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Zoology and Ecology staff

Professor Lin Schwarzkopf

Head of Zoology and Ecology. Vertebrate Ecologist, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Lin researches invasive species biology and control, and effects of anthropological activities such as grazing and introduced vegetation on vertebrate ecology, habitat use and predator-prey dynamics.

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Dr Lucas Cernusak

Associate Professor, Plant Ecophysiologist

Lucas' research seeks to understand the environmental and biological controls on carbon dioxide and water vapour exchange between plants and the atmosphere, using a range of measurement techniques.

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Professor Darren Crayn

Director, Australian Tropical Herbarium, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Darren’s career has involved studies of the origins, evolution and classification of plants. He has researched biomes in Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Malaysia, and New Zealand.

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Associate Professor Will Edwards

Plant Ecologist, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Will teaches a range of subjects in ecology, diversity, quantitative methods and ecosystem assessment. He has interests in investigating a wide range of ecological patterns and processes and his work is very much cross-disciplinary.

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Dr Megan Higgie

Evolutionary Biologist, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Megan's research is field- and laboratory-based in evolution, ecology, and genetics, with a focus on animal adaptation, natural and sexual selection, and speciation.

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Dr Ben Hirsch

Behavioural Ecologist, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Ben is interested in the intersection of animal behaviour and ecology. His research has focused on a variety of mammal species including ring-tailed and white-nosed coatis, beach mice, and capuchin monkeys.

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Emeritus Professor Joe Holtum


Joe researches the mechanisms that permit plants to survive when times are tough. He has a particular focus on how plant species with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) respond to temperature and water-limitation.

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Dr Conrad Hoskin

Biodiversity & Conservation Biologist, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Conrad is focused on biodiversity – its discovery and description, how it evolves and interacts, and how we can conserve it. His research involves many different techniques, from field biology, to genomics, to experimental biology.

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Associate Professor Lori Lach

Ecologist, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Lori focuses on how human-induced environmental changes, such as biological invasions, affect interactions among species. Much of her research has investigated invasive social insects.

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Associate Professor Susan Laurance

Rainforest Ecologist, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Susan studies the impacts of human land use and climate change on biodiversity. Her research pertains directly to the restoration of degraded ecosystems and the conservation of endangered species.

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Distinguished Professor William Laurance

Conservation Biologist, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Bill Laurance is a tropical conservation biologist who works in the Asia-Pacific, Amazonia, and African ecosystems. He is the author of nearly 600 scientific and popular publications.

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Heather Robson

Ecological Geneticist and Innovator, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Heather's research is in a new field of genetics which uses environmental DNA (eDNA) and metabarcoding to monitor tropical freshwater biodiversity. She mainly works on fish and frogs.

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Dr Tasmin Rymer

Animal Behaviourist, JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield

Tasmin teaches teach plant and animal diversity, fundamentals of biology and evolutionary biology. She has a fondness for rodents and is actively investigating various aspects of their behaviour.

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Professor Stephen Williams

Conservation Biodiversity, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Stephen's research is focused on understanding biodiversity, assessing the vulnerability of biodiversity to global climate change and using this knowledge to maximise the positive benefits of conservation management and adaptation.