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Iain Gordon

Staff picture: Iain Gordon
Honorary Fellow
Honorary Fellow
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

Dundee DD2 5DA


Iain, who holds both British and Australian nationality, returned to Scotland to take up the post after eight years working with CSIRO - the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation - in Canberra. CSIRO is the national government body for scientific research in Australia.

Professor Gordon is native to Aberdeenshire and graduated with a zoology honours degree from the University of Aberdeen. He was awarded his PhD by the University of Cambridge.

He worked at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute in Aberdeen, leading the Ecology Group, before moving to Australia in 2003.

Main areas of scientific expertise:

  • The foraging behaviour of ruminant herbivores as it affects animal performance and vegetation dynamics.
  • The use of domestic herbivores as tools for grazing management within areas of nature conservation interest.
  • The management of wildlife to meet the objectives of rural development and environmental restoration.
  • The role of parasites in modifying the foraging behaviour of ungulates.
  • Re-introduction of rare ungulates into the wild.
  • The effect of dietary specialisation on life history and social organization in ungulates.
  • Human community involvement in wildlife management.

Professional Experience:

  • 1986: Research Assistant Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge. Red deer distribution in the Highlands of Scotland.
  • 1986: Research Assistant Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge. Biosphere Reserves Project.
  • 1986-1996: Research Consultant Zoological Society of London. Scimitar-horned Oryx reintroduction project.
  • 1987-1988 ; Research Associate Station Biologique de La Tour du Valat, The Camargue, France. Use of domestic herbivores in wetland conservation and comparative nutritional ecology of equids and bovids.
  • 1988-2003: Higher Scientific Officer to Principal Senior Scientist Officer (Individual Merit) Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen. Headed programme on the Ecology of Grazed Ecosystems.
  • 2003-April 2011: Research Associate, Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen.
  • 2003-2007: Group Leader, Sustainable Ecosystems, CSIRO – Davies Laboratory, Townsville, Australia. Managing sustainable savannas systems program.2004 – 2010; Officer-in-Charge, CSIRO – Davies Laboratory, Townsville, Australia.
  • 2007-2009: Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems Theme Leader, CSIRO.
  • 2009-2010: Theme Leader – Building Resilient Australian Biodiversity Assets, CSIRO.
  • 2010-present: Chief Executive and Director – The James Hutton Institute.

Current research interests

  • Small mammal community dynamics
  • Pest animal management


  • Gordon, I.J.; Prins, H.H.T.; Squire, G.R. (eds.) (2016) Food production and nature conservation: conflicts and solutions., Routledge, London, 348pp.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Squire, G.R.; Prins, H.H.T. (2016) Conclusion: Re-engaging agriculture with nature., In: Gordon, I.J., Prins, H.H.T. & Squire, G.R. (ed.). Food Production and Nature Conservation: Conflicts and Solutions. Routledge, London, Chapter 16, 333-342.
  • Martin-Ortega, J.; Ferrier, R.C.; Gordon, I.J. (2015) Water ecosystem services: moving forward., In: Martin-Ortega, J., Ferrier, R.C., Gordon, I.J. & Khan, S. (eds.). Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Chapter 20, pp170-173.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Martin-Ortega, J.; Ferrier, R.C. (2015) Introduction., In: Martin-Ortega, J., Ferrier, R.C., Gordon, I.J. & Khan, S. (eds.). Water Ecosystem Services: A Global Perspective. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp1-2.
  • Martin-Ortega, J.; Ferrier, R.C.; Gordon, I.J.; Kahn, S.; (eds.) (2015) Water ecosystem services: a global perspective., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Koichi, K.; Gordon, I.J. (2014) Implications of invasive alien species for rainforest tourism: A case study on feral pigs in Australia's Wet Tropics World Heritage Area., In: Prideaux, B. (ed.). Rainforest Tourism, Conservation and Management: Challenges for Sustainable Development. Routledge, Abingdon, UK.
  • Prins, H.H.T.; Gordon, I.J. (eds.) (2014) Invasion biology and ecological theory. Insights from a continent in transformation., Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9781107035812.
  • Miller, C,; Gordon, I.J. (2012) Human impacts on terrestrial biota and ecosystems., In: Matthews, J.A. The SAGE Handbook of Environmental Change. Sage Publications Ltd, London, Volume 2, Chapter 26, 25-47.
  • Waterhouse, J.; Grundy, M., Brodie, J.; Gordon, I.J.; Yorkston, H.; Eberhard, R. (2010) Flagship Basin Study - Great Barrier Reef., In: Ferrier, R.C. & Jenkins, J. (ed.). Handbook of Catchment Management. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, pp351-375.
  • Hobbs, N.T.; Gordon, I.J. (2010) How does landscape heterogeneity shape dynamics of large herbivore populations?, In: Owen-Smith, N. (ed.). Dynamics of Large Herbivore Populations in Changing Environments: Towards Appropriate Models. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, Chapter 6, pp
  • Gross, J.; Gordon, I.J.; Owen-Smith, N. (2010) Irruptive dynamics and vegetation interactions., In: Owen-Smith, N. (ed.). Dynamics of Large Herbivore Populations in Changing Environments: Towards Appropriate Models. Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, Chapter 5.
  • Waterhouse, J.; Grundy, M.; Brodie, J.; Gordon, I.J.; Yorkston, H.; Eberhard, R. (2010) Great Barrier Reef., In: Handbook of Catchment Management (eds. R.C. Ferrier and A. Jenkins). Blackwell Publications, Oxford.
  • Gordon, I.J. (2008) Comment on "Assembling a diet from different places"., In: Prins, H.H.T. & van Langevelde, F. (eds.). Resource Ecology - Spatial and Temporal Dynamics of Foraging. Springer, New York, pp157-158.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Prins, H.H.T. (eds.) (2008) The ecology of grazing and browsing., Ecological Studies, 195, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
  • Duncan, A.J.; Poppi, D.P. (2008) Nutritional ecology of grazing and browsing ungulates., In: Ecology of Grazing and Browsing in Mammalian Herbivores (eds. I.J. Gordon and H.H.T. Prins). Chapter 4, Springer, pp89-116.
  • Prins, H.H.T.; Gordon, I.J. (2007) Changes in global scale land use and its implications for nature conservation and emerging vector-borne diseases., In: Takken, W. & Knols, B.G.J. (eds.). Emerging pests and vector-borne diseases in Europe. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, pp391-409.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Prins, H.H.T. (2007) Introduction: Grazers and browsers in a changing world., In: Gordon, I.J. & Prins, H.H.T. (eds.).The Ecology of Grazing and Browsing. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp1-20.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Prins, H.H.T. (2007) Grazers and browsers in a changing world: Conclusions., In: Gordon, I.J. & Prins, H.H.T. (eds.).The Ecology of Grazing and Browsing. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp309-321.
  • Laker, J.; Gordon, I.J. (2006) Desafíos para el uso sostenible del la vicuna y el rol del Proyecto Manejo de Camélidos Sudamericanos Silvestres (MACS)., In: Vila, B. (ed.). Investigacion, Conservacion y Manejo de Vicuna. Proyecto MACS-Argentina, Buenos Aires, pp9-15.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Benvenutti, M. (2006) Food in 3D: How ruminant livestock interact with sown sward architecture at the bite scale., In: Bell, V. (ed.). Feeding in Domestic Vertebrates: From Structure to Behaviour. CABI Publishing, Wallingford, pp.263-277.
  • Gordon, I.J. (2006) Restoring the function of grazed ecosystems., In: Danell, K., Bergstrom, R., Duncan, P., Pastor, J. & Olff, H. (eds.). Large Herbivore Ecology and Ecosystem Dynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp449-467.
  • Laker, J.P.; Gordon, I.J. (2006) Desafios para el uso sostenible de la vicuna y el rol del Proyecto Manejo de Camelidos Sudamericanos Silvestres (MACS)., In: Investigacion, conservacion y manejo de vicunas (ed. B. Vil, et al.). Chapter 1, Bibiana Vila, Buenos Aires, pp9-16. ISBN: 987-22888-0-1
  • Wright, I.A.; Duncan, A.J.; Clemens, J.; Rahman, A.; Raja, O.; Gordon, I.J.; Hester, A.J.; Raffique, S.M.; Atiq-ur-Rehman, F. Ali; Baig, A. (2005) A systems approach to understanding constraints and opportunities., In: Livestock, Food, Pastures and People: a Systems Study in the Northern Areas of Pakistan (eds. I.A. Wright and A.J. Duncan). ICIMOD, Kathmandu, pp57-67.
  • Sibbald, A.M.; Gordon, I.J. (eds.) (2001) Tracking animals with GPS, Proceedings of an International Conference, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, 12-13 March 2001. ISBN 0708406432
  • Sibbald, A.M.; Hooper, R.J.; Gordon, I.J. (2001) Using GPS to study the effect of human disturbance on the behaviour of red deer stags on a highland estate in Scotland., In: Tracking Animals with GPS (eds. A.M.Sibbald and I.J. Gordon). Proceedings of an International Conference, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Aberdeen, pp39-43.
  • Gordon, I.J. (2000) Plant-animal interactions in complex plant communities: from mechanism to modelling., In: Grassland Ecophysiology and Grazing Ecology (eds. G. Lemaire, J. Hodgson, A. de Moraes, C. Nabinger and P.C. de Faccio Carvalho). CAB International, Wallingford, pp191-207. ISBN 0-85199-452-0
  • Perez-Barberia, F.J.; Gordon, I.J. (1999) The influence of sexual dimorphism in body size and mouth morphology on diet selection and sexual segregation in cervids., In: Zomborszky, Z. (ed.). Advances in Deer Biology. Proceedings of the 4th International Deer Biology Congress, Kaposvar, Hungary, pp201-207.
  • Illius, A.W.; Gordon, I.J. (1999) The physiological ecology of mammalian herbivory., In: Nutritional Ecology of Herbivores: Proceedings of the Vth International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores (eds. H-J G. Jung and G.C. Fahey). American Society of Animal Science, pp71-96.
  • Illius, A.W.; Gordon, I.J. (1999) Scaling up from functional response to numerical response in vertebrate herbivores., In: Herbivores: between Plants and Predators, 38th Symposium of the British Ecological Society (eds. H. Olff, V.K. Brown and R.H. Drent). Blackwell Scientific, pp397-425.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Lascano, C. (1994) Foraging strategies of ruminant livestock on intensively managed grasslands: potential and constraints., In: M.J. Baker (ed.) Grasslands for our World, Wellington, New Zealand: SIR Publishing. pp 208-223.

  • Slee, B.; Brown, I.; Donnelly, D.; Gordon, I.J.; Matthews. K.B.; Towers, W. (2013) The squeezed middle: potential conflicts over Scotland’s intermediate quality rural land., The James Hutton Institute.
  • Benvenutti, M.A.; Pavetti, D.R.; Poppi, D.; Gordon, I.J.; Bindelle, J.; Zakidalsky, L.; Dutra, M. (2012) The proportion of ungrazed pasture determines when intake and diet quality decline in rotational grazing systems of Axonopus catharinenssis., 15th AAAP (Asian-Australasian Association of Animal Production Societies) Animal Science Congress, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand, 26-30 November 2012.
  • Mensah, A.; Deeb, A.; Grunwaldt, A.H.; Andrade, A.; Kontorov, A.; Mills, A.; Dickson, B.; Petersen, C.; Gordon, C.; Chuku C.; Gohler, D.; Mkwambisi, D.; Benzaken, D.; Barrow, E.; Fida, E.; van der Plaat, F.; Gitay, H.; Reid, H.; Gordon, I.; Thiaw, I.; Meliane, I.; Gaithuma, J.; DeBlieu, J.; Thompson, J.; Shrestha, J.; Tscherning, K.; Alverson, K.; Mwathe, K.; Esquivel, M.; Finlayson, M.; van Voore, M.; Rivington, M.; Alam, M.; Mumba, M.; Doswald, N.; Sekhran, N.; Raasakka, N.; Ikkala, N.; Vestergaard, O.; McCarthy, P.; van Gardingen, P.; Klein, R.; Munang, R.; Kay, R.; Munroe, R.; Lichte, R.; Haeussling, S.; Donner, S.; Crane, S.; Booth, T.; Vergara, W. (2012) Building resilience to climate change: making the case for ecosystem-based adaptation., UNON/Publishing, Nairobi, 12pp.
  • Brodie, J.; Binney, J.; Fabricius, K.; Gordon, I.J.; Hoegh-Guldberg, O.; Hunter, H.; O’Reagain, P.; Pearson, R.; Quirk, M.; Thorburn, P.; Waterhouse, J.; Webster, I.; Wilkinson, S. (2008) Synthesis of evidence to support the Scientific Consensus Statement on Water Quality in the Great Barrier Reef., The State of Queensland (Department of the Premier and Cabinet) October 2008. Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Secretariat, August 2009.
  • Miller, C.; James, C.; Kroon, F.; Fisher, A.; Hancock, P.; Smyth, A.; Gordon, I.J. (2007) Water management: Managing biodiversity in the rangelands., Department of the Environment and Water Resources, Canberra, ACT.
  • Post, D.A.; Bartley, R.; Corfield, J.; Nelson, B.; Kinsey-Henderson, A.; Hawdon, A.; Gordon, I.J.; Abbott, B.; Berthelsen, S.; Hodgen, M.; Keen, R.; Kemei, J.; Vleeshouwer, J.; MacLeod, N.; Webb, M. (2007) Sustainable grazing for a healthy burdekin catchment., Meat and Livestock Australia Project NBP.314. CSIRO, Townsville, Australia.
  • Miller, C.; James, C.; Kroon, F.; Fisher, A.; Hancock, P.; Smyth, A.; Gordon, I.J. (2005) Best practice sustainable water management in the rangelands., Desert Knowledge CRC Project Report No. 6 (5 June). Desert Knowledge CRC, Alice Springs.
  • Dennis, P.; Elston, D.A.; Evans, D.; Evans, S.; Gordon, I.J.; Grant, M.; Kunaver, A.; Marquiss, M.; Mayes, R.W.; McCracken, D.; Pakeman, R.; Pearce-Higgins, J.; Redpath, S.; Skartveit, J.; Stephen, L.; Benton, T.; Bryant, D. (2005) Effects of grazing management on upland bird populations: disentangling habitat structure and arthropod food supply at appropriate spatial scales (GRUB)., Final Report on Flexible Fund Project to SEERAD. January 2002 to December 2004.
  • Palmer, S.C.F.; Hester, A.J.; Pakeman, R.J.; Truscott, A-M.; Gordon, I.J.; Albon, S.D. (2003) The development of a moorland scenario model., Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Gordon, I.J. (2003) Sustainable management of large mammals in the Khan Khenti, Mongolia., First Annual Report to the Darwin Initiative.
  • Illius, A.W.; Gordon, I.J.; Derry, J.F.; Magadzire, Z.; Mukungurutse, E. (2003) Environmental variability and productivity of semi-arid grazing systems., Final Report to DFID Livestock Production Programme.
  • Britton, A.J.; Gordon, I.J.; Pakeman, R.J.; Hester, A.J.; Elston, D.A.; Dennis, P. (2003) Design of research methodology to determine the impacts of grazing on lowland heathland., Contract Report to English Nature.
  • Gordon, I.J.; Britton, A.J.; Crawley, M.; Palmer, S.; Bayfield, N.; Dennis, P.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Blankers, M. (2002) Report on habitat restoration project - Rum National Nature Reserve. Project monitoring and site condition 2001-2002., Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Perez-Barberia, F.J.; Gordon, I.J.; Pagel, M. (2002) The origins of sexual dimorphism in body size in ungulates., Evolution, 56, 1276-1285.
  • Wyn, G.; Gordon, I.J. (2001) Direct public assistance for deer management in Scotland., Deer Commission for Scotland.
  • Britton, A.J.; Gordon, I.J.; Hester, A.J.; Robertson, E.; McKeen, M.; Common, G.; Palmer, S.C.F.; Marquiss, M. (2000) A grazing plan for Isle of Rum National Nature Reserve., Contract Report to Scottish Natural Heritage.
  • Waterhouse, E.C.; Chalmers, N.A.; Ross, I.; Towers, W.; Bullough, D.; Gordon, I.J.; Hester, A.J.; Milne, J.A.; McKeen, M.; Malcolm, A. (2000) Invercauld Estate Audit., A Final Report for Invercauld Estate, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Cairngorms Partnership and Grampian Enterprise, June 2000.
  • Duncan, A.J.; Clemens, J.; Omer, R.; Rahman, A.; Hester, A.J.; Wright, I.A.; Gordon, I.J. (2000) EU-Agr-Karakoram project - first year report., European Union INCO-DC Programme.
  • Kyriazakis, I.; Gordon, I.J. (1999) Final Report on GR3/10322., NERC.
  • Coltman, D.W.; Pilkington, J.G.; Albon, S.D.; Amos, W.; Boyd, H.E.G.; Braisher, T.; Clutton-Brock, T.H.; Coulson, T.N.; Crawley, M.J.; Finkenstadt, B.; Gordon, I.J.; Grenfell, B.T.; Illius, A.W.; Milner, I.; Paterson, S.; Pemberton, J.M.; Preston, B.; Tuke. (1999) St Kilda Soay sheep project : annual report 1998., SNH and NTS.
  • Waterhouse, E.C.; Chalmers, N.A.; Crabtree, J.R.; Gauld, J.H.; Gordon, I.J.; Hester, A.J.; Malcolm, A.; Milne, J.A. (1999) The Mar Estate Audit Project: A final report for Mar Estate and Scottish Natural Heritage., Scottish Natural Heritage and Capt. M. Nicolson (Trustee, Mar Estate).
  • Illius, A.W.; Derry, J.F.; Gordon, I.J. (1996) Modelling the dynamics of semi-arid grazing systems., Natural Resources Institute, Final Report.
  • Gordon, I.J. (1996) Controlling internal parasites without anthelmintics., MAFF Review, contracted by ADAS (MRC271).
  • Gordon, I.J.; Gill, J.P. (1993) Reintroduction of scimitar-horned oryx Oryx dammah to Bou-Hedma National Park, Tunisia., International Zoo Yearbook, 32, 69-73.
  • Young, J.B.; Gordon, I.J. (1991) The Potential for Domestic Stock Grazing for Wildlife Conservation in Forests: A Research Review Commissioned by the Forestry Commission., Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Pentlandfield. (Restricted circulation).
  • Gordon, I.J.; Kock, R.N.; Mace, G.M. (1989) The reintroduction of the Scimitar Horned Oryx Oryx dammah from the United Kingdom to Tunisia., Report No 6, The Zoological Society of London, UK
  • Gordon, I.J. (1988) The reintroduction of Scimita Horned Oryx Oryx dammah from the United Kingdom to Tunisia. , Report No 5, The Zoological Society of London, UK

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.