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Dr Jonathan Tonkin

Freshwater Ecologist

Jonathan Tonkin

The natural world is fascinating. It’s like looking into a constantly moving kaleidoscope; animals, plants, dirt, and water all interacting in amazing and complex ways. I love to figure out what’s going on between animals and their environment, this is something we call Ecology.

I study the bugs, fish, and plants in and around streams and rivers. Most of the time I’m looking at information, and trying to use that information to predict the impact of climate change. I also get to spend time searching for fish, bugs, and other cool stuff in amazing places like China, New Zealand and the United States of America.

I find it really interesting to look at the ways humans affect the plants and animals that depend on waterways like rivers. Dams and irrigation can have a big effect on the flow of a river, and even on natural events like droughts and floods. This can be a big problem for the animals and plants that depend on the natural flow of a river. So by studying rivers and life in and around them I hope to find ways to protect these precious and beautiful resources.

You can find me on my website or on Twitter.

I love being a scientist because...

I get to ask really cool questions about how the world works and explore amazing wild places.

The most awesome thing I have done so far is...

Studied streams all around the world, including New Zealand, China, Spain, Germany, and USA.

My heroes are...

Charles Darwin and David Attenborough are both pretty inspiring.

Advice I would give my 7 year old self...

HAVE FUN – the most important thing of all!

At primary school my favourite thing to do was...

Play sports, especially rugby and cricket.



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