BURDON Francis John

  • Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • Biodiversity, Community ecology, Ecosystem functioning, Experimental ecology, Food webs, Freshwater ecology, Human impact, Landscape ecology, Statistical ecology
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I am a community ecologist interested in the response of biological systems to environmental change (e.g., disturbance and stress) across multiple levels of organisation. I am particularly interested in components of biodiversity (e.g., taxa richness, functional traits, and species interactions) and how these combine and evolve in ecological networks to influence emergent properties such as food-web structure and ecosystem functioning. I work predominantly in stream and river ecosystems with invertebrate communities. Much of my research to date has involved drivers of global change (e.g., landuse intensification) and their influence on the intrinsic properties of stream ecosystems (i.e., structure and function). I firmly believe in using general ecological theory to help frame research questions, and developing these ideas to better inform management strategies. In 2005, I completed my Masters research at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand with Prof. Jon Harding on aquatic-terrestrial linkages in forested streams. After a short foray working as a freshwater ecologist for an environmental consultancy, I returned to the University of Canterbury for my doctoral studies in 2009. For my PhD in Ecology, I investigated the influence of agricultural-induced landscape disturbance and sedimentation on stream community structure and functioning with Profs. Jon Harding and Angus McIntosh. In 2013, I moved to Switzerland to investigate multiple-stressor impacts on stream communities and ecosystem processes as a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) in Dübendorf. This research was part of a large, interdisciplinary project (‘EcoImpact’), but I worked closely with Dr. Katja Räsänen in the Department of Aquatic Ecology. Most recently, I joined the CROSSLINK consortia in 2017 as postdoctoral researcher with Dr. Brendan McKie in the Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. The CROSSLINK project aims to quantify landscape effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and involves project partners from European countries including Norway, Belgium, Romania, and Germany.

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The return of the trophic chain: fundamental vs realized interactions in a simple arthropod food web
Inmaculada Torres-Campos, Sara Magalhães, Jordi Moya-Laraño, Marta Montserrat

Recommended by Francis John Burdon based on reviews by Owen Petchey and 2 anonymous reviewers
From deserts to avocado orchards - understanding realized trophic interactions in communities

The late eminent ecologist Gary Polis once stated that “most catalogued food-webs are oversimplified caricatures of actual communities” and are “grossly incomplete representations of communities in terms of both diversity and trophic connections.” Not content with that damning indictment, he went further by railing that “theorists are trying to explain phenomena that do not exist” [1]. The latter critique might have been push back for Robert May´s ground-breaking but ultimately flaw...


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