ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Skye Wassens

Associate Professor Skye Wassens

Associate Professor Skye Wassens is an internationally recognised ecologist specialising in the ecology and conservation of wetland dependant amphibians. Her research on the responses of amphibians to environmental flooding and amphibian water requirements has led the way for the inclusion of amphibians into environmental flooding programs throughout the Murray-Darling Basin. Her research on wetland dependent frogs currently underpins environmental flooding strategies in the Lowbidgee floodplain and Yanga National Park, the Murrumbidgee Water Sharing Plan and management of wetlands in the Mid Lachlan River. She has lead a number of major field based research projects on the relationship between flooding and amphibian dispersal, tadpole ecology, the relationship between native and introduced freshwater fish and amphibian recruitment during wetland flooding, temporal activity patterns of wetland dependant frogs and large scale drivers of amphibian habitat occupancy in regulated rivers and floodplain wetlands.

Research Interests

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Ecology and conservation of wetland dependent amphibians

Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons), Charles Sturt University, 1999 
PhD, Charles Sturt University, 2006


Membership of Advisory Boards

A/Prof Skye Wassens is on the River Red Gum Adaptive Management Science Advisory Committee (cross border NSW and Victoria) NSW OEH/DSE;  a Member of the Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) BHP Billiton's Litoria aurea Compensatory Habitat Program (CHP) as part of the Hunter River Remediation project.


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Ocock, J. F., Bino, G., Wassens, S., Spencer, J.,  Thomas, R.F., &  Kingsford, R.T. (2018) Identifying Critical Habitat for Australian Freshwater Turtles in a Large Regulated Floodplain: Implications for Environmental Water Management. Environmental Management 61: 375-389 DOI 10.1007/s00267-017-0837-0

Wolfenden, B. J., Wassens, S. M., Jenkins, K. M., Baldwin, D. S., Kobayashi, T. & Maguire, J. (2018) Adaptive Management of Return Flows: Lessons from a Case Study in Environmental Water Delivery to a Floodplain River. Environmental Management 61: 481-496 DOI 10.1007/s00267-017-0861-0

Kingsford, R.T., Mac Nally, R. King, A.J., Walker, K.F., Bino, G., Thompson, R., Wassens, S. & Humphries, P.  (2015) A commentary on Long-term ecological trends of flow-dependent ecosystems in a major regulated river basin, by Matthew J. Colloff, Peter Caley, Neil Saintilan, Carmel A. Pollino and Neville D. Crossman. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66:9708-980.

Wassens, S, Walcott, A., Wilson, A., & Freire,R. (2013) Frog breeding in rain-fed wetlands after a period of severe drought: implications for predicting the impacts of climate change,  Hydrobiologia 708(1), 69-80

Reports

Murrumbidgee LTIM Project

Wassens, S., Spencer, J., Wolfenden, B., Thiem, J., Thomas, R., Jenkins, K., Brandis, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., Ocock, J., Kobayashi, T., Bino, G., Heath, J., & Callaghan, D. (2018) Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Long-Term Intervention Monitoring project Murrumbidgee River system Selected Area evaluation report, 2014-17. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Hall, A. (2017). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 13, October 2017. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2016). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 7, March 2016. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 6, January 2016

Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015). Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 5, September 2015

Wassens, S., Thiem, J., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Hall, A., (2015) Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 4, June 2015. CSU, ILWS. Prepared for CEWO

Wassens, S., Thiem, J., Wolfenden, B., Spencer, J., Lenon, E., Hall, A., Clarke-Wood, B. (2015). Long term intervention monitoring project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 3, March 2015. CSU, ILWS. Prepared for CEWO

Reports from previous projects

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee river system - Final Report Executive Summary

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee river system - Report 1, Institute for land, Water and Society - Charles Sturt University for Commonwealth Environmental Water Office

Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. (2012)  ILWS Report 2 for SEWPAC. PDF

Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. (2012)  ILWS Report 1 for SEWPAC. PDF

The Conversation

Webb, A., Ryder, D., Dyer, F., Stewardson, M.,  Grace, M., Bond, N., Frazier, P., Ye, Q., Stoffels, R., Watts, R.J., Capon, S., Wassens, S. It will take decades, but the Murray-Darling Basin Plan is delivering environmental improvements.  The Conversation May 1 2018 https://theconversation.com/it-will-take-decades-but-the-murray-darling-basin-plan-is-delivering-environmental-improvements-93568


Current Projects

Billabong-Yanco Creek Wetland Monitoring Project. Wassens, S., Wilson, B., Walcott, A., Hall, A. & Wolfenden, B. (2017-2018) Murray LLS, $80,218 Project details

Ecological assessment of the status of the Southern Bell Frog and Sloane's froglet in Mywurlie station, One Tree NSW. Wassens, S., Knight, A., Walcott, A. & Heard, G. (2017-2018), Murrumbidgee Irrigation Ltd, $46,948. Project details

Environmental drivers of disease risk in relic Bell Frog populations in East Gippsland. Heard, G., Wassens, S. & Turner, A. (PhD student) Greening Australia, $32,403

Environmental Monitoring and Training for Aboriginal Communities. Wassens, S., Allan, C., Whitsed, R. & Bond, J. (2017-2018) NSW OEH, $20,000

Optimising acoustic monitoring for frogs in the Koondrook-Perricoota. Walcott, A., Hall, A., Wassens, S., Nimmo, D. (2018) Forestry Corporation of NSW $29,623 Project details

Short-Term Intervention Monitoring-waterbird and prey responses to inundation of the Western Lakes. Jenkins, K., Wolfenden, B. Wassens, S. (2016-2017) CEWO, $52,983

Long Term Intervention Monitoring project-Murrumbidgee Selected Area. Stage 2. Wassens,S., Hall,A., Wolfenden,B. with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), University of NSW, Riverina LLS, and NSW OEH, (2014-2019) CEWO, $3.5M Project Webpage

Completed Projects

2016-2017 Murrumbidgee Targeted Hypoxic Blackwater Monitoring. Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B., Walcott, A. (2016-2017) CEWO, $8,545 (Contract variation for the LTIM project)

2016-2017 Murrumbidgee Bird Breeding Event. Brandis, K. (UNSW), Spencer, J. (NSW OEH); Wassens, S. (2016-2017) CEWO, $142,191 (Contract variation for the LTIM project)

Automated call records evaluate frog responses to environmental watering. (2016-2017) Wassens, S., Hall, A., Nimmo, D & Walcott, A. Department of Environment & Climate Change, $30,000

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for water research. (2016) Watts, R., Baumgartner, L., Wassens, S., Hall, A. CSU RIBG Grant, $49,919

Long Term Monitoring Project-Murrumbidgee Selected Area-Return Flow Variation. Wassens, S., Wolfenden, B. & Jenkins, K. (2015) CEWO, $59,164

Lower Lachlan Frog Assessment, Wassens, S., Dyer, F.  (Uni of Canberra), Walcott, A. & Hall, A. (2015-2016), CEWO, $39,728

Yanco Creek Environmental flows monitoring: 2015-16 fish and vegetation surveys. Wassens, S. & Wolfenden, B. (2015-2016) NSW Office of Environment & Heritage, $20,000

Ecological responses to environmental flow microscopy, Watts, R., Wassens, S., Jenkins, K., & McCasker, N. (2015) Research Infrastructure Block Grant (RIBG), $30,660

Long Term Intervention Monitoring for the Murrumbidgee System, Wassens, S. &  Hall, A.  with  NSW DPI, UNSW, OEH & Murrumbidgee CMA. (Dec 2013-April 2014) CEWO, $168,497

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2013-14 to the Murrumbidgee River.  Wassens, S & Hall, A. (2013-2014) Partners Department of Primary Industries – NSW Fisheries,(Lee Baumgarten) Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority (Erin Lenon), NSW Office of Environment and Heritage(Dr Jennifer Spencer) and University of NSW (Dr Kim Jenkins). SEWPAC, $671,801 Project details

Frog communities of the Mid and Lower Lachlan River, OEH, Wassens, S. & Luck, G. (2012-13) $14,000

Assessment of the status of the Southern Bell Frogs in the Lower Murrumbidgee after major flooding from 2010-12, OEH, Wassens, S. & Hall, A. ((2012-13)$20,000

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Edward-Wakool river system. SEWPAC, Partners Department of Primary Industries – NSW Fisheries, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Monash University, Wakool River Association and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. Watts, R., Wassens, S. & Howitt, J. (2012-2013). $910,935

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee River. SEWPAC, Partners Department of Primary Industries – NSW Fisheries, Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Authority, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and University of NSW. Wassens, S., Hall, A., & Watts, R. (2012-2013). $776,222

Assessment of post-flood recovery of frog populations in the Lachlan catchment 2012-2013. OEH. Wassens, S., & Luck, G. (2012-2013). $13,964

Assessment of the status of frog communities in the Lower Murrumbidgee 2012-2013. OEH. Wassens,S. & Hall, A.  (2012-2013). $19,960