Reviewing scientific literature is a common way to collate the evidence supporting particular ecological theories, or to assess the potential impacts of management interventions on ecosystems. However, this task is becoming highly onerous due to massive increases in the amount of scientific information that is now available. I am interested in how other disciplines have dealt with these problems, and how we can balance speed and rigour in future research synthesis.
Surrogates in Ecology and Conservation
Ecologists commonly rely on proxies or surrogates to measure change in ecosystems; metrics of biodiversity that are assumed to be representative of the broader state of a particular ecosystem. While convenient, this approach has been criticised for being overly simplistic. I have worked extensively on evaluating the empirical basis of surrogate ecology, using both meta-analytical techniques as well as primary analysis of long-term datasets.
I have a long-standing interest in frog ecology, and specifically in what frogs tell us about how species with complex life histories and habitat requirements persist in dynamic environments. For my PhD, I studied the effects of historical fires on frog populations in Booderee National Park, on the south-east coast of Australia. More recently, I’ve worked with ACT Frogwatch to investigate trends in frog occurrence across the Canberra region over the last decade or so (see our paper here).