Johannes R. Björk

Centre for Biodiversity Theory and Modelling
Station d’Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS
09200 Moulis, France

Phone: +33 (0) 5 61 04 03 60

Research interest

I apply ecological theory to microbiome research. I am specifically interested in microbiome dynamics and how it determines microbiome structure, stability and functionality—ultimately affecting health and disease of the host. I take a holistic approach to study interactions between complex assemblages of microbes associated to multiple host species through time and space. This approach is highly integrative, combining disciplines such as community ecology and network theory, microbiology and evolutionary biology. In addition, in order to move microbiome research beyond its current descriptive phase, I have, together with statisticians, developed Bayesian models which are able to discern among multiple patterns and identifying processes. I possess good statistical and bioinformatics knowledge, including programmingin R, Python, SQL and BUGS/JAGS. I am used to working on large,complex datasets.

The key findings of my PhD thesis include:

  • Host lifestyle determines community structure across large spatial scales.
  • Microbe-sponge interactions are extremely diverse yet highly specialized.
  • Community stability is determined by host lifestyle.
  • The core microbiome promotes stability & functionality in High Microbial Abundance.


Summary CV

  • 2016 – present: PostDdoc (University of Notre Dame)- Exploring microbiome dynamics in the gut microbiota of baboons.
  • 2011 – 2016: PhD student, Institute of Marine Sciences, Barcelona, Spain (based at SETE, Moulis, France).
  • 2011: Intern, Swedish Metrological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Norrköping, Sweden.
  • 2010: Research assistant, Department of Zoology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • 2009 – 2010: Aquarist, Universeum, Gothenburg, Sweden.
  • 2009: Marine biologist/Pedagogue, Naturum Västervik, Sweden.



  • Björk J.R., Hui F.K.C., O’Hara R.B. and Montoya J.M. (2018) — Uncovering the drivers of host-associated microbiota with joint species distribution modelling. Molecular Ecology 27:2714–2724. Download
  • Björk J.R., Hui K.C., O’Hara R. and Montoya J.M. (Unpublished) — Uncovering the drivers of microbe-host interactions with joint species distribution models.
  • Thomas T., Moitinho-Silva L., Lurgi M., Björk J.R., Easson C., Astudillo C., Olson J.B., Erwin P.M.,López-Legentil S.,Luter H.,Chaves-Fonnegra A., Costa R., Schupp P., Steindler L., Erpenbeck D., Gilbert J., Knight R., Ackerman G., Lopez J.V., Taylor M.W., Thacker R.W., Montoya J.M., Hentschel U. and Webster N. (2016) — Global Sponge Microbiome: Diversity, structure and convergent evolution of symbiont communities across the phylum Porifera. Nature Communications.
  • Björk J.R., Díez-Vives C., Coma R., Ribes R. and Montoya J.M. (2013) — Specificity and temporal dynamics of complex bacteria-sponge symbiotic interactions. Ecology. 94: 2781-2791.
  • Björk J.R., O’Hara R. and Montoya J.M. (Unpublished) — The dynamic microbiome.