About Me

My name is Darren Southwell, I’m a postdoctoral researcher at the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group in the  School of BioSciences at University of Melbourne. My current position is with the Threatened Species Recovery Hub of the National Environmental Research program (NESP; Theme 3.3)

My current research aims to resolve key uncertainties about the management of Malleefowl through adaptive management and optimal monitoring. Malleefowl is an iconic ground-dwelling bird that has experienced substantial population declines in recent decades. I am involved in a project that will establish experimental sites across southern Australia to determine the effectiveness of predator control (fox and cat baiting) at improving Malleefowl persistence. The experiment will inform whether predator control is an appropriate management strategy for Malleefowl, or whether managers should switch to something else.

I completed my PhD in January 2016 at the University of Melbourne on the optimal management of metapopulations across space and time. In my thesis, I integrated metapopulation models with decision theory  to determine when, where, and how to best restore fragmented habitats to improve the persistence of threatened species or contain the spread of invasions. I developed case studies for cane toads in northern Australia, growling grass frogs in outer Melbourne and the southern emu-wren in South Australia.

Prior to commencing my PhD, I completed honours at the University of Melbourne in habitat and population modelling of the southern brown bandicoot, supervised by A/Prof Brendan Wintle (UoM) and Dr Terry Coates (Parks Victoria). After a brief stint as a volunteer research assistant at the Bimini Biological Field Station in the Bahamas, I conducted population surveys of flying seabirds and penguins in East Antarctica for the Australian Antarctic Division. More recently, I worked in the Fisheries and Quantitative Science team at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) modelling the spread of invasive species and the adoption of new technologies.

If you are interested in any of the research posted here please contact me by email at darrenms@student.unimelb.edu.au or call me on +61 3 83449739.

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