Prof Iain Gordon is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, at James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

Iain Gordon was appointed as DVC in late 2015 and brings a genuine passion and commitment for sustainable regional development and harnessing the tropics’ enormous potential through education and research. He is keen to pursue new and innovative research and development partnerships in this role and broker research institutional capacity to support industry in their future agricultural and food innovation activities in Northern QLD.

Professor Gordon previously led the James Hutton Institute (Scotland), focusing on evidence based solutions for the use of land for agriculture whilst maintaining natural resources and ecosystems. Iain worked with CSIRO from 2003 – 2010, where he led the Davies Laboratory and helped establish the Australian Tropical Science Innovation Precinct (ATSIP) at JCU in Townsville.

Throughout Iains’ career, which spans research, research management and provision of policy advice, he has played an active role in promoting the value of biodiversity and its importance in the provision of ecosystem services and human wellbeing.  Over the past 25 years he has gained an international reputation for scientific leadership and research excellence in interdisciplinary approaches, particularly in the context of managing land use to benefit biodiversity and engaging human communities in the management of natural resources including managing major research portfolios on land management to protect the Great Barrier Reef and conserving Australia's biodiversity. 

Iain is a champion of gender equity in the workplace and is currently working with JCU to make the Athena Swan scheme nationally acknowledge in Australia Universities. This Scheme recognises a commitment to supporting and advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. Iain Gordon is also the Chair of the VCs’ Sustainability Advisory Committee which provides leadership and makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on sustainability at all University sites.

  • 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.
  • Restoration of ecosystem engineers
  • 2015 to present - Deputy Vice Chancellor, Divison of Tropical Environments and Societies, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2011 to 2015 - Director, Centre of Expertise for Climate Change (Edinburgh)
  • 2010 to 2015 - Chief Executive Officer and Director, James Hutton Institute (Scotland)
  • 2009 to 2010 - Theme Leader – Building Resilient Australian Biodiversity Assets, CSIRO (Townsville)
  • 2004 to 2010 - Officer-in-Charge, Davies Laboratory, CSIRO (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2009 - Theme Leader – Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems – CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, CSIRO (Townsville)
  • 2003 to 2007 - Group Leader, Sustainable Ecosystems, CSIRO (Townsville)
  • 1988 to 2003 - Higher Scientific Officer to Principal Senior Scientist Officer, Macaulay Institute (Aberdeen, Scotland)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation
  • Fellow of the North American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Honorary Professor, University of Aberdeen
  • 2015 - Emeritus Fellow, James Hutton Institute
  • 2010 - Adjunct Professor, Australian National University
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
  • Fauna and Flora Preservation Society
  • Institute of Biology (Fellow)
  • British Deer Society
  • Australian Rangeland Society
  • Mammal Society
  • British Ecological Society
  • 2015 - Editorial board: Sustainability - Sub-section Editor-in-Chief
  • 2012 - Editorial board: The Rangelands Journal
  • 2007 - Editorial board: Biodiversity & Conservation - Editor
  • 2006 - Editorial board: Animal Conservation - Editor
  • 2003 - Editorial board: African Journal of Range and Forage Science
  • 2004 to 2014 - Editorial board: Journal of Land Use Science
  • 2006 to 2012 - Editorial board: African Journal of Ecology
  • 2006 to 2011 - Editorial board: Wildlife Biology

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 212+ research outputs authored by Prof Iain Gordon from 1987 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Australia-ASEAN Council Grant Round

Australian ASEAN Food, Logistics and Technology Network

Indicative Funding
The Australia ASEAN region is building trade and cultural relationships across many aspects of society and business. SME's are fundamental to both trade and cultural relationships. The Australia ASEAN Future Food, Logistics and Technology network will support SME's by driving the conversion of Australia and ASEAN's bioscience and technology. The aim is to develop a knowledge network of Australian and ASEAN universities, industry associations and businesses that enables research, cultural exchange and trade.
Iain Gordon and Yvette Williams in collaboration with Alice Woodhead (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies and University of Southern Queensland)
network; Food Security; food logistics

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research

Desktop Analyses to Inform the Design for Monitoring Within the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP)

Indicative Funding
$229,600 (administered by AIMS)
Assist AIMS in the delivery of the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program Phase 2 under the Deed of Standing Offer for Environmental Research and Analysis Panel between Aims AND THE Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. This will be done by contributing to the development of detailed design recommendations for monitoring coral reefs within the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP) and to specific desktop analyses that underpin those recommendations.
Iain Gordon in collaboration with Andrew Hoey, Allan Dale, Margaret Gooch, Helene Marsh, Susan Sobtzick, Mark Hamann, Rie Hagihara, Alana Grech, Brad Congdon, Mark Miller, Isabel Beasley, Mark Hamann, Andrew Chin, Stephen Lewis, Michael Rasheed, Len McKenzie, Catherine Collier and Catherine Collier (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Cairns Institute, Division of Research & Innovation, TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
Monitoring; Coral Reef; Seagrass; Great Barrier Reef; Megafauna; Human Dimensions

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Bringing back Australia's lost woodland biodiversity: towards strategic multi-species reintroductions

Indicative Funding
$557,981 over 4 years (administered by ANU)
Australian has the highest rate of mammal extinction of any continent on the planet. This has reduced biodiversity and compromised many important ecological processes. What is the best way to rebuild depauperate mammal communities with multi-species introductions? What effects do multi-species reintroductions have on recipient ecosystems? This project will explore these questions by reintroducing three mammal species to a critically endangered temperate woodland: a carnivore (the eastern quoll), an insectivore (yellow-footed antechinus), and a herbivore (the eastern chestnut mouse). Results from this sequenced multi-species reintroduction experiment will have broad applicability to ecosystem restoration in Australia and overseas.
Adrian Manning, Iain Gordon, Sue McIntyre, Saul Cunningham, Philip Barton and Samuel Banks in collaboration with Donald Fletcher, Murray Evans and Stuart Jeffress (Australian National University, Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, ACT Department of Environment, Climate Change, Energy and Water, ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and ACT Territory and Municipal Services)

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Sustainability of the elephant ivory trade inThailand: Demand, supply and control (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Wildlife Hunting, Alternative Protein Sources and Biodiversity Conservation on The Bird’s Head Peninsula of West Papua, Indonesia (PhD , Associate Advisor)
  • Ecology and management of Chital Deer in North Queensland (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Galapagos Tortoise Friendly Farming (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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  • 4.252, Social Sciences (Townsville campus)
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