Matt Fielding



I have been a member of the D.E.E.P lab since mid-2016. My early work within the group involved completing an undergraduate research project. In this unit, I investigated the effect of road kill on forest raven population density. I continued this research when I received a Deans Summer Research Scholarship over the summer of 2016/2017. In 2017, I completed my Honours degree, in which I examined the response of forest ravens to land-use change and how the species interacts with small woodland passerines. At the conclusion of my honours degree, I began working as a Research Assistant for the D.E.E.P group within the UTAS node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH).

Research within D.E.E.P:

2016 – Third Year Project & Deans Summer Research Scholarship – Is forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus) population density augmented by the availability of roadkill carcasses in Tasmania?

This project examined the spatial distribution of forest raven (Corvus tasmanicus) populations in Tasmania and investigated the potential augmentation of these populations by increases in roadkill density. I completed the data collection stage of the study in conjunction with fellow D.E.E.P member, Hanh Nguyen, who was examining roadkill density, which allowed me to investigate the relationship between roadkill density and forest raven occurrence more closely. The data collected within this project was used for the analysis within my honours research.


Forest Raven (Photo: Alan Fletcher 2012)

2017 – Honours Project – Response of opportunistic predatory birds to land-use change with implications for avian prey species

SupervisorsBarry Brook, Jessie Buettel

Increased land-use change and future climatic shifts could supplement populations of opportunistic predatory birds, such as corvids, resulting in amplified predation pressure and knock-on effects on the productivity and abundance of other avian species. Within this study, I investigated whether forest ravens (Corvus tasmanicus) are more likely to be observed in modified landscapes and in areas of higher roadkill density, by documenting the location of forest ravens and roadkill along roadsides in south-eastern Tasmania. Additionally, I examined the effect that medium-sized synanthropic avian predators have on other birds, via a series of bird-community surveys. These surveys were done along roadsides to investigate the effects that land-use type and raven population density might have on the presence of avian prey species. Analysis techniques, based on species distribution models and generalised linear models, were used to assess the habitat and population dynamics of these synanthropic species. This research is currently in preparation for publication.

2018 – Research Assistant (D.E.E.P & CABAH)

I began working as a research assistant for the D.E.E.P group within the UTAS node of CABAH at the beginning of 2018. Within this role, I will be using historical data in combination with modelling techniques to investigate bird extinctions within Australia over the last 130,000 years. These extinct species include the large flightless bird Genyornis newtoni, the giant malleefowls, and the dwarf emus of King Island, Kangaroo Island and Tasmania.


Genyornis newtoni (Anne Musser, Australian Museum)