People: meet our group

Jump to:  PhD candidates  |  honours students  |  past lab members |  prospective students |  volunteers

Harry Moore — PhD candidate

Ecology of northern quolls (Dasyurus hallucatus) in the Pilbara, Western Australia.

Distance education student based at Charles Sturt University.

Sarah Maclagan — PhD candidate

SarahMacLagan400x600My PhD investigates the ecology of the endangered Southern Brown Bandicoot in peri-urban Melbourne, specifically where these animals occur within linear habitat corridors along roads, drains and railway lines.

By gathering data on how bandicoots are currently surviving within these highly modified habitats (population demographics, home range and movements, health factors, diet and interactions with pest animals), as well as how they respond to direct disturbance of habitat in linear corridors, I hope to shed light on how we can retain this and other native species within the landscape as urban expansion continues.

Shannon Braun — PhD candidate

Based at La Trobe University.

Lily Van Eeden — PhD candidate

LilyVanEeden400x600pxAustralia invests never-ending resources into lethal control of dingoes, with little understanding of the benefits for livestock production or impacts on biodiversity.

Changing this system is difficult, so alongside ecological and agricultural research, investigation into the social and political contexts preventing progress in dingo management is essential.

Australia is lagging behind other countries in human-carnivore conflict resolution, so I draw dingo management into an international context for comparison, while identifying public and producer perspectives on dingoes and their management through social surveys.

My research seeks to understand how coexistence can be possible, changing the way we conduct wildlife management to the benefit of biodiversity and rural communities.

I am based at the University of Sydney.

Billy Geary — PhD candidate

I am  investigating how knowledge of interactions between threats and ecological processes can be used to better manage ecosystems and conserve biodiversity.

To do this, I will use a combination of desktop analyses and field-based ecological studies from south-eastern Australia. I am co-supervised with Euan Ritchie, Dale Nimmo and Ayesha Tulloch.

Eilysh Thompson — PhD candidate

My PhD examines the role of dingoes as a trophic regulator within alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems, particularly in relation to large feral herbivores (deer/horses) and omnivores (pigs).

Specifically I aim to determine how dingoes affect feral herbivore distribution, abundance and behaviour and whether this in turn benefits threatened alpine and sub-alpine plant and animal species. I will assess this interaction using a variety of observational and experimental approaches including scat surveys, camera traps, acoustic recording devices and acoustic playback devices.

This knowledge will aid in guiding management decisions within Australian alpine parks particularly on the importance of conserving dingo populations.

Ange Pestell — PhD candidate

Using a mix of traditional survey and camera trap methods, my PhD will investigate faunal assemblages across a range of fire age-classes in two major vegetation types in the Victorian Mallee and Wimmera regions.

The data from my research will contribute to the development of machine learning processes that automate species identification from camera trap data for small vertebrates, and is part of a bigger project withpartners at La Trobe University, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, and the Departmenta of Environment, Land , Water and Planning (DELWP), which aims to increase the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of wildlife surveys in remote landscapes.

My research will also be used by DELWP to improve fire management outcomes for biodiversity in the Victorian Mallee and Wimmera regions.

Rachel Lee — honours student

My honours research involves reviewing invertebrate translocations globally.

Invertebrates are the most speciose animals on Earth, but despite their importance for ecosystem health and human persistence, the “little things that run the world” are often neglected in research and conservation programs.

Through reviewing translocation programs, we hope to provide recommendations for what is likely to increase the success of future invertebrate conservation projects through the assessment of historical and current documented translocations.

Meg Farmer — honours student

My honours project involves quantifying the distribution, abundance and behaviour of long-nosed potoroos (Potorous tridactylus) on French Island, to gain information about their fine-scale habitat use and interactions with feral cats.

The potoroo population on French Island provides a unique opportunity to gain an understanding of what elements enable native wildlife to survive in the presence of feral cats. Such information can be used to guide future preservation of similarly threatened critical weight range mammals.


Past lab members

Ella Loeffler (honours 2019) Understanding island cat ecology for pest management and threatened species recovery.

Vivianna Miritis (honours 2019) The foraging ecology of eastern barred bandicoots in
newly established island populations.

Tom Newsome (postdoc 2016–2017) Predator management in Australia: Lessons from interactions between wolves and cougars in north-east Washington USA.

Rebecca Cherubin (honours 2018) Evaluating the ecological impacts of feral horses in the Alps.

Matt Sleeth (honours 2017) Home range ecology and microhabitat use of the invasive wolf snake (Lycodon capucinus) of Christmas Island.

Lauren Halstead (honours 2017) The ecological role of eastern barred bandicoots in a newly established island population.

Bronwyn Hradsky (PhD 2016) Interactions between invasive predators, native mammals and fire in a forest ecosystem.

Blake Allan (PhD 2016) Specialist versus generalist species: a comparative ecological study of common and mountain brushtail possums.

Michael Wysong (PhD 2016) Predator ecologt in the arid rangelands of Western Australia: spatial interactions and resource competition etween an apex predator, the dingo Canis dingo, and an introduced mesopredator, the feral cat Felis catus.

Leanne Greenwood (honours 2016) Monitoring effort to effectively assess occupancy changes in terrestrial mammal species in Wilsons Promontory National Park.

Evie Jones (honours 2016) Factors influencing feral cat density and distribution in a mallee ecosystem.

Gavin Trewella (honours 2016) Do dingoes (Canis dingo) facilitate behaviourally-mediated trophic cascades in mallee ecosystems?

Tim Doherty (Postdoc 2016) Fire, predator and prey relationships in semi-arid Victoria.

Evelyn Chia (PhD 2016) Wildfire, landscape heterogeneity and fauna in fire-prone forests.

Michelle Bassett (PhD 2016) Wildfire, mammals and their habitats in a fire-prone forest ecosystem.

Hayley Geyle (honours 2015) Survey design for detecting declines in the threatened brush-tailed rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus on the Tiwi Islands of the Northern Territory.

Harry Moore (honours 2015) Spatial and temporal interactions between predators and small mammals in semi-arid Australia.

Dr Leila Brook (PhD 2015) Predator guild interactions in northern Australia: behaviour and ecology of an apex predator, the dingo Canis lupus dingo, and an introduced mesopredator, the feral cat Felis catus.

Cassandra Holt (honours 2015) The distribution of mammals in relation to habitat at Wilsons Promontory.

Thomas Healey (honours 2014) Fire and the distribution of a herbivore in semi-arid Australia.

Jess Lawton (honours 2014) What drives the distribution of a small mammal (Notomys mitchellii) in a fire prone landscape?

Ray Alexander (honours 2014) Habitat selection of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in the Otway Ranges.

Billy Geary (honours 2014) Predators and prey in flames: Mammalian trophic relationships in fire-prone, semi-arid Victoria.

Hayley Davis (honours 2014) Does fire influence termites? Examining the pyrodiversity begets biodiversity hypothesis.

Amber Fordyce (honours 2013) The impact of planned fire on microhabitat use in the bush rat.

Rebecca Nightingale (honours 2013) Understanding social behaviour of Tasmanian devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) in captivity: implications for conservation and management.

Shannon Braun (honours 2013) The influence of fire and microhabitat on predation pressure in semi-arid Australia: an experimental case-study using lizards.

Catherine Payne (honours 2012) Understanding the drivers of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) distribution and activity in semi-arid Australia.

Lucy Gow (honours 2012) Habitat associations and daily activity patterns of Wilsons Promontory’s mammals.

Kathlean Kean (honours 2011) Human dimensions of dingo and wild dog management in Victoria.

Tanya Rosewarne (honours 2011) Understating animal behaviours in captive insurance populations: the Tasmanian devil as a case study.

Prospective students

Looking to join our group?

I am always interested in speaking to high-achieving, energetic and self-motivated students about potential honours or PhD projects.

Our group’s work is always focused on applied ecology that seeks solutions to issues of genuine conservation concern. Our work tends to occur at the landscape-scale and be focused largely on mammals, but we are always open to developing projects that address a broad range of topics.

Students who have extensive field experience surveying wildlife, and have strong communication and quantitative skills will be particularly favoured. I also place a strong emphasis on students feeling well-supported by our group and therefore expect regular interaction and attendance at lab meetings and social events.

If you are interested in joining our group, please email me specifically addressing the following:

  • Why do you want to undertake further study?
  • What are your short- and long-term goals?
  • What expertise and experience will you bring to our group?
  • What area of research interests you most and why?
  • What are your relevant qualifications (undergraduate units taken and marks, field- and lab-based experience, other relevant qualifications, skills and experience)?

Please also include details of three referees.
For more information and submission deadlines for applications, refer to the following:


From time-to-time we need help out in the field. Volunteer field work is valuable, rewarding, and can be great fun.

Opportunities will be posted on the Deakin University Ecology Volunteer Register on Facebook.