Researchers

The researchers involved in this study come from a broad range of fields. This approach, incorporating representatives from the Arts and Sciences, seeks to bridge the traditional divides between to two disciplines and provide an integrated understanding of sustainable development in the landscapes that define modern Australia.

Researcher Profiles

Associate Professor Ross Coleman

Director, Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities.
Associate Professor
School of Biological Sciences

Ross is the Iconic Landscapes head researcher and currently working on the seawalls component of the project. His personal research interests can be summarised as the ecology of defence. He is interested in fundamental questions such as what constitutes a signal between a predator and its food items and how the signal receiver, as well as the emitter, should respond to these signals. As many induced defences incur a cost in either energy expended or lost feeding opportunities, a prey/food organism should only activate defences when needed. He thinks it is important to identify these, as yet unknown, signals in an ecological setting before trying to establish general patterns. Responses to these signals can be behavioural, physiological or structural. The organisms he has used in developing experimental tests of hypotheses include barnacles, limpets and seaweeds.

Professor Chris Dickman

Professor in Terrestrial Ecology
School of Biological Sciences


The major focus of Chris' research is the investigation of factors that influence the distribution and abundance of terrestrial vertebrates. This research has been stimulated by his curiosity, on the one hand, about the causes of many intriguing patterns of vertebrate distributions in the Australian fauna and concern, on the other, that many species have declined or become extinct with the advent of European settlement. For the last twenty years his primary focus has been to elucidate, by observation and field experiment, the factors that regulate diversity in the small vertebrates of arid Australia.

Dr Glenda Wardle

Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences


Glenda's research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape the spatial and temporal patterns of variation found in natural populations. She has begun work on life history variation by integrating studies of selection and demography to explain the coexistence of two life history types within populations of a short lived plant, Campanula americana . She used a matrix population model to quantify the contribution of winter annuals and biennials to the population growth rate and to evaluate the role of the soil seed bank.

Dieter Hochuli

Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences


Dieter's group's research focuses on the ecology of terrestrial arthropods, revolving around three central themes. They use experimental and survey-based approaches to investigate these areas of interest; insect-plant interactions, community ecology and conservation biology. They are interested in ultimately scaling responses from individuals to landscapes in a range of systems. This means they approach their questions using bottom-up and top-down approaches, integrating these where possible.

Dr Clare McArthur

Senior Lecturer
School of Biological Sciences


Clare has been at the University of Sydney since 2004. Her research group is focused on, but not confined to, delving into the world of plant-herbivore interactions. They are part of a larger research group within the School, Animal-Plant Interactions Group (APIG). Previously she worked at the School of Zoology at the University of Tasmania, from 1995 to 2003, where she applied her understanding of foraging to the problem of browsing of tree seedlings in plantation forestry.

Dr Mark Browne

Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Biological Sciences


Mark's research focuses on the mechanisms by which anthropogenic processes modify natural changes in the structure and functions of marine assemblages. By investigating how the performance of individuals changes in response to chemical contamination and degradation of habitats, he has tested hypotheses about the mechanism(s) causing altered patterns in assemblages of organisms. Over recent years he has been investigating how natural and anthropogenic processes influence the tenacity of limpets (i.e. how well they stick onto a surface). Through this research he has made significant contributions to the methods used to measure the tenacity of limpets in the field.

Mark was responsible for attaching flower pots to seawalls in Sydney harbour - one of our landscapes in this study.

Dr Adam Munn

Lecturer
Faculty of Veterinary Science


Adam's main research areas are the physiological ecology of native wildlife and domestic herbivores and the phenotypic plasticity of the gastrointestinal tract of herbivores. He is currently involved in a study taking place in the rangelands and will be our main point of contact for this landscape in the project. Here, he has been comparing grazing requirements of sheep and kangaroos in an Australia Research Council (ARC) linkage study called "Avoiding environmental bankruptcy: the grazing impacts of red kangaroos and sheep".

Associate Professor Nicole Gurran

Lecturer in Urban and Regional Planning
Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning


Nicole is an urban planner and policy analyst whose research focuses on comparative land use planning systems and approaches to housing and ecological sustainability. Her research projects include the establishment of the Australian Urban Land Use Planning Policy Monitor, enabling the collective analysis of statutory controls for more than 600 local jurisdictions across the country. She is the chief investigator on the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) project ‘International Practice in Planning for Affordable Housing’ and also examining best practice in climate change planning for high growth coastal communities for the National Sea Change Taskforce.

Professor Stephanie Donald

Professor of Chinese Media Studies
Media and Communications


Stephanie's research focuses on the social and political impact and importance of visual politics, with specific interests in film, children's media, gendered experience, city branding, China and internationalisation. Her current work examines the articulation of new class structures in global contexts (particularly urban China), youth and children's media, and grounded cosmopolitanism in the Asia Pacific.

Professor Ross Gibson

Professor of Contemporary Arts
Sydney College of the Arts


Ross makes books, films and art installations. He is particularly interested in art and communication in cross-cultural situations, especially in Australia and the Southwest Pacific. His recent works include the books Seven Versions of an Australian Badland and Remembrance + The Moving Image (editor), the video installation Street X-Rays, the interactive audiovisual environment BYSTANDER (a collaboration with Kate Richards) and the durational work 'Conversations II' for the 2008 Biennale of Sydney.

Dr Michael Harris

Senior Lecturer & Discipline Leader - Agriculture and Resource Economics
Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources


Michael's research focuses on natural resource (‘green’ or ‘environmental’) accounting. His aim is to construct measures of economic activity and growth that properly reflect resource depletion and environmental degradation, in ways not achieved by conventional aggregate indicators, such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Two key areas of research are the incorporation of ecological resilience into wealth measures, as well as the exploration of the compatibility of sustainability measures with other decisionsupport tools for economic policy-making, such as benefit-cost analysis.

Dr Stefan Williams

Senior Lecturer
Australian Centre for Field Robotics


Stefan's research interests are marine robotics and multiagent systems. He is currently working on a robotic ground vehicle and hopes this robot will be able to pursue interesting experimental research on outdoor navigation and obstacle avoidance. Another focus are his undersea vehicles which monitor structurally complex marine habitats such as the Great Barrier Reef. These vehicles are used in tasks such as autonomous navigation, mapping and searching as well as for monitoring of effects of oil and gas exploration.

Dr Richard Murphy

Senior Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Field Robotics


Dr Andrew Holmes

Senior Lecturer
School of Molecular and Microbial Biosciences


Andrew's research interests focus on three distinct aspects of microbial diversity: 1. The role of gut microbial diversity in human health; 2. Exploring microbial diversity for new biological resources; and 3. The underlying evolutionary origins of microbial diversity.

Gemma Deavin

Project Officer
Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities


Gemma is the project officer for the Iconic Landscapes study. She will be coordinating the research and working with academics from the different representative disciplines to carry out interviews, surveys and focus groups in the three landscapes. She has a background in communications, journalism and photojournalism and is interested in telling the stories behind scientific research and listening to what local communities have to say on the subject.