My research focuses on using ecological knowledge to inform conservation decision-making processes. I am a conservation ecologist interested in particular in decisions that take place in human-modified landscapes where there are usually multiple threats and conflicting objectives related to both biodiversity and social or economic factors. It is important to me that my research is applicable and accessible to agencies and organisations that make conservation decisions. I take an integrated approach to my work, drawing on a wide range of skills, techniques and experience to address the question at hand through biological and socio-economic analyses.
Ayesha_Tanzania2017I completed my PhD at the University of Queensland’s School of Biological Science with Hugh Possingham, Kerrie Wilson and Tara Martin. I worked on cost-effective and efficient resource allocation and decision-making processes for monitoring and management of threats to biodiversity. My research was associated with Gondwana Link in the south-western biodiversity hotspot, and had a particular focus on invasive species management, monitoring Australia’s critical-weight range mammals, and native bird conservation.

My subsequent postdoctoral research with the National Environmental Program’s Environmental Decisions Hub at the University of Queensland focused on accounting for uncertainty and risk in conservation decisions.  I explored this in collaboration with Dr Jonathan Rhodes and Prof Hugh Possingham in contexts such as spatial conservation planning and incorporating risk aversion into prioritisation of species recovery projects.

In my recent position as a Research Fellow with Professor David Lindenmayer at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, Australian National University, I continued my research into optimal monitoring of bird communities. I also investigated the usefulness of network analysis to understand community vulnerability to threatening processes and inform surrogacy decisions.

I  work with non-government conservation organisations and government agencies concerned with managing biodiversity in Australia, Africa, New Zealand, U.S.A. and the U.K., to develop frameworks and tools for prioritising investment in the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems. In my current work with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland I am investigating how to achieve multiple objectives of economic development and biodiversity conservation in tropical Africa, as part of a large collaboration between the major African conservation NGOs including the African Wildlife Foundation, World Resources Institute and Jane Goodall Institute and funded by USAID. Prior to returning to academia I worked for non-government conservation organisations including Greening Australia on applied management problems such as landscape restoration and threatened species recovery.

Whenever I am not analysing data I can generally be found somewhere out in the field watching and counting birds.

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