John obtained his BSc and PhD at the University of Sheffield before coming to Edinburgh as a Lecturer in Ecology at Edinburgh University. He is a past President of the Botanical Society of Scotland (BSS) and of the British Ecological Society. As a Professor at the University of Edinburgh he has been engaged in ecological research, mostly relating to large-scale ecophysiology in temperate and tropical regions. Since his retiral from the University he has been leading the Urban Flora project of the BSS, and working with colleagues in China and the Czech Republic on issues of global change. He is a founding Editor of the BSS’s journal Plant Ecology and Diversity.