PhD Students

Martin Péron

headshot Peron.jpgMy PhD project (in partnership with CSIRO) aims at finding optimal strategies for managing the population of invasive tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus cost-effectively. The decisions to make are sequential and the spread of Aedes albopictus is random. These decisions can be modelled and optimised by using a Markov decision process (MDP), or a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP) if more complex levels of uncertainty are to be modelled. However, both MDP and POMDP fall prey to the curse of dimensionality: they are computationally very demanding, or intractable, for all but small problems. The goal of my project is to develop novel approaches to tackle larger problems.

I have an Engineering degree from French University, where I have been trained in Operations Research. I followed other courses in diverse fields of Applied Mathematics, such as Machine Learning, Image Processing and Statistics. So far I have honed my optimisation skills on a production network at Total in France. I have come to Australia for the challenge of studying in a different country, and I am currently undertaking a PhD at the Queensland University of Technology.

Other supervisors: Kerrie Mengersen (QUT), Iadine Chadès (CSIRO), Kai Helge Becker (University of Strathclyde), Peter Bartlett (University of California Berkeley)

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).

Master’s Students

Jessie Roberts