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The ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (CABAH) was launched in June, 2017. Members of the DEEP Group at the University of Tasmania are undertaking research, across a seven year period, in collaboration with 20 institutions and museums around the world. Visit the CABAH website here.

Who are we?


Professor Barry Brook - ARC Australian Laureate Fellow

Barry is an eco-evolutionary biologist and modeller. He is an ARC Australian Laureate Professor and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. A highly cited scientist, he has published five books, over 300 refereed papers, and many popular articles. His awards include the 2006 Australian Academy of Science Fenner Medal, the 2010 Community Science Educator of the Year and 2013 Scopus Researcher of the Year. His research focuses on the impacts of global change on biodiversity, ecological dynamics, forest ecology, paleoenvironments, energy, and simulation models. 

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Professor Christopher Johnson - Professor of Wildlife Conservation


Professor Johnson is the CABAH Wildlife team leader, an ecologist and conservation biologist, and an expert on mammals. His research investigates many problems that are relevant to the conservation of biodiversity, in four main themes:

(i) the causes of extinction of species in prehistory and the recent past;

(ii) the effects on ecosystems of top predators and large herbivores, and the ecological consequences of loss of such species;

(iii) the environmental history of Australia; and

(iv) the management of threatened and invasive species of wildlife.


Dr. Jessie Buettel Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Jessie is researching the ecological and human processes that shape Australia’s tall eucalypt forests. “On the forest floor—where most people might notice only sticks, logs and woody debris—I am doing fieldwork and using models to discover how the now-fallen corpses of once-magnificent trees continue to exert a powerful influence on the living forest.” 


Dr. Matt McDowell - Assosciate Researcher

Matt’s research interests include the paleontology, palaeoecology, taxonomy, sedimentology and geochemistry of Australian fossil accumulations. He also collaborates with microbiologists to investigate ancient DNA preserved in fossils of both extant and extinct species. Matt is also interested in pre-European small mammal biogeography and what it can reveal about the impacts that European colonisation had on modern Australian ecosystems. Matt is a post-doc of the DEEP team who is funded through the UTas CABAH node, and will be researching the impacts that Aborigines, megafaunal extinction and Europeans have had on Australia’s biodiversity.

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Dr. Luke Yates - Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Luke’s background is in mathematical physics, where he has worked previously to develop novel mathematical structures that explore physics beyond the standard model. In the spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration, he is excited to have joined the DEEP lab where he is analysing data and developing models related to global land use, forest ecosystems, OSL dating and ecological dynamics.

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Dr. Rebecca Wheatley - Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Bec’s research background is in animal behaviour and performance, biomechanics, and ecological modelling. Her past research has identified optimal behaviours in a bunch of different critters, including fighting strategy in invasive geckos, predator escape behaviours in quolls and antechinus, and serve strategies for professional tennis players. Bec is excited to expand her research into plants and will be working within the DEEP group to model interactions between large herbivores and vegetation and how these interplay with the effects of fire in both Australian landscapes and worldwide.


Tristan Derham - Research Associate – Policy Hub (Training and Education)

Tristan has a varied professional history, having worked in mining, government and environmental consulting roles before finally surrendering to his destiny and entering academia. His interests lie at the nexus of philosophy, ecology and the relationship between people and the environment. The starting place for Tristan’s inquiry is a topic that draws on all three: the philosophy of rewilding.


Matthew Fielding - Research Associate – Policy Hub (Communication and Engagement)

Matt has been with the DEEP group since mid-2016. During this time, he has completed his Honours degree and was employed as a Research Assistant within the UTAS node of CABAH. A self-confessed “bird nerd”, he is passionate about bird conservation and is particularly interested in how humans impact bird communities. He recently commenced his PhD candidature with the group in which he will be studying the birds of the Bass Strait islands.


Tessa Smith - Research Assistant & Ph.D candidate


Tessa's research interests include biogeography, palaeoecology, invasive species biology and urban ecology. Her PhD, starting in 2020 looks at the distribution of #LifeInTheLeafLitter, specificallly of beetles in wet forests and rainforests of Tasmania. This project aims to clarify areas of high endemism, investigate the influence of longer-term processes (for example, ice ages) on species and compare these patterns to current management practices (for example, protected areas).


Annie Nguyen - Ph.D candidate 

Annie's multi-disciplinary background in paleoecology, climatology and biostratigraphy is driven by her passion for understanding plants. Her PhD focuses on the flora occurring on soils of volcanic origin in Eastern Australia. She is investigating how the vegetation has been influenced by past events, what the key factors were that dictate their past and present distribution, as well as the fate of their future. In her spare time she indulges in macro photography of fungi.


Susan Rule - Research Assistant 


Susan is based at the Australian National University in Canberra and works with Professor Simon Haberle. Since starting work for CABAH she has been involved in palaeoecological fieldwork at Lake George in New South Wales where she is processing pollen, charcoal and fungi samples.


Rolan Eberhard- Assosciate Investigator


Rolan works with DPIPWE’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Division in Hobart. 

Our Collaborators


As Chief Investigators in CABAH, Prof Brook, Prof Chris Johnson and the DEEP group collaborate with a range of researchers from seven other University nodes and associate organisations around Australia, as well as Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste.

Some of these include:

  • Professor David Bowman and Associate Professor Menna Jones (University of Tasmania),

  • Professor Corey Bradshaw and Dr Frédérik Saltré (Flinders University),

  • Professor Susan O'Connor and Professor Simon Haberle (Australian National University),

  • Professor Bruno David (Monash University),

  • Professor Chris Turney and Associate Professor Darren Curnoe (University of New South Wales),

  • Dr Brit Asmussen (Queensland Museum),

  • Dr Kieren Mitchell (University of Adelaide). 


Within Tasmania the group is working with DPIPWE, TMAG, QVMAG, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Bookend Trust.


CABAH collaborators Corey Bradshaw, Frédérik Saltré, Brit Asmussen, Simon Haberle and Chris Turney


CABAH Collaborators the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (QVMAG) and Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG)


CABAH collaborators the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, Bookend Trust and Tasmanian Land Conservancy.

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