Position

Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology
Biological Sciences

Biography

I joined Flinders University in January 2017 as the new Matthew Flinders Fellow in Global Ecology. I am also a Chief Investigator in the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage, and I lead its Modelling Node here at Flinders.

From 2008-2015 I was at the University of Adelaide (Sir Hubert Wilkins Chair of Climate Change 2015-2016), and from 2004-2008 I was Senior then Principal Research Fellow at Charles Darwin University. I was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Tasmania from 1999-2004.

My research is mainly in the area of global-change ecology — how human endeavour and climate fluctuations have altered past, present and future ecosystems. My most important contributions have been in the area of applied ecology, biodiversity conservation, theoretical ecology, extinction dynamics, human demography, species responses to climate change, disease ecology, and applying ecological theory and modelling techniques to hindcast prehistoric ecosystems. My work has provided environmental policy advice around the world, and my papers are highly cited.

My most recent book entitled The Effective Scientist — A Handy Guide to an Academic Career (Cambridge University Press) will be available in March 2018. My 2015 book with Professor Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University is entitled Killing the Koala and Poisoning the Prairie: Australia, America and the Environment (Chicago University Press), and I am currently writing another book with Professor Ehrlich nominally entitled Jigsaw Utopia.

Qualifications

Honours, awards and grants

Key responsibilities

My position is primarily research-focussed.

Current research fellows:

Teaching interests

Current Student Supervisions

  • Antoine Champreux: palaeo-vegetation models (PhD Flinders University; starting soon)
  • Felicity Coutts: palaeo-ecology of the Ediacaran (PhD Univ Adelaide/South Australian Museum)
  • Ben Heard: energy modelling (PhD Univ Adelaide)
  • Fiona Laviano: human/megafauna interactions (PhD Flinders University; starting soon)
  • Jarod Lyon: river restoration for fish (PhD Univ Adelaide/Arthur Rylah Institute)
  • Rupert Mathwin: frog ecology (PhD Flinders University)

Topic Lecturer:

  • BIOD1102  Introduction to Biodiversity and Conservation

Research expertise

  • Demography
  • Ecological applications
  • Ecology
  • Environmental science and management
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Quantitative methods
  • Statistics
  • Stochastic Modelling
  • Zoology

Research interests

During my early research years I focussed primarily on the population dynamics and behavioural ecology of land-breeding marine fauna. Later, I moved to a more modelling-based focus examining the temporal and spatial patterns of ecological processes, including density-feedback mechanisms. As part of this work, I have established a strong profile in the determinants of extinction risk of modern flora and fauna, the degradation of ecosystem services from anthropogenic habitat change, and the spatial dynamics of marine biodiversity. I have developed applications in disease ecology, predator-prey dynamics, and climate change predictions.

Much of my work has focussed on providing evidence for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development pathways. I have devised new ways of projecting human population size, with implications for long-term climate change and biodiversity maintenance; I have developed models to predict the best times to apply mosquito control for the reduction of disease risk, promote fisheries sustainability, assess the determinants of effective protected areas, and define the optimal mix of low biodiversity-impact electricity generation. I examined carbon cycles and budgets, examined broad-scale ecological patterns in response to climate gradients, and experimentally manipulated climate for fine-scale experiments in community composition and resilience.

My modelling framework has changed how palaeo-ecologists and palaeontologists treat uncertainty in the chronology of palaeo-ecological events. I have led the development of state-of-the-art quality assessment criteria for fossil dating to ensure that only high-quality dates are used in palaeo-ecological analyses, and established a novel protocol for using palaeo-ecological data to predict the locations of as-yet-undiscovered fossil sites. I have also shown the dominant, continental-scale effect of humans (cf. climate change) on the demise of the Australian megafauna, and the influence of climate change and humans on the extinction/transition dynamics of Holarctic and South American megafauna.

Supervisory interests

  • Community ecology
  • Ecological sustainability
  • Energy security
  • Palaeo-ecology and palaeo-climate

RHD research supervision

Current

Principal supervisor : Ecology (5) ;

RHD Student Achievements

  • Dr Salvador Herrando-Pérez
    Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - June 2012
  • Dr Ana Sequeira
    Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - June 2014
  • Dr Sanghyun Hong
    Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - October 2014
  • David Deane
    Dean's Commendation for Master by Thesis Research Excellence - November 2016

Publications

  • Deane, D.C., Fordham, D., Stevens, A.K. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Niche constraints and dispersal-limited competition together assemble wetland plant communities. JOURNAL OF VEGETATION SCIENCE,
  • Deane, D.C., Fordham, D.A., He, F. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Future extinction risk of wetland plants is higher from individual patch loss than total area reduction. Biological Conservation, 209 pp. 27-33.
    [10.1016/j.biocon.2017.02.005] [Web Link]
  • Heard, B.P., Brook, B.W., Wigley, T.M. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Burden of proof: a comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems. RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS, 76 pp. 1122-1133.
    [10.1016/j.rser.2017.03.114]
  • Liu, X., Lyu, S., Sun, D., Bradshaw, C.J.A. and Zhou, S. (2017). Species decline under nitrogen fertilization increases community-level competence of fungal diseases. Proceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 284 pp. Art: 20162621.
    [10.1098/rspb.2016.2621]
  • Nagelkerken, I., Huebert, K.B., Serafy, J.E., Grol, M.G.G., Dorenbosch, M. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Highly localized replenishment of coral reef fish populations near nursery habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 568 pp. 137-150.
    [10.3354/meps12062]
  • Block, S., Saltré, F.F., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Fordham, D.A., Unkel, I. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2016). Where to Dig for Fossils: Combining Climate-Envelope, Taphonomy and Discovery Models. PLoS One, 11(3) pp. Art: e0151090.
    [10.1371/journal.pone.0151090] [Scopus]
  • Saltré, F.F., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Brook, B.W., Johnson, C., Turney, C.S., Alroy, J., et al. (2016). Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia. Nature Communications, 7 pp. Art: 10511.
    [10.1038/ncomms10511] [Scopus]
  • Johnson, C., Alroy, J., Beeton, N., Bird, M.I., Brook, B.W., Cooper, A., et al. (2016). What caused extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna of Sahul? Proceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 283 pp. Art: 20152.
    [10.1098/rspb.2015.2399] [Scopus]
  • Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Brook, B.W., Saltré, F.F., Alroy, J., Beeton, N., et al. (2016). A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates. Scientific Data - Nature, 3 pp. Art: 160053.
    [10.1038/sdata.2016.53] [Scopus]
  • Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Gillespie, R., Jacobs, Z., Saltré, F.F., Brook, B.W., et al. (2015). Criteria for assessing the quality of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene vertebrate fossil ages. Quaternary Geochronology, 30 pp. 69-79.
    [10.1016/j.quageo.2015.08.002] [Scopus]
  • Saltré, F.F., Brook, B.W., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Cooper, A., Johnson, C., Turney, C.S., et al. (2015). Uncertainties in dating constrain model choice for inferring extinction time from fossil records. Quaternary Science Reviews, 112 pp. 128-137.
    [10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.01.022 0277-3791] [10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.01.022] [Scopus]
  • Deane, D.C., Fordham, D., Stevens, A.K. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Niche constraints and dispersal-limited competition together assemble wetland plant communities. JOURNAL OF VEGETATION SCIENCE,
  • Deane, D.C., Fordham, D.A., He, F. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Future extinction risk of wetland plants is higher from individual patch loss than total area reduction. Biological Conservation, 209 pp. 27-33.
    [10.1016/j.biocon.2017.02.005] [Web Link]
  • Heard, B.P., Brook, B.W., Wigley, T.M. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Burden of proof: a comprehensive review of the feasibility of 100% renewable-electricity systems. RENEWABLE & SUSTAINABLE ENERGY REVIEWS, 76 pp. 1122-1133.
    [10.1016/j.rser.2017.03.114]
  • Liu, X., Lyu, S., Sun, D., Bradshaw, C.J.A. and Zhou, S. (2017). Species decline under nitrogen fertilization increases community-level competence of fungal diseases. Proceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 284 pp. Art: 20162621.
    [10.1098/rspb.2016.2621]
  • Nagelkerken, I., Huebert, K.B., Serafy, J.E., Grol, M.G.G., Dorenbosch, M. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2017). Highly localized replenishment of coral reef fish populations near nursery habitats. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 568 pp. 137-150.
    [10.3354/meps12062]
  • Block, S., Saltré, F.F., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Fordham, D.A., Unkel, I. and Bradshaw, C.J. (2016). Where to Dig for Fossils: Combining Climate-Envelope, Taphonomy and Discovery Models. PLoS One, 11(3) pp. Art: e0151090.
    [10.1371/journal.pone.0151090] [Scopus]
  • Johnson, C., Alroy, J., Beeton, N., Bird, M.I., Brook, B.W., Cooper, A., et al. (2016). What caused extinction of the Pleistocene megafauna of Sahul? Proceedings of The Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, 283 pp. Art: 20152.
    [10.1098/rspb.2015.2399] [Scopus]
  • Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Brook, B.W., Saltré, F.F., Alroy, J., Beeton, N., et al. (2016). A comprehensive database of quality-rated fossil ages for Sahul’s Quaternary vertebrates. Scientific Data - Nature, 3 pp. Art: 160053.
    [10.1038/sdata.2016.53] [Scopus]
  • Saltré, F.F., Rodríguez-Rey, M., Brook, B.W., Johnson, C., Turney, C.S., Alroy, J., et al. (2016). Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia. Nature Communications, 7 pp. Art: 10511.
    [10.1038/ncomms10511] [Scopus]
  • Rodríguez-Rey, M., Herrando-Pérez, S., Gillespie, R., Jacobs, Z., Saltré, F.F., Brook, B.W., et al. (2015). Criteria for assessing the quality of Middle Pleistocene to Holocene vertebrate fossil ages. Quaternary Geochronology, 30 pp. 69-79.
    [10.1016/j.quageo.2015.08.002] [Scopus]

Professional and community engagement

I have a deep commitment to and strong capacity for communicating the implications of my science to the broader public via traditional media (television, radio, newspaper, etc.). I am an avid proponent of public engagement via social media and blogging (ConservationBytes.com, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and I give many public lectures each year. I also contribute regularly to The Conversation.

I am also:

I can reached at +61 (0)400 697 665.

Expertise for media contact

Subject Titles

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Climate
  • Conservation
  • Demography
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • Energy - Nuclear
  • Energy - Renewable
  • Environment
  • Mammals
  • Palaeontology
  • Sustainability
  • Wildlife
  • Zoology

Contact

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Phone: +61 8 82012090
Email:
Location: Biological Sciences
Postal address: GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia
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