Profile: Mike Jeffries


As with so many ecologists it is hard to tell when the child with a net and jam-jar dabbling in a pond turned into the researcher with a net and a white tray dabbling in multivariate statistics. I am by training a zoologist (University of Bristol, 1980), the great good fortune of a doctorate from John Lawton’s lab at York, (1985) and five years at Edinburgh University’s Department of Forestry and Natural Resources before joining Northumbria University. And like so many academics, the occasional diversion as shop assistant, civil servant and Punch and Judy man.

My work on ponds and their wildlife mixes a fascination with the patterns and processes evident in animal communities and the wider place of ponds in the landscape.
Ponds in a landscape are strikingly varied in their wildlife, even ponds close to one another. It may be that they are minutely sensitive to local conditions or perhaps it is occasional, hard to record events that trigger distinct changes. I’m still not sure, because I’ve got evidence for both. They make a good test bed for trying out ideas.

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New York: Hot Dogs, Donuts, Burgers & Bugs

New York is one of many cities whose mythical allure claims that the streets are paved with gold. Sadly, you are more likely to be treading on – or at least wading through – the remains of burgers, hot dogs, sweets, cookies, fries and more unmentionable sources of nutrients. Yet in among all that detritus is an awful lot of energy, a resource that could underpin a complex ecosystem.

Category: Science

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