People

At Ecology Australia, we form a highly motivated and dedicated team, with outstanding knowledge of the Australian biota, natural systems and environmental issues.


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Chris Bloink
Director and Principal Aquatic Ecologist

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Chris has worked as a consultant aquatic ecologist since 2001 and became director of Ecology Australia in 2019. He has extensive experience in assessing and monitoring biodiversity values, condition, and impacts to waterways and a sound understanding of relevant legislation and policy. He has undertaken this work for a wide range of projects and clients and is a highly experienced and skilled project manager. Chris has extensive experience undertaking aquatic fauna surveys and targeted threatened species surveys throughout freshwater and estuarine habitats of south-eastern Australia. He is highly experienced in the use of the full range of standard sampling techniques and is a senior operator for boat, bank and backpack electrofishing. His main areas of expertise include fish and crayfish ecology particularly in relation to environmental flows; however, he also has considerable expertise in macroinvertebrate ecology, stream health, water quality and platypus monitoring.

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Sarah Bedggood
Botanist

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Sarah joined Ecology Australia in 1986 and has developed an excellent knowledge of the flora of south-eastern Australia and its ecology.  She manages varying aspects of ecological surveys including data review, rare species identification and the preparation of management plans and impact assessments.

Sarah has played a major role in the development of survey techniques for roadside and other ecological studies.  She has also assessed the effects of fuel-reduction burn programs in State Parks of the Otways and Glenaladale National Park; and conducted botanical surveys and assessments for planning scheme reviews.

 

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Geoffrey Carr

Associate Botanist

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Geoff Carr has been a botanical consultant for over 35 years, including as a founding director of Ecology Australia. He has an exceptional knowledge of the taxonomy, ecology and conservation status of the Australian flora, including a detailed knowledge of rare and threatened species, their distribution and management.  Geoff has very extensive field experience in vegetation survey and condition assessment, enabling him to provide a long-term and practical perspective to vegetation management.  He also has considerable horticultural expertise, particularly in the use of indigenous flora for revegetation and environmental rehabilitation, but also for utilitarian and ornamental applications.

Geoff is a leading authority on environmental weed research, management and taxonomy in Australia, with world perspectives on biological invasions and weed-risk assessment, including deliberately introduced pasture and rehabilitation species.  He published the important book: ‘Environmental Weed Invasions in Victoria: Conservation and Management Implications’ and with three co-authors is currently preparing the second version. He is also a leading expert on Victorian saltmarshes and the biology of the halophyte flora.

Geoff’s other areas of interest include taxonomic research; he has published on several plant groups, describing approximately 30 plant species, notably orchids, lilies (Dianella), naturalised willows (Salix) and Prickly Pear (Opuntia). He is also an accomplished photographer and has contributed photographs for scientific publications.

 

Brett Goodman
Zoologist

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Brett joined Ecology Australia in 2019 and has worked as an ecologist in various capacities since 2007.  Brett comes from a research-based background and has worked on a range of ecological and evolutionary questions, usually on reptiles or frogs. Brett has a detailed knowledge of terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate fauna across Australia. He has a well-developed range of field survey techniques, and the ecology and management of a wide range of taxa, both in Australia and overseas.  As a zoologist, Brett has led numerous projects, from initial desktop and field surveys to the development of pest animal control management plans, environmental management plans and impact assessments, stakeholder engagement and auditing activities for a range of industries and the government sector.  He has a well-developed understanding of both state and federal environmental legislation.

Through his research and consulting career, Brett has developed a comprehensive understanding of both applied ecology and environmental management that allows him to address ecological problems with suitable outcomes.

Lucy Gow
Research Assistant

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Prior to joining Ecology Australia in 2013, Lucy contributed to small mammal monitoring research projects in East Gippsland, Wilsons Promontory and north central Victoria. In her time at Ecology Australia, she has worked on a broad range of flora, fauna and aquatic projects across south-eastern Australia, with particular experience in frog surveys, macroinvertebrate sampling and Striped Legless Lizard salvage and monitoring.  She has experience in a wide variety of survey techniques including remote camera surveys, cage and Elliott trapping and hair-tubing for mammals, artificial shelter surveys for reptiles, call-playback for frogs, and netting and electrofishing for fish and other aquatic fauna. Lucy is consolidating her skills in botanical surveys, and has excellent skills in data collection and management.

Bryce Halliday
Research Assistant

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Bryce has worked and studied in the aquatic ecology space since 2010 completing a bachelor with honours and most recently Masters (under external review) degrees at Deakin university in Warrnambool. Bryce’s background is in small-bodied freshwater fish, macroinvertebrates and zooplankton in south west Victoria and the lower River Murray region in South Australia. He has experience with a suite of aquatic sampling techniques including fyke netting, bait trapping, electrofishing, macroinvertebrate and zooplankton netting, water quality and habitat surveying. As an aquatic ecologist he is interested in the origin, structure, functions and behaviour of all forms of life in freshwater, and their interactions with the environment. This includes the study of lakes, rivers and ponds and covers microbial, plant and animal life.

Hanna Kapuscinski
Research Assistant (Botany)

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Hanna joined Ecology Australia in 2019 after several years working in the Collections branch at the National Herbarium of Victoria. Prior to this, Hanna graduated from La Trobe University with First Class Honours in Ecology. Her honours project explored the distribution and impact of introduced slugs on native grassland flora. She has also studied rural tree decline in western Victoria. Hanna has skills in a variety of botanical field survey methods, desktop review, the navigation and use of online biodiversity tools, and remote sensing techniques and applications. Hanna has a strong understanding of data management and analysis, plant propagation, herbarium procedures, and taxonomy. She is most familiar with the flora of the Victorian Volcanic Plains and alpine areas, but is continuing to build her field skills in a range of vegetation communities. Hanna’s key interests include invasive species, plant-insect interactions and plant ontogeny.

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John Kershaw
Principal Botanist

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John has been employed as a Botanist at Ecology Australia since 2006 and as a Senior Botanist since 2010. In this time, he has undertaken a wide variety of projects throughout the state, working closely with a diverse range of clients. John is highly experienced in the collection and interpretation of field data, and has high-level reporting skills as well as a sound working knowledge of environmental legislation and policy. Having undertaken years of on-ground ecological restoration works prior to joining Ecology Australia, John has a very clear understanding of the intricacies of vegetation management, and is able to apply this to the development of concise and meaningful management prescriptions and reporting. John possesses a solid understanding of the flora of south-eastern Australia, the threats it faces and implications for its management.

 

Leigh Kett
Botanist

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Leigh has worked in the environmental industry in Victoria since 2011, during which time he has undertaken flora and fauna surveys, seed collecting and processing, revegetation and nursery operations. Over this period he has gained valuable knowledge in the identification and ecology of the Victoria’s vascular flora including threatened species and pest plant management. He has applied a range of field survey techniques in grasslands, wetlands and other native vegetation types. Leigh’s research includes palaeobotanical studies, as well as an analysis on the use of morphological characters for identification of Victorian spear-grasses (Austrostipa).

Dr Matthew Le Feuvre
Zoologist

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Matthew joined Ecology Australia in 2017 and has worked as an ecologist since 2008. Matthew has developed an in depth knowledge of terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate fauna across Australia. He is experienced with a variety of field survey techniques, and the ecology and management of a wide range of taxa. As an environmental consultant, Matthew has led numerous projects, from initial desktop and field surveys to the development of environmental management plans and impact assessments, stakeholder engagement and auditing activities for a range of industries and the government sector. He has developed a sound understanding of state and government environmental legislation.

Matthew has a strong interest in ecology with tangible, applied outcomes. For his PhD, Matthew used broad scale ecological patterns and species traits to identify previously unrecognised species and hotspots of conservation concern in freshwater fishes across Australia. The results of his thesis have been used to guide biodiversity management.

Through his research and consulting career, Matthew has a developed a comprehensive understanding of applied ecology and environmental management that allows him to solve complex ecological problems and implement good environmental outcomes.

Ruth Marr
Ecologist / Zoologist

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Ruth has recently re-joined Ecology Australia after nearly four years of working as a Biodiversity Planner for the City of Whittlesea.  In local government, Ruth implemented Whittlesea’s Native Vegetation Offset Plan, assessed biodiversity impacts associated with planning referrals and engaged private land owners in threatened species management amongst many other tasks.  Ruth’s first period of employment at Ecology Australia was from 2008 to 2015, when she was employed as a consulting zoologist and then as an ecologist, expanding her skills into vegetation assessments.

She has a sound knowledge of flora and fauna species and vegetation communities across Victoria, and is experienced in general flora and fauna survey and targeted assessments for threatened species. In particular, Ruth’s background in zoology has provided her with wide-ranging experience with various fauna survey techniques, and an excellent understanding of the fauna of south-eastern Australia, their habitats and ecology.

Ruth has managed flora and fauna assessments, long-term monitoring programs for threatened species, conservation management plans and broad scale vegetation mapping assessments.  Through this work, she has developed a thorough understanding of the relevant national and state legislation and policy requirements.  She also has excellent project management skills and an ability to liaise effectively with a range of clients and stakeholders. Ruth has a current Vegetation Quality Assessment accreditation.

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Andrew McMahon

Associate Ecologist

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Andrew’s ecological career spans six years in fire ecology research and over 30 years in consultancy, including as a founding and managing director of Ecology Australia. Andrew has been a driving force behind Ecology Australia, which over the past 30 years has set benchmark standards in the industry. He has completed several hundred commissioned reports, covering conservation management, research and environmental assessment, in most environments throughout south-eastern Australia.  Andrew has worked on many projects of state and national significance and has considerable experience as an expert witness at most levels, including the Federal and Supreme Courts, Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry, Environmental Effects Statement panels and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. His understanding of the application of biodiversity legislation and policy is comprehensive.

Andrew’s expertise centres on plant ecology, but he has decades of experience with fauna issues. With this depth of knowledge and experience, he is well placed to deal with the most complex of flora and fauna issues, bringing a practical, long-term and integrated perspective to biodiversity management.

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Jamie McMahon

Ecologist / Senior GIS Analyst

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Jamie has worked with Ecology Australia since 2001 as a field ecologist and GIS analyst. With a background in environmental science, Jamie has a solid understanding of the flora and fauna of south-eastern Australia, and has gained experience with a wide range of survey techniques, including targeted threatened species surveys. He has particular expertise with motion-sensing cameras, and has managed large-scale remote camera surveys throughout Victoria. Jamie also has postgraduate qualifications and experience in Geographic Information Systems. He is proficient with a range of GIS and remote sensing software packages and is highly experienced in the digitising of vegetation boundary data, manipulation of tabular data, image processing, geoprocessing, spatial analysis and map production. Jamie has analysed spatial data sets and undertaken mapping for a wide range of projects, including mapping of vegetation losses, analysis of natural attributes and management plans involving the spatial prioritisation of sites.

 

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Stephen Saddlier
Senior Aquatic Ecologist

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Stephen is a pre-eminent fish ecologist, with over 25 years of experience in ecological research, which includes 23 years as a senior scientist at the Victorian Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. During this time, Stephen’s research focus was the Murray Darling Basin and the coastal rivers of south-eastern Australia; his earlier research experience was gained in marine fisheries research. Stephen has written over 60 scientific publications (refereed papers and reports) on fish ecology and aquatic ecosystem research. He has been responsible for the management of a range of threatened species throughout Victoria under state’s Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) monitoring program, including Yarra Pygmy Perch, Variegated Pygmy Perch and Dwarf Galaxias, and has prepared National Recovery Plans as well as published peer reviewed journal articles on these species. With over 20 years of experience in fish sampling, Stephen is highly proficient in the use of a wide variety of sampling methodologies and is a Senior Operator for all forms of electrofishing. He also has specialist experience in developing threat assessments for aquatic fauna in a variety of media, including written publications, websites and interactive Decision Support Tools.

 

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Bernadette Schmidt
Principal Zoologist

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Bernadette is a skilled field biologist with a strong understanding of the ecology and biology of the vertebrate fauna of south-eastern Australia. She is experienced with the identification, survey and management of a wide range of taxa, but has particular expertise with mammals. Bernadette also has a keen interest in population ecology and the management of urban wildlife, overabundant and pest animals. She is currently serving as the Secretary of the Invasive Species Council. Since joining Ecology Australia in 2007, Bernadette has led numerous impact assessments, survey, monitoring and applied research programs, and the development of both threatened and pest species management plans, for a range of industries and government sectors. She has an in-depth understanding of environmental policy at the state and federal level, and has contributed to the development of federal environmental policy. Throughout her work, Bernadette has developed excellent project management skills, dealing effectively with complex ecological issues which require a multidisciplinary approach and strategic perspective.

 

John Sharp
Zoologist

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John has worked in ecological research since graduating in 2013 from the University of Melbourne with a Masters degree in Zoology. John’s background is in mammalian ecology, particularly macropods, koalas and deer, across south-eastern Australia. He has experience with a range of fauna survey, capture and handling techniques including soft-wall and Elliot trapping, artificial shelter surveys, spotlighting and GPS and radio tracking. He is also familiar with forest fire fuel hazard assessments. Furthermore, John has a number of specialist skills; including being qualified in tranquilizer darting and an experienced and licensed operator of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Since joining Ecology Australia in 2017, John has been involved with numerous terrestrial fauna survey and monitoring projects, including multiple large scale remote camera surveys, amphibian and reptile surveys. He has also been heavily involved in conservation strategies, specifically field surveys, for other fauna, including Growling Grass Frog, Golden Sun Moth and Striped Legless Lizard, and has been involved in various community engagement projects.

Zac Walker
Botanist

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Zac joined Ecology Australia in 2019 after five years working in research as a plant ecologist.  He is an experienced field botanist and has designed and undertaken ecological surveys in a range of ecosystems across Victoria. Zac has worked on a number of projects involving vegetation management, invasive flora and fauna species, threatened plant species, long-term vegetation dynamics and fire ecology.  He is proficient in the collection and interpretation of botanical data sets and has a solid understanding of the flora of Victoria.  In particular, Zac has in-depth knowledge of the ecology and flora of the Victorian Alps, including the current threats posed by invasive species and a changing climate.  Through his research and experience, Zac has developed sound reporting and project management skills, and a good knowledge of relevant environmental legislation policy.

Daniel White
Botanist

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Daniel joined Ecology Australia in 2019 and has worked as an ecological consultant since 2017. He has extensive experience in designing and conducting vegetation surveys using a variety of techniques in a diversity of environments throughout south-eastern Australia. Daniel has worked on several major research projects in vegetation management, fire ecology, long-term ecological monitoring, and the conservation of threatened flora. Most of these projects have involved intensive fieldwork and logistical work, and the analysis of data using rigorous statistical methods.

Over the course of his career as a researcher and consultant, Daniel has gained valuable experience liaising with stakeholders and communicating complex ecological principles and management priorities.  Daniel has a sound knowledge of the flora of south-eastern Australia, especially that of temperate forests and woodlands, and is well aware of current threats to native vegetation and appropriate management practises required to mitigate these threats. He is familiar with state and federal environmental policy relevant to biodiversity.

Please contact us if you require further information.