Ecology in a changing world
Welcome to the Tonkin Lab at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand
We are, broadly speaking, community ecologists. But we ask a range of questions to understand how populations and communities vary in space and time, including how landscape or river network structure and dispersal interact to affect the organisation of biodiversity; how global change will alter the structure of ecological networks; how river and riparian species respond to changes in flow regimes (cycles of floods and drought); and how best to forecast the distribution of species in changing landscapes.
Species interaction networks, spatial ecological networks, and networks of networks.
The relationship between river flow regimes and freshwater and riparian biodiversity.
Population, community and ecosystem responses to climate change and other environmental change.
Models that link population dynamics with environmental variability (e.g. matrix projections).
Disentangling the role of local and regional drivers of biodiversity including dispersal.
Uncovering the role of the dendritic structure of river networks on their biodiversity.
Understanding the drivers of restoration success to improve restoration practice in the future.
To prepare river ecosystems for an uncertain future, we must adapt the way we model and manage them.
We argue that we can no longer solely aim to restore river ecosystems to historical states, because often, and increasingly, those states no longer exist. Similarly, models based on past correlations do poorly looking into the future for how species may respond to unprecedented changes.
We call for rivers to be managed adaptively and for researchers to develop forecasting tools that move beyond simply monitoring the state of ecosystems to establishing the biological mechanisms that underpin their survival.
Dec 2019 » News piece on our Nature paper. Karla Lant at the Environmental Monitor recently published this really nice news piece on our river management perspective piece here.
Oct 2019 » Permanent position. Jono received the news that he has a permanent position at the University of Canterbury in the fabulous School of Biological Sciences. He’s delighted to get to set down roots and build a flourishing research lab in his home country of New Zealand.
Sept 2019 » New Tonkin Lab website. Welcome to the new-look Tonkin Lab website. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming opportunities to join the lab.
June 2019 » New paper in Nature. Our paper on preparing river ecosystems for an uncertain future came out in Nature. It was a real treat to work with such a great group of colleagues on this one: LeRoy Poff, Dave Lytle, Julian Olden, Nick Bond, Avril Horne, Albert Ruhi, Lindsay Reynolds and Dave Merritt.
April 2019 » New paper in Ecosphere. We have a new paper out in Ecosphere. This is a multi-species demographic model that links native and nonnative species with river flow regimes in the Verde River, Arizona. Projecting the model beyond the survey data predicted a shift from a native dominant to a nonnative dominant community, which was linked to increasing drought frequency. Thanks very much for leading this effort, Jane!
Dec 2018 » Paper accepted in Sci. Tot. Env. We just had a paper accepted led by Peter Haase, Francesca Pilotto and Fengqing Li. This has been a long road, so it’s nice to see it through review. The title gives the central result: Moderate warming over the past 25 years has already reorganized stream invertebrate communities.
Dec 2018 » Paper accepted in River Research and Applications. We just had a paper accepted on: The three Rs of river ecosystem resilience: Resources, Recruitment and Refugia. Thanks to Kris Van Looy for leading this. This originated at a workshop in Berlin back in 2015, so it’s nice to see it come through in the end.
Dec 2018 » Awarded the inaugural NZFSS Early Career Researcher Award. Last week, Jono received the inaugural Early Career Researcher Award by the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society. Jono is very grateful to both the Society for giving him the award and the many colleagues that have helped him to get where he is today. It meant he got to share his past few years of research with the society by way of a keynote address.
Oct 2018 » Awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. Jono is delighted and honoured to receive a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. The title of his 5-year programme is “Rethinking ecological networks in changing environments”. The fellowship will allow him to build his research programme here in New Zealand after several years overseas, and provide the time to tackle major environmental challenges in a way that is not necessarily possible over shorter timescales. News releases here and here.