalls, possibilities and practical considerations', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.78, Article no.127769

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Tjoelker MG, Lenoir J, Baumgartner JB, Beaumont LJ, Nipperess DA, Power SA, Richard B, Rymer PD, Gallagher RV, (2022) 'Climate change increases global risk to urban forests', Nature Climate Change, vol.12, no.10, pp 950-955

Farrell C, Livesley SJ, Arndt SK, Beaumont L, Burley H, Ellsworth D, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Fletcher TD, Gallagher R, Ossola A, Power SA, Marchin R, Rayner JP, Rymer PD, Staas L, Szota C, Williams NSG, Leishman M, (2022) 'Can we integrate ecological approaches to improve plant selection for green infrastructure?', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.76, Article no.127732

Marchin RM, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Tjoelker MG, Ellsworth DS, (2022) 'Crown dieback and mortality of urban trees linked to heatwaves during extreme drought', Science of the Total Environment, vol.850, Article no.157915

Barradas VL, Esperon-Rodriguez M, (2021) 'Ecophysiological Vulnerability to Climate Change in Mexico City's Urban Forest', Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, vol.9, Article no.732250

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Harrison T, (2021) 'Urban forests and landscape ecology', Forests, vol.12, no.12, Article no.1620

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Power SA, Tjoelker MG, Marchin RM, Rymer PD, (2021) 'Contrasting heat tolerance of urban trees to extreme temperatures during heatwaves', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.66, Article no.127387

Falster DS, Gallagher RV, Wenk E, Wright IJ, Indiarto D, Andrew SC, Baxter C, Lawson J, Allen S, Fuchs A, Monro A, Kar F, Adams MA, Ahrens CW, Alfonzetti M, Angevin T, Apgaua DMG, Arndt A, Atkin OK, Atkinson J, Auld TD, Baker A, von Balthazar M, Bean A, Blackman CJ, Bloomfield K, Bowman DMJS, Bragg J, Brodribb TJ, Buckton G, Burrows G, Caldwell E, Camac J, Carpenter R, Catford JA, Cawthray GR, Cernusak LA, Chandler G, Chapman AR, Cheal D, Cheesman AW, Chen S-C, Choat B, Clinton B, Clode PL, Coleman H, Cornwell WK, Cosgrove M, Crisp M, Cross E, Crous KY, Cunningham S, Curran T, Curtis E, Daws MI, DeGabriel JL, Denton MD, Dong N, Du P, Duan H, Duncan DH, Duncan RP, Duretto M, Dwyer JM, Edwards C, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Evans JR, Everingham SE, Farrell C, Firn J, Fonseca CR, French BJ, Frood D, Funk JL, Geange SR, Ghannoum O, Gleason SM, Gosper CR, Gray E, Groom PK, Grootemaat S, Gross C, Guerin G, Guja L, Hahs AK, Harrison MT, Hayes PE, Henery M, Hochuli D, Howell J, Huang G, Hughes L, Huisman J, Ilic J, Jagdish A, Jin D, Jordan G, Jurado E, Kanowski J, Kasel S, Kellermann J, Kenny B, Kohout M, Kooyman RM, Kotowska MM, Lai HR, Laliberté E, Lambers H, Lamont BB, Lanfear R, van Langevelde F, Laughlin DC, Laugier-Kitchener B-A, Laurance S, Lehmann CER, Leigh A, Leishman MR, Lenz T, Lepschi B, Lewis JD, Lim F, Liu U, Lord J, Lusk CH, Macinnis-Ng C, McPherson H, Magallón S, Manea A, López-Martinez A, Mayfield M, McCarthy JK, Meers T, van der Merwe M, Metcalfe DJ, Milberg P, Mokany K, Moles AT, Moore BD, Moore N, Morgan JW, Morris W, Muir A, Munroe S, Nicholson A, Nicolle D, Nicotra AB, Niinemets Ü, North T, O’Reilly-Nugent A, O’Sullivan OS, Oberle B, Onoda Y, Ooi MKJ, Osborne CP, Paczkowska G, Pekin B, Guilherme Pereira C, Pickering C, Pickup M, Pollock LJ, Poot P, Powell JR, Power SA, Prentice IC, Prior L, Prober SM, Read J, Reynolds V, Richards AE, Richardson B, Roderick ML, Rosell JA, Rossetto M, Rye B, Rymer PD, Sams MA, Sanson G, Sauquet H, Schmidt S, Schönenberger J, Schulze E-D, Sendall K, Sinclair S, Smith B, Smith R, Soper F, Sparrow B, Standish RJ, Staples TL, Stephens R, Szota C, Taseski G, Tasker E, Thomas F, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG, Tng DYP, de Tombeur F, Tomlinson K, Turner NC, Veneklaas EJ, Venn S, Vesk P, VlasveldC , Vorontsova MS, Warren CA, Warwick N, Weerasinghe LK, Wells J, Westoby M, White M, Williams NSG, Wills J, Wilson PG, Yates C, Zanne AE, Zemunik G, Ziemińska K, (2021) 'AusTraits, a curated plant trait database for the Australian flora', Scientific Data, vol.8, no.1, Article no.254

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Rymer PD, Power SA, Challis A, Marchin RM, Tjoelker MG, (2020) 'Functional adaptations and trait plasticity of urban trees along a climatic gradient', Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, vol.54, Article no.126771

McGowan J, Beaumont LJ, Smith RJ, Chauvenet ALM, Harcourt R, Atkinson S, Mittermeier JC, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Baumgartner JB, Beattie A, Dudaniec RY, Grenyer R, Nipperess DA, Stow A, Possingham HP, (2020) 'Conservation prioritization can resolve the flagship species conundrum', Nature Communications, vol.11, no.1, Article no.994

Beaumont LJ, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Nipperess DA, Wauchope-Drumm M, Baumgartner JB, (2019) 'Incorporating future climate uncertainty into the identification of climate change refugia for threatened species', Biological Conservation, vol.237, pp 230-237

Burley H, Beaumont LJ, Ossola A, Baumgartner JB, Gallagher R, Laffan S, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Manea A, Leishman MR, (2019) 'Substantial declines in urban tree habitat predicted under climate change', Science of the Total Environment, vol.685, pp 451-462

Das S, Baumgartner JB, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Wilson PD, Yap JYS, Rossetto M, Beaumont LJ, (2019) 'Identifying climate refugia for 30 Australian rainforest plant species, from the last glacial maximum to 2070', Landscape Ecology, vol.34, no.12, pp 2883-2896

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Beaumont LJ, Lenoir J, Baumgartner JB, McGowan J, Correa-Metrio A, Camac JS, (2019) 'Climate change threatens the most biodiverse regions of Mexico', Biological Conservation, vol.240, Article no.UNSP 108215

Garcia-Sanchez IE, Barradas VL, Hill CAPD, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Perez IR, Ballinas M, (2019) 'Effect of heavy metals and environmental variables on the assimilation of CO2 and stomatal conductance of Ligustrum lucidum, an urban tree from Mexico City', Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, vol.42, pp 72-81

Baumgartner JB, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Beaumont LJ, (2018) 'Identifying in situ climate refugia for plant species', Ecography, vol.41, no.11, pp 1850-1863

Berthon K, Esperon-Rodriguez M, Beaumont LJ, Carnegie AJ, Leishman MR, (2018) 'Assessment and prioritisation of plant species at risk from myrtle rust (Austropuccinia psidii) under current and future climates in Australia', Biological Conservation, vol.218, pp 154-162

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Baumgartner JB, Beaumont LJ, Berthon K, Carnegie AJ, Alfonzetti MA, Barradas VL, Leishman M, (2018) 'The risk to Myrtaceae of Austropuccinia psidii, myrtle rust, in Mexico', Forest Pathology, vol.48, no.4, Article no.e12428

Esperon-Rodriguez M, Curran TJ, Camac JS, Hofmann RW, Correa-Metrio A, Barradas VL, (2018) 'Correlation of drought traits and the predictability of osmotic potential at full leaf turgor in vegetation from New Zealand', Austral Ecology, vol.43, no.4, pp 397-408

Hageer Y, Esperón-Rodríguez M, Baumgartner JB, Beaumont LJ, (2017) 'Climate, soil or both? Which variables are better predictors of the distributions of Australian shrub species?', PeerJ, vol.5, Article no. e3446

Loreto D, Esperón-Rodríguez M, Barradas VL, (2017) 'The climatic-environmental significance, status and socio-economic perspective of the shade-grown coffee agroecosystems in the central mountain region of the state of Veracruz, Mexico', Investigaciones Geográficas. DOI:

Barradas VL, Ruiz Córdova JP, Esperón-Rodríguez M, (2016) 'Microclimatology and ecophysiology of the urban vegetation of a city with tropical climate modified by altitude in Mexico', Botanical Sciences, vol.94, no.4, pp 775-786

Beaumont LJ, Graham E, Duursma D, Wilson PD, Cabrelli A, Baumgartner JB, Hallgren W, Esperón-Rodríguez M, Nipperess D, Warren DL, Laffan SW, VanDerWal J, (2016) 'Which species distribution models are more (or less) likely to project broad-scale, climate-induced shifts in species ranges?', Ecological Modelling, vol.342, pp 135–146

Esperón-Rodríguez M, Barradas VL, (2016) 'Stomatal responses of tree species from the cloud forest in central Veracruz, México', Botanical Sciences, vol.94, no.2, pp 311-321

Esperón-Rodríguez M, Bonifacio-Bautista M, Barradas VL, (2016) 'Socio-economical vulnerability to climate change in the central mountainous region of eastern Mexico', AMBIO, vol.45, no.2, pp 146-160

Sandoval Pérez AL, Camargo-Ricalde SL, García-Oliva F, Alarcón A, Montaño NM, Montaño-Arias SA, Esperón-Rodríguez M, (2016) 'Biocrusts, inside and outside resource islands of Mimosa luisana (Leguminosae), improve soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in a tropical semiarid ecosystem', European Journal of Soil Biology, vol.74, pp 93-103

Vázquez-Molina Y, Correa-Metrio A, Sawisza E, Franco-Gaviria JF, Pérez L, Romero F, Prado B, Charqueño-Célis F, Esperón-Rodríguez M, (2016) 'Decoupled lake history and regional climates in the middle elevations of tropical Mexico', Revista Mexicana de Ciencias Geológicas, vol.33, no.3, pp 355-364

Esperón-Rodríguez M, Barradas VL, (2015) 'Comparing environmental vulnerability in the montane cloud forest of eastern Mexico: A vulnerability index', Ecological Indicators, vol.52, pp 300-310 
*Featured in the GBIF Science Review 2016

Esperón-Rodríguez M, Barradas VL, (2015) 'Ecophysiological vulnerability to climate change: water stress responses in four tree species from the central mountain region of Veracruz, Mexico', Regional Environmental Change, vol.15, pp 93–108

Esperón-Rodríguez M, Barradas VL, (2014) 'Potential vulnerability to climate change of four tree species from the central mountain region of Veracruz, Mexico', Climate Research, vol.60, no.2, pp 163-174