board members

IMG_1397Simone Birrer

President

Research Associate, University of New South Wales

I have always been fascinated by nature and how animals interact with their environment. I have recently finished my PhD at the University of New South Wales in Sydney and am now working as a Research Associate. I use molecular techniques to assess water and sediment quality, and to investigate the impact of contaminants on a range of ecosystems. I enjoy the work with Sydney SCB, because I get to meet and work with many great people, and I also enjoy doing projects that involve organisms that can actually be seen by eye (in contrast to microbes, which are the main focus of my work at the university).

 

AmAmeliaSaul_psScotia27_croppedelia Saul

Secretary

PhD Candidate, University of Sydney

As a child, I always preferred an episode from a David Attenborough series to cartoons. From adventuring in the local bushland, to rearing baby possums for WIRES, bush regeneration with Ryde Council, and volunteering for NPWS and the AWC, my curiosity and fascination for the natural world has only continued to grow. Studying a Bachelor of Sciences (Biological Sciences) at the University of Sydney led me to discover that my particular biological interest is pollination by mammals. In my Honours year, I found that alien black rats pollinate native banksias in the bushland around Sydney Harbour. Here, the rats are probably acting as replacements for native mammals that are locally extinct from the area. For my PhD, I am trying to tackle the conundrum of how to manage an alien species that might have both negative and positive roles in an ecosystem.In particular, I am trying to find out if there is a way to manage the population density of an alien so that its positive impacts are maximised and its negatives are minimised?

 

Periimage3 Bolton

Communications Officer & Representative for Macquarie University

PhD Candidate, Macquarie University

I have always been a lover of biology and biodiversity, it was only natural for me to start a career in the biological sciences. My passion for birds, evolution and conservation led me to a PhD at Macquarie University investigating conservation genetics and selection on colour morphs in the Gouldian finch.  I like to do rock-climbing, hiking, chasing reptiles and birds, photography (if a day includes all of these activities I’m happy) and drawing.

 

MeenaMeena Sritharan

Communications Officer Assistant

Honours Student, University of New South Wales

Nature holds the greatest source of both visual beauty and intellectual interest  – consequently powering my ever-growing passion for science. I have been greatly fascinated by nature at both a macroscopic and microscopic scale, leading me to study a bachelor of advanced science, majoring in ecology and microbiology.
Most of my spare time has been spent volunteering and working in various labs and in the field. This has led me to do some incredible work such as dissecting dozens of dusky hopping mice, measuring elephant seal whiskers, catching wallabies on camera traps, playing with plant defences and feeding lovely spiders all sorts of insect critters.
Currently, I am undertaking an honours project looking into whether our native Australian alpine plants have changed in morphology across time. I look forward towards a lifetime of research to come!

 

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Nina Schaefer

Treasurer

My fascination for biology started at school and has kept on growing ever since. After a year abroad in Australia during my studies, I knew this was the place where I want to do my PhD. My research at the University of New South Wales focuses on incorporating multifunctional eco-engineering designs into highly modified urban seascapes.  In my free time, I love spending time with friends, do dog walking and travelling.

 

Lily van EedenLily Van Eeden

Events manager

PhD Candidate, University of Sydney

I grew up among the kookaburras and kangaroos in a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne. Being surrounded by nature led me to study ecology and then to work in environmental impact assessments, management and research for about seven years. From trapping prairie dogs in the rangelands of southern Utah, to hunting for badger poo in central China, I’ve had some incredible and diverse experiences that have helped shape my outlook on conservation on a global scale. These experiences have led me to diversify my approach, and I’ve returned to study a PhD that brings together social and political sciences to address environmental problems. Specifically, I investigate Australia’s relationship with the dingo and seek to find solutions to the conflict between dingoes and livestock production so that we may learn to coexist with our only top order predator. I’m particularly interested in this topic because dingoes play an important role in ecosystem regulation through suppression of kangaroos and invasive predators, so “rewilding” Australia by allowing the dingo to fulfill this role can facilitate holistic management that restores ecosystem balance at a landscape scale.

 

CharlotteFieldCharlotte Mills

Arc delegate

PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales

I love leaving the city behind for landscapes of tall eucalypt forests or red sand dunes. Research field trips always feel like adventures, and I’m lucky enough to head out to arid Australia several times a year. My research revolves around how native mammals influence the structure and composition of plant communities and whether the loss of these animals from the arid zone has resulted in changes in our vegetation. At SCB I enjoy being part of a like-minded community working together at the local and the global level.

 

Dominic Ruefenacht

Dominic Ruefenacht

Photographer

Research Associate, University of New South Wales

I’m a PhD student in Electrical Engineering at UNSW, where I am working in the field of Multimedia Signal Processing. I like to spend my free time out in the nature, exploring new places. As a landscape and wildlife photographer, I have a vested interest in conserving our beautiful planet. To see more of my work, please visit http://www.druefenacht.ch.

 

Sydney SCB Representatives

Picture1Stephanie Courtney Jones

Representative for University of Wollongong

PhD Candidate, University of Wollongong

My interests lie in conservation, zoology and education. I am currently investigating the role of phenotypic variation in Captive Breeding Programs (CBPs). Whilst CBPs are having success with rearing of animals, there are induced changes in the morphology and behaviour of animals resulting in low survivorship and poor success in reintroductions. My project (using a multiple species approach) investigates techniques for manipulating the phenotype to reduce the adaptations to captivity and in turn to help improve CBPs and reintroduction success. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling, hiking, snorkeling and photography.

 

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Phoebe Meagher

Representative for Taronga Zoo

Pathology Assistant, Taronga Wildlife Hospital

Spending my holidays wading through rock pools on Kangaroo Island as child I developed a fascination for wildlife and the natural environment, particularly marine ecosystems and their inhabitants. I got my SCUBA ticket as soon as I was old enough and did all my work experience at aquariums and zoos. This lead onto a job as an Aquarist at Oceanworld in Manly, during which time I also embarked on my Bachelor of Science (Biodiversity and Conservation) at Macquarie University. I went on to achieve first class honours for my genetic analysis of the critically endangered grey nurse shark (Carcharias Taurus) and investigating habitat preferences in the Praying mantid, Cuilfina Sp. I went on to work as a Research Assistant at the Centre for Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities (EICC) at Sydney University and gained invaluable experience in experimental design. After a year travelling the world working as Dive master in Thailand and volunteering with Orca whales in France, I came back to begin a PhD at Sydney University. I spent many nights on fishing trawlers investigating the Fishery Impact and Reproductive Biology of the Eastern shovelnose ray, Aptychotrema rostrata in NSW. I have a strong interest in science communication and worked with the Australian Museum developing science-based school programs as well as researching and writing stories for science radio. I now work at Taronga Zoo Wildlife Hospital in the Pathology Department, working closely with the research team to ensure Taronga’s role in wildlife conservation.

 

 

 

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