Brian Chambers

PhD W.Aust., Dr

  • The University of Western Australia (M092), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

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Personal profile

Funding overview

WA Department of Environment and Conservation Environmental Community Grant 2010/11(Collaboration with the Friends of Paganoni Swamp) - $13,300

Current projects

Assessing the conservation value of fauna underpasses for native fauna in the south west of Western Australia.

The ecology of the brush-tailed phascogale in the banksia woodlands of the swan coastal plain.

Languages

English

Biography

I completed a BSc with first class honours at the Universtiy of Western Australia in Animal Science in 2003, before undertaking a PhD at the UWA in 2005, which I completed in 2008. My PhD research was a collaborative project with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to discover the impact that the presence of the HMAS Stirling Naval base has had on the population of tammar wallabies that inhabit Garden Island. My fieldwork included intensive trapping to study the population dynamics of tammar wallabies, radio tracking to establish movements and home ranges and analysis of the factors associated with large numbers of road-kills on the island.
Through my PhD I acquired excellent animal handling and data collection, analytical, written and oral communication skills and the capacity to organise and conduct complex research projects with limited supervision. I also assisted in the organisation of the research projects of two honours students, one of whom studied the diet of the tammars on Garden Island using stable isotope analysis and the other the genetics of tammar wallabies from mainland and island populations.

In late 2008 I was employed at the UWA as a research associate to design an annual monitoring plan for the population of tammar wallabies on Garden Island for The Department of Defence and to undertake the first year of this monitoring. I also worked on the development of an ARC Linkage Project in collaboration with the Department of Main Roads Western Australian (MRWA) to assess the conservation value of fauna underpasses. This application was ultimately unsuccessful, but the research is continuing with ongoing support from MRWA.

In May 2009 I was employed in my current position as a Lecturer in The School of Animal Biology at UWA, where I teach undergraduate students in ecology and wildlife management, supervise postgraduate students and undertake research aimed at improving the conservation of native fauna.

Previous positions

Research Associate - The University of Western Australia (Nov 2008-May 2009)

Teaching

ANIM3361 Animal Populations
ANIM3353 Wildlife Conservation and Management
ENVT2250 Ecology

Roles and responsibilities

Current Postgraduate Students

• Veronica Phillips: The ecology and population dynamics of the quokka Setonix brachyurus, on Rottnest Island, Western Australia (PhD 2012 - ongoing).
• Gabriella Flacke: The Pygmy Hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) an enigmatic oxymoron: How a not-so-small species presents a large conservation challenge (PhD 2012-ongoing).

Experimental Design and Analysis Skills
- Design and analysis of mark-recapture studies to determine population size, survival rates etc. using Program MARK and Density.
- Design and analysis of distance sampling studies to determine population density using Distance.
- Design and analysis of radio tracking studies to determine home range characteristics and habitat use using Ranges and Animal Space Use.

Field Skills
- Trapping and handling of small mammals and small to medium sized macropods.
- Radio tracking of mammals and reptiles.
- 4WD Training and extensive experience.
- Working at heights accreditation and licensed to operate elevated work platforms.
- Senior first aid.

Industrial relevance

My research involves collaborations with government agencies, local governments and community based landcare groups in order to improve the management and conservation of native fauna.

Research interests

The focus of my research is on the ecology of terrestrial animals, primarily mammals and the use of ecological knowledge to improve the management and conservation of wildlife. The majority of the research that I have undertaken in my career to date has largely revolved around the issue of urbanisation and its impact on native Australian mammals through habitat modification, fragmentation and the construction of linear infrastructure such as roads. My broad research interests are not confined to this area and I have been and am currently involved in research into the basic ecology of native animals and the use of that knowledge to improve conservation and management.

Research expertise keywords

  • Ecology
  • Population dynamics
  • Conservation biology
  • Wildlife management
  • Urban ecology
  • Endangered species
  • Marsupials

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