Dr Aaron Greenville

Lecturer
School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Member of Sydney Institute of Agriculture

Member of the Charles Perkins Centre

C81 - ATP - The Biomedical Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone +61 2 9351 4470
Fax +61 2 9351 4119

Website Blog
Desert Ecology Research Group

Biographical details

I am an ecologist that uses a strategic combination of population biology and trophic ecology, along with cutting-edge statistical techniques (both frequentist and Bayesian techniques), to predict how ecosystems (both natural and modified) respond to climate change and the introduction of exotic species. My research is theory driven and holistic, drawing on vertebrate, invertebrate and plant groups to study ecosystem function. In addition, I use the latest innovations in technology to assist in data collection, such as remote cameras and open-sourced hardware.

Research interests

My research is organised around three themes:

1. Ecosystem responses to climate change: Climate change is the greatest global issue facing our civilization and the environment on which we depend. In addition, climate change is one of the key ecological challenges facing Australia at present. My research aims to address the broad question of how the non-linear responses of species to climate and biotic interactions can be better understood and incorporated into improved analyses of ecosystems and species of distribution. Within this theme I also tackle the question of how altered fire regimes impact on biodiversity, a key challenge facing Australia and now also being recognised globally.

2. Species interactions (competition and predation): Interactions among species are crucial for ecosystem functioning and for maintaining biological diversity. My research theme aims to uncover the direct and indirect roles of competitive and predatory interactions between species. I am particularly interested in understanding how these interactions are modified by climate over space and time.

3. Technology for ecology and environmental sciences: Advances in technology, such as drones, remote camera traps and more recently open-source hardware and software have revolutionised data collection for cryptic species and surveys in remote locations. I have started a research theme investigating how scientists can use open-source hardware (Raspberry Pi and Arduino platforms) within their research programs, such as by building remote environmental sensor loggers. This theme uses the latest innovations in technology from computer science, engineering and electronics to build custom devices with a reproducible workflow.

Teaching and supervision

New Honours Project on offer: Can machine learning be used to accurately identify wildlife in remote camera trap images?

Teaching:

Post-graduate and academic staff:

Statistical workshops for ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney.

This two-day workshop is designed to remove the mystery behind R, passing on tips for best practice techniques that we have picked up on our journey with R and lastly, to get you started with GLM/M and GAM/Ms. There are many ways to use R and here we wish to show you our workflow, which seems to work for us.

Undergraduate units:

BIOL3007: Ecology. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney.

BIOL2024: Ecology and Conservation. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney.

BIOL3055: Field Studies in Biology. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney and Harvard University.

Supervision:

2019: Elise Verhoeven (Honours; University of Technology Sydney)

Identifying species of high conservation value for restoring ecosystem function after disturbance

2017- : Emma Spencer (PhD; University of Sydney)

Vertebrate interactions that occur around carrion resources.

2016-2017: Tamara Potter (Honours; University of Sydney)

Who Killed the Wolf Spider? A Who-dunnart Intraguild predation among taxonomically disparate micro-carnivores.

Current research students

Project title Research student
Investigating historical declines and future projections for an endangered arid-zone species, Dasyuroides byrnei William LA MARCA

Current projects

Taking the threat out of threatened species, Threatened Species Recovery Hub, The National Environmental Science Programme.

Identifying and effectively controlling the prevalent threats being faced by species close to extinction is crucial to their conservation.

Can machine learning be used to accurately identify wildlife in remote camera trap images?

Motion-active or remote camera traps are now commonly used in wildlife studies around the globe. They are a powerful and cost-effective method to survey wildlife due to their ease in deployment and ability to continually monitor populations across time. However, a common limitation of camera traps is that they capture millions of images that need to be processed visually by an observer. Machine learning techniques provide a powerful and exciting opportunity to automate image processing; thereby reducing analysis and reporting time. The time gained by implementing an automated image processing pipeline and increase speed of reporting results can be used for on-ground species conservation management.

This project will work closely with WildCount, a large-scale wildlife monitoring program run by the Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Government and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney. It will test the feasibility of using machine learning algorithms for identifying species in camera trap images.

DigiFarm: A digitally enabled durable agroecosystem

This project will develop and test an innovative system of sensor networks that can be used across pastures, crops and remnant patches of natural vegetation to evaluate how different farm activities benefit both natural capital and farm profitability.

Identifying species of high conservation value for restoring ecosystem function after disturbance

This project aims to determine how ecosystem function changes after a disturbance event and to partition each source of change from disturbance—species loss, gain and change in resident species dynamics—to ecosystem function. The outcome of this project is to discover the mechanisms (species loss, gain and/or change in resident species dynamics) of how disturbance changes ecosystem function, and identify species of high conservation value or act as a threatening process.

International long term ecological research network (iLTER): Simpson Desert, Australia (with the Desert Ecology Research Group at The University of Sydney, Australia)

This project aims to quantify inter-relationships between the frequency and intensity of increased climate extremes, wildfire and introduced species and their effects on species dynamics.

Awards and honours

  • Ecological Society of Australia Members’ Service Prize, 2018.
  • Lyne Award, Australian Mammal Society of Australia 2013.
  • Postgraduate Support Scheme, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney 2013 and 2014.
  • Paddy Palin Young Researcher Award, Humane Society, Royal Zoological Society of NSW 2012.
  • Australian Postgraduate Award 2011.

In the media

Themes

Wildlife and conservation; Ecology and Evolution

Selected publications

Download citations: PDF RTF Endnote

Book Chapters

  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Wardle, G. (2018). Determining trends in irruptive desert species. In Sarah Legge, David Lindenmayer, Natasha Robinson, Benjamin Scheele, Darren South (Eds.), Monitoring Threatened Species and Ecological Communities, (pp. 279-290). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Wardle, G. (2018). Developing the desert: potential effects on wildlife. In Rishard Kingsford (Eds.), Lake Eyre Basin rivers: environmental, social and economic importance, (pp. 63-74). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

Journals

  • Nimmo, D., Avitabile, S., Banks, S., Bird, R., Callister, K., Clarke, M., Dickman, C., Doherty, T., Driscoll, D., Greenville, A., Newsome, T., et al (2019). Animal movements in fire-prone landscapes. Biological Reviews, In Press, 1-18. [More Information]
  • Potter, T., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Assessing the potential for intraguild predation among taxonomically disparate micro-carnivores: Marsupials and arthropods. Royal Society Open Science, 5(5), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Burns, E., Dickman, C., Keith, D., Lindenmayer, D., Morgan, J., Heinze, D., Mansergh, I., Gillespie, G., Einoder, L., Wardle, G., et al (2018). Biodiversity responds to increasing climatic extremes in a biome-specific manner. Science of the Total Environment, 634, 382-393. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A. (2018). Book Review: The Biology of Deserts. Austral Ecology, 43, e20. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Brandle, R., Canty, P., Dickman, C. (2018). Dynamics, habitat use and extinction risk of a carnivorous desert marsupial. Journal of Zoology, 306(4), 258-267. [More Information]
  • Crowther, M., Tulloch, A., Letnic, M., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Interactions between wildfire and drought drive population responses of mammals in coastal woodlands. Journal of Mammalogy, 99(2), 416-427. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Nguyen, V., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2018). Making the most of incomplete long-term datasets: the MARSS solution. Australian Zoologist, 39(4), 733-747. [More Information]
  • Potter, T., Stannard, H., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Understanding selective predation: Are energy and nutrients important? PloS One, 13(8), 1-12. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2017). 75 years of dryland science: Trends and gaps in arid ecology literature. PloS One, 12(4), e0175014. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2017). Desert mammal populations are limited by introduced predators rather than future climate change. Royal Society Open Science, 4(11), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Lindenmayer, D., Burns, E., Dickman, C., Green, P., Hoffmann, A., Keith, D., Morgan, J., Russell- Smith, J., Wardle, G., Gillespie, G., Greenville, A., Newsome, T., Shine, R., et al (2017). Save Australia's ecological research. Science, 357(6351), 557-557. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Greenville, A., Letnic, M., Ritchie, E., Dickman, C. (2017). The case for a dingo reintroduction in Australia remains strong: A reply to Morgan et al., 2016. Food Webs, 10, 39-41. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Greenville, A., Cirovic, D., Dickman, C., Johnson, C., Krofel, M., Letnic, M., Ripple, W., Ritchie, E., Stoyanov, S., et al (2017). Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions. Nature Communications, 8, 1-7. [More Information]
  • Frank, A., Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2016). Cattle removal in arid Australia benefits kangaroos in high quality habitat but does not affect camels. Rangeland Journal, 38(1), 73-84. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Emery, N. (2016). Gathering lots of data on a small budget: Open-source hardware and software technology can redefine data collection. Science, 353(6306), 1360-1361. [More Information]
  • Kwok, A., Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2016). Long-term patterns of invertebrate abundance and relationships to environmental factors in arid Australia. Austral Ecology, 41(5), 480-491. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Nguyen, V., Dickman, C. (2016). Population dynamics of desert mammals: similarities and contrasts within a multispecies assemblage. Ecosphere, 7(5), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Nguyen, V., Dickman, C. (2016). Spatial and temporal synchrony in reptile population dynamics in variable environments. Oecologia, 182(2), 475-485. [More Information]
  • Letnic, M., Laffan, S., Greenville, A., Russell, B., Mitchell, B., Fleming, P. (2015). Artificial watering points are focal points for activity by an invasive herbivore but not native herbivores in conservation reserves in arid Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation, 24(1), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Frank, A., Tischler, M., Emery, N., Dickman, C. (2015). Ecosystem risk assessment of Georgina gidgee woodlands in central Australia. Austral Ecology, 40(4), 444-459. [More Information]
  • Nguyen, V., Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2015). On the validity of visual cover estimates for time series analyses: a case study of hummock grasslands. Plant Ecology, 216(7), 975-988. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Ballard, G., Crowther, M., Dellinger, J., Fleming, P., Glen, A., Greenville, A., Johnson, C., Letnic, M., Moseby, K., Dickman, C., et al (2015). Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology, 23(3), 201-208. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Tamayo, B., Dickman, C. (2014). Bottom-up and top-down processes interact to modify intraguild interactions in resource-pulse environments. Oecologia, 175(4), 1349-1358. [More Information]
  • Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C., Greenville, A. (2014). Habitat- and rainfall-dependent biodiversity responses to cattle removal in an arid woodland - grassland environment. Ecological Applications, 24(8), 2013-2028. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2013). Extreme rainfall events predict irruptions of rat plagues in central Australia. Austral Ecology, 38(7), 754-764. [More Information]
  • Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G., Greenville, A. (2013). Interactions of Grazing History, Cattle Removal and Time since Rain Drive Divergent Short-Term Responses by Desert Biota. PloS One, 8(7), 1-13. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2012). Extreme climatic events drive mammal irruptions: regression analysis of 100-year trends in desert rainfall and temperature. Ecology and Evolution, 2(11), 2645-2658. [More Information]
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Tamayo, B., Wardle, G. (2011). Spatial dynamics of small mammals in central Australian desert habitats: the role of drought refugia. Journal of Mammalogy, 92(6), 1193-1209. [More Information]
  • Letnic, M., Greenville, A., Denny, E., Dickman, C., Tischler, M., Gordon, C., Koch, F. (2010). Does a top predator suppress the abundance of an invasive mesopredator at a continental scale? Global Ecology and Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00600.x, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Beh, C., Tamayo, B., Wardle, G. (2010). Social organization and movements of desert rodents during population "booms" and "busts" in central Australia. Journal of Mammalogy, 91(4), 798-810. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2009). Factors affecting habitat selection in a specialist fossorial skink. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 97(3), 531-544. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G., Letnic, M. (2009). The fire history of an arid grassland: the influence of antecedent rainfall and ENSO. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 18(6), 631-639. [More Information]
  • Read, J., Carter, J., Moseby, K., Greenville, A. (2008). Ecological roles of rabbit, bettong and bilby warrens in arid Australia. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 2124-2130. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2005). The ecology of Lerista labialis (Scincidae) in the Simpson Desert: reproduction and diet. Journal of Arid Environments, 60(4), 611-625. [More Information]

2019

  • Nimmo, D., Avitabile, S., Banks, S., Bird, R., Callister, K., Clarke, M., Dickman, C., Doherty, T., Driscoll, D., Greenville, A., Newsome, T., et al (2019). Animal movements in fire-prone landscapes. Biological Reviews, In Press, 1-18. [More Information]

2018

  • Potter, T., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Assessing the potential for intraguild predation among taxonomically disparate micro-carnivores: Marsupials and arthropods. Royal Society Open Science, 5(5), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Burns, E., Dickman, C., Keith, D., Lindenmayer, D., Morgan, J., Heinze, D., Mansergh, I., Gillespie, G., Einoder, L., Wardle, G., et al (2018). Biodiversity responds to increasing climatic extremes in a biome-specific manner. Science of the Total Environment, 634, 382-393. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A. (2018). Book Review: The Biology of Deserts. Austral Ecology, 43, e20. [More Information]
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Wardle, G. (2018). Determining trends in irruptive desert species. In Sarah Legge, David Lindenmayer, Natasha Robinson, Benjamin Scheele, Darren South (Eds.), Monitoring Threatened Species and Ecological Communities, (pp. 279-290). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Wardle, G. (2018). Developing the desert: potential effects on wildlife. In Rishard Kingsford (Eds.), Lake Eyre Basin rivers: environmental, social and economic importance, (pp. 63-74). Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
  • Greenville, A., Brandle, R., Canty, P., Dickman, C. (2018). Dynamics, habitat use and extinction risk of a carnivorous desert marsupial. Journal of Zoology, 306(4), 258-267. [More Information]
  • Crowther, M., Tulloch, A., Letnic, M., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Interactions between wildfire and drought drive population responses of mammals in coastal woodlands. Journal of Mammalogy, 99(2), 416-427. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Nguyen, V., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2018). Making the most of incomplete long-term datasets: the MARSS solution. Australian Zoologist, 39(4), 733-747. [More Information]
  • Potter, T., Stannard, H., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2018). Understanding selective predation: Are energy and nutrients important? PloS One, 13(8), 1-12. [More Information]

2017

  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2017). 75 years of dryland science: Trends and gaps in arid ecology literature. PloS One, 12(4), e0175014. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2017). Desert mammal populations are limited by introduced predators rather than future climate change. Royal Society Open Science, 4(11), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Lindenmayer, D., Burns, E., Dickman, C., Green, P., Hoffmann, A., Keith, D., Morgan, J., Russell- Smith, J., Wardle, G., Gillespie, G., Greenville, A., Newsome, T., Shine, R., et al (2017). Save Australia's ecological research. Science, 357(6351), 557-557. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Greenville, A., Letnic, M., Ritchie, E., Dickman, C. (2017). The case for a dingo reintroduction in Australia remains strong: A reply to Morgan et al., 2016. Food Webs, 10, 39-41. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Greenville, A., Cirovic, D., Dickman, C., Johnson, C., Krofel, M., Letnic, M., Ripple, W., Ritchie, E., Stoyanov, S., et al (2017). Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions. Nature Communications, 8, 1-7. [More Information]

2016

  • Frank, A., Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2016). Cattle removal in arid Australia benefits kangaroos in high quality habitat but does not affect camels. Rangeland Journal, 38(1), 73-84. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Emery, N. (2016). Gathering lots of data on a small budget: Open-source hardware and software technology can redefine data collection. Science, 353(6306), 1360-1361. [More Information]
  • Kwok, A., Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2016). Long-term patterns of invertebrate abundance and relationships to environmental factors in arid Australia. Austral Ecology, 41(5), 480-491. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Nguyen, V., Dickman, C. (2016). Population dynamics of desert mammals: similarities and contrasts within a multispecies assemblage. Ecosphere, 7(5), 1-19. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Nguyen, V., Dickman, C. (2016). Spatial and temporal synchrony in reptile population dynamics in variable environments. Oecologia, 182(2), 475-485. [More Information]

2015

  • Letnic, M., Laffan, S., Greenville, A., Russell, B., Mitchell, B., Fleming, P. (2015). Artificial watering points are focal points for activity by an invasive herbivore but not native herbivores in conservation reserves in arid Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation, 24(1), 1-16. [More Information]
  • Wardle, G., Greenville, A., Frank, A., Tischler, M., Emery, N., Dickman, C. (2015). Ecosystem risk assessment of Georgina gidgee woodlands in central Australia. Austral Ecology, 40(4), 444-459. [More Information]
  • Nguyen, V., Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2015). On the validity of visual cover estimates for time series analyses: a case study of hummock grasslands. Plant Ecology, 216(7), 975-988. [More Information]
  • Newsome, T., Ballard, G., Crowther, M., Dellinger, J., Fleming, P., Glen, A., Greenville, A., Johnson, C., Letnic, M., Moseby, K., Dickman, C., et al (2015). Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology, 23(3), 201-208. [More Information]

2014

  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Tamayo, B., Dickman, C. (2014). Bottom-up and top-down processes interact to modify intraguild interactions in resource-pulse environments. Oecologia, 175(4), 1349-1358. [More Information]
  • Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C., Greenville, A. (2014). Habitat- and rainfall-dependent biodiversity responses to cattle removal in an arid woodland - grassland environment. Ecological Applications, 24(8), 2013-2028. [More Information]

2013

  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2013). Extreme rainfall events predict irruptions of rat plagues in central Australia. Austral Ecology, 38(7), 754-764. [More Information]
  • Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G., Greenville, A. (2013). Interactions of Grazing History, Cattle Removal and Time since Rain Drive Divergent Short-Term Responses by Desert Biota. PloS One, 8(7), 1-13. [More Information]

2012

  • Greenville, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2012). Extreme climatic events drive mammal irruptions: regression analysis of 100-year trends in desert rainfall and temperature. Ecology and Evolution, 2(11), 2645-2658. [More Information]

2011

  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Tamayo, B., Wardle, G. (2011). Spatial dynamics of small mammals in central Australian desert habitats: the role of drought refugia. Journal of Mammalogy, 92(6), 1193-1209. [More Information]

2010

  • Letnic, M., Greenville, A., Denny, E., Dickman, C., Tischler, M., Gordon, C., Koch, F. (2010). Does a top predator suppress the abundance of an invasive mesopredator at a continental scale? Global Ecology and Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00600.x, 1-11. [More Information]
  • Dickman, C., Greenville, A., Beh, C., Tamayo, B., Wardle, G. (2010). Social organization and movements of desert rodents during population "booms" and "busts" in central Australia. Journal of Mammalogy, 91(4), 798-810. [More Information]

2009

  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2009). Factors affecting habitat selection in a specialist fossorial skink. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 97(3), 531-544. [More Information]
  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G., Letnic, M. (2009). The fire history of an arid grassland: the influence of antecedent rainfall and ENSO. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 18(6), 631-639. [More Information]

2008

  • Read, J., Carter, J., Moseby, K., Greenville, A. (2008). Ecological roles of rabbit, bettong and bilby warrens in arid Australia. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 2124-2130. [More Information]

2005

  • Greenville, A., Dickman, C. (2005). The ecology of Lerista labialis (Scincidae) in the Simpson Desert: reproduction and diet. Journal of Arid Environments, 60(4), 611-625. [More Information]

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