Dr Tara Martin

Tara is the founder of the Conservation Decisions Lab. She is a senior research scientist with CSIRO, Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia. Tara is also a researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED) and National Environmental Research Program (NERP).  The focus of Tara’s research is on how to make better ecological predictions and turn these predictions into better management decisions concerning the conservation and restoration of biodiversity in a rapidly changing world. Tara is a member of the IUCN Climate Change Specialist Group and is an associate editor for Conservation Biology and Animal Conservation.

Email:  CSIRO webpage

Dr Josie Carwardine

Josie is a research scientist with CSIRO Land and Water.  Prior to this, Josie was a joint post-doctoral fellow with CSIRO and the Environmental Decisions Group, University of Queensland supervised by Tara Martin and Hugh Possingham.  Josie’s research focus is on developing methods for incorporating socio-economic data into conservation plans to maximise return on investment for the protection of biodiversity, prioritisation of threat management and understanding the implications of a carbon economy.

Email:   Webpage

Post-doctoral Fellows

Dr Tyler Flockhart

Tyler is a former PhD student and now Liber Ero Post-doc Fellowship holder continuing his ground-breaking work ‘Developing optimal conservation plans for migratory monarch butterflies’

Primary mentor institutions: University of Guelph (Dr. Ryan Norris), CSIRO (Dr. Tara Martin), University of Queensland (Dr. Richard Fuller), David Suzuki Foundation (Dr. Faisal Moola), WWF-Canada (Dr. Robert Rangeley)
Summary: Migratory animals make up a large proportion of biodiversity in Canada and globally but multiple pressures across their migratory pathways threaten their future. Monarch butterflies are perhaps the best-known migratory insect in the world because of their unique annual migrations from their breeding grounds in Canada and the United States to their wintering grounds in Mexico. In the last 20 years, monarch butterflies have declined by more than 95% but addressing this immediate conservation crisis is a complex, shared responsibility amongst the aforementioned countries. How then should we best invest our conservation resources both within Canada and internationally and what type of population response should we expect? I propose to address these questions using i) year-round population dynamics to inform decision models to sequentially allocate scarce conservation resources across the annual cycle; and ii) targeted experiments and linear optimization to determine the tradeoff between investing resources to increase breeding habitat quantity or improve habitat quality at the minimal cost. This analysis will set a benchmark outlining the dynamic links between global change, population dynamics, and conservation decision-making for migratory animals.

Email:   Webpage

Dr Anna Renwick

Anna2Anna is a post-doctoral fellow in the Environmental Decisions Group, University of Queensland and is a researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and National Environmental Research Program (NERP), supervised by Hugh Possingham and Tara Martin. Anna’s research focuses on looking at the trade-offs and synergies in ecosystem services and how to maximise both biodiversity and social livelihoods. Her current project focuses on ecosystem services, biodiversity and co-benefits for indigenous people within the carbon farming initiative.


Dr Sam Nicol

Sam is a joint postdoctoral fellow with CSIRO and the Environmental Decisions Group and a researcher in the ARC Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions group (CEED). Sam uses mathematical optimization tools (particularly Markov Decision Processes and stochastic dynamic programming) to figure out the best way to manage resources over time to achieve a conservation goal.  His current project is looking at how to optimally manage a dynamic network of conservation resources.


Dr Rocio Ponce-Reyes


Rocio is a conservation scientist with a broad set of interests and skills seeking opportunities to make an effective contribution to biodiversity conservation — influencing policy and decision making— through high quality research.
Rocio is currently developing a priority threat management strategy for the Brigalow belt region of Queensland.
Email: Webpage

PhD Students

Megan Evans

Megan EvansMegan is a PhD candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society  under the supervision of Karen Hussey, Phil Gibbons, Stuart Whitten and Tara Martin. Her PhD aims to examine the role of economic policy instruments in biodiversity conservation and natural resource management, with a particular focus on biodiversity and carbon offsets.

Email:   Webpage

Jenny  Silcock

Jenny is a PhD student at the University of Queensland supervised by Rod Fensham and Tara Martin. Jenny is assessing the causes of rarity and threat in the arid zone flora, Western Queensland. This involves surveys across the Channel Country, Mulga Lands and Mitchell Grass Downs, focussing on the Grey Range around Yaraka and Quilpie. Above all, Jenny enjoys wandering around in the desert looking at plants and pondering the myriad mysteries of inland ecology.


Fei Ng

Fei is a PhD student at the University of Queensland supervised by Jonathan Rhodes, Hugh Possingham, Michael McCarthy and Tara Martin. Fei is examining questions around optimal monitoring and optimal resource allocation. In particular she’s looking at how we should trade-off allocating resources between monitoring (learning) and taking a conservation action.  She is applying these questions to the management of species threatened by climate change and to the conservation of threatened Koala populations.


Abbey Camaclang

Abbey started her PhD studies at the University of Queensland in January 2012, and is supervised by Hugh Possingham and Tara Martin. She is interested in addressing some of the current challenges in identifying and protecting critical habitats for threatened and endangered species. In particular, Abbey will examine the different approaches currently used to identify critical habitats, and explore how biological and ecological factors can be incorporated along with socio-economic considerations into a decision framework to aid in more timely and cost-effective critical habitat designations.


Past lab members

Dr Eve McDonald-Madden

Eve worked jointly as a post-doctoral fellow with CSIRO and University of Queensland, supervised by Tara Martin and Hugh Possingham.  Eve is now an ARCresearch fellow at the University of Queensland.

Email:  Webpage

Dr Richard Schuster

Richard successfully defended his PhD in 2014 at the University of British Columbia supervised by Peter Arcese and Tara Martin. He examined old growth forest restoration and strategic reserve design in the Coastal Douglas Fir Biogeoclimatic zone (CDF) of South-eastern Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands.  Among his PhD papers was an examination of carbon offsets as a viable conservation tool in the Pacific Northwest.

Email:   Webpage

Dr Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle

Chrystal successfully defended her PhD at the University of Queensland in 2013 supervised by Jonathan Rhodes and Tara Martin. Chrystal’s PhD examined the combined effects of climate change, habitat loss and other drivers of land-use change on biodiversity. Chrystal is now a post-doc at the University of Saskatchewan

Email:   Webpage

Dr Yvonne Buckley

Yvonne worked jointly with the Environmental Decisions Group, University of Queensland and CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems. She is now a Professor at Trinity College, Dublin.  Yvonne and her lab seek to understand the fundamental drivers of animal and plant population processes in a rapidly changing world.

Email:    Webpage

Dr Paul Caplat

Paul was a post-doctoral fellow with CSIRO supervised by Yvonne Buckley. Paul develops modelling approaches to understand and help control the spread of invasive trees in New-Zealand and Australia. His current projects are prioritising actions to control the spread of Pinus nigra in New-Zealand mountains, combining mechanistic models of dispersal into spread models of invasive plants and understanding the role of spatial and temporal variability in plant communities.  Paul is now at Lund University, Sweden.

Dr Pia Lentini

Pia successfully defended her  PhD at Australia National University in 2013 supervised by Joern Fischer, Phil Gibbons and Tara Martin.  She recently joined the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group at the University of Melbourne as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow.  Her PhD papers included:



Dr Ayesha Tulloch

Ayesha koalaAyesha successfully defended her PhD  at the University of Queensland in 2014 supervised by Kerrie Wilson, Hugh Possingham and Tara Martin. Ayesha’s research focused on integrating disciplinary perspectives (economic, social, and environmental) to evaluate approaches for prioritising conservation investments in multiple stakeholder landscapes.  Amongst her PhD papers were:

Email:   Webpage

Dr Richard Fuller

RichRich worked jointly with with the Environmental Decisions Group, University of Queensland and CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences. He now works at the University of Queensland.  Rich and his students are interested in how people have affected the natural world around them, and how some of their destructive effects can best be reversed. He is also keen to understand whether and how people can benefit positively from experiences of biodiversity.

Email:     Webpage

Dr Iadine Chades

IadineIadine continues to work as a research scientist with CSIRO and holds a doctorate in Artificial Intelligence (AI). She also maintains a permanent research scientist position with the French National Institute of Agronomy (INRA). Iadine develops and applies new methods to optimally manage invasive and endangered species using her expertise from artificial intelligence and ecology.

Email:    Webpage

Dr Jean-Baptiste Pichancourt

Jean-Baptiste is a former post-doctoral fellow with CSIRO supervised by Tara Martin. JB is interested in understanding the biology of species, their interactions, services and management in rural areas. He combines complex matrix population models with optimisation algorithms to determine the effective management strategies for invasive pest populations. He is also developing predictive models to inform carbon and biodiversity plantings.

Email:  Webpage

Belinda Walters

Belinda is a Research Support Officer with CSIRO and provides technical support for research in the Ecology Group. Her current activities include invertebrate biodiversity and taxonomy, plant measurements, soil sampling and plant, soil analyses, field-based research of invertebrate pests, soil ecology and research into nematode biology, and database management.

Email:   Webpage


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