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© Biodiversity Research Group

Biodiversity Research Group Members

 

Head of Group

Associate Professor Salit Kark

Salit Kark is an Associate Professor and Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow at the School of Biological Sciences, the University of Queensland, Brisbane (Australia). Salit is the Head of the Biodiversity Research Group, and a Chief Investigator and Theme Leader of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED; 2011-2018). She is Chief Investigator of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP; 2015-2022) Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Kark is the Project Leader for the Project: Saving Species on Australian Islands. Kark is an ecologist and conservation scientist with interest in conservation prioritisation in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems, and the role of collaboration in conservation, biodiversity and its spatial patterns and processes in a changing world, biotic invasions (and especially birds). urban ecology,ecological gradients (ecotones) and in enhancing the links between science, practice and policy. She has led working groups linking these actors and several continental and national scale projects in Europe, the Mediterranean, Australia and other regions.

More Information About Salit…

Salit


Post-doctoral Researchers

Dr. April Reside
April

BTF
Black-throated Finch, photo credit Eric Vanderduys

April2

HE
White-throated Honeyeater

Bat
Saccolaimus saccolaimus, photo credit Eric Vanderduys

Post-doc Researcher: NESP Islands and refugia projects

I am a postdoctoral research fellow working on the NESP Threatened Species Hub, on Theme 4: Reintroductions and refugia.

My prior research focused on climate change impacts and biodiversity conservation using spatial modelling. Funded by NCCARF, I modelled the distributions of >1700 vertebrate species across Australia for both current and future climate scenarios to identify future biodiversity hotspots and refugia. Using these models, I applied conservation planning frameworks to identify spatial priorities for climate change adaptation for biodiversity and carbon sequestration. This research fed into Natural Resource Management and government planning for climate change adaptation.

I have a particular fascination of flying vertebrates, and have worked on bats on three continents and nine countries. I worked as a field ecologist for with Australian Wildlife Conservancy before moving to Townsville to study savanna birds with JCU and CSIRO. My PhD: “Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability: Novel methods for understanding potential impacts on Australian Tropical Savanna Birds” adapted species distribution modelling techniques to account for temporal and spatial variability in the distributions of highly vagile bird species.

I am on the Recovery Team for the Black-throated Finch, and sit on Birdlife Australia’s Research and Conservation Committee.

Contact
Email: a.reside@uq.edu.au
ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/April_Reside
GoogleScholar Profile: Click here for more publications!

Selected Publications

Reside, A. E., Bridge, T.C.L. & Rummer, J.L. 2016. Great Barrier Reef: Clearing the way for reef destruction. Nature 537(7620): 307.

Reside, A. E., J. J. VanDerWal, A. S. Kutt, and G. C. Perkins. 2010. Weather, not climate, defines distributions of vagile bird species. PLoS ONE 5:e13569.

Reside, A. E., J. VanDerWal, A. Kutt, I. Watson, and S. Williams. 2012. Fire regime shifts affect bird species distributions. Diversity and Distributions 18:213-225.

Keppel, G., K. Mokany, G. W. Wardell-Johnson, B. L. Phillips, J. A. Welbergen, and A. E. Reside. 2015. The capacity of refugia for conservation planning under climate change. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13:106-112.

Reside, A. E., J. A. Welbergen, B. L. Phillips, G. W. Wardell-Johnson, G. Keppel, S. Ferrier, S. E. Williams, and J. VanDerWal. 2014. Characteristics of climate change refugia for Australian biodiversity. Austral Ecology 39:887-897.

VanDerWal, J., H. T. Murphy, A. S. Kutt, G. C. Perkins, B. L. Bateman, J. J. Perry, and A. E. Reside. 2013. Focus on poleward shifts in species’ distribution underestimates the fingerprint of climate change. Nature Climate Change 3:239-243.

Vanderduys, E. P., A. E. Reside, A. Grice, and J. Rechetelo. 2016. Addressing potential cumulative impacts of development on threatened species: the case of the endangered Black-throated Finch. PLoS ONE 11:e0148485.

Anderson, A. S., A. E. Reside, J. J. VanDerWal, L. P. Shoo, R. G. Pearson, and S. E. Williams. 2012. Immigrants and refugees: the importance of dispersal in mediating biotic attrition under climate change. Global Change Biology 18:2126-2134.

Hill, N. J., A. J. Tobin, A. E. Reside, J. G. Pepperell, and T. C. L. Bridge. 2016. Dynamic habitat suitability modelling reveals rapid poleward distribution shift in a mobile apex predator. Global Change Biology 22:1086-1096.

Dr. Erin McCreless

Erin McCreless

Post-doc Researcher

I am a conservation biologist interested in using the best available ecological, social, and economic information to improve the way conservation efforts are planned and implemented. I completed my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California-Santa Cruz in 2015, where my research focused on quantifying the impacts of invasive alien mammals on globally threatened insular vertebrate species, and on the development of optimization tools to prioritize invasive mammal eradications on islands. I also investigated national-level relationships between conservation costs, governance, and human rights to better understand how prioritizing conservation based on cost alone may lead to lower success rates for conservation projects as well as unintended negative outcomes for local people.

Prior to beginning my Ph.D. research, I worked in the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, NY, where I contributed to conservation-related research projects, museum exhibits, and education initiatives. I have conducted fieldwork in the eastern and western continental US, Hawaii, Alaska, and Costa Rica. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University in 2004.

Contact:
Email: e.mccreless@uq.edu.au

Selected Publications

McCreless, E. & Beck, M.W. 2016. Rethinking Our Global Coastal Investment Portfolio. Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics: Vol. 3: Iss. 2, Article 6.

McCreless, E., D.D. Huff, D.A. Croll, B.R. Tershy, D.R. Spatz, N.D. Holmes, S.H.M. Butchart & C. Wilcox. 2016. Past and potential future impact of invasive alien mammals on island vertebrate populations. Nature Communications 7:12488.

McCreless, E., P. Visconti, J. Carwardine, C. Wilcox & R.J. Smith. 2013. Cheap and nasty? The potential perils of using management costs to identify global conservation priorities. PLoS ONE 8:e80893.

Research Students

PhD Students

Andrew Rogers
Andrew
PhD Student: Interactions between native and invasive cavity nesting bird species in Australia
My primary research interests include species’ use of highly transformed habitats, conservation management in human dominated landscapes and habitat restoration. I am particularly interested in the impact of invasive species on native community assembly and function. Recent work has included quantifying novel ecosystem support of native species, invasive species distribution mapping, and resource use by native species in human-modified habitats.

My current research explores why certain certain species do well in human dominated habitats, and how introduced species impact native community interactions. To answer these questions I am examining how the presence of the non-native Common Mynah and the native Noisy Miner affect bird communities in South-west Australia. The outcomes of this work will help to inform conservation policy for native species as well as management plans for invasive species.

Selected Publications

Rogers, A., Chown, S. 2014. Novel ecosystems support substantial avian assemblages: The case of invasive alien Acacia thickets. Diversity and Distributions, vol: 20 (1), pp: 34-45 Adobe_PDF_icon

Contact
Email: a.munro.rogers@gmail.com
ResearchGate Profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Andrew_Rogers7

Arthur Tuda
Assessing potential for adaptive governance of cross-boundary marine protected areas network in East Africa

My research interests are in marine resource governance. My specific interests are in marine protected area (MPA) planning and management. My current research concerns the planning of cross-boundary MPA networks and their adaptive management. I am focusing on the East African Marine Ecoregion to understand how governance contexts influence adaptive management and have implication for management and governance of cross-boundary MPA networks. In my research I will also develop novel approaches for incorporating governance aspects into the design and spatial prioritization of MPAs and MPA networks. My most recent research explored how to address conflicts using marine spatial planning.

Selected publication

Tuda OA, Steven FT, Rodwell LD (2014) Resolving coastal conflicts using marine spatial planning. Journal of Environmental Management  133: 59-68

Contact

Email: tudahke@yahoo.com
Research gate profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Arthur_Tuda

Eduardo Gallo-Cajiao

Ed Bio photo
Ed Bio photo

PhD Student: Cross jurisdictional governance of migratory shore bird conservation
I completed my undergraduate studies at “Universidad del Valle”, in my native Colombia, and a Master of Environmental Science at Macquarie University. I have accrued over 6 years of experience working in biodiversity conservation with government and the non-for-profit sector in Colombia and Australia.

I am currently working on global environmental governance architecture under the supervision of Dr Richard Fuller and Co-supervision of Dr Salit Kark. Migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway face multiple threats; which have triggered a conservation agenda influenced by the emergence of international policy. Since the 1970s there has been a proliferation of international policy instruments relevant to migratory shorebird conservation in this flyway. However, despite the existence of this policy framework, migratory shorebirds have continued to decline. Hence, the effectiveness of the governance system in place has been questioned. Through my project I will integrate ecology and social science to evaluate the performance of such an international policy framework.

Ed is a joint PhD student with the Fuller lab.

Selected Publications

Gallo-Cajiao, E. 2014. Evidence is required to address potential albatross mortality in the New South Wales Ocean Trawl fishery. Pacific Conservation Biology 20: 328-335.Adobe_PDF_icon

See Eduardo’s full publication list here.

Contact

Email: e.gallocajiao@uq.edu.au
Personal Twitter: @Gallo_Eduardo
ResearchGate Profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Eduardo_Gallo-Cajiao2

Francoise Lermite

Francoise

PhD Student: The role of behaviour in the ecological success of Indian Mynas

Francoise is originally from France and joins A/Professor Salit Kark and Dr Andrea Griffin on the collaborative cavity nesting species project. Francoise is the main driver of the project in New South Wales and her area of interest includes behavioral interactions and individual based behaviors of the Indian Myna. Further information about Francoise can be found on The Comparative Cognition Labs webpage: http://andreasgriffin.weebly.com/lab-members.html

Selected publication

Griffin, A., Lermite, F. Perea, M. Guez, D. 2013 To innovate or not: contrasting effects of social groupings on safe and risky foraging in Indian mynahs. Animal Behaviour, vol 86, issue 6, pp 1291–1300.Adobe_PDF_icon

Contact

Email: francoise.lermite@uon.edu.au
ResearchGate Profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Francoise_Lermite

Hernán Cáceres Escobar

Hernan
Hernan
Hernan

PhD Student: Systematic study of the effects of invasive mammals on native wildlife in biological islands

I completed my undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine at Universidad de Chile in 2010. Then I began working in a small animal clinic, where I was a volunteer since 2006, as a surgeon and internal medicine physician until 2012, when I started working in a Ecology Group name “Fauna Australis” in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, at the same time I worked for different NGOs in Chile and as an Environmental Consultant (Fauna Specialist) for different environmental consultant companies. In March 2014 I returned to my alma mater, and worked in the Centre for Environmental and Biodiversity Management until November 2014, when I arrived to Australia and started my PhD under the supervision of Salit Kark, in The Biodiversity Research Group of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science in The School of Biological Sciences of the University of Queensland.

My project aims to develop a scientifically-based protocol using novel scientific tools, to prioritize actions and develop strategies that will enable to effectively minimize the threats of invasive mammals, which affect Australia’s unique biodiversity and ecosystems. I will investigate the spatial patterns and major processes shaping the invasion of terrestrial invasive mammals in Australia at a continental scale, synthesizing spatial, temporal, historical, and economic data to examine the role of biological versus human-related processes in shaping invasion success and impacts in Australia. This will allow better integration of biological, climatic and human related data to spatially prioritize action.

My interests are mainly related to conservation biology, community ecology, population dynamics, invasive species (specially the effects of invasive mammals and birds on the native fauna and the environment). I have experience in ecological surveys, environmental base lines, environmental impact analysis, monitoring endangered species and mapping their interactions network.

Selected publication

Melendez, P., Caceres, H. et al. 2012 Use of the Great Pyrenees dogs as a biological strategy to control sheep predation. University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.Adobe_PDF_icon

Contact

Email: h.caceres@uqconnect.edu.au
Personal Twitter: @hgcacerese
ResearchGate Profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hernan_Caceres

Junior Novera

Juniorpicture

Title: Understanding the Evolution, Ecology and Community Conservation of Mammals on Bougainville, Papua New Guinea

I completed my undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) in 2005. The following year I joined the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and then PNG Institute of Biological Research (PNGIBR) in 2008 to undertake an Honours project on Wildlife Hunting and Sustainability in target communities of the Central Highlands region of Papua New Guinea (PNG). In 2009 I went to Lancaster University in the UK under the British Chevening Scholarship to undertake a Masters Degree in Conservation Science. After completing my Masters in 2010 I came back to PNG and worked for PNGIBR as a Conservation Biologist conducting studies on New Guinea mammals and wildlife hunting, biodiversity surveys, community conservation and participated in several consultation work with the Gas and Oil projects in PNG.

My interest in comprehending a myriad of issues surrounding the social and ecological interactions and context between indigenous people and their environment has accumulated over 10 years to understand all aspects of hunting, cultural practices, sustainability and ecosystem services by formulating crucial questions like; Why are communities continually hunting? Where are they hunting? What are they hunting? Who is hunting? These key questions have motivated me to further explore ecology, evolution and community conservation of Melanesian mammals on Bougainville as part of my current PhD project. No one has carried out any thorough studies on the ecology and evolution of mammals on Bougainville since the 1930s when first specimens of mammals were collected. Therefore it is very urgent and crucial to conduct this study on Bougainville which is also an IUCN Biodiversity Hotspot in the Melanesian region. Both biological and cultural data from this study will add new knowledge to the existing scientific information on the ecology, evolution, bioculture, ecosystem services and conservation of mammals on Bougainville, PNG and the region as a whole.

Email: jnovera@gmail.com

Leslie Roberson

Kayak_sanjuan2016

whaleshark - 11 of 16

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PhD: The theme of my PhD is the prioritization of conservation actions for highly migratory marine megavertebrates.

I have an interdisciplinary background in biological conservation that started with my B.A. in Environmental Studies at Yale University, during which I was able to work on several projects related to natural resource management and conservation in Latin America and the Caribbean. I then spent a year studying sea turtle by-catch and traditional fisheries in a village in Ghana in West Africa.

In 2013 I moved to South Africa to complete my M.Sc. in Applied Marine Science at the University of Cape Town (UCT). I’ve since been working as a research assistant at UCT on several projects related to MPA monitoring in South Africa, mostly using underwater video.

Despite all the time I’ve spent in and around fishing boats, I am extremely bad at catching fish. I’m excellent at counting them though, so if anyone needs that Scarce Skill then I’ve got you covered.

Selected Publications:

Roberson L, Atwood CG, Winker H, Cockroft AC, Van Zyl DL. “Potential application of baited remote underwater video to survey abundance of west coast rock lobster Jasus lalandii.” Fisheries Management and Ecology (In Press).

Roberson L, Winker H, Attwood CG, De Vos L, Sanguinetti C, Götz A. (2015) “First survey of fishes in the Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area (MPA) along South Africa’s temperate Southwest coast,” African Journal of Marine Science 37(4), pp543 – 556.

Matthew McKinney

Matt
Matt

PhD Student: Spatiotemporal interactions between invasive and native bird species in Australian

I was born and raised in north-western Georgia (USA) where my parents taught me how to turn over rocks to find and scorpions and salamanders, to fish and hunt, to garden, and to pick berries. I received my bachelor’s degree in forest resources from the University of Georgia in 2006, and my master’s degree in wildlife and fisheries science from Mississippi State University in 2013. In-between, I worked as a public lands biologist / land manager for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, conserving and managing endangered ecosystems, endangered species, game species, and everything in-between. I came to Brisbane in 2013 to live with my wife and (now) son, and I began working for Salit later that year. My strengths are GIS, the R Statistical Environment, and technical management / research skills (fire, farm equipment, surveys). My PhD will focus on modelling invasive bird species interactions, and using that information to build multi-species dynamic occupancy models to inform prioritization of actions. I love bluegrass music and I play Dobro guitar in my spare time.

Selected publication

Contact

Email: matthewryanmckinney@gmail.com

Ruben Venegas

Andrew
Andrew

PhD Student: Incorporating trans-national collaboration into marine spatial conservation prioritization
I am originally from Costa Rica, where I did my BSc in Biology. After finishing my undergraduate degree, I worked for several years in a Sea Turtle Conservation project in the Caribbean coast of the country. I was also involved in environmental education activities, and together with other colleagues, started <ahref=”http://fundacionketo.org/”>Keto Foundation, a Non-for-Profit Organization which strives to do research which can better inform management decisions of coastal and marine areas of the country. Later, I obtained an MSc degree in Geo-information Science and Earth Observations in the Netherlands, which opened the doors to be involved as a GIS and remote sensing analyst in several projects in Costa Rica and South East Asia, both in marine and terrestrial environments. Through these experiences, I have become interested in spatial conservation prioritization, which led me to start my PhD at the University of Queensland in November 2014.

Globally, there is a growing interest in multinational conservation initiatives in the marine environment. Thus through my PhD research, I would like to generate information that will help to better understand how incorporating trans-national collaboration into marine spatial conservation prioritization could affect environmental decisions, as well as the benefits and limitations of doing so.

Selected publication

Venegas-Li, R., Cros, A., White, A., Mora, C. 2016 Measuring conservation success with missing Marine Protected Area boundaries: A case study in the Coral Triangle. Ecological Indicators, Volume 60, pp 119–124.Adobe_PDF_icon

Contact

Email: r.venegas@uq.edu.au
ResearchGate Profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ruben_Venegas-Li

Steve Wilson

Steve
Steve
Steve
Steve

PhD Student: Ecology and conservation of Indonesian Javan or Lesser one-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus Demarest)
I’ve been fortunate to get the green light to undertake a PhD on the “Ecology and Conservation of Indonesian Javan or Lesser one-horned Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus sondaicus Demarest, 1822), in Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java, Indonesia”, aiming to do the work over a four year time frame. These animals are amongst the most critically endangered species on the planet with less than 60 animals left in only one population, are conservation dependant and the proposed research will be exploring how the animals are doing ecologically in light of current conservation measures and the role local community plays in rhino conservation (very broad summary).

From a current work perspective for the past 4 odd years as the Land & Biodiversity Manager, I’ve been leading a team of 13 environmental specialists, including landscape ecologists, landscape restoration, strategic planning and natural resource management experts in the Catchment management space in the Goulburn Broken Catchment of northern Victoria. Job entails working with community and key stakeholders to manage their natural resources more sustainably, my operating budget is around $4.5 million annually which supports staff and a range of large and small scale projects, for example we restored and protected 1,000 ha of degraded EPBC threatened grassy woodland and 200 ha of seasonal herbaceous wetlands during 2013/14 to name a few of the works completed. My operating environment varies between sitting in a landholder’s kitchen discussing wetland management to meetings with state and federal senior bureaucrats and ministers over funding, so jack of all trades master of none!

Common thread to my working life is a strong interest in wildlife, wildlife management and the importance of taking community along the management journey as well, I’ve a passion for photography and natural history writing and are really keen and motivated to get stuck into learning more about and contributing to what is a poorly known but iconic species. In my spare time, my wife Tracey (married 25 years), and three kids Coen (20 and studying archaeology at Latrobe), Daly 18 (about to finish year 12) and Allira 16 (about to finish year 9) keep me occupied.

Selected Publication

Contact

Email: stevew@gbcma.vic.gov.au

Masters Research Students

Marsya Sibarani

marsya Picture

Masters Student: Assessing the effectiveness of biodiversity surrogates and gap analysis of protected areas in Sumatra, Indonesia
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Universitas Indonesia in 2014 with an undergraduate thesis about niche partitioning among arboreal mammals in a Sumatran tropical rainforest. I began my career in conservation as biodiversity database officer at Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Program for 2 years.

Currently, I undertake a masters research under the supervison of A/Professor Salit Kark. My research aims to assess the effectiveness of charismatic megafauna in Sumatra as surrogates for terrestrial mammals and to assess gaps of existing protected areas in Sumatra. I chose this topic because most of conservation effort in Sumatra is focused on the protection of ‘sexy’ species, assuming that by protecting them, we also protect the rest of biodiversity. The establishment of protected areas is mostly driven by political interests, not science, so we do not know how well PAs cover the spatial extent of the species. Hence, I want to assess these things to inform conservation decision-making in my home country.

Other than pursuing a master’s degree in Conservation Science, I am also affiliated with Tambora Muda, an organisation I co-founded which aims to enhance capacity building and networking for young conservationists in Indonesia. In my spare time, I like to make drawings of wildlife and design infographics to communicate ecology and conservation to the public.

Contact

Email: m.sibarani@uq.net.au

Undergraduate Research Students

Hannah Thomas
Hannah

Research Student: Understanding how arboreal mammals are impacting native and invasive bird species in urban areas
I’m a second year Bachelor of Advanced Science student, majoring in Biology. I’m doing the subject SCIE3011, which is a year-long research course, designed to give undergraduates an idea of what it’s like to join a research lab. I will be working under the supervision of Assoc. Professor Salit Kark and joining the invasive bird team, learning about and assisting the nest box projects currently underway. I have a broad range of interests within the ecology field and hope this project will give me an insight into current ecological research.

Contact

Email: hannah.thomas2@uq.net.au

Research Assistants

Alice McNeill

Alice

Research Assistant: Invasive species projects
Alice completed a bachelors degree in Applied science, majoring in wildlife science in 2014. Throughout 2015 she completed her honours degree focusing on dingoes in southeast Queensland looking at their movement ecology and habitat preferences. With a love for all wildlife she hopes to gain more experience in the field as well as building her skills in data analysis. In her free time Alice volunteers with the RSPCA and ventures up to Mon repos every year to help monitor the various turtle populations.

Contact

Email: ali_mcneill@hotmail.com

Carla Archibald

CARLA

Research Assistant and Project Manager: ARC cavity nesting bird project

Carla is wildlife ecologist with an interest in urban ecology and protected area management on both a small and large scale. Carla graduated her Applied Science degree from the University of Queensland in 2012 and received her honors degree within the CEED lab in 2014 specializing in avian conservation. She has a background conducting terrestrial vertebrate fauna surveys using both trapping and observational methods utilizing visuals, calls and traces for all taxa. Carla has experience as a fauna consultant/wildlife biologist implementing fauna surveying methods and liaising with many stakeholders to ensure the highest standard of animal welfare. Currently her primary role is project managing the field component for the invasive species project along with another position working for the IUCN: Joint taskforce for Biodiversity and Protected areas. In her spare time Carla enjoys looking for animals, rock climbing, playing music and catching up on work.

Selected Publication

Barnes, M., Woodley, S., Craigie, I., Geldmann, J., Archibald, C., Harrison, L., Whitmee, S. 2015. Trends in Species Populations in GEF Supported Protected Areas. Technical Report for the Global Environmental Facility.

Contact

Email: carla.wildlife@hotmail.com
Personal Blog: www.carlawildlife.wordpress.com
Personal Twitter: @CarlaWildlife
ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Carla_Archibald

Samantha Richardson
GH

Honours Student: Assessing shark attack spatial and temporal patterns with a focus on understanding public perception.
My research interests fall within the field of Ecology and Zoology, graduating from a Bachelor of Science in 2015. I am particularly interested in the marine environment which has been the underlying focus of my research experience. I worked with Professor Andy Fischer from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic studies, University of Tasmania during 2015 analysing wind data and the relationships with harmful algal blooms along the eastern coastline of Tasmania. I am now undertaking an Honours Research project at the University of Queensland with Associate Professor Salit Kark. My research aims to generate knowledge of how to direct shark-attack mitigation approaches in an environmentally conscious manner by providing an analytical approach that can be utilised to advance conflict resolution approaches to be more spatially informed than current intervention strategies, as well as guide public education programs through an increased scientific knowledge of public perception. To effectively mitigate shark-human conflicts an understanding of how humans view sharks and shark mitigation approaches is required as human perception is known to act as a barrier or facilitator in achieving conservation goals.

Contact

Email: samantha.richardson1@uq.net.au

Madeleine Stigner

Madeleine Stigner 2 - Wilson Lab

Research Assistant.
Madeleine is a research assistant within the Biodiversity Research Group. Madeleine holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) and is studying towards a Master of Social Work. She has worked in a variety of research and field-based positions on topics such as threatened species management, protected area management, minesite rehabilitation prioritisation, and animal behaviour. She has worked in a variety of locations across South-east Queensland, Svalbard, Indonesia and Christmas Island. Madeleine is interested in conservation social work; particularly how social workers can contribute to both the human and biological dimensions of conservation in efforts to address the current biodiversity crisis.

Contact
Email: madeleine.stigner@uqconnect.edu.au

Orchid ID: 0000-0002-9393-734X (Link here) 

Selected Publications

Stigner, M.G., Beyer, H.L., Klein, C., & Fuller, R.A. (2016). Reconciling recreational use and conservation values in a coastal protected area. Journal of Applied Ecology. (Click here to read)

Stigner, M., Dhanjal-Adams, K., & Fuller, R. (2017). Contested spaces: saving nature when our beaches have gone to the dogs. The Conversation. (Click here to read)

Diego Bezerra

 

Matt

Research Assistant.
As a marine ecologist my academic interests are broad, but I am particularly fascinated by faunal diversity. Foremost interested in understanding the ecological mechanisms that drive ecosystems performance and its conservation.
I began my marine research journey at Instituto de Ciências do Mar (LABOMAR) where I obtained knowledge about marine invertebrate’s identification, ecology of benthic organisms, population dynamics, conservation biology and environmental consulting. My first major interest in marine ecology was on the processes that determine patterns of distribution of benthic communities, especially in artificial structures comparing to natural substrata. It led me to develop a Master’s degree project titled Bathymetric Distribution of Molluscan Fauna of Ports from Northeast Brazil with emphasis on bioinvasion.
My current research still focusing on bioinvasion but in broader bias considering policies, management and decision makers. Therefore, I am investigating the complexity between non-native and native species interactions, including biodiversity along species range in aquatic and terrestrial habitat as well as implications for conservation planning. In addition, I am looking at pathways for narrowing the gaps between science, policy, management and practice in conservation. My interest comes from a strong belief that Environmental Sciences need to diminish these gaps making our career more approachable and meaningful, effectively supporting decision makers.

Contact

Email: diegofbg_1@hotmail.com

Dr Micheli Duarte

WP_20151204_10_34_28_ProSAM_2463-001

I am a marine biologist with research interests encompassing spatial ecology, quantitative marine ecology, climate change, and conservation. My research is characterised by novel integration of multiple disciplines to tackle fundamental questions in marine conservation science. My current research is in collaboration with the Brazilian Network for Climate Change and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, where I am investigating the impacts of climate change in the distribution of marine species in the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean.

Within the Kark Group, I am a research assistant working on some ongoing projects such as investigating how collaboration can improve conservation in the Amazon basin and the island conservation project.

I completed my PhD in Biological Oceanography in 2015 through the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (Brazil) under the supervision of Professor José Henrique Muelbert. As part of my PhD, I spent six months at The University of Queensland working with Professor Hugh Possingham to investigate how to incorporate estuarine dynamics and information from different life stages of fish into marine spatial planning.

Before I started to focus my research in marine conservation, most of my projects were related to fish eggs and larvae taxonomy and ecology. Due to these skills, I am currently collaborating in the National Ichthyoplankton Monitoring and Observing Program with Professors Anthony Richardson (UQ/CSIRO), Professor Iain Suthers (UNSW) and Tony Miskiewicz.

Contact

Email: duarte.micheli@yahoo.com.br/mduartedepaulacosta@uq.edu.au

ResearchGate Profile: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Micheli_Costa

GoogleScholar Profile: https://scholar.google.com.br/citations?user=c3ag0gcAAAAJ&hl

Selected Publications

Costa, M.D.P., Muelbert, J.H. 2016. Long-term assessment of temporal variability in spatial patterns of early life stages of fishes to facilitate estuarine conservation. Marine Biology Research. DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2016.1213397.

Costa, M.D.P., Possinghamd, H.P., Muelbert, J.H. 2015. Incorporating early life stages of fishes into estuarine spatial conservation planning. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. DOI: 10.1002/aqc.2584

Costa, M.D.P., Muelbert, J.H., Vieira, J.P. & Castello, J.P. 2015. Dealing with temporal variation and different life stages of whitemouth croaker Micropogonias furnieri (Actinopterygii, Sciaenidae) in species distribution modeling to improve essential estuarine fish habitat identification. Hydrobiologia. DOI: 10.1007/s10750-015-2348-4

Costa, M.D.P., Muelbert, J.H., Moraes, L.E., Vieira, J.P., Castello, J.P. 2014. Estuarine early life stage habitat occupancy patterns of whitemouth croaker Micropogonias furnieri (Desmarest, 1830) from the Patos Lagoon, Brazil. Fisheries Research, 160: 77-84.

Visitor, Interns and Volunteers

Rebecca Turk

Matt

Rebecca is a second year Applied Science student majoring in Wildlife Science at The University of Queensland. Her interests span a multitude of areas within the environmental sector, but being on the invasive bird team has fostered an interest in bird species and how invasive species interact with native systems.

Contact

Email: rebecca.turk@uq.net.au

 

Alumni

Post-doctoral Researchers

Dr. Francois Chiron
Dec 2006 – July 2008
fchiron@mnhn.fr
Dr. Rafi Kent
September 2010 – January 2011
rkent@technion.ac.il
Dr. Gili Konyak
April 2009 – April 2010
koniakg@gmail.com
Dr. Guy Pe’er
Feb 2005 – Oct 2006
guy.peer@ufz.de
Dr Eran Brokovich
Thesis Title: Patterns and processes in bathymetric distribution of coral reef fishes
Graduated 2009
eran.brokovich@mail.huji.ac.il
Dr. Susan Shirley
Sep 2005 – Dec 2006
susanshir@gmail.com
Dr. Anna Turbe
Nov 2006 – April 2008
at321@cam.ac.uk


Research Students

PhD Students

Dr Tessa Mazor

Tessa

PhD Graduate

I am a marine spatial ecologist, with an interest in finding sustainable and practical solutions for biodiversity protection. My research interests include conservation planning and prioritization (e.g. designing marine protected area networks), marine spatial planning, evaluating and mapping threats to biodiversity and integrating social and economic objectives to facilitate the implementation of conservation action. I am particularly interested in sea turtles, exploring drivers of their nesting patterns and using decision support tools to select priority areas for sea turtle conservation.

My PhD at the University of Queensland focused on advancing conservation planning in the Mediterranean Sea, advancing the theory of systematic conservation planning and developing solutions with implications for the Mediterranean region.

Tessa has recently started a postdoc at CSIRO in Brisbane.

Contact
tessa.mazor@csiro.au

Masters Students 2016

Vasundhara (Tanvi) Krishnani
Tanvi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masters Student: Human-elephant conflict, India Australia
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Zoology from India in 2014 after which I worked with an NGO regarding the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in a village situated within a Wildlife Sanctuary in India. I am currently pursuing my Masters of Conservation Biology from University of Queensland. I intend on working on understanding perceptions of people towards Asian elephants in India for my Masters project under the supervision of Associate Professor Salit Kark. My primary interest lies in looking at ways to mitigate man- elephant conflict in India. Elephants are very close to my heart and due to ever rising increase in demand for agriculture causing habitat fragmentation, farmers and elephants have been facing unwanted interactions leading to crop damage, injuries and sometimes even death. This is something which is going to keep on increasing and finding ways to avoid or reduce this conflict is necessary. This project will help in understanding the main factors causing the difference in perceptions in various parts of the country which then can be used for the site specific application of mitigation methods accordingly in order to reduce incidences of unwanted man elephant interactions.

Contact

Email: vasundhara.krishnani@uq.net.au

Masters Students 2015

Maggie McKeown
Maggie

Masters Student: Communicating Invasive Species

Maggie completed her Masters thesis with A/Professor Salit Kark as a component of her Masters in Conservation Science degree at The University of Queensland in 2015. Maggie was particularly interested in intergrating her love of communication with her love of conservation with this project looking into different communication strategies influencing perceptions about invasive species.

Contact

Email: maggie.mckeown@uqconnect.edu.au

Honours Students 2016

Samantha Richardson
GH

Honours Student: Assessing shark attack spatial and temporal patterns with a focus on understanding public perception.
My research interests fall within the field of Ecology and Zoology, graduating from a Bachelor of Science in 2015. I am particularly interested in the marine environment which has been the underlying focus of my research experience. I worked with Professor Andy Fischer from the Institute of Marine and Antarctic studies, University of Tasmania during 2015 analysing wind data and the relationships with harmful algal blooms along the eastern coastline of Tasmania. I am now undertaking an Honours Research project at the University of Queensland with Associate Professor Salit Kark. My research aims to generate knowledge of how to direct shark-attack mitigation approaches in an environmentally conscious manner by providing an analytical approach that can be utilised to advance conflict resolution approaches to be more spatially informed than current intervention strategies, as well as guide public education programs through an increased scientific knowledge of public perception. To effectively mitigate shark-human conflicts an understanding of how humans view sharks and shark mitigation approaches is required as human perception is known to act as a barrier or facilitator in achieving conservation goals.

Contact

Email: samantha.richardson1@uq.net.au

Georgina Hockings
GH

Honours Student: Using camera traps to study social structure and behaviour of Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus) in Ujung Kulon National Park, West Java, Indonesia
In 2014 I completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Queensland. I am now commencing an Honours project at UQ with Associate Professor Salit Kark. I will be working in collaboration with Steve Wilson for his PhD investigating the ecology and conservation of the critically endangered Javan rhino. In my project I will be using camera trap data to look at Javan rhino behaviour, with a particular focus on their social structure and interactions. Through this project I hope to be able to develop an understanding of what behavioural information can be learned through camera trap data that is of conservational value to this critically endangered species.

Contact

Email: g.hockings@bigpond.com

Honours Students 2015

Carly Martin

Carly

Honours Student: Fine-scale interactions between native and invasive cavity nesting birds in Australia
In 2015 I completed a dual degree of Science and Journalism majoring in Ecology at the University of Queensland. I finished my honours degree in July 2016 at UQ working with Associate Professor Salit Kark. In my project, I looked at small scale interactions between native and invasive bird species around cavity trees. The Indian Myna (Acridotheres tristis) was the focus of my studies. By comparing interactions in different locations I was able to develop an understanding of factors that promote the spread of this invasive species.

Contact

Email: carly.martin@uqconnect.edu.au

Emma Lee
Emma

Honours Student: Understanding the Indigenous Australians’ approach towards invasive and native species through their languages
I graduated from UQ in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and Arts (Japanese and Linguistics), and worked on my honours project under the supervision of Assoc. Professor Salit Kark and Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann (The University of Adelaide: Department of Linguistics). For my project I looked at the words used in various Aboriginal languages for invasive and native species, as well as the uses of the species in these communities. Through this, my project aimed to understand the Indigenous Australians’ approach towards invasive and native species, so as to help inform the management plans for these species.

Contact

Email: ej.lee@uqconnect.edu.au

Damien O’Connor
Damien

Honours Student: The role of behavioural variation in the invasion process
I completed my Bachelor of Science (Ecology & Zoology) at the University of Queensland in 2014. In 2015 I undertook my Honours project working under the supervision of Assoc. Professor Salit Kark and Dr Andrea Griffin. I looked at the invasive common myna (Acridotheres tristis) and investigated the role of behavioural variation in the invasion process. My project consisted of a feeding experiment to determine whether there was a variation in foraging behaviour throughout parts of the common myna’s range in Queensland. This project also modeled components that aimed to provide a better understanding of the implications of behavioural variation in an invasive species.

Contact

Email: damien.oconnor@uqconnect.edu.au
Personal Twitter: @Damien_OConnor

 

Laura Cox

Thesis Title:
Graduated 2014
laura.a.cox@outlook.com

Dr Gilad Bino
Thesis Title: Spatial and numerical responses of golden jackals (Canis aureus) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) to resource manipulation
Graduated 2007
giladbino@gmail.com
Dr Eran Brokovich
Thesis Title: Patterns and processes in bathymetric distribution of coral reef fishes
Graduated 2009
eran.brokovich@mail.huji.ac.il
Oded Levanoni
Thesis Title: Predicting butterfly diversity along an altitudinal gradient using remote sensing tools on Mount Hermon, Israel
Graduated 2007
odded@pob.huji.ac.il
Orit Nir
Thesis Title: Changes in the coral Seriatopora hystrix along a bathymetric gradient in the Northern Gulf of Aqaba
Graduated 2006
niro01@pob.huji.ac.il
Yotam Orchan
Thesis Title: The cavity nesting bird community in the Yarkon Park: spatial, temporal interactions and breeding success in a community being invaded in recent decades
Graduated 2008
yotam@pob.huji.ac.il
Maya Sella
Thesis Title: The land use changes of the Gazelle Valley and their implications on vegetation characteristics (1880-2006)
Graduated 2008
m_sela@yahoo.com
Dr Assaf Shwartz
Thesis Title: Patterns and processes shaping the success of urban and invasive birds
Graduated 2007
shwara@pob.huji.ac.il

 

Staff, Interns  and Volunteers

Isabella de Oliveira

Research Assistant: Amazonian Rivers project
Isabella is one of the research assistants that worked on the Big Rivers project, in particular the South American component.

Selected Publication

Contact

Email: oliveiraisabella@gmail.com

James Allan

James

Research Assistant: Collaboration in big rivers worldwide

I grew up in Kenya where I was surrounded by wildlife and the outdoors. School holidays were spent on safari game driving with clients, discussing Africa’s conservation challenges around the campfire, and on walking safaris in some of Kenya’s wildest and most beautiful regions.

This inspired me to study a science degree, the highlight being my Honours year in Hugh Possingham’s conservation lab at the University of Queensland. I modeled bird metapopulations under climate change and looked at the implications of different modeling approaches on conservation decision making. After spending a year modeling on a computer I was keen to get back into the field. I returned to Kenya where I worked for the African Conservation Centre, an NGO whose focus is on community conservation in pastoral lands looking at carnivore-livestock interactions.

Contact

Email: james.allan@uqconnect.edu.au

Timothy Staples

Tim

Administrative Assistance

I was born in Townsville, North Queensland, and camped across the state’s diverse ecosystems with my family while I was young. I moved to Brisbane in 2010 to study by bachelor of science, where I graduated in 2013 with my Honours. I assisted Salit with administrative and management tasks while commencing a PhD project, titled ‘Designing productive and diverse carbon forests’, under the supervision of Dr Mayfield and Dr Dwyer (UQ), and Dr Pichancourt and Dr England (CSIRO). I am looking at using community ecology, particularly functional traits and modelling, to balance the trade-off between productivity and diversity in carbon plantings in low rainfall areas of Australia. My ultimate goal is to develop a framework for stakeholders to use to achieve multiple benefits for reforestation projects. To read more about Tims work visit the Mayfield Lab website: http://www.mayfieldplantecologylab.org/site/Current_Lab_Members/Current_Lab_Members.html

Contact

Email: timothy.staples@uqconnect.edu.au

Emily Dayman

Emily

BSc Honours: Interactions between cavity-nesting birds and their implications for conservation

I graduated my Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife and Marine Science at Griffith University in 2014 and began my Honours work with Salit Kark in 2014. I am particularly interested in the interactions around breeding cavities in the presence of invasive cavity nesting species around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. I specialize in conservation ecology, studying the management of biological invasions on both small and large scales. I have experience in marine biology working on Heron Island, monitoring the water chemistry on the reef flat to closely examine the implications of climate change pose on coral reef organisms and how to mitigate and manage their impacts. I have assisted in estuarine fish ecology and reptile biology field work around the Gold Coast. In 2012, I completed work experience at the Griffith Center of Coastal Management. I worked on the Redesigned COPE Program (Coastal Observation Programme- Engineering), proposed for the Gold Coast City Council. I also have experience volunteering in zoos, attending to koalas at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and penguins at Seaworld.

My project aims to develop interaction networks within cavity nesting avian communities, which include invasive alien and native species, examining source and front sites of an ongoing avian invasion and an urbanisation gradient. Aliens and native urban exploiters can have negative effects on abundance and the diversity of native species and other urban avoiders that are susceptible to urbanisation and ecological change. I will compare two sites where the Indian myna (Acridotheres tristis) has been established for over 30 years in Brisbane with two sites in the Sunshine Coast where mynas have only recently invaded. I will examine the nest occupancy, replacement and breeding success through three sub-environments (paved, park and fringe) within each location, over the 2014-2015 breeding season. I will also examine the outcomes of behavioural interactions between all cavity nesting birds in the community to identify “winners” and “losers” of interactions. My project will address an important gap in our scientific understanding on the role of invasion processes and urbanisation constraints on species interactions in a cavity nesting community. The interaction webs will provide valuable future management for birds and conservation strategies that will effectively control invasion threats and mitigate urbanisation impacts on native biodiversity.

Contact
emily.dayman@uq.net.au


Visitors and Collaborators

Gabriel Borgheti de Figueiredo

Gabriel

I am currently an undergraduate student of Biological Sciences in the Universidade de São Paulo (São Paulo, Brazil). In 2014, I received a scholarship from the Brazilian government that gave me the opportunity to study for a year in the University of Queensland. During my last few months in Brisbane have had the opportunity to work as an intern with A/Professor Salit Kark in the Biodiversity Research Group at UQ. My previous internship was in a science museum in my hometown, so it was the first experience as part of a lab group, and it was a great source of learning and growth both professionally and personally. The project we began to develop is based on alien bird species in Brazil, where we aim to analyze the causes, distribution, impacts and other characteristics of these invasions.

Contact

Email: g.figueiredo@uq.net.au

William Feeney

Williamfeeney

I am an evolutionary ecologist interesting in understanding how interactions between species generate and maintain the world’s biodiversity. My research stems from field observations and experiments and tends to focus on two main systems: the relationships between avian brood parasites, such as cuckoos, and their hosts; and the interactions between predatory coral reef fishes and their prey. Lately, this work has been focusing more on species that live within Australia, though I also have current projects running in China (birds) and French Polynesia (fish).

Prior to starting at UQ, I completed a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley (2015 – 2016); an Endeavour Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2015) and my PhD at the Australian National University (2011 – 2014). Prior to that I split my time between my PostGrad studies at James Cook University and working as  tour guide in the North-Western Arnhemland.

Contact

Email: w.feeney@uq.edu.au

GoogleScholar (for a full list of publications)

Instagram: @samsonvalebirdproject

Website: http://www.williamefeeney

Selected Publications

Feeney WE, Brooker RM (2017) Anemonefishes. Current Biology 27: R6-R8.

Grutter AS, Feeney WE (2016) Equivalent cleaning in a juvenile facultative and obligate cleaning wrasse: an insight into the evolution of cleaning? Coral Reefs 35: 991-997.

Feeney WE, Troscianko J, Langmore NE, Spottiswoode CN (2015) Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalised defences in its host. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 282: 20150795

Cortesi F, Feeney WE, Ferrari MCO, Waldie PA, Phillips GAC, McClure EC, Sköld HN, Salzburger W, Marshall NJ, Cheney KL (2015) Phenotypic plasticity confers multiple benefits to a mimic. Current Biology 25: 949-954

Feeney WE, Welbergen JA, Langmore NE (2014) Advances in the study of coevolution between avian brood parasites and their hosts. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 45: 227-246

Feeney WE, Medina I, Somveille M, Heinsohn R, Hall ML, Mulder RA, Stein JA, Kilner RM, Langmore NE (2013) Brood parasitism and the evolution of cooperative breeding in birds. Science 342:1506-1508

Feeney WE, Langmore NE (2013). Social learning of a brood parasite by its host. Biology Letters 9: 20130443

Feeney WE, Lonnstedt O, Bosiger Y, Martin J, Jones GP, Rowe R, McCormick MI (2012) High rate of prey consumption in a small predatory fish on coral reefs. Coral Reefs 31: 909-918

Amélie Genay

Amiele

I am a French biology student from AgrosupDijon, currently in my second year of study. As apart of my program I had the opportunity to be part of the Biodiversity Group during as an intern with A/Professor Salit. I am interested in urban ecology, especially when it comes to the management of species and ecosystems in urban green spaces. It is my first experience in ecology and biodiversity lab and I really enjoy it. My project goal, for my internship, is to characterize the vegetation on the different sites, which are currently used for the Urban Bird Project. I am currently using GIS and going to the field for my project, and as well, learning a lot of new things about Australian’s tree and bird species. For my near future, I want to work in the management of park in cities or in urban biodiversity. I will follow a specialization in Urban Forestry for my third year of study in the institute of AgroParisTech. I am really interested in studying park, which are an interface between nature and town people. A place that house a lot of species and where people can as well relax into.

Contact

Email:amelie.genay@agrosupdijon.fr