Lab Leader

Rob Davis is a Senior Lecturer at ECU and since his arrival in 2009, he has built a small but thriving lab engaged in wildlife research. Rob has a background in amphibian ecology and undertook his PhD with Prof. Dale Roberts at the University of Western Australia. He always has a special interest in birds and reptiles, however, his ecological interests are broad from many years of operating his own fauna consultancy business, so he is comfortable working on most animals as models for questions of interest.

Rob with his dream animal: a wild Japanese Giant Salamander
Rob with his dream animal: a wild Japanese Giant Salamander.

Rob’s prime research interests are landscape ecology, threatened species recovery, island ecosystems and disturbance ecology including fire and other impacts on fauna and their habitats.

Wildlife Lab, November 25, 2020 (L-R): Rachyl Stover (3rd year science project), Ryan Carter (Masters), Shannon Treloar (Masters), Patrick Williams (Masters), Rob Davis (Lab PI), Kaarissa Harring-Harris (Masters) and Yanlin Li (Honours). Missing: Nedrah Brown (Masters).

Current Students


Kirrily Hastings (2022-2025). Kirrily is examine the conservation ecology of the Hooded Plover in Western Australia. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Sora Estrella, Dr Mike Weston (Deakin).

Shelby Middleton (2022-2025). Shelby is resolving the taxonomy of the Brush-tailed Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) in Australia. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Harriet Mills (Perth Zoo), Dr Kenny Travouillon (WA Museum) and Linette Umbrello (WA Museum).

Sophie Querido (2021-2024). Sophie is looking. at saline land restoration in the northern wheatbelt region of WA. Advisors: Dr Eddie van Etten and Dr Rob Davis.


Nathan Yaschenko (2021-2023). Nathan is looking at the ecology of Masked owls in SW WA and using ecoacoustic approaches. Advisors: Dr Rob DAVIS, Dr Eddie van Etten, Dr Mike Craig, Dr Boyd Wykes, Dr Mike Lohr.

Rachyl Stover (2020-). Rachyl is examining reintroduced mammal populations of Banded Hare-wallaby and Rufous Hare-wallaby on Dirk Hartog Island with a view to understanding their role as ecosystem engineers and dietary adaptations to new habitats. Advisors: Dr Anna Hopkins, Dr Saul Cowen (DBCA), Dr Harriet Mills (Perth Zoo), Dr Rob Davis.

Nedrah Brown (2018-). Nedrah’s masters is looking at the role of urban gardens in supporting populations of the motorbike frog. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Matt West (Uni. Melbourne) and A/Prof. Kirsten Parris (Uni. Melbourne)

Patrick Williams. (2020-). Patrick is studying his masters, looking at the conservation ecology of the vulnerable Western Partridge Pigeon in the Kimberley region of WA. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis and Dr Eddie van Etten.

Ryan Carter (2020-). Ryan will be examining the conservation ecology of the endangered Abrolhos Painted Button-quail for his masters.

Postdoc Alumni

Shaun Molloy. Shaun was Rob’s first PhD student and has undertaken several postdoc positions with ECU working on various fauna projects including Western Ground Parrots, Northern Quolls and assessing the efficacy of restoration for biodiversity. Shaun now works for DFES as a fire ecologist

Dr Sora Estrella worked on the RioTinto Dampier Salt Shorebird Project with the lab and is currently an ECU South-west Campus Coordinator.

PhD Alumni

Paul Radley (2014-2018) Conservation of the endangered Micronesian megapode. Supervisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr David Blake. Paul now works as a wildlife ecologist in Hawaii.

Mike Lohr (2015-2018) Population demographics and spatial ecology of owls in south-western Australia.  Supervisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Allan Burbidge (DPAW). Mike now works as a fauna consultant.

Floyd Holmes. (2014-2018) The use of animal behaviour as a bio-indicator of restoration quality. Supervisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Eddie van Etten. Floyd now works as an environmental consultant.

Tim Doherty (2012-2015) Ecology of feral cats and their prey in relation to shrubland fire regimes. Supervisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Eddie van Etten. Tim now works as a DECRA Research Fellow at Sydney University.

Dr Shaun Molloy  (2010-2013) Applying the principles of spatial modelling to the management of biodiversity in the fragmented landscapes of south-western Australia. Supervisors: Dr Rob Davis, Prof. Pierre Horwitz, Dr Eddie van Etten.  

Masters Alumni

Kaarissa Haaring-Harris (2018-2022). Kaarissa examined long-term population trends in urban birds. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Tegan Douglas and Dr Geoff Barrett.

Shannon Treloar (2018-2022). Shannon studied her masters on the importance of food resources in translocation success: a case study with two endangered mammals. Advisors: Dr Rob Davis, Dr Cheryl Lohr and Dr Anna Hopkins.

Michael Main (Masters, 2017-2020) Spatial Ecology of urban foxes. Supervisors: Dr David Blake, Dr Rob Davis, Dr Harriet Mills. Michael now works for DBCA in the Pilbara.

Candice Le Roux (Masters, 2014-2016) Nocturnal roost site selection by endangered Carnaby’s Cockatoos in the Perth Region. Supervisors: Prof. Will Stock, Dr Dave Blake, Dr Rob Davis, Dr Geoff Barrett (DPAW).

Teagan Johnston (Masters, 2010-2012) Food resource availability for Carnaby’s cockatoo on the Swan Coastal Plain. Supervisors: Prof. Will Stock, Dr Peter Mawson, Dr Rob Davis.  


Honours Alumni

Yanlin Li (2021-2022). Honours. Tracking the urban-induced morphological shifts of three scincid lizards in Perth, Western Australia using museum specimen deposited in the 1990’s. Advisors: Dr Robert Davis and Dr Anna Hopkins.

Sarah Anderson (2017) Chytrid fungus ecology in the Motorbike Frog Litoria moorei.

Melinda Henderson (2015) Spatial ecology of northern quolls in the Pilbara region.

Christian Polson-Brown (2012) Use of revegetation on Rottnest Island by Red-capped Robins and Golden Whistlers.

Laura Harris (2012) The relationship between plant secondary metabolites and the habitat parameters of the endangered Western Ringtail Possum in south-west WA. 

Nicole Grubb (2011) Territory size as an indicator of habitat quality in the endangered Noisy Scrub-bird.

Joe Krawiec (2010) Population genetics of the skink Ctenotus fallens in urban Perth.



The Wildlife Lab works closely with a number of individuals and organisations. Our primary collaborators at present include:

Dr Harriet Mills. Harriet works closely with the wildlife lab on mammal ecology and conservation-related topics, including invasive predators such as rats and foxes.

Prof. Luc Lens. Luc is at the University of Ghent, Belgium and he and Rob are collaborating on a study of the Moluccan Megapode and avian conservation in Palau.

Dr Jan Engler. Jan is also based at the University of Ghent and he and Rob along with Luc, are collaborating on avian phylogenetic and biogeography research focussed on the avifauna of Palau. They co-supervise a University of Ghent PhD student.

Adjunct A/Prof. Allan Burbidge. Allan has helped supervise many honours students and provides ongoing and important input to the lab and it’s students, from his experience in bird ecology and conservation.

Prof. Rob Heinsohn, ANU. Rob and Rob (!) are collaborating on bird conservation research in the Pacific region and continue to work together on Australian parrot conservation.

Prof. Dale Roberts. Rob’s PhD supervisor, Dale and Rob still work together in the hope that they will eventually be able to get all of Rob’s PhD chapters published and get more students involved in amphibian research!

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  1. Pingback: Urban reptiles at risk from arsonists | Tim Doherty

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