CEED researcher elected head of global conservation society

Dr James Watson, CEED researcherAustralia has a stronger voice in conservation, with the election of CEED researcher Associate Professor James Watson as president of the Society for Conservation Biology.

Dr Watson, 37, principal research fellow from The University of Queensland’s School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, is the first Australian and youngest President-elect since the society was founded in 1985.

“The Society for Conservation Biology is the world’s most active conservation science organisation, with more than 10,000 members and a number of journals,” Dr Watson said.

“Its mission is to advance the science and practice of conserving Earth's biological diversity.

“My focus will be on engaging more young people from around the world in conservation activities, and reframing conservation science to be more solution-oriented.

“Thanks to current technology, students have a greater awareness of how the world’s iconic landscapes are changing and are exposed to more diverse perspectives on possible solutions, like the desire for social equity as well as ecological sustainability in areas threatened by commercial expansion.

“I’m keen to provide young people with opportunities that go beyond presenting a conference paper, to encourage involvement with policy and treaty development and the wider community, and opportunities to access mentoring from experienced members of the society.”

Dr Watson plans to establish more local student chapters of the SCB, such as the one thriving at UQ, which he helped establish in 2010.

He was the only Australian chosen from more than 800 international nominations to join the 25-person IPBES taskforce which will encourage scientists, policy makers and indigenous communities to share ecosystem knowledge and respond to the global biodiversity crisis....read more



Split reserves increase bilby’s survival chance

Bilby webAustralia’s shy Easter bunny alternative, the endangered bilby, will have a far better chance of surviving deadly predation by feral cats and foxes if they are kept in several protected areas instead of a single large area, scientists say. 

Dr Michael Bode, at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), says this approach not only applies to the bilby, but also to other threatened native marsupials such as the Tasmanian devil, or Gilbert’s potoroo (one of the world’s most endangered mammals)...read more


(Photo: Bernard Dupont, flickr.com, Creative Commons)



Post-doctoral fellowships available

uq position web

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Two Positions Available)

Highly motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellows are invited to apply for a position within CEED at The University of Queensland.

The successful applicants will work on projects in the areas of: multispecies management, restoration ecology, ecosystem services, threatened species and conservation action prioritisation, adaptive management and monitoring, decision-making in socio-ecological systems, or other emerging priority areas of research. Applications close 02 Nov 2014...read more

PhD opportunity: Smart Allocation of Restoration Funds


The emerging imperative in Australia and globally for restoring ecosystems requires smart investment of limited funds available for conservation and natural resource management. This PhD project is part of a broader ARC Linkage project that involves researchers with expertise in applied conservation and restoration ecology and restoration managers and practitioners at the City of Gold Coast.

The overarching goal of the project is to explore the trade-off between minimising risk and maximising the return on investment in the context of restoration. The successful candidate will assess the relationships between vegetation recovery and time, for different types of restoration actions. The project will likely involve both field research and elicitation of information from experts.

The successful applicant will work jointly with scientists at The University of Queensland, Griffith University and City of Gold Coast. 

The supervisory team will include: Dr. Kerrie Wilson (UQ), Dr. Luke Shoo (UQ), and Professor Carla Catterall (Griffith University). 

Prospective applicants should also apply for an APA scholarship (due internally at UQ on the 17th of October 2014 for domestic applicants and the 19th of September 2014 for international applicants). Generous research operating funds are available. Interested students should provide a professional CV and a short letter of interest to Dr. Kerrie Wilson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ). 

CEED Researcher awarded SCOPUS Award


ARC CEED Researcher, Dr Kerrie Wilson has won the Scopus Life Sciences and Biological Sciences award for her research into habitat restoration for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation.

Congratulations Kerrie! 







Let’s hear it for citizen scientists!

Fuller 20080608 Lake Bindegolly 05Citizen science is booming in Australia, revealing previously unknown features of the continent and saving governments a ton of money.

“There’s a nationwide trend towards scientific reporting by skilled amateur observers, especially among young Australians,” says Professor Hugh Possingham, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED).

“For the first time we are starting to build up a truly extensive picture of the state of the Australian environment – and are able to watch how it changes over time.”


CEED researcher awarded Victoria Fellowship

Victoria fellowship bannerCEED researcher Freya Thomas has been awarded a Victoria Fellowship - congratulations, Freya!

The Royal Commission into the Black Saturday bushfires re-emphasised the need to manage Victorian landscapes to protect life and property, while maintaining biodiversity.

A key part of this process is evaluating the appropriateness of fuel reduction burning, or wildfire for Victorian landscapes, using tolerable fire intervals and plant attributes. These tools draw on expert knowledge of the reproductive lifespan of various species to identify which fire regimes sustain the majority of species. Data underlying the tools is scarce.

Miss Freya Thomas is developing methods to incorporate plant traits into multi-species models of plant growth and reproduction in order to predict demographic rates for plant species. This research can support fire management decisions. Miss Thomas will visit universities and training institutes in South Africa, Ireland, Spain, France and the USA.

The Victoria Fellowship enables researchers in the early stages of their careers to undertake international study missions.

Read more about the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation and Victoria Fellowships

Eureka! CEED finalists

Eureka finalistsThree ARC CEED/University of Melbourne postdocs are finalists for the Eureka Prize for Environmental Research:
Luke Kelly and team have been nominated their work on the Mallee Fire and Biodiversity Project.
Emily Nicholson and Tracey Regan and team have been nominated for their work on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research is awarded to an individual or team for an outstanding research project in any field of the biological, physical, mathematical or biomedical sciences leading to the resolution of an environmental problem, including a challenge posed by climate change, or the management or protection of Australia's environment.
See the full list of finalists for the 2014 Eureka prizes, and watch their videos at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/2014-Finalists-Eureka

PhD top-up scholarship for monitoring ecological integrity in national parks

NamadgiNatParkThe Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University (ANU) is seeking applications from highly qualified and motivated candidates who are Australian or New Zealand citizens or permanent residents of Australia to undertake a 3-year program of research for a PhD commencing early 2015 that will develop methods for monitoring ecological integrity in protected areas. The position is based in Canberra, Australia; is a collaboration with Territory and Municipal Services of the Australian Capital Territory; and will require field work in the Australian Capital Territory, Canada and potentially South Africa.
The chosen candidate will be invited to apply for an ANU PhD scholarship (currently $25,392 per annum tax free) and, if successful in that application, will receive a top-up scholarship stipend of $5,000 per annum and some additional funding for travel and fieldwork expenses.

Vale ‘Gump’, the last known Christmas Island Forest Skink

gump2Among the most haunting and evocative images of Australian wildlife are the black and white photographs of the last Thylacine, languishing alone in Hobart Zoo. It's an extraordinary reminder of how close we came to preventing an extinction.

That loss is also an important lesson on the consequences of acting too slowly. Hobart Zoo's Tasmanian tiger died just two months after the species was finally given protected status.

Last year, we wrote about the last-known Christmas Island Forest Skink, an otherwise unremarkable individual affectionately known as Gump. Although probably unaware of her status, Gump was in a forlorn limbo, hoping to survive long enough to meet a mate and save her species. It was an increasingly unlikely hope.  READ MORE