Lab Member Spotlight: Jess Rowland

This month at the Conservation Science Lab we’ve started a new initiative! We are doing a ‘member spotlight’, and Jessin this post we’ll be highlighting the achievements of one of our PhD students, Jess Rowland.  Jess is into the second year of her PhD, and her outstanding work over the past few years is culminating in some well-deserved recognition.

Prior to starting her PhD, Jess completed a Master of Science at the University of Melbourne.  Her research aimed to increase our understanding of the thermal properties of nest-boxes compared to tree-hollows to improve conservation-management efforts for our native wildlife under a rapidly changing climate.

Jess has achieved excellent impact with this research, with her paper on this research, ‘Comparing the thermal suitability of nest-boxes and tree-hollows for conservation-management of arboreal marsupials’ inspiring a feature post on science communication blog Sandpaw, and winning Society for Conservation Biology Oceania Best Student Paper at the 2017 International Congress for Conservation Biology.  Jess was also subsequently interviewed as a featured member for the SCB Oceania website, check out her interview here.

Jess has since commenced her PhD, which focuses on improving methods for assessing change in ecosystem function using quantitative modelling techniques, in association with the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems.  She was recently awarded ‘Best Unpublished Student Paper’ at the Deakin Centre for Integrative Ecology Conference in October for her first PhD paper, entitled ‘Selecting and applying indicators of ecosystem collapse in risk assessments’ (currently submitted and under review).  Jess was also awarded runner up for ‘Best Student Talk’ at the recent 10th Annual Conference of the Society for Risk Analysis, for her presentation on her latest research chapter, ‘Developing Indicators of Ecosystem Health’ (and the winner of ‘Best Student Presentation’ was taken out by another member of the Conservation Science Lab, PhD student Calvin Lee!).

And last but not least, Jess has just been named as one of the Australian Government’s 2018 Endeavour Research Fellowship recipients.  The Australia Awards–Endeavour Scholarships and Fellowships are a competitive, merit-based scholarships and fellowships providing opportunities for Australians to undertake study, research or professional development overseas and for overseas citizens to do the same in Australia.  Jess will be using her fellowship to visit Cambridge, London, and Gland in early 2018 to develop a suite of biodiversity indicators based on the IUCN Red list of Ecosystems database to measure the risk of ecosystem collapse globally, and quantify trends in the change to ecosystem area and function.  She will be visiting Rebecca Miller, the Programme Officer for the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, based at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, University of Cambridge, and Prof. Mark Burgman, Director of Imperial College London’s Centre for Environmental Policy and Chair in Risk Analysis and Environmental Policy.

We look forward to reporting back on Jess’s Fellowship next year!

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