Dr Ann Jones, ABC Radio

Ann Jones grew up in country Victoria, the youngest of a family of birdwatchers and keen picnickers.

She’s taken the long way round to broadcasting about nature, first completing a PhD in History and bird-watching on the way to the library, then making the career jump and spending years presenting live radio for the ABC throughout regional Australia.

Almost 5 years ago, she took up the role of presenter and producer of Off Track – the ABC’s only permanent natural history offering, and since then has been broadcasting to millions across the ABC, BBC, CBC and Radio Australia.

Keynote presentation: Monday 26 November

Chasing David: the nature of broadcasting in Australia

Dr Justine Shaw, The University of Queensland

Justine Shaw is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science, The University of Queensland. She leads a research project with the National Environmental Science Programme, Threatened Species Recovery Hub (UQ). Her research focus is on the conservation of threatened species, island ecosystems and terrestrial Antarctica. Her current research investigates interactions between indigenous and non-native species, the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic ecosystems.

Justine obtained her PhD in plant ecology from the University of Tasmania (2005). She undertook a postdoctoral fellowship (2007-2010) at the NRF-DST Centre for Excellence for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University (South Africa) researching invasion dynamics of sub-Antarctic islands. She has worked for state and federal government as conservation biologist. In 2012 she commenced a postdoctoral fellowship with the ARC Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions, UQ. She has been undertaking field work in the sub-Antarctic for 20 years. She has lead research expeditions to remote islands, such as South Georgia and Macquarie Island.

Justine is an advocate for gender equity in science. She is a committee member of the Australian Academy of Science’s Early Mid Career Executive Forum. She is a co-founder of Homeward Bound – a global leadership program for women scientists. She has co-lead two voyages of 80 women to Antarctica. She is a co-founder of Women in Polar Science- a virtual network to inform and connect women in polar research.

Follow Justine on Twitter: @justine_d_shaw

Keynote presentation: Tuesday 27 November

Ecological interactions: the dynamics of invasion, time and dodgy old data

Dr Anne Chao, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

Google Scholar
Research Gate

Anne Chao received her BS in mathematics from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, in 1973, and her PhD in statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. Since 1978, she has been with the Institute of Statistics, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, where she is currently a Tsing Hua Distinguished Chair Professor. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and held a Taiwan National Chair Professorship from 2005-2008. Chao has long been fascinated with mathematical and statistical issues arising in ecology and related sciences; her major research interests include ecological statistics, statistical inferences of biodiversity measures, and statistical analysis of ecological and environmental survey data. She and her collaborators have published more than 130 papers with citations > 18000 in Google Scholar. Their papers have (i) developed several biodiversity measures/estimators including Chao1, Chao2, ACE, and ICE for species richness, as well as some novel methods to infer entropy, diversity and related similarity/differentiation measures, (ii) established a unified mathematical/statistical framework for taxonomic, phylogenetic and functional diversities, and (iii) generalized the classic sample-size-based rarefaction method to sample-coverage-based rarefaction and extrapolation, to standardize biodiversity samples. To implement their methodologies, Chao and her colleagues/students have also developed statistical software including CARE (CApture-REcapture), SPADE (Species Prediction And Diversity Estimation), iNEXT (iNterpolation/EXTrapolation), and PhD (Phylogenetic Diversity). For the past 20 years, Chao served in the editorial boards of four major statistical journals, and currently serves as an Associate Editor for Methods in Ecology and Evolution.

Keynote presentation: Wednesday 28 November

Rarefaction and extrapolation: Standardizing samples to make fair comparisons of biodiversity among multiple assemblages

Bradley Moggridge, Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra

I am a proud Murri from the Kamilaroi Nation (North-West NSW), and I grew up in Western Sydney on Darug land and now live in Canberra on Ngunnawal land. I am currently a PhD Candidate (full-time) at the University of Canberra’s Institute for Applied Ecology, hoping to give Aboriginal people a water voice. I am also part-time Indigenous Liaison Officer for Threatened Species Recovery Hub under NESP and Special Advisor First Peoples Water with Water Stewardship Australia.  My qualifications include – Master of Science (Hydrogeology and Groundwater Management) from UTS and Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) from ACU. In 2017 I was awarded by ACU the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alumni Award. Previously to the PhD I was employed by NSW DPI Water as the Team Leader Aboriginal Water Initiative (AWI) and was honored to lead the then only dedicated Aboriginal water unit in Australia for nearly 5 years.

Keynote presentation: Tuesday 27 November

The challenge of incorporating cultural values and perspectives of First Peoples’ (Aboriginal People) into water planning and threatened species management


Associate Professor Amy  Austin, University of Buenos Aires, Principal Research Scientist, CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Amy Austin is a terrestrial ecosystem ecologist who is a principal research scientist at the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET) and an associate professor of ecology at the University of Buenos Aires. Her research focuses principally on the climatic and human controls on biogeochemical cycling in a range of terrestrial ecosystems, from semiarid steppe to humid temperate forests. Her principal study sites are in the Patagonian region of South America, where she explores the relative importance of rainfall, vegetation and human impact on ecosystem functioning. Amy completed her undergraduate degree at Willamette University (Oregon, USA) in Environmental Science and her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University. Amy is an editor at New Phytologist, and a senior editor at Journal of Ecology. She has worked more than 15 years in Argentina and has received several awards including the Early Career Award of the Antorchas Foundation of Argentina, the national L’Oreal-UNESCO prize for Women in Science ofArgentina in 2015, and most recently, the International L’Oreal-UNESCO prize for Women in Science in 2018.

Twitter: @amytaustin

Keynote presentation: Thursday 29 November

Shedding light on litter decomposition in aridland ecosystems

Dr Sally Box, Threatened Species Commissioner

Dr Sally Box has been appointed as Australia’s new Threatened Species Commissioner.
The Threatened Species Commissioner champions the implementation of the Threatened Species Strategy and practical conservation actions to recover our most threatened plants and animals. Using the principles of science, action and partnership, the Commissioner works with conservation organisations, governments, community and the private sector to improve the trajectory of our threatened species.

“Dr Box will continue the excellent work already underway, develop new initiatives and approaches and increase momentum for threatened species conservation,” said Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP.

Dr Box has a PhD in Plant Sciences and began her career in the Department of the Environment and Energy working on threatened species assessments. Since, she has worked with the community to design and deliver programs focused on threatened species conservation, including through her leadership of the Green Army.

Dr Box has also worked in partnership with scientists and landholders to deliver the Emissions Reduction Fund and most recently worked on the Paris Agreement in the Department’s international climate change area.

Keynote presentation: Thursday 29 November


Dr Kate Grarock, Woodlands and Wetlands Trust, ACT

Growing up in country South Australia, Dr Kate Grarock took an unlikely path to University, leaving school early and starting a five-year military career. At Wollongong University Kate studied a Bachelor of Environmental Science with Honours. She then worked in the Federal Environment Department before undertaking PhD research at the Australian National University. Her research produced six scientific papers, which focused on the effective management of introduced species. Kate then moved to Hanoi to work with the Vietnam Academy of Science on an environmental modelling project.

Returning to Australia, she was appointed the Sanctuary Ecologist at Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary in Canberra. In this current role, she works on research and restoration of critically endangered grassy woodlands. This work includes reintroducing locally extinct species, such as the Eastern Bettong. Kate has developed a highly successful education program that focuses on sharing science with policy makers, local community, early career researchers and students from preschool to university. Integral to the success of this program is using ‘real-life’ scientists to deliver education activities.

Twitter: @KateGrarock

Speednote presentation: Monday 26 November

Dr Glenda Wardle, Professor in Ecology and Evolution, Desert Ecology Research Group,The University of Sydney, NSW

Glenda Wardle is a Professor of Ecology and Evolution in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney. Glenda is passionate about using ecological knowledge to provide solutions for the challenges we face in living good lives and keeping the planet intact for future generations. Her current research interests include the broad areas of planetary health and ecosystem forecasting, as well as understanding how dynamic ecological change may cause rapid evolution.

Glenda co-leads the Desert Ecology Research Group and you may have met her on twitter as @desert_ecology. She spends as much time as possible undertaking field work in arid Australia studying the dynamics of populations, species and ecological interactions to improve conservation and management of ecosystems, particularly deserts. Her respect for good data and modelling underpins her work on the International Advisory Board for COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database, and steering committees for PlantPopNet, and the Australian Ecosystem Models Framework project (DoEE/CSIRO). She provides expert advice to the Essential Environmental Measures project (DoEE), and the Threatened Species Recovery Hub projects on ‘Developing a Threatened Plant Index’ and ‘Evidence-based management protocols for recovery of multiple threatened woodland birds’.

As Chair of the Ecosystem Science Council, she is dedicated to advocating for supporting long term research, enabling ecosystem monitoring, making the most of data resources inspiring a generation and enhancing the relationships between scientists and end-users to deliver maximum impact for Australia.

Glenda began her research training in the kauri forests of New Zealand where she obtained degrees in botany and ecology from the University of Auckland, followed by a PhD in evolution from The University of Chicago in the USA studying the demography and life history evolution of bell flowers with variable life histories and seed banks.

Glenda received the 2011 Members Service Award from the Ecological Society of Australia for her services to the discipline.

Ecosystem Science Council


Speednote presentation: Monday 26 November

Ecosystem forecasting: something for everyone

Dr Hugh Possingham, Chief Scientist, The Nature Conservancy

Hugh is the Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy and a 20% Professor at The University of Queensland.  His group has achieved outcomes all over the world, for example, Tun Mustapha marine park, the largest in Malaysia declared in May, was a joint project with WWF Malaysia and Sabah Parks.  His interests include: conservation metrics, biodiversity offsetting, population modelling, sea-sharing and sea-sparing, prioritising actions, spatial zoning with Marxan and other tools, optimal monitoring and government policy.  You can find his papers here Hugh was recently elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and he has two honorary doctorates.  He has a debilitating obsession with bird watching.

Speednote presentation: Monday 26 November

Snippets of impact science from The Nature Conservancy

Dr Dale Nimmo, ARC DECRA fellow at the Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, NSW


Dale Nimmo is an Associate Professor and ARC DECRA fellow at the Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. Dale has broad interests in how ‘big’ disturbances – things like fire, drought, invasive species and land clearing – influence biodiversity.



Speednote presentation: Monday 26 November

Ten evidence-based conservation targets for Australia 2030


Associate Professor Adriana Verges, The University of New South Wales, NSW

Adriana Vergés is an Associate Professor at UNSW Sydney, where she leads a research group that investigates the ecological impacts of climate change and develops solutions for the conservation of the world’s algal forests and seagrass meadows, which are increasingly under threat. She has worked in temperate ecosystems and coral reefs from around the world and much of her research is experimental and takes place underwater with a SCUBA tank strapped to her back.

Adriana is one of the lead investigators behind ‘Operation Crayweed’, which is successfully restoring missing underwater forests along the Sydney coastline. This project was awarded a Green Globe Award for Impact by the NSW Government in 2017.

Adriana’s fascination with all things marine hails from the Mediterranean. She was born and raised in Barcelona, where she obtained a PhD in Ecology in 2007 from the University of Barcelona. In addition to marine ecology, Adriana is passionate about communicating science to the wider public, especially through films and new media. She has an MSc in Science Communication from Dublin City University (Ireland, 1999) and she worked in the television industry for 5 years prior to her career in academia.


Speednote presentation: Monday 26 November

Beyond the tropics: Novel marine ecosystems emerging in the Anthropocene