ORCHID iD: : 0000-0002-6936-5732
Google Scholar: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=MKTs7NQAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao
I am a current PhD student at the DEEP lab. Enthused about birds, ecology and biodiversity conservation, I flew to Hobart from western India to complete my BSc (Hons) at the University of Tasmania. I joined the DEEP lab in late-2018 as an undergraduate student to study the patterns of
movement of the yellow-tailed black-cockatoo in Tasmania. My next venture in ecological research was for my Honours research, where I predicted the future distribution and spread of the Superb Lyrebirds in Tasmania – an introduced ecosystem engineer here. Post-honours, I had the opportunity to collaborate with other DEEP lab members’ research,
before starting my PhD. I am strongly passionate about biodiversity conservation and interested in offering simple and useful solutions for aid preservation of nature. I hope that my research can contribute to the perseverance of diversity for the unconceived and unborn.
Species distribution modelling
Amin, R. J, J. C. Buettel, P. M. Vaughan, M. W. Fielding, and B. W. Brook. (in press). Hot, unpredictable weather interacts with land use to restrict the distribution of the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. Emu-Austral Ornithology. https://doi.org/10.1080/01584197.2021.1952083
I completed my bachelor’s degree (honours) in environmental science, working on traffic noise and vehicular density for my project work. My master’s degree was in ecology and environmental sciences working on soil carbon stock in different landscapes for my dissertation. Afterward, I worked on a REDD+ project with the state forest department. I then worked with a space applications centre and was involved in the development of a forest management plan for the state forest department using GIS, remote sensing and forest inventory data.
All of my academic and work experience took place in India. I then found myself on a flight bound for Australia to start my Ph.D with the DEEP group.
Diengdoh, V. L., Ondei, S., Hunt, M. and Brook, B. W. (2020). A validated ensemble method for multinomial land-cover classification. Ecological Informatics
PhD research with DEEP
Disentangling the drivers of beta-diversity: a mensurative experiment on Tasmanian freshwater communities In the face of the sixth mass extinction, the maintenance and restoration of biodiversity in human-impacted landscapes is a global priority. The contemporary loss of nature concerns both conservationists and stakeholders benefiting from ecosystem goods and services such as raw materials, food production, water supply and regulation, and many others (valued globally at ~$40 trillion). As biodiversity declines escalate, ecological and macroeconomic losses offer one strong incentive to conserve nature.
Habitat conversion and invasive species have caused major biodiversity diversity loss in Australia. For instance, since the European settlement, only 10% of the vegetation in Tasmanian Midlands remain due to intensive agricultural conversion. To maintain and restore biodiversity in human-impacted Tasmania, we need to understand the factors and processes that underlie spatial patterns of biodiversity. In my PhD, I will study and illustrate how environmental conditions (i.e., the degree of disturbance, productivity levels, and habitat connectivity) influence the spatial turnover in species composition (i.e.,β-diversity) via a broad-scale observational survey on Tasmania’s freshwater meta-communities.
Community assembly theory and restoration ecology are complementary fields since the first provides a conceptual foundation about the rules that govern species composition of local communities, and the second focuses on the reconstruction of biologically functioning communities. Therefore, I hope research would not only improve our knowledge of the processes controlling β-diversity but would also offer general guidance for conserving and restoring biodiversity in human-modified landscapes.
Previous research history
2018 - 2020: Early Work (Undergraduate)
Supervisors: Prof Barry Brook, Dr Jessie Buettel
Conserving nomadic species is challenging due to the difficulty in monitoring their characteristically transient populations, and thereby detecting range-wide declines. An example is the Yellow-tailed Black- Cockatoo (YTBC), which disperses widely in search of food and is regularly– but sporadically – observed across eastern Australia. Under climate warming, a general southward shift in species distributions is expected in the southern hemisphere, with the extreme southern margins beingtruncated by an ocean barrier. Here, I began my first venture in scientificresearch, asking whether sufficient refugia will exist for the YTBC in thefuture, by: (i) modelling habitat relationships within the current geographic range of the YTBC based on weather, climate, vegetation, and land use, and (ii) using this framework, coupled with climate-model projections, to forecast 21st century impacts. As of July 2021, this research
has been published in Emu-Austral Ornithology – we hope this can contribute in YTBC conservation.
2020: Early Work (Honours)
Superb lyrebirds are large passerines, endemic to Australia, famed globally for their glamourous plumage and elaborate mating behaviour. Lyrebirds are ground-dwelling insectivores, spending most time on the ground, scratching and turning over soil and litter to forage on invertebrates Lyrebirds were first introduced into Tasmania in the 1930s, deliberately, to protect the species from threats of fox predation and habitat loss in its native (mainland Australian) range. However, lyrebirds have since then spread into central and southern parts of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, and this range expansion is ongoing. Their known impacts on forest-floor structuring, cause lyrebirds’ spread to raise management concerns, leading the species to be listed as 'high-risk'. Lyrebirds preferentially use temperate forests as a habitat. Given that majority of western and north-eastern Tasmania have temperate forests, I predicted the likelihood of lyrebirds’ spread across Tasmania, and how long will this occupation take using multi-scale correlative species distribution models. This work is under preparation for formal publication in a scientific journal.