Martine Maron: I am Associate Professor of Environmental Management and an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland, as well as Deputy Director of the Threatened Species Recovery Hub. My fellowship research focusses on biodiversity offsets, exploring the long-term biodiversity consequences (both intended and unintended) of current offset approaches in order to test how they influence the long-term persistence of biodiversity, as well as examining the risks and consequences of the introduction of offsetting into the conservation policy mix at national and international levels. I also work on interspecific competition and woodland bird ecology, with a focus on how the aggressive noisy miner can be managed to restore woodland bird assemblages. With lab members and other collaborators, I work on drivers of landscape-level species richness, resource distribution and persistence of bird species in patchy landscapes, and how climate change will influence the persistence of species through its influence on resources.
Jeremy Simmonds (Postdoctoral Fellow): Implications of vegetation clearing biases for the interpretation of landscape-scale species-area relationships.
Vegetation clearing results in the loss of species from landscapes. Managing landscapes to maintain or enhance species richness requires an understanding of how species respond to changes in habitat area. My research seeks to identify the factors that act on the relationship between the number of species that occur in a landscape, and the amount of habitat in a landscape—the species-area relationship—to guide management actions such as vegetation protection or revegetation.
Laura Sonter (ARC DECRA Fellow): My research seeks to understand where, when and how to manage and conserve landscapes, so as to beneift both nature and people. I use land use change models, coupled with remote sensing and GIS datasets, to predict how future development projects (e.g. mines, hydropower dams, transportation infrastructure) will impact biodiversity and ecosystem services. This information allows us to compare the costs and benefits of alternative management interventions and, ultimately, provides the knowledge needed to make more informed decisions. My research benefits from collaborating across disciplines (ecology, economics, engineering) and working alongside government and non-government organizations. I am currently conducting projects in Australia, Brazil and the USA.
Zoe Stone (Postdoctoral Fellow): Implications of fire management in relation to resource distribution within grassy patches for the recovery of the Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus).
My research will study how different fire management strategies have influenced the temporal and spatial distribution of dietary and structural resources exploited by the Eastern Bristlebird within grassy patches. This information will be used to determine appropriate fire management strategies that promote this habitat and the recovery of the Eastern Bristlebird.
Helen Mayfield (Postdoctoral Fellow): A framework for eliciting conceptual models and estimating a species response to management
Even simple conceptual models of a species and it’s environment can be incredibly useful for threatened species management. My work focuses on making data modelling accessible to everyone by creating user friendly guidelines, with real case studies, for use by species managers within the NSW Saving our Species initiative. Designed to be used in either data rich or data poor situations, the guidelines will assist species experts to share their knowledge by designing network diagrams and estimating response to management curves. I will then be examining ways these models can be expanded to evaluate a projects contribution to overall species recovery.
Nicole Shumway (PhD candidate): Biodiversity offsets in the marine environment
Biodiversity offsets are increasingly being used as a mechanism to mitigate impacts from economic expansion and development on species and ecosystems. Marine offset development has lagged behind terrestrial offsets, despite a global increase in marine development and exploitation. The aim of my thesis is to advance both the theoretical and practical basis for marine biodiversity offsets, and to investigate how offsets can be used to minimize impacts on the marine environment and more effectively achieve no net loss of biodiversity.
Alex Braczkowski (PhD candidate): Costs and efficacy of conservation interventions for large carnivores in Africa
My project examines two central questions in the current carnivore conservation debate, 1) how and from where do we source the additional funds required for on the ground carnivore conservation in Africa and 2) how do we better monitor low density populations of large carnivores to judge the efficacy of conservation actions. My work is supported by the SATIB Conservation Trust, and key collaborators include Arjun Gopalaswamy, Sam Ferreira, Duan Biggs and Brian Courtenay.
Madelaine Castles (PhD candidate): Social organisation of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) in Etosha National Park.
In this project I will investigate how patterns of sociality change with age and how this may affect individual fitness in a population of known individuals that have been studied for ten years. (Primary supervisor: Anne Goldizen)
Felipe Suarez Castro (PhD candidate): I am developing a predictive model to quantify the effects of landscape structure on the relationship between species diversity and functional diversity. This model will improve our ability to make wise management decisions to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives when ecosystem functions are explicitly incorporated. (Primary Supervisor: Jonathan Rhodes)
Daniella Teixeira (PhD candidate): Bioacoustics for conservation: new technology for black-cockatoo monitoring.
My research investigates how bioacoustic technology can improve the monitoring of red-tailed black-cockatoos and glossy black-cockatoos. Existing monitoring efforts by human observers are limited by the birds’ nomadic and often cryptic behaviours. Bioacoustic technology may offer a cost-effective alternative for monitoring these species over vast areas and for long time periods. I’m primarily interested in improving estimates of breeding success, and how this relates to patterns of habitat use and human disturbances. Co-supervised by Dr. Berndt van Rensburg (UQ), Prof. Paul Roe (QUT) and Richard Hill (Victorian Government).
Pablo Jose Negret Torres (PhD candidate): Natural and anthropogenic factors associated with changes in diversity patterns across landscapes.
I’m particularly interested in how different factors affect bird species diversity patterns in neotropical regions. I’m also interested in looking for conservation approaches in areas of high armed conflict risk, with the aim to achieve national and international conservation targets.
Jessica Miller (MPhil candidate): Does internal forest fragmentation from linear infrastructure affect core habitat for woodland birds?
This project examines the biodiversity impacts of linear infrastructure from coal seam gas development in the forests of southern Queensland. I am specifically interested in potential effects on woodland bird assemblages, including edge effects and likelihood of increased interactions with noisy miners.
Micha V Jackson (PhD candidate): Conserving migratory birds in human-dominated landscapes
This project looks at how migratory shorebirds, an increasingly threatened group (particularly in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway), are responding to changes in habitat availability resulting from human activity. I am particularly interested in stopover ecology and the human coastal land use patterns driving availability of artificial habitats that can provide resources for migrating birds, and whether these habitats may be better managed to foster species recovery (primary supervisor Assoc Prof Richard Fuller).
Graham Fulton (PhD candidate): Nesting ecology of woodland birds in Dryandra, Western Australia
My thesis is intended to build upon my published and unpublished work on nest ecology at Dryandra, in Western Australia. My overall aims are to: 1) quantify avian nesting success (overall and by species); 2) identify predators at bird nests; 3) quantify nest losses due to storms; 4) assess why birds might place their nests preferentially in the northern side of tree crowns; and 5) assess if birds place their nests preferentially in low lying areas of the landscape. The answers to these questions provide critical baseline data that are essential in enabling evidence based research on reproductive rates and species decline.
Divya Narain (PhD candidate): Biodiversity safeguards for global infrastructure finance
I am looking at the entire landscape of financial institutions investing in infrastructure globally, with a view to assess the gaps in coverage of biodiversity safeguards. I hope to answer why institutional investors do not have safeguards despite the material investment risks that biodiversity impacts can pose. I also hope to assess how much leverage FIs such as Multi-lateral Development Banks that do have biodiversity safeguards wield on project impact mitigation decisions as a function of their relative contribution to an infrastructure project. In addition, I am trying to assess the effectiveness of existing biodiversity safeguards in terms of both their scientific robustness and the rigour with which they are applied. Finally, I hope to take the case of an actual infrastructure project to understand how it would fare in terms of biodiversity impact mitigation under various investment scenarios.
Courtney Melton (PhD candidate): Decline and Options for the Recovery of a Threatened Avifaunal Community
Temperate woodland vegetation communities are one of the most degraded ecological systems worldwide. In Australia, temperate woodlands have been significantly cleared with less than 20% of their former range remaining. This has caused broad scale degradation of the classic Australian woodland bird community, which has recently been nominated for listing as endangered with over 40 bird species endemic to Australia threatened with extinction. My project seeks to evaluate current management approaches to protect and restore woodland bird communities to further account for key threatening processes, and ultimately develop an ecosystem-level, integrative management plan.
Ma Deqiang (PhD Candidate)
Dr Anita Cosgrove: Does Habitat Fragmentation Impact Sedentary Bird Species through Reduced Resource Availability?
Using the eastern yellow robin in the Brigalow Belt South bioregion as a case study species, my objective is to investigate how food availability and landscape characteristics affect the physiological condition and movement behaviours of a sedentary species.
Dr Rebecca Dannock: Eating without being eaten: how blue wildebeest trade-off between safety and resource acquisition
The project aimed to study vigilance, foraging, drinking and movement behaviours of blue wildebeest in Etosha National Park to determine the trade-offs that are made daily and how predation pressure and resource availability affect survival. I determined the effects of resource availability and predator pressure on behaviour, and how behaviour is therefore affected by fencing and habitat loss. more info at Bec’s blog here (primary supervisor: Anne Goldizen)
Galen Davitt (B Env Sci Honours): The effectiveness of Noisy Miner removal in restoring diverse avian communities in woodlands of Central New South Wales
My research quantified the effectiveness of removing Noisy Miners (manorina melanocephala) from woodland patches as a management tool to promote the persistence of small-bodied woodland birds in Australia’s eucalypt woodlands. This information will be used to help guide an effective management response to the native, but highly detrimental species.
Dr Emma Burgess: Managing Fire for Nature Conservation in Sub-tropical Woodlands.
My PhD aimed to test the paradigm that spatial pyrodiversity begets increased biodiversity by providing a heterogeneous mosaic of fire-age classes, and is therefore a desirable objective for fire management. I am now continuing work alongside Bush Heritage Australia on Carnarvon Station Reserve.
My PhD project explored the relative importance of the effects of habitat extent, configuration, and composition and forest management operations on avian communities at multiple spatial scales. I aim to contribute to our ability to use landscape-level inference for effective conservation of biodiversity in general, and forest-dependent birds in particular, in the south Asian region.
Dr Abbey Camaclang: Challenges in identifying and designating critical habitats for threatened and endangered species. For more about me and my research interests see my blog here (Primary supervisor: Hugh Possingham)
Fleur Maseyk: I work at the interface of science and policy in the applied areas of natural resource management and biodiversity conservation. My PhD thesis explored how, by targeting management actions towards natural capital stocks, we can influence ecosystem function, and thus the provision of ecosystem services and conservation outcomes. My key areas of interest are: ecosystem services; biodiversity policy; and biodiversity offsetting.
Megan Evans: My research falls broadly within environmental policy, governance and economics, with a particular focus on biodiversity conservation and natural resource management. I am an interdisciplinary researcher, and draw on both quantitative and qualitative methods used in the natural and social sciences. The overarching goal of my research is to get better outcomes for the environment and society through an understanding of the policy process: design, implementation and evaluation. I am currently working as part of the National Environmental Science Programme – Threatened Species Recovery Hub (NESP TSR), where I am investigating cost effective and innovative biodiversity offsetting approaches for Australian threatened species.
Brad Dreis: Counterfactual assumptions in biodiversity offset policies.
My project will study the baseline condition trajectories and assumptions used in environmental offset approaches for the Galilee Basin, and whether offsets based on these can realistically achieve no net loss for threatened species such as the Black-throated Finch (Poephila cincta cincta).
Sarah Chapman (PhD Candidate and Research Assistant): I am studying the impact on climate change and urban growth on Brisbane’s urban heat island. I also work as a research assistant for Martine.