I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2020, completing a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree with the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. During my honours year I completed a research project with the FLARE Wildfire Research team and gained valuable skills in simulation and modelling, and advanced my knowledge in GIS and Rstudio. These skills later appealed to employers, and shortly after completing my honours research I was hired as a research assistant at The University of Melbourne to assist with the surveying of the endangered spotted tree frog. I am more than happy to be contacted by prospective students an answer any questions about the course and research program.
Thesis- Long-term implications to koala populations in New South Wales following the 2019-2020 wildfires: Consequences of a climate driven shift in the fire regime
Fire regimes are expected to shift due to a changing climate, potentially affecting the long-term viability of species’ populations. The 2019-2020 fire season was unprecedented and the ability for vulnerable species to persist was left uncertain. Developing accurate long-term predictions of species survival requires estimates on future fire regimes at a population and landscape scale. We tested the relative influence of the ‘mega’ fires from the 2019-2020 fire season and projected future fire regimes on the survival of New South Wales koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) populations. We combined a fire regime operations simulation tool (FROST) with population viability analysis (PVA) in the R package STEPS to quantify the impacts to koala populations over 100 years following the 2019-2020 fire season. Overall, the results showed that the occurrence of one large fire season has long-term implications to koala populations. It also indicated that changes in aspects of the fire regime, associated with a changing climate, contributed to the decline in koala abundance. Exploring the influence of mega fires and changing fire regimes on koala population trajectories will assist with developing fire mitigation strategies and conservation management into the future.