PhD Students

Ignacio Aravena


Oakes Holland


Shamika Prasadini

Shamika.jpgMy PhD research project investigates the benefits of increasing ecosystem model complexity and the link with ecological understanding of an ecosystem.In particular, the research will focus on how increasing the complexity of a model might affect ecological decision-making and management outcomes. The balance between model complexity, ease of application, and added value to the end-user will provide insight for management decision-making. By considering a real world phenomena, these theories and models can be applied to predict a better conservation and management strategy.

Before starting my PhD journey, I served as a teaching assistant at University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, and developed my teaching skills in mathematical modeling, MATLAB programming and computational mathematics. I cultivated an intense interest in Stochastic Differential Equation (SDEs) modelingand computational programming techniques in MATLAB as an undergraduate student at University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and successfully completed the Bachelor of Science (Special) Degree in Mathematics with First Class Honours.

Other supervisors: Pamela Burrage (QUT)

Jacinta Holloway

headshot Holloway.jpegThe focus of my research is measuring the ecological success of reforestation projects through statistical analysis of satellite imagery data.

My research intends to contribute a reasonably accurate method for assessing success of reforestation projects based on freely available satellite imagery data and low or no cost ground truth data. The aim is to effectively inform environmental management decisions at a reduced cost compared with extensive field data collection. This will be particularly useful in the context of developing countries which are impacted environmentally, societally and economically by land use and environmental decisions, and have limited funds available or prioritised for environmental monitoring.

The project will also contribute to UN Sustainable Development goal 15; to “protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”.

Before starting in research I worked for the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in Canberra and Brisbane in a range of statistical and methodology roles, including tourism statistics and data integration. During my last 18 months at the ABS my full time role was researching how statistical analysis of satellite imagery data can be used to measure sustainable development and improve outcomes for people as part of the United Nations Satellite Imagery and Geospatial Data TaskTeam.  I was a co-author and editor of the Task Team’s report about using satellite imagery data for official statistics and led the development of a practical workshop on the same topic. I will be presenting this workshop in Bogota, Colombia in November 2017 and Asia in April 2018. This work at the ABS led me quite directly to my current research. My background is journalism, economics and statistics, and what makes me tick is finding and sharing the useful and interesting stories data can tell us about the world we live in.

Key stakeholders: Geoscience Australia, QLD Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, and United Nations Statistics Division.

Other supervisors: Kerrie Mengersen (QUT, ACEMS) and Erin Petersen (QUT)

Jim Lewis

headshot lewis.jpgMy PhD project has a focus on invasive and threatened plants and animals in the Queensland section of Lake Eyre Basin (LEB). The LEB is home to many unique, threatened species and invasive species are important threats to native plants and animals. My research is investigating the prioritising of the management actions that may be undertaken to manage invasive species. It builds on work undertaken by QUT, CSIRO and UQ that used a Priority Threat Management tool to rank strategies at a regional scale. One aim of my research is to assist land managers and policy makers to identify the most cost-effective actions that can deliver better conservation outcomes.

I am undertaking this PhD after working for 35 years in the Queensland Department of Primary Industries (DPI, now called Department of Agriculture and Fisheries). I have a degree in Agricultural Science (University of Tasmania), Master of Agricultural Studies (Agricultural Extension) (University of Melbourne) and, more recently, a Master of Applied Science (Research) from QUT.

Key stakeholders: CSIRO

Other supervisors: Jennifer Firn (QUT School of Earth, Environment, and Biological Sciences), Kerrie Mengersen (QUT, ACEMS), Josie Carwardine (CSIRO), and Cameron Fletcher (CSIRO).

Graduated students

Martin Péron

Graduated PhD in 2018. Martin developed novel computational approaches to find optimal, cost-effective strategies for managing invasive tiger mosquitoes Aedes albopictus using partially observable Markov decision processes.

Jessie Roberts

Submitted Masters in 2018. Jessie explored how communicating risk in different ways to expert and non-expert stakeholders affects decision-making. Now Stakeholder Engagement Officer for Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers

Rachael Smith

Graduated Masters in 2018