Max Tischler

Max Tischlert
The Institute of Wildlife Research
School of Biological Sciences
Heydon-Laurence Building A08
University of Sydney
NSW 2006

Current Research

The main objective of my research is to determine the processes and factors influencing the distribution and structure of bird communities in the Simpson Desert, with a primary focus on quantifying the abundance, diversity and species richness throughout the landscape.

Incredibly, only a proportionally small amount of work has been done on arid zone birds in Australia, leaving a considerable gap in the knowledge of avian biology in this country.

My research includes the investigation of behavioural, breeding and foraging strategies of desert birds; offering insights into the spatial and temporal shifts in bird communities over a range of habitat types. The work will be used to aid landscape perspectives and the development of models for theoretical and management purposes, appropriate to arid zones.

Research Interest

I have been a part of the Arid Zone Lab since completing an Honours project in 1998, looking at granivory in the Simpson Desert. After this I worked as a Research Assistant for Chris Dickman, on his ARC project investigating spatial refugia of small mammals and reptiles, all the while secretly believing that the dynamics of the bird communities out in the desert were far more interesting!

I have been traveling and working in a range of areas completely removed from deserts over the last few years, however, have returned to the red sand looking forward to the opportunities and challenges my project will offer.

Like many of our delusional early explorers, it is my hope that somewhere out amongst the intrinsic beauty of the desert, perhaps beyond one last sand hill, or at the end of one of my many walked transects there lies an expanse of ocean, with a perfect point break, and a reef teaming with fish. If found, I'll never be seen again.


Letnic M., Dickman C.R., Tischler M.K., Tamayo B., Beh C-L. (2004) The responses of small mammals and lizards to post-fire succession and rainfall in arid Australia. J. Arid Env. 59: 85-114.




What's On

Next Field Trips

Sept 2012

Latest News

  • Sydney University student wins ... view here
  • Simpson Desert so hot right now view here
  • Changes predicted for the Simpson Desert's ... view here
  • PhD opportunity on arid zone ants... view here
  • Desert research on Catalyst... view here
  • Chris wins NSW Scientist of the year ... read more
  • Simpson Desert featured on Iconic Landscapes
  • September 2009 volunteer trip report ... read more
  • November 2009 volunteer trip report ... read more
  • 20 years of desert research showcased by ABC radio national ... read more
  • Video of November 2009 Desert trip
  • Desert flourishes after summer rains
  • Purchase your own rat-catcher t-shirt. Find out more