JonathanTonkin Ecologist

I study factors that promote and maintain biodiversity from a community, metacommunity and macroecological perspective. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm on the editorial boards of Freshwater Biology and PeerJ. You can read more about me (including contact details), my research, and my publications on this website.


Latest news

18 Dec 2018 » Paper accepted in Sci. Tot. Env. We just had a paper accepted in Sci. Tot. Env. 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.

18 Dec 2018 » Paper accepted in River Research and Applications. We just had a paper accepted in River Research and Applications 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.

17 Dec 2018 » Awarded the inaugural NZFSS Early Career Researcher Award. Last week I received the inaugural Early Career Researcher Award by the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society. This was a real treat to receive. I’m very grateful to both the Society for giving me the award and the many colleagues that have helped me to get where I am today. It meant I got to share my past few years of research with the society by way of a keynote address.

4 Oct 2018 » Awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. I am delighted and honoured to receive a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. The title of my 5-year programme is “Rethinking ecological networks in changing environments”. The fellowship will allow me to build my 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.

20 Sept 2018 » New paper in Biological Reviews. We just published a paper in Biological Reviews on “Reintroduction of freshwater macroinvertebrates: challenges and opportunities”. This was a fund paper to be a part of. Thanks Jonas for leading! Find the paper over on my publications page or here.

3 Sept 2018 » Started new position in NZ. I’m delighted to share that I have just started a new postdoc position at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Six exciting years overseas (China-Germany-USA) has come to an end. I’m delighted to be working with Prof. Jason Tylianakis and Prof. Ian Dickie on above- and below-ground ecological networks.

Older news here.

Latest blogs


Tonkin, J. D., J. D. Olden, D. M. Merritt, L. V. Reynolds, and D. A. Lytle. 2017. Flow regime alteration degrades ecological networks in riparian ecosystems. Nature Ecology & Evolution DOI:10.1038/s41559-017-0379-0.




Tonkin, J. D., M. T. Bogan, N. Bonada, B. Rios-Touma, and D. A. Lytle. 2017. Seasonality and predictability shape temporal species diversity. Ecology DOI:10.1002/ecy.1761.



Special issue on river networks

I recently edited a special issue in Freshwater Biology with Florian Altermatt and Jani Heino on metacommunities in river networks. You can find the special issue here

Tonkin, J. D., J. Heino, and F. Altermatt. 2018. Editorial: Metacommunities in river networks: the importance of network structure and connectivity on patterns and processes. Freshwater Biology 63:1-5.

We compiled a series of papers with the aim of highlighting the importance of the river network on structuring biodiversity, particularly through metacommunity dynamics and associated dispersal processes. The issue covers a wide range of topics (from disease spread and nutrient uptake to trophic dynamics), approaches (from field and lab experiments to modelling and population genetics), taxonomic foci (from diatoms and protists to fish), and geographic locations (from the tropics to the subarctic).