Javiera Olivares Rojas

Javiera is a PhD candidate working on how we can improve the effectiveness and efficiencies of different decision support frameworks to manage threatened biodiversity. She aims to evaluate the complementarities and trade-offs of focusing conservation management on a single-species approach, an ecosystem approach, or the use of surrogate species such as umbrella species; assess the feasibility to delist threatened ecological communities by restoring their geographic distribution; and by formally incorporating the use of scientific evidence into decision support tools, more specifically the theory of change framework.

Javiera completed her BSc (Hons) in 2017 at the University of Chile, analysing the seasonal variations of GHG fluxes from organic soils in the south of Chile, and assessing the applicability of a mechanistic model to simulate these fluxes. Her interests focus on conservation management, ecological restoration, and how scientific knowledge can help make better decisions for public policies in natural resources management and climate change matters, leading to sustainable development.

If you would like to know more about Javiera’s research you can email her at:

Ielyzaveta (Liza) Ivanova

Liza is a PhD candidate working on assessing the persistence of mammals across Australian protected areas. Working with Carly and Dr. Hayley Clements, she hopes to analyse how viable mammalian populations are in the long term across both public and private protected areas, and how the lands immediately surrounding such areas may impact on the populations within. Australia is internationally recognised as a mega-diverse country, with a very high level of endemism across its mammals, among other taxa. Therefore, it is crucial to halt further species extinctions by identifying and securing habitat where populations are able to persist.

Liza completed her BSc (Hons) in 2017 at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, investigating the spread of the invasive rose-ringed parakeet in Gauteng province and its impacts on the native birds of the region. Her interests lie in terrestrial mammals and birds, and in investigating their livelihoods both across protected lands as well as in urban spaces. She believes that biodiversity protection requires collective effort from all stakeholders, and is excited to contribute to the science-based knowledge needed to allow for informed conservation decisions.

Ettore Camerlenghi 

Ettore is a PhD candidate interested in how both the intrinsic (e.g. group composition, individuals’ phenotypes, species life history ) and extrinsic (e.g. habitat quality, predation risk) ecological features of a population can affect the social structure of animal societies. Working with Carly and Dr. Anne Peters, he is studying the Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus), a cooperative breeding bird, as a model species at Lysterfield park. During his research he will adopt social network analysis as a tool to answer specific questions about the social structure of this species in the wild.

Ettore’s interest in the social networks of birds developed during his Master in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Padova, Italy. There he investigated anti-predator behaviours and alarm calling in understorey mixed species flock of passerines in the Peruvian Amazon, and the effects of environmental conditions on social networks of song birds in the wild, in Max Planck for Ornithology, Germany. He also writes about environmental and scientific issues for the Italian magazine MicroMega.

If you would like to know more about Ettore’s research you can visit his ResearchGate profile or email him at:

Mairi Hilton

Mairi is a PhD candidate working on linking monitoring data to conservation management through triggers for action. Working alongside managers of conservation organisations, primarily the Department of Conservation in New Zealand, she will develop and test methods to set robust decision triggers for conservation action. Decision triggers are a point in an ecological system that if crossed, triggers a management response. Many endangered species and systems are monitored without a clear plan of what to do if things go wrong, and her project hopes to address this discrepancy between monitoring and action.

Mairi completed an MRes in Ecology at the University of Glasgow, where she worked alongside the Scottish Forestry Commission to implement a novel approach to species distribution modelling to understand the habitat preferences of the capercaillie. Her interests lie in spatial and statistical ecology, and in how scientists can work alongside conservation practitioners to improve conservation actions.

If you would like to know more about Mairi’s research you can email her at:

Allie Nance

Allie is a PhD candidate at Monash University exploring the challenges of conservation management unique to small, inhabited islands, focusing on the threatening processes faced by novel forest birds on Norfolk Island.

Allie is an ecologist with a passion for working to improve human-altered and human-affected systems. She has worked in a diversity of areas, from restoration of Western Australian woodlands through plant-soil interactions, to the classical biological control of a fruit fly pest in California. Her time spent in California nurtured her interest in socio-ecological studies, shifting her focus to conservation management of endangered species in human-occupied systems.

Throughout her PhD candidature under the supervision of Dr Rohan Clarke and Dr Carly Cook, she will identify and measure the threats currently facing five endemic perching bird species of Norfolk Island. Concurrently, she will be researching and developing a conservation tool specifically for conservation management of small islands with substantial human populations. By combining ecological and theoretical research and employing sociological methodology, Allie endeavours to improve conservation outcomes for the unique island ecosystems of the world.

If you would like to know more about Allie’s research you can email her at:


Dr Julie Groce

DSCF3573-edit2Julie’s PhD research focused on evaluating the success of private land conservation initiatives, such as conservation covenants, at supporting landholders to effectively manage their properties.

Julie has worked in the field of wildlife conservation and management since 2001, with a focus on endangered species, ornithology, and environmental policy in the United States. As a wildlife researcher with government agencies, universities, and non-governmental organizations, she assessed the population status of and impacts to threatened and endangered species. Julie’s appreciation of the social aspects of wildlife conservation expanded during her years working in Texas.

Through her PhD at Monash University, she sought to better understand socio-ecological systems within the context of private land conservation initiatives, with the aim of improving conservation efforts. Her research will examine the management and monitoring that occurs on covenanted properties, and how programs support landholders in these on-going activities to achieve conservation outcomes over the long-term.

If you would like to know more about Julie’s research you can visit her personal website, her profiles on LinkedIn and ResearchGate, or email her at:

Dr Kelsey Roberts

Kelsey_website_picKelsey’s PhD focused on tracking the effectiveness of the Australian marine protected area network over time. Marine protected areas are regarded as the best strategy for marine biodiversity conservation. The Australian marine protected area network is one of the largest in the world, but is currently under review by the Australian government, highlighting the importance of building a better understand the current value of the network and how it performs. Kelsey’s research explored whether the rapid growth of marine protected areas in Australia has increased the capacity of the network to protect biodiversity from key threats. Her interest in marine science developed while completing her Masters on sea turtle behaviour in Florida. She is interested in novel ways to protect ocean ecosystems from harmful anthropogenic impacts. She also works part time at Melbourne Sealife Aquarium, educating the public on the harmful effects of plastic pollution and how vending machines are more dangerous than sharks.

To find out more about Kelsey’s research and read her recent papers you can visit her website or email her at:

Dr Stefanie Rog

Stefanie carly website 1Stefanie is from the Netherlands where she completed her BSc in Wildlife Management and her MSc in Ecology. She worked for the Dutch Ministry of Water management for five years as a project leader of the biological monitoring after which she started a new adventure in Australia as a PhD student.

Her PhD research focused on mangrove conservation and their importance for terrestrial vertebrates. Well justified concerns about the rapid decline of mangrove forests have focused on their value as marine environments. This marine focus may explain why their value as terrestrial habitat for vertebrates remains one of the most poorly studied aspects of this ecosystem. Our poor understanding of the relationships between these species and mangroves make it likely that there is a corresponding gap in the conservation management of these habitats. Using literature reviews (read her latest papers here), spatial analyses, management evaluations and rapid field assessments she revealed insights into the conservation and management of these forests and their terrestrial biodiversity.

Below is a short video about her fieldwork along the East Coast of Australia:

Stefanie’s interests lie in bringing more attention to understudied ecosystems and taxa and improving conservation efforts for cross realm habitats. She also has a secret crush on creepy crawlers, is a big fitness fan and is developing an incurable love for Melbournian coffee.

If you would like to know more about Stefanie’s research you can visit her website. Or email her at:

Dr Hayley Clements

Hayley was photo_clementsa postdoctoral research fellow in the lab assessing the effectiveness of Australia’s protected area network. National and international conservation targets tend to be based on simplistic metrics such as the percentage of land area protected, or the number of endangered species/habitats conserved. These metrics tell us little about the effectiveness of protected areas in conserving ecological processes, such as viable population dynamics. We also have little understanding of the extent to which multiple protected areas comprise networks that effectively conserve evolutionary processes, such as gene flow. This project aimed to shift how we measure the success of national and continental protected area networks, from simple pattern-orientated metrics to those that account for multi-scale ecological and evolutionary processes.

Hayley comes from South Africa, where she obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town in 2016. While running a wildlife research programme on a privately owned protected area in South Africa, Hayley became interested in the role that private land can play in conservation. Her PhD research, supervised by Prof Graeme Cumming, was therefore focused on assessing the likely long-term financial and ecological sustainability of private protected areas. Hayley’s MSc research developed a framework and modelling tool for managing large predators on small protected areas. Hayley is interested in protected area effectiveness, natural resource management, social-ecological systems, and large predator ecology.

For more information on Hayley’s research, please visit her profile on ResearchGate and LinkedIn, or email her at

Erin Liddell

Erin is an honours student exploring how conservation genetics is used to inform decisions about when to use genetic admixture as a tool to manage threatened species. Her research will explore the ways in which relevant studies consider the risks of actively managing gene flow, and the recommendations they make to managers.

Clare Bracey

Clare is an honours student exploring whether reptile assemblages return to areas that have been revegetated. She will survey reptiles species richness and abundance in box iron-bark revegetation sites of different ages and compare this to remnant vegetation in the area.

Clara Heiligenberg

Clara was an honours student researching the behaviour of the Superb Fairy wren. She investigated how the social networks and habitat use of this cooperative breeding species changed between the breeding and non-breeding seasons.

Rebecca Valkan

Rebecca completed her honours research in 2014 where she measured the impacts of invasive European rabbits on endangered riparian vegetation. To find out more you can visit her profile on LinkedIn.

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