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I am an ecologist specialising in animal movement and spatial ecology. I am primarily a movement ecologist with a very broad range of interests covering many areas of conservation and ecology and I have worked on a range of taxa including plants, fish, invertebrates, mammals and birds in many countries around the world.

I am currently quantitative ecologist at CSIRO Australia and a research associate with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

LATEST RESEARCH

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Frugivorous bats play a vital role in tropical ecosystems as pollinators and seed dispersers but are also important vectors of zoonotic diseases. Myanmar sits at the intersection of numerous bioregions and contains habitats that are important for many endangered and endemic species. This rapidly developing country also forms a connection between hotspots of emerging human diseases. We deployed Global Positioning System collars to track the movements of 10 Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus) in the agricultural landscapes of central Myanmar. We used clustering analysis to identify foraging sites and high-utilization areas. As part of a larger viral surveillance study in bats of Myanmar, we also collected oral and rectal swab samples from 29 bats to test for key emerging viral diseases in this colony. There were no positive results detected for our chosen viruses. We analyzed their foraging movement behavior and evaluated selected foraging sites for their potential as human-wildlife interface sites

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Swift parrots (Lathamus discolor) are critically endangered and one of the few migratory parrot species in the world. They breed in Tasmania and migrate across the sea to Australia every year. They feed on ephemeral blooms of eucalyptus trees which are highly variable in time and space. When possible, swift parrots try to nest close to food, but sometimes they take risks by breeding when conditions aren’t great.They have to weigh up the costs and benefits of raising chicks against their survival.  During bad times, mobile animals may be able to compensate for local food shortages by travelling further to provision their offspring.

We studied parental investment and breeding success in the swift parrots over two successive years at the same site where food abundance went from locally low to high.

In the bad year fewer parrots bred, they raised fewer and skinnier chicks and had to work a lot harder to feed them than in the good year. One of the parrot dads tracked here had to fly 9km, across the water to the Tasmanian mainland to find flowering trees in one trip. Stopping the deforestation of their breeding areas will help cushion the impact of locally bad years by giving the parrots other choices when it comes to nesting and raising chicks