We are pleased to welcome the following plenary speakers:
Allan Burbidge – Principal Research Scientist, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Australia
Sonia Kleindorfer – Professor, Flinders University, Australia
Alexandre Roulin – Professor, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Tammy Steeves – Senior Lecturer, University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Sarah Legge – Principal Research Fellow, The University of Queensland/The Australian National University
Plenary Title: Conservation and management of threatened birds
Research Interests: Grounded in his boyhood interests in natural history, Allan Burbidge has studied the ecology of Australian fauna and flora for more than 30 years. His professional interests include the use of biogeographic surveys in conservation management, as well as the biology and management of threatened species, especially birds. Much of this involves interactions with NGOs and other stakeholders from the general community, and is based on a belief that we all need to take far better care of our natural environment, for our own sake as well as for those who follow. Allan is currently a Principal Research Scientist in the Western Australian Department of Parks and Wildlife.
Plenary title: Female behaviour drives culture and evolution in songbirds
Background: Professor Sonia Kleindorfer at Flinders University studies the evolutionary dynamics of animal behaviour, with a focus on female vocal tutoring, prenatal vocal learning, and host-parasite coevolution in birds. She did her university study at University of Pennsylvania (Bachelor: Biological Basis of Behaviour), University of Vienna (PhD: Zoology), and University of Washington School of Medicine (Postdoc: Medicine). Field work underpins Sonia’s core research activity, which she conducts in Africa, Australia, South American (Amazon, Galapagos Islands), and Fiji. She founded and is Scientific Director of the Flinders Research Centre for Climate Adaptation and Animal Behaviour and founded the Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour) at Flinders University.
Plenary title: The barn owl: a predator that metamorphoses from a hawk into a dove
Background: Alexandre Roulin is a full professor of biology at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. For the last two decades he has studied barn owls to answer evolutionary and ecological scientific questions. His main scientific interests are the adaptive function of melanin-based coloration and the negotiation processes that take place in animal societies. Since 2009, he has actively participated in the project of promoting cooperation between the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian communities using nature conservation as a tool. His ambition is to reconcile humans with nature and to use inter-disciplinary approaches to promote peace and respect of our environment.
Plenary title: Conservation genomics of threatened austral birds: innovating the implementation
Background: Tammy Steeves’ research interests focuses on the evolutionary processes that contribute to the formation and maintenance of species boundaries, particularly in threatened shorebirds and seabirds. Her research group applies population genetic, phylogeographic and phylogenetic methods to ancient and modern genetic/genomic data to: (1) test explicit hypotheses regarding the evolutionary histories of natural populations and (2) develop conservation genetic management strategies for species at risk.
Plenary title: Predation by cats on Australian birds: how many birds are killed, and what species?
Background:Sarah is based at the Australian National University and the University of Queensland. She is a Deputy Director of the National Environmental Science programme’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, working on a range of conservation-related projects. She has been a wildlife ecologist for over twenty years, working initially in the fields of cooperative breeding, sex allocation, siblicide, mating systems and intra-tropical migration. She spent some of these years working on rainforest parrots and kingfishers in north Queensland and New Guinea. Over the last decade or so Sarah shifted to applied conservation. Much of that work took place in the tropical savannas, where she worked with colleagues, pastoralists and Indigenous communities to integrate science into landscape-scale management of fire and introduced species, in order to identify management options for recovering declining species like Gouldian finches and purple-crowned fairy-wrens.