Sunday, October 30, 2016

the McDonald-Madden lab

               solving compleX Environmental Decisions


Eve smlEve is a Senior Lecturer and ARC Research Fellow in the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management at the University of Queensland. She is also a Chief Investigator on the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub.

Eve studied Ecology and Environmental Science in her undergraduate at the University of Melbourne and then worked for the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research on the management of invasive species. It was here that she developed an appreciation for the more quantitative side of research and pursued her study of applied mathematics through distance education. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland on optimization techniques for conservation management. Eve is driven by a desire to improve environmental decision-making and her research group focusses mainly on quantitative approaches to decision-making.

email: e.mcdonaldmadden (at)

MegB2Megan is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science at University of Queensland. She completed her PhD in conservation science at the University of Queensland in 2013. In her PhD, Megan focused on evaluating the impact of protected areas for wildlife populations using quantitative data and a variety of tools across scales from local to global, feeding into global protected areas policy. She is currently working within the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub in collaboration with the Environmental Resources Information Network (ERIN) within the Department of the Environment, developing a National protocol for prioritising terrestrial monitoring and evaluation of non-avian fauna.

email: megan.barnes (at)

nadiah fullNadiah is a postdoctoral research scientist specialising in mathematics and ecological modelling. She is interested mainly in modelling food webs, web assembly and structure, stability, invasibility, dispersal modelling, and large community models incorporating both ecological dynamics and evolution.

She is currently using the Qualitative Modelling framework to investigate our ability to predict the consequences of a species reintroduction to an island ecosystem in collaboration with the Nature Conservancy California Chapter.

nadiah.kristensen (at)

Dr Tracy RoutAs a Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Tracy uses mathematics, modelling, statistical analysis, and ecological theory to find the best ways to manage and conserve natural systems. She is currently working on decision modelling for fox eradication in Tasmania.

She is also interested in optimal adaptive management, declaring extinction, and statistical methods for working with scarce data.

Email: t.rout2 (at)

Darren southwellDarren is a PhD candidate with the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group at the University of Melbourne and is supervised by Mick McCarthy (UoM), Brendan Wintle (UoM) and Eve McDonald-Madden (UQ). He interested in adaptive management in conservation decision-making and the optimal allocation of resources between monitoring and management.

In his thesis, he will be using decision theoretic approaches to determine how much effort should be allocated towards monitoring to reduce uncertainty and when it is optimal to only participate in management. He plans to develop a number of case studies, including the optimal management of a growling grass frog meta-population.

email: darrenms (at)

Yi hanYi is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. Yi completed her Masters of Science (MSc) degree in the field of Conservation Biology at the University of Queensland, and is now embarking on her PhD with Dr Eve McDonald-Madden (UQ), Professor Yvonne Buckley (Dublin) and Dr Justine Shaw (AAD).

Yi's PhD research aims to investigate the possible consequences of the eradication of non-indigenous species which are part of an ecosystem with multi-species interactions. Hopefully, her work will help conservation agencies to conduct more effective eradication methods suitable for complex situations in particular on Christmas Island and The Antarctic Peninsula.

Email: y.han2 (at)

Sean MaxwellSean is completing his PhD with James Watson, Eve McDonald-Madden and Jonathan Rhodes on conservation decision-making and human responses to climate change.

Sean is a conservation ecologist with a diverse range of interests, including structured decision-making, value-of-information analysis, spatial modelling and extreme climatic events. 

email: sean.maxwell (at)

Payal1 webPayal is a PhD Student interested in understanding the use and selection of indicators of biodiversity in conservation decision making. Using principles of decision theory and optimal monitoring, her PhD will develop a framework for indicator selection that explicitly links the indicator to the management objective, the expected improvement in management performance and the cost of monitoring. Such an approach can help us choose cost-effective indicators so that we get maximum management benefit for every dollar spent on monitoring. Through the use of case studies she will explore different scenarios of decision making to find real world applicability for her work. Payal PhD is jointly supervised by Dr Jonathan Rhodes, Dr Eve McDonald-Madden and Dr Ayesha Tulloch (ANU).

Email: p.bal (at)

Hui XiaoHui is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland. She studied Economics in her undergraduate in China and then completed a Master degree in Statistics and Econometrics in France. At the end of her study in France she worked in Airbus for methodology study in air traffic forecast and it was there she realized how mathematical modelling and quantitative analysis could shape the view of decision makers.

With a solid knowledge of Economics and Mathematics, she will focus on investigating 'state of the art' approaches on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services optimization problem. Hopefully her study could provide new ideas and act as a convincing tool for decision makers to conserve our nature more wisely.

Email: h.xiao (at)


Will ProbertLab Alumni

Will was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Queensland with our group back in 2012/2013. Will was working on novel optimization approached for the management of food webs. Previously Will completed his PhD in mathematics at the University of Queensland, Australia. He is now working as a Postdoctoral Researcher Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics at the Pennsylvania State University.

email: willprobert (at)

HernanHernan is a PhD Student at the University of Queensland, working with Salit Kark, Eve McDonald-Madden and Hugh Possingham. He completed is degree in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Chile (Chile), where he worked in the human-wildlife conflict.

With his research he aims to investigate the links between threatened and pest mammals in Australia to incorporate it into a prioritisation protocol of actions to control invasive mammals. To achieve this, he will use case studies and modelling. Hopefully his work will help conservation and government agencies to manage pest mammals, incorporating different stakeholders into the decision process.

Email: h.caceres (at)

MelissaWynn webMelissa PhD candidate at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at The Australian National University in Canberra and is supervised by Don Driscoll (ANU), Samuel Banks (ANU) and Eve McDonald-Madden (UQ).

She completed her undergraduate degree at UQ, majoring in Ecology and completing an honours on physiology and biomechanical trade-offs in endangered northern quolls on Groote Eylandt in the Northern Territory.

Her background and 2 years overseas field experience in reptile conservation led her to a PhD, and her true passion; researching the role of invasive species in the decline of Christmas Island's reptiles. This project, in collaboration with Parks Australia, uses a combination of field methods and decision making strategies, to inform cost-effective management of the endangered reptiles.

Email: melissa.wynn (at)