The ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH)


The ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) was launched in June, 2017. Members of the DEEP Group at the University of Tasmania will undertake research, across a seven year period, in collaboration with 20 institutions and museums around the world.

Who are we?


ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Barry Brook and CABAH Chief Investigators Professor Chris Johnson

ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Barry Brook

Barry Brook is a conservation biologist and modeller, the leader of the Dynamics of Eco-evolutionary Patterns (DEEP) research group and the UTAS node of CABAH, Barry is a highly cited scientist, having published three books, over 350 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. He focuses on global change biology, ecological dynamics, paleoenvironments, energy systems, and statistical-simulation models.

Professor Chris Johnson

Working alongside Professor Barry Brook at the University of Tasmania is Professor Chris Johnson.

Professor Johnson is the CABAH Wildlife team leader, an ecologist and conservation biologist, and an expert on mammals. His research investigates many problems that are relevant to the conservation of biodiversity, in four main themes:

(i) the causes of extinction of species in prehistory and the recent past;

(ii) the effects on ecosystems of top predators and large herbivores, and the ecological consequences of loss of such species;

(iii) the environmental history of Australia; and

(iv) the management of threatened and invasive species of wildlife.

By studying the past, and monitoring the present, Chris seeks to develop a deep understanding of the intricacies of our ecosystem, with a goal to maintain, or in many cases reset, the balance. Professor Johnson has written more than 140 scientific papers and a book on many aspects of the ecology and conservation of wildlife, and received awards including the Eureka Prize for Environmental Research and the Australian Ecology Research Award.


CABAH postdoctoral fellows Dr. Jessie Buettel (also DEEP Group Research Director) and Dr. Matthew McDowell

Dr. Jessie Buettel and Dr. Matthew McDowell

Jessie and Matthew are postdoctoral fellows at the UTas node of CABAH. Jessie is also the Research Director of the DEEP Group. Jessie’s PhD thesis was entitled ‘Tall Eucalyptus forests of Australia: Structure, pattern and process’. She will use the ecological modelling knowledge she has gained studying forests and apply it to other organisms like the Megafauna. Matthew has recently joined the group from Flinders University where he completed his PhD thesis focused on the effects of climate change and isolation on the fauna of Kangaroo Island over the last 130,000 years, a time during which sea-level rose ~125 m, isolating the island from the mainland. Matt’s research focusses on the palaeontology and palaeoecology of late Quaternary Australian native vertebrates (especially small marsupials and rodents).


CABAH PhD candidate Tristan Derham

Tristan Derham

Tristan is a PhD candidate at the University of Tasmania. Tristan’s project is entitled ‘The Philosophy of Rewilding’ and is supervised by Professor. Barry Brook, Professor. Chris Johnson, Professor Freya Mathews (La Trobe) and Professor Jeff Malpas.


CABAH Research Assistants Tessa Smith, Susan Rule and Matthew Fielding

Tessa Smith, Susan Rule and Matthew Fielding

Tessa and Susan are Research Assistants at the University of Tasmania. Susan is based at the Australian National University in Canberra and works with Professor Simon Haberle. Since starting work for CABAH she has been involved in palaeoecological fieldwork at Lake George in New South Wales where she is processing pollen, charcoal and fungi samples. Tessa is based in Hobart and assists the other node members in organising meetings, research, fieldwork, financial management and by providing an endless supply of insect facts. Tessa has joined the node from Melbourne where she worked on a range of topics including urban ecology, palaeoecology and biocontrol. Matthew has recently finished his honours project entitled ‘Response of opportunistic predatory birds to land-use change with implications for avian prey species’ supervised by Professor Barry Brook and Dr. Jessie Buettel. Matthew will start his PhD in 2018 with CABAH at the University of Tasmania and will use historical data in combination with modelling techniques to investigate bird extinctions within Australia over the last 130,000 years.

Our Collaborators

As Chief Investigators in CABAH, Prof Brook, Prof Chris Johnson and the DEEP group will collaborate with a range of researchers from seven other University nodes and associate organisations around Australia, as well as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

Some of these include:


CABAH Collaborators Corey Bradshaw, Frédérik Saltré, Brit Asmussen, Simon Haberle and Chris Turney

The group will also collaborate with Professor David Bowman and Associate Professor Menna Jones (University of Tasmania), Associate Professor John Alroy (Macquarie University) and Professor Richard Duncan (University of Canberra).

In Tasmania the group is working with DPIPWE, TMAG, QVMAG, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Bookend Trust.


CABAH Collaborators the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG)


CABAH collaborators the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Bookend Trust and Tasmanian Land Conservancy.