Lab news

New papers

Congratulations to Amanda Dias, on the publication of her work revealing the inadequacy of baseline biodiversity surveys that underpin Environmental Impact Assessments in Brazil. You can read more about what Amanda found in Environmental Impact Assessment Reviews. Her work has important recommendations for how we can improve baseline studies and ensure that biodiversity data is shared more widely.

Congratulations to Ettore Camerlenghi on his paper in Ecology Letters. Ettore’s work has shown that superb fairy-wrens have multi-level societies (just like humans with nuclear families, extended families, broader social circles). He documented how breeding groups are nested within broader social groups, that breakdown and reform between breeding seasons.  His work has also shown that this pattern of multi-level societies is far more common in cooperative breeding birds that previously thought.

Congratulations to Mairi Hitlon, whose work evaluating different approaches to setting triggers for management action has been published in Conservation Biology. Her work shows that triggers for action are used in a wide range of disciplines and there are many methods available that could be adopted to assist conservation practitioners.

Island Conservation

Do you work in conservation on an inhabited island?  We’re conducting a survey on the experiences of island conservation practitioners to understand factors that support or inhibit effective conservation management on islands with resident human populations. We hope to identify areas where more research and support are needed, as well as areas where opportunity exists to enhance conservation outcomes in these systems.

Who can participate? We’d love to hear from anyone who has experience working in the field of conservation on a small inhabited island (i.e. islands <10,000 km2 in size).

How long will it take? The survey takes around 20 minutes and is best viewed on a computer rather than a mobile device.

I’m in! Where do I find the survey? Click on the following link to start the survey: Click here

We are interested in reaching as many different conservation practitioners as possible, so please share the link with any colleagues that you believe can contribute to this study.

If you have any questions about this survey or would like to find out more information, please contact Allie Nance, email:

We look forward to hearing from you!

New papers

Congratulations to Liza, whose work assessing the contribution of Privately Protected Areas to the Australian National Reserve System has been published in Conservation Science & Practice. Her work shows that the privately protected area system represents a wide range of biodiversity. But the small size of privately protected areas mean that the contribution they make to protection is small.

Congratulations to Erin Liddell, on the publication of her honours research evaluating how well population genetic studies consider the risks of gene pool mixing, published in Biological Conservation. Erin found that a large proportion of studies do not consider both the risks of inbreeding depression and outbreeding depression before making recommendations about how to manage gene flow among populations.


Congratulations to Allie Nance for being awarded an honourable mention for Best Graduate Student Talk at the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania conference for her talk titled: Taking invasive rodent management to greater heights. Find out more about Allie’s work here

Congratulations to Liza Ivanova on winning the best poster at the School of Biological Sciences post-graduate student conference for her poster on the complementarity between public and private protected areas in Australia. You can see her winning poster here.

New papers

Congratulations to Kelsey Roberts, whose work assessing the level of connectivity with Marine Protected Areas in Australia has been published in Conservation Biology. Her work shows that the Australian Marine Protected Area Network, is actually a series of smaller sub-networks, which need to be accounted for in planning and management. She also shows that any consideration of connectivity among MPAs should account for the life history strategy of marine species, which strongly influences the functional connectivity of MPAs.

Congratulations to Stefanie Rog, on the publication of her new rapid assessment protocol for detecting terrestrial vertebrates in mangroves. This work, published in Biodiversity and Conservation, follows on from her extensive review that demonstrated the diversity of terrestrial vertebrates that utilise mangrove habitats at low tide. Her latest work provides a protocol that will enable consistent data to be collected in order to better understand mangroves as a terrestrial vegetation community.

Congratulations to Kelsey Roberts, whose has recently published a paper in Marine Policy entitled: Evaluating perceptions of marine protection in Australia: Does policy match public expectations? This important work reveals that the public believe the marine environment is much better protected than it is in reality, with most assuming marine protected areas are no-take, while the vast majority are multi-use.

Congratulations to Erin Liddell, whose has published her research project in Wildlife Research entitled: Evaluating the use of risk-assessment frameworks in the identification of population units for biodiversity conservation. This research highlighted a significant gap in the literature assessing the genetic management of populations, with many studies failing to assess both the risks of managing populations separately as well as the risk of admixture.


Carly has been awarded the 2019 Science Faculty Award for Research Impact for her work improving the evaluation of management effectiveness in protected areas.

New paper in Science documenting the extensive loss of protection for conservation areas 

We have a paper out today in Science that highlights the extent to which governments from around the world have downgraded or removed protection from protected areas. Researchers from around the world, led by Dr Rachel Golden-Kroner of Conservation International, conducted the most comprehensive study of the ways in which the protections for biodiversity are being undermined. Together we documented over 3,700 cases where legal protection had been removed, impacting over 2 million km2.  Most of these losses were driven by industrial scale resource extraction and commercial development within protected areas.

Carly contributed data on changes that have impacted Australian protected areas, identifying over 1,500 cases that removed 13,000 km2 of protected area and reduced protection for an additional 400,000 km. In Australia, these losses reflect a shift towards the commercialisation and exploitation of conservation areas for human uses. Protected areas have been open up to commercial developments, such as hotels and marinas, and to forestry, livestock grazing, hunting and fishing.

You can read more about the global study here, and the details about change in Australia here. Along with a nice Science Perspective piece on the significance of the work by Lisa Naughton-Treves and Margaret Buck Holland available here.

Grants and Awards

Congratulations to Allie Nance on being awarded an Australia and Pacific Science Foundation Grant to further her research on Norfolk Island. Well done Allie!

Carly has been awarded an ARC DECRA Fellowship to work on “An evidence-based approach to integrate evolutionary theory in conservation”

New papers

Congratulations to Kelsey Roberts, whose has recently published a paper in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems entitled: Bio-physical models of marine environments reveal biases in the representation of protected areas. You can read it here: Pdf.

Congratulations to Kelsey Roberts, whose paper was published in Biological Conservation entitled: Measuring progress in marine protection: A new set of metrics to evaluate the strengths of marine protected area networks. You can read it here: Pdf.

Congratulations to Julie Groce, who has recently had a paper accepted in Conservation Biology entitled: Using social network research to inform natural resource management. You can read it here Pdf

PhD completion

Congratulations to Kelsey Roberts, whose PhD was awarded in 2019. Her thesis is entitled: Evaluating change in the Australian marine protected area network: Has growth in area strengthened the capacity to protect biodiversity?.

Congratulations to Dr Julie Groce, whose PhD was awarded in 2018. Her thesis is entitled: Private Land Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation: The Case of Conservation Covenants.

Congratulations to Dr Stefanie Rog, whose PhD was awarded in 2017. Her thesis is entitled “Between two worlds: The implications of existing between land and sea for the conservation of mangrove ecosystems” and has already resulted in two high quality publications.

Video of terrestrial vertebrates in Australian mangroves

Check out this short video produced by Stefanie Rog that shows you what fieldwork in mangroves is like, and what sorts of terrestrial vertebrates you can find using mangrove forests. Contact Stefanie if you want to find out more about her research.


Check out the posters created by Julie Groce and Stefanie Rog to showcase their work at the Monash School of Biological Sciences post-graduate students’ conference. Click here to see Julie’s poster. Click here to see Stefanie’s poster.

Past Grants and Awards

Congratulations to Stefanie Rog, who has been awarded a Postgraduate Publication Award. Stef was awarded her PhD in 2017. Well done Stef!

Carly has been awarded a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation to develop more a more meaningful set of indicators for measuring progress in expanding the global protected area network. This project is being conducted in collaboration with A/Prof. Melodie McGeoch (Monash University) and Dr. Mike Mascia (Conservation International).

Congratulations to Stefanie Rog, who has been awarded the Paddy Pallin Science Grant award from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment to support her research project: Conservation planning for mangrove forests and their terrestrial vertebrates. These grants will be used to support Stefanie to examine how terrestrial vertebrates use mangrove forests along the east coast of Australia.

Congratulations to Julie Groce, who has been accepted as a Wentworth Group Scholar.

Congratulations to Rebecca Valkan who has been awarded a grant from Parks Victoria as part of their Research Partners Program to support her research investigating the impacts of rabbits on endangered riparian vegetation.

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