ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

ILWS Postgraduates

ILWS PhD scholarship recipients

Currently, the Institute has 9 PhD students who are recipients of ILWS scholarships.


Dylan Westaway, Supervisors A/Prof Dale Nimmo, Prof Dave Watson, Dr Tim Jessop, Prof Euan Ritchie (Deakin), Dr Damian Michael. Topic: Assessing habitat fragments for their utility in reptile conservation in fire-prone landscapes

Kakoli Bhowmik, Supervisors A/Prof Azizur Rahman.  Co-supervisors Dr Ryan Ip,  School of Computing, Mathematics and Engineering; and Professor Jade Forwood, School of Dentistry and Medical Sciences.  Tentative topic: Modelling the early development of Australian children using the AEDC data from 2009 - 2021.


Leia Rogers is supervised by Dr Raf Freire and Dr Keller Kopf.  She is based at Wagga Wagga with the School of Animal and Veterinary Science.  Her study will be on fish behaviour and ecology in native freshwater fish.  This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.

Lauren Stoot is based in Albury and supervised by Professor Lee Baumgartner and ILWS Adjunct Dr Jason Thiem (NSW DPI). Lauren's research topic "Predicting the impacts of river development on fish movement and population connectivity: A case study on the Clarence River system".  This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.


Liam Grimmett is supervised by Associate Professor Rachel Whitsed and Dr Ana Horta and he will be developing methods to predict the transferability of species distribution models into new environments.  His research will be about using virtual simulations to try and better understand our current modelling methods so as to better inform environmental management. He is based on the Albury-Wodonga campus. This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.

Richard McLellan is a Distance Education student based in Geraldton, WA and his research project "The ecology of Santalaceae species (Sandalwood, Quandong, Leafless Ballart) in the semi-arid rangelands of mid-west Australia" is supported by the project ‘How do sandalwoods (Santalum spp.) affect desert communities: integrating above-ground patterns with below-ground processes’. He is supervised by Professor David Watson, Professor Kingsley Dixon (Curtin Uni), Dr Jodi Price, is Dr Michelle Hall, senior ecologist, Bush Heritage Australia. and Dr Leonie Valentine (UWA). This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.


Dr Richard Segal, a PhD graduate commenced his second PhD, this time in Ornithology and is supervised by Dr Melanie Massaro, Dr Rachel Whitsed and Nicholas Carlile, Acting Principal Scientist of the Science Division of the NSW OEH.  He will be investigating the effects of the rodent eradication on the threatened Lord Howe currawong. The Lord Howe currawong, is a threatened sub-species of the mainland population of currawongs, and is only found on the Island. It is estimated that there are only about 250 birds left.    With logistical and financial support from the Science Division of the NSW OEH and the LHIB, Richard was able to do some groundwork for his PhD project on Lord Howe currawongs in November 2017. This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.

Joshua Hodges is supervised by Dr Jodi Price (principal supervisor), Dr Lydia Guja from the Australian National Botanical Gardens (ANBG) in Canberra and Professor Adrienne Nicotra (ANU).  He is building on research he commenced in his CSU honours research in 2017, to find out more about how Australia’s grasslands and grassy woodlands respond to fire. This project "Post-fire seedling recruitment in grasslands and grassy woodlands of south-eastern Australia" is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation theme.  The study has a top-up scholarship from ANGB.


Inam Ahmed, a Water Resources engineer, began his PhD in February with principal supervisor A/Prof Robyn Watts and co-supervisors Dr Andrew Hall and Dr Geoff Vietz (University of Melbourne). Inam is modelling in-stream hydraulics for the Edward-Wakool River System for his PhD using mathematical modelling tools and developing a Decision Support System (DSS) using model result and Geographic Information System (GIS). Models that predict the extent of inundation of river features under different discharges and options will help managers better predict the ecological outcomes of their management decisions with DSS. This project is aligned with the Environmental Water research theme.


Matt O'Connell, a CSU honours graduate with 20 years experience working in natural resource management, began working on his research project "Exploring the potential of taxidermy Murray cod mounts to inform past environmental conditions" in January of 2017 and graduated in 2021.  His project, "Exploring the utility of taxidermy Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) as a historical record" received a top-up scholarship ($45,000) from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, and builds on initial research done by his principal supervisor Dr Paul Humphries, a fish ecologist with an interest in historical ecology. The project is aligned with the Environmental Water and Biodiversity Conservation research themes.

Kendal Krause graduated in 2021.  She was supervised by Associate Professor Skye Wassens, and co-supervisors Dr Kim Jenkins and Dr Ben Wolfenden. Her research on the influence of exotic fish on an emerging zooplankton community: Impacts to zooplankton abundance and composition was aligned with the Environmental Water research theme.

Harry Moore, a Distance Education student was supervised by A/Prof Dale Nimmo, Professor David Watson, Dr Euan Richie (Deakin University), Dr Leonie Valentine (UWA) and Dr Judy Dunlop (WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.) He graduated in 2021.  His research work focussed on the Northern Quolls in the Pilbara region of WA. His thesis title: "Quantifying the habitat requirements of an endangered marsupial predator, the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus)." The project received funding from the WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, and a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.  This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.

Liz Znidersic, graduated in 2019.  She was supervised by Professor David Watson and co-supervised by Professor John Woinarski from Charles Darwin University.  Her research contributed to the ARC Discovery Project Bio-Acoustic Observatory : Engaging Birdwatchers to Monitor Biodiversity by Collaboratively Collecting and Analysing Big Audio Data.  She looked at the detectability of cryptic birds (Lewin's rail and other rail species) to assist with conservation/management options.   This project is aligned with the Biodiversity Conservation research theme.

Jenny Woods graduated in 2017 and was supervised by Dr Jonathon Howard, Dr Ndungi wa Mungai and Dr Karen Bell. She looked at the issue of flooding in North Wagga Wagga. Her topic was "Community spirit: the missing link for flood recovery" Her research was aligned with Rural and Regional Communities research theme.

Samantha Strong was supervised by  A/Prof Catherine Allan. Her PhD, Exploring Paradoxes of Native Vegetation Management in the Context of Bushfire in South East Australia in the 21st Century explored a range of paradoxes associated with complex native vegetation management issues following wildfires in Victoria and the ACT.  Two major 21st century bushfires in south-east Australia were explored to better understand Australia's paradoxical vegetation management. Findings show that societal narratives use particular types of language to construct and share meaning after each bushfire. Our knowledge about the environment is particularly shaped by mythical framing of environmental risk and control. Understanding and re-framing contradictory and politically divisive depictions of native vegetation and bushfire can lead to improved environmental and social outcomes. Samantha graduated in 2017. Her project was aligned with the Woody Regrowth in Rural Landscapes SRA.

Abbie Spiers began her PhD in July 2011, with supervisors Prof Max Finlayson and A/Prof Rosy Black. Her topic is 'An exploration of community perceptions about wetland health in New Zealand'. Her research was aligned with the Sustainable Water SRA. Abbie graduated in 2017.

Saideepa (Deepa) Kumar completed her PhD in February 2016. Her supervisors were Prof Allan Curtis, Dr Paul Humphries, Dr Emily Mendham and Dr Wendy Merritt (ANU). Deepa's PhD examined the contemporary topic of the management of environmental water in the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia. Deepa's research commenced in 2012 as part of a National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) project and was aligned with the Social Research for Natural Resource Management SRA.

Wayne Deans was supervised by Dr Digby Race, Institute adjunct Barney Foran and Dr Mark Howden (Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship) began his PhD in February 2010. His topic was "Trees as Redundant Patterns."  Wayne graduated in 2015.

Manu Saunders began her PhD in March 2010 under principal supervisor A/Prof Gary Luck.  Her topic was "Wild pollinator communities of native woodlands and commercial almond plantations in a semi-arid Australian landscape: Implications for conservation of insects and ecosystem services". Manu graduated in 2014.

Jane Roots who started in 2008, was supervised by Dr Joanne Millar and Dr Rik Thwaites, Her thesis topic was "The future of farming in rural amenity landscapes: The role of planning and governance in a changing landscape"  Jane graduated in December 2014

Anna Lukasiewicz, was supervised by Dr Penny Davidson, Prof Kath Bowmer and CSIROs Dr Geoff Syme, and commenced her PhD in 2008. Her thesis topic was "Lost in translation: where is the social justice in Australian water reform?"  Anna graduated in 2012

Maggie Watson, whose supervisors were A/Prof Shane Raidal, Dr Tiggy Grillo (both from CSU's School of Animal and Veterinary Science) and Prof Nick Klomp, commenced her PhD in September 2007. For her research project Maggie looked at the effects of parasites and stress from eco-tourism on the reproductive performance of seabirds. Her topic was " Effects of parasites on the Crested Tern Thalasseus bergii ". Maggie graduated in 2012

Sylvia Zukowski was the recipient of the inaugural Integration Program scholarship and commenced her PhD in May 2007 and was supervised by A/Prof Robyn Watts, and Prof Allan Curtis. Her interdisciplinary research project combined ecological and social research and her topic was "What information is required for sustainable recreational freshwater fishery regulations in Australia ?" Sylvia graduated in 2012.