Click on each person’s profile to find out more about them and their research!
Professor Barry Brook– ARC Australian Laureate Fellow
Barry is an eco-evolutionary biologist and modeller. He is an ARC Australian Laureate Professor and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. A highly cited scientist, he has published five books, over 300 refereed papers, and many popular articles. His awards include the 2006 Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal, the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year and 2013 Scopus Researcher of the Year. His research focuses on the impacts of global change on biodiversity, ecological dynamics, forest ecology, paleoenvironments, energy, and simulation models.
Jessie Buettel– Research Director of D.E.E.P
Jessie is researching the ecological and human processes that shape Australia’s tall eucalypt forests. “On the forest floor—where most people might notice only sticks, logs and woody debris—I am doing fieldwork and using models to discover how the now-fallen corpses of once-magnificent trees continue to exert a powerful influence on the living forest.”
Emily Flies – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Emily’s past research has used field, laboratory, spatial and statistical analyses to understand patterns of disease in humans and animals. Her DEEP work uses similar techniques to reveal the impact of human civilization on human and environmental health. She hopes her DEEP lab work can inform policies and practices that lead to a healthier and more sustainable world. Outside of work, she manages her science engagement non-profit and loves running, especially after her two young boys.
Luke Yates – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Luke’s background is in mathematical physics, where he has worked previously to develop novel mathematical structures that explore new theories of physics beyond the standard model. In the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, he is excited to have joined the DEEP lab where he is analysing data and developing models related to forest ecosystems and ecological dynamics.
Matt McDowell – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Matt’s research interests include the paleontology, palaeoecology, taxonomy, sedimentology and geochemistry of Australian fossil accumulations. He also collaborates with microbiologists to investigate ancient DNA preserved in fossils of both extant and extinct species. Matt is also interested in pre-European small mammal biogeography and what it can reveal about the impacts that European colonisation had on modern Australian ecosystems. Matt is a post-doc of the DEEP team who is funded through the UTas CABAH node, and will be researching the impacts that Aborigines, megafaunal extinction and Europeans have had on Australia’s biodiversity.
Rebecca Wheatley – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Bec’s research background is in animal behaviour and performance, biomechanics, and ecological modelling. Her past research has identified optimal behaviours in a bunch of different critters, including fighting strategy in invasive geckos, predator escape behaviours in quolls and antechinus, and serve strategies for professional tennis players. Bec is excited to expand her research into plants and will be working within the DEEP group to model interactions between large herbivores and vegetation and how these interplay with the effects of fire in both Australian landscapes and worldwide.
Stefania Ondei – Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Stefania’s love for plants brought her from the wetlands of the Italian Alps straight to the beautiful and remote north Kimberley. Working closely with Aboriginal people, she investigated the impact of fire and climate change on the small rainforests found in that astonishing part of Australia. She is now working on a project focused on changes in land use at a local and global scale, with the aim to improve our capacity to protect biodiversity in a fast-changing world.
Kasirat Turfi Kasfi – Software Developer
Kasirat is a UTAS graduate in IT who has worked on software development, and has mostly applied herself in the field of machine learning/deep learning. She wants to progress her career in the field of data science especially in predictive analysis. Kasirat will be working within the DEEP group to develop machine learning/deep learning models; which will be applied on a vast number of wildlife image and audio files in order to recognise and classify different animal species. In her spare time, Kasirat likes reading fiction, especially fantasy and adventure novels, and playing online multi-player games.
Linus Blomqvist – Visiting Researcher
Linus is Director of the Conservation Program at the California-based think tank The Breakthrough Institute and is spending the next nine months as a visiting researcher with the D.E.E.P. research group. Linus’s main interest is in how societies can decouple their environmental impacts from economic growth. He is particularly interested in the relationship between agriculture and conservation, and has co-authored peer-reviewed articles on livestock systems and food demand, as well as long-form essays on farmland biodiversity and cropland expansion.
Tessa Smith – Research Assistant
Tessa Smith has been working as a Research Assistant at the University of Tasmania node of CABAH from October 2017 onwards. Before coming to Tasmania she completed her Honours at Deakin University studying ‘The consequences of marine-derived avian nutrient input into island ecosystems: Palaeoecological insights from Rimatara, French Polynesia” with Dr. Nicholas Porch. Tessa is enthusiastic about natural history and palaeoecology including plant science, entomology and geology- pretty much the worst person for going hiking with if you don’t want to be constantly stopping and looking at things.
Heather Bryan – Research Assistant
Heather began working as a Research Assistant for the D.E.E.P lab group in April 2019, after completing her Honours project with the group in 2018. Alongside Elise Ringwaldt, she manages media relations and administration for the group. Heather’s honours research focussed on forecasting snow skink responses to climate change and she is concurrently working on getting the alarming results published. Her research interests centre mostly on contemporary and future threats to biodiversity and she is particularly interested in ecological responses to land-use and climate change. Heather’s survey, research and work experience span terrestrial and marine herpetofauna, birds, mammals and butterflies, predominantly in Tasmania and Neotropical rainforests.
Cristian Montalvo Mancheno – Ph.D candidate
Cristian came all the way from Ecuador to join our research group. He had worked in the Galapagos islands as a volunteer for Conservation International. His research interest focuses on the impact of global environmental change – specifically land-use and land cover change – on biodiversity, ecosystem functioning and the services they provide. He’s also interested in the integration of coupled human-nature system perspective and systematic conservation planning, and the long-distance environmental and socio-economic interactions among current land systems (i.e. telecoupling).
Lucile Lévêque – Ph.D candidate
Lucile’s academic background is in ecology and conservation biology. After 10 months of volunteering and bird-watching throughout New Zealand, she joined the DEEP group in 2017 to pursue her interests in wildlife threatening processes. Her PhD research is focussing on the determinants of extinction risk in rails (a family of ground-dwelling birds), using past and current patterns of vulnerability to forecast, protect and prevent biodiversity loss.
Matthew Fielding – PhD Candidate
Matt has been with the DEEP group since mid-2016. During this time, he has completed his Honours degree and was employed as a Research Assistant within the UTAS node of CABAH. A self-confessed “bird nerd”, he is passionate about bird conservation and is particularly interested in how humans impact bird communities. He recently commenced his PhD candidature with the group in which he will be studying the birds of the Bass Strait islands. -profile
Shane Morris – Ph.D candidate
Shane’s past research has focused on the population dynamics of small mammals in places as different as Ireland and Malaysian Borneo! At the D.E.E.P lab his interest has evolved to encompass translocations, or human-mediated range changes, particularly the potential of conservation translocations in combating our current and future rate of species loss. “My old lecturer used to say that he’s pretty sure I’m the only person who can claim to have been a factory worker in Ireland, a cocktail bartender in New York, a street food chef in London, and an ecological researcher in Borneo”
Tom Keen – Ph.D candidate
Tom is a PhD student who is passionate about ecology, natural history, and the environment, with his research focused on the interface between productive human land uses (especially agriculture) and biodiversity conservation, and the impacts and trade-offs therein.
Tristan Derham – Ph.D candidate
Tristan has a varied professional history, having worked in mining, government and environmental consulting roles before finally surrendering to his destiny and entering academia. His interests lie at the nexus of philosophy, ecology and the relationship between people and the environment. The starting place for Tristan’s inquiry is a topic that draws on all three: the philosophy of rewilding.
Vishesh Leon Diengdoh – Ph.D candidate
Leon’s academic background is in ecology and environmental sciences. After his master’s Leon worked on a United Nations Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), which was basically ‘growing money on trees’. After which he worked within a space application centre, developing a forest management plan. As part of his PhD within the DEEP group, he is working on the distribution of different pollinator groups within different landscapes of the Tasman Peninsula, Tasmania.
Elise Ringwaldt – Ph.D Candidate / Research Assistant
Elise has a background in spatial and disease ecology, recently starting her PhD investigating the influence of land-use change on disease susceptibility and community composition in Tasmanian fauna. She has diverse interests, and has an integral role in helping to coordinate all of the group’s projects and management of personnel. She also contributes greatly to the vibrant culture of the group – she is the glue that binds the D.E.E.P lab together!
Carley Fuller – Ph.D candidate
Carley’s background is in agronomy and environmental policy, and she is interested in global change ecology and contributing to evidence-based solutions for achieving biodiversity conservation and social justice goals.
Alexandra Paton – Honours Student
Alex is a UTAS graduate interested in anthropogenic ecological impacts and adaptive management strategies in wildlife conservation. Her honours project is focused on exploring non-invasive survey techniques for large vertebrates and the differences in information these methods may yield. Previously, Alex has been involved in reviewing harmful algal bloom literature, assessing the potential ecological impacts of the release of cyprinid herpesvirus 3 in Australia, and the chasing of ibis and spoonbills in rural Australia’s wetlands.
Gabriella Allegretto – Honours Student
Gabby is from Adelaide, where she completed a Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Pharmacology. She also studied Public Health at Griffith University. Since then, she has been fascinated with the relationship between the environment and human health. The aim of her honours project is to understand how to maximise the restorative value of urban green spaces. This will involve observing how people interact with the environment, understanding their perceptions of the environment and measuring biodiversity. Previously, at the University of Adelaide, Gabby was responsible for conducting a research project looking at how insects can be used as bio-indicators of chemical differences in dioecious plants.
Molly Barlow – Honours Student
Molly is a graduate of the University of New England in Armidale, NSW and is conducting her honours project under the supervision of Matt McDowell, co-supervised by Rob Brewster, the director of Rewilding Australia. Her project involves analysing the islands in the Bass Strait in search of suitable locations to potentially translocate and establish populations of Eastern Quolls (Dasyurus viverrinus). Molly also loves travelling and is looking forward to exploring more of Tasmania during the upcoming year!
Peter Vaughan – Honours Student
An avid ornithological enthusiast and twitcher, Peter holds a Bachelor’s Degree from UTAS. His research interests include avian behaviour, ecology, and conservation, particularly in the genera Pterodroma and Amytornis. This is reflected in his Honours project, which is investigating environmental parameters impacting habitat suitability for Procellariiforme seabirds off the southeastern Australian coast, with a view to understanding how anthropogenic climate change may be affecting habitat utilisation by these species. Peter has also worked in research on growth dominance in Callitris glaucophylla and population monitoring of Tasmanian shorebirds and passerines, as well as contributed images to a number of Tasmanian ornithological works and initiatives.