Dr Valentina Mella

Lecturer
School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Member of Sydney Institute of Agriculture

A08 - Heydon-Laurence Building
The University of Sydney

Telephone + 61 2 9351 3259

Biographical details

Valentina is a zoologist with interests in wildlife ecology, animal behaviour, fauna management and conservation. She currently leads a project examining the behaviour and health of koalas in the Liverpool Plains, NSW, in relation to water availability in the environment. The study provides the first-ever practical management solution to help wild koalas through climate change driven heatwaves and droughts. The project has overturned our understanding of how koalas stay hydrated and plays a pivotal role for the conservation of koala populations. In the past, Valentina has investigated the effectiveness of wildlife rehabilitation programs in the Sydney metropolitan region, as a mitigation measure against negative human-wildlife interactions in urban areas. In addition, she has helped pioneer the work on personality and problem solving in Australian marsupials and its application to ecology and wildlife management. The remainder of her research is focused on developing solutions to conservation problems using novel twists on behavioural and ecological principles, such as integrating behavioural and physiological responses of native prey to reduce impacts of introduced predators in Australia.

In the media

Women's Weekly - How much can a koala bear?

Jul 2017

National Geographic Italia - Koala a secco

Apr 2017

Crinkling News - Lapping it up at koala bubblers

Apr 2017

National Geographic Australia - Why Koalas Are Suddenly Drinking water

Mar 2017

CSIRO - The quick brown fox learnt to climb trees

Mar 2017

International Business Times - Koalas are starving of thirst in Australia

Mar 2017

ABC Radio Melbourne - Foxes climb trees to stalk koalas

Mar 2017

La Stampa Italy - I koala stanno morendo di sete

Mar 2017

The Dodo - Koalas are dying of thirst

Mar 2017

BBC News - Parched koalas seek new water sources

Mar 2017

Thomson Reuters - Australia's parched koalas seek out new water sources

Mar 2017

Radio New Zealand - Parched koalas head to farm for water

Mar 2017

NTD TV China - Farmer invents drinking stations for thirsty koalas

Mar 2017

Malay Mail Online - Climare change drives thirsty koalas to special water stations

Mar 2017

Polska Live -Poidła dla australijskich misiów koala

Mar 2017

The Weather Network USA - As climate change bites, koalas scramble to find water

Mar 2017

Philippines News - Climate change drives thirsty koalas to special water stations

Mar 2017

Der Standard Germany - Warum Koalas zu Wassertrinkern warden

Mar 2017

ABC Radio Sydney - Evenings with Chris Bath

Mar 2017

Le Courrier Australien - Le rechauffement climatique force les koalas a boire

Mar 2017

9 News - Koalas forced to seek out water to survive Aussie heatwaves

Mar 2017

SBS News - Climate change is turning koalas to drink, scientists find

Mar 2017

7News - Cause for concern?

Mar 2017

Sydney Morning Herald - Researchers investigate koalas' need for drinking

Mar 2017

Discovery Channel Canada - Daily Planet Discovery Specials

Feb 2017

ABC Radio News - Beware the sly fox

Feb 2017

Business Insider - Koalas have started doing something experts didn't expect

Mar 2017

Business Insider - Foxes have been caught on camera climbing trees in Australia

Feb 2017

N Plus One Magazine Russia - Bye bye koalas

Feb 2017

New Scientist - Foxes caught climbing trees to hunt native Australian animals

Feb 2017

Namoy Valley Independent - Uni seeks crowdfunding for Gunneday koala project

Nov 2017

Namoy Valley Independent - Local pioneer koala project

Oct 2017

Namoy Valley Independent - Gunnedah project finds amazing koala results

Nov 2016

Namoy Valley Independent - Time to act to preserve our national icon

Nov 2016

Namoy Valley Independent - Staggering koala results

Oct 2016

Selected grants

2017

  • CDIP Industry & Community Engagement Fund 2017_ Gunendah Koala Water Supplementation Study - OFFICE HERITAGE & ENVIRONMENT -MELLA; Mella V; DVC Research/Industry & Community Engagement Seed Fund (I&CEF).
  • CDIP Industry & Community Engagement Fund 2016 - USYD and The North West Local Land Services - Preservation of koalas VALENTINA MELLA; Mella V; The North West Local Land Services - NSW Government/Research Partner.

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Troxell-Smith, S., Mella, V. (2017). You Are What You Eat: The Interplay Between Animal Personality and Foraging Ecology. In Jennifer Vonk, Alexander Weiss, Stan Kuczaj (Eds.), Personality in Nonhuman Animals, (pp. 295-305). Cham: Springer International Publishing. [More Information]

Journals

  • Mella, V., McArthur, C., Frend, R., Crowther, M. (2018). Foxes in trees: A threat for Australian arboreal fauna? Australian Mammalogy, 40(1), 103-105. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Possell, M., Troxell-Smith, S., McArthur, C. (2018). Visit, consume and quit: Patch quality affects the three stages of foraging. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87(6), 1615-1626. [More Information]
  • Cavigioli, L., Mella, V., Mischischia, N., Bruni, G. (2016). Another case of dicephalism in Vipera aspis francisciredi (Laurenti, 1768), from northern italy. Herpetozoa, 29, 85-86.
  • Mella, V., Krucler, J., Sunderasan, L., Hawkins, J., Pitunugama Herath Mudiyanselage, A., Johnstone, K., Troxell-Smith, S., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2016). Effective field-based methods to quantify personality in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). Wildlife Research, 43(4), 332-340. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2016). Effects of historically familiar and novel predator odours on the physiology of an introduced prey. Current Zoology, 62(1), 53-59. [More Information]
  • Cremona, T., Mella, V., Webb, J., Crowther, M. (2015). Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk? Journal of Mammalogy, 96(6), 1337-1343. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Ward, A., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2015). Personality affects the foraging response of a mammalian herbivore to the dual costs of food and fear. Oecologia, 177(1), 293-303. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2014). Behavioural responses of free-ranging western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) to olfactory cues of historical and recently introduced predators. Austral Ecology, 39(1), 115-121. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2014). Negotiating multiple cues of predation risk in a landscape of fear: What scares free-ranging brushtail possums? Journal of Zoology, 294(1), 22-30. [More Information]
  • Bedoya-Perez, M., Carthey, A., Mella, V., McArthur, C., Banks, P. (2013). A practical guide to avoid giving up on giving-up densities. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(10), 1541-1553. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2010). Predator Odour Does Not Influence Trappability of Southern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon Obesulus) and Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula). Australian Journal of Zoology, 58, 267-272. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2010). Ventilatory frequency as a measure of the response of tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) to the odour of potential predators. Australian Journal of Zoology, 58(1), 16-23. [More Information]

2018

  • Mella, V., McArthur, C., Frend, R., Crowther, M. (2018). Foxes in trees: A threat for Australian arboreal fauna? Australian Mammalogy, 40(1), 103-105. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Possell, M., Troxell-Smith, S., McArthur, C. (2018). Visit, consume and quit: Patch quality affects the three stages of foraging. Journal of Animal Ecology, 87(6), 1615-1626. [More Information]

2017

  • Troxell-Smith, S., Mella, V. (2017). You Are What You Eat: The Interplay Between Animal Personality and Foraging Ecology. In Jennifer Vonk, Alexander Weiss, Stan Kuczaj (Eds.), Personality in Nonhuman Animals, (pp. 295-305). Cham: Springer International Publishing. [More Information]

2016

  • Cavigioli, L., Mella, V., Mischischia, N., Bruni, G. (2016). Another case of dicephalism in Vipera aspis francisciredi (Laurenti, 1768), from northern italy. Herpetozoa, 29, 85-86.
  • Mella, V., Krucler, J., Sunderasan, L., Hawkins, J., Pitunugama Herath Mudiyanselage, A., Johnstone, K., Troxell-Smith, S., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2016). Effective field-based methods to quantify personality in brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula). Wildlife Research, 43(4), 332-340. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2016). Effects of historically familiar and novel predator odours on the physiology of an introduced prey. Current Zoology, 62(1), 53-59. [More Information]

2015

  • Cremona, T., Mella, V., Webb, J., Crowther, M. (2015). Do individual differences in behavior influence wild rodents more than predation risk? Journal of Mammalogy, 96(6), 1337-1343. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Ward, A., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2015). Personality affects the foraging response of a mammalian herbivore to the dual costs of food and fear. Oecologia, 177(1), 293-303. [More Information]

2014

  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2014). Behavioural responses of free-ranging western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus) to olfactory cues of historical and recently introduced predators. Austral Ecology, 39(1), 115-121. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Banks, P., McArthur, C. (2014). Negotiating multiple cues of predation risk in a landscape of fear: What scares free-ranging brushtail possums? Journal of Zoology, 294(1), 22-30. [More Information]

2013

  • Bedoya-Perez, M., Carthey, A., Mella, V., McArthur, C., Banks, P. (2013). A practical guide to avoid giving up on giving-up densities. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 67(10), 1541-1553. [More Information]

2010

  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2010). Predator Odour Does Not Influence Trappability of Southern Brown Bandicoots (Isoodon Obesulus) and Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus Vulpecula). Australian Journal of Zoology, 58, 267-272. [More Information]
  • Mella, V., Cooper, C., Davies, S. (2010). Ventilatory frequency as a measure of the response of tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii) to the odour of potential predators. Australian Journal of Zoology, 58(1), 16-23. [More Information]

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