ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr Damian Michael

Dr Damian Michael

Dr Damian Michael is a postdoctoral researcher within the Murrumbidgee Monitoring, Evaluation and Research team. Damian has worked extensively across grassland, woodland and forest ecosystems in south-eastern Australia where he specialised in restoration ecology, inselberg ecology and herpetology. His work focussed on understanding vertebrate responses to fire, forestry and farming practices with applied outcomes for threatened species, particularly woodland birds, arboreal marsupials, frogs and reptiles. Damian’s PhD focused on understanding the ecological roles of insular granite outcrops in farming landscapes and he is the lead author of Reptiles in the NSW Murray Catchment: A Guide to their Identification, Ecology and Conservation and the award winning Rocky Outcrops in Australia: Ecology, Conservation and Management (CSIRO Publishing). Damian’s current research focuses on the ecology and conservation of floodplain snakes, lizards and frogs, as well as developing projects to improve conservation outcomes for biodiversity in human-modified landscapes.

Research Interests

  • Wildlife conservation in agricultural landscapes
  • Applied herpetology
  • Rocky outcrop (inselberg) ecology
  • Restoration ecology and adaptive management

Bachelor of Applied Science (Hons), Charles Sturt University, 2001

Doctor of Philosophy (Landscape Ecology), The Australian National University, 2010

Full Publication List CRO Research Outputs

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Chapple, D.G. Roll, U, Bohm, M., … Michael, D.R. et al. (2020). Conservation status of the world’s skinks (Scincidae): taxonomic and geographical patterns in extinction risk. Biological Conservation.

Michael, D.R., Moore, H., Wassens, S., Craig, M., Tingley, R., Chapple, D., O’Sullivan, J., Hobbs, R. & Nimmo, D. (2021) Rock removal associated with agricultural intensification will exacerbate loss of reptile diversity. Journal of Applied Ecology (in press)

Moore, H.A., Michael, D.R., Ritchie, E.G., Dunlop, J.A., Valentine, L.E., Hobbs, R.J. & Nimmo, D.G. (2021).  A rocky heart in a spinifex sea: occurrence of an endangered marsupial predator is multiscale dependent in naturally fragmented landscapes. Landscape Ecology

Michael, D.R., Niedra, S. & McWhinney, D. (2021). The conservation of arboreal marsupials in the Albury‐Wodonga region of south‐eastern Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration, 22: 45-52.

Geyle, H.M., Tingley, R., Amey, A.P., Cogger, H., Couper, P.J., Cowan, M., Craig, M.D., Doughty, P., Driscoll, D.A., Ellis, R.J., Emery, J-P., Fenner, A., Gardner, M.G., Garnett, S.T., Gillespie, G.R., Greenlees, M.J., Hoskin, C.J., Keogh, J.S., Lloyd, R., Melville, J., McDonald, P., Michael, D.R., Mitchell, N.J., Sanderson, C. Shea, G.M., Sumner, J., Wapstra, E., Woinarski, J.C.Z., & Chapple D. (2020). Reptiles on the brink: identifying the Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology. PC20033

Michael, D.R., Bourke, G., Paris, D. & Wassens, S. (2020) A range extension for the endangered Grey Snake Hemiaspis damelii Günther (1876) in the Murrumbidgee catchment, southern NSW. Australian Zoologist doi: 10.7882/AZ.2020.008

Michael, D. (2020). Book Review: Cane Toad Wars. Austral Ecology: a journal of ecology in the Southern Hemisphere, 45(3), 404. [45].

Hansen, N.A., Driscoll, D.A., Michael, D.R. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2019) Movement patterns of an arboreal gecko in fragmented agricultural landscapes reveal matrix avoidance. Animal Conservation.

Tingley, R., Macdonald, S.L., Mitchell, N.J., Woinarski, J.C.Z., Meiri, S., Bowles, P., Cox, N.A, Shea, G.A., Böhm, M., Chanson, J., Tognelli, M.F., Harris, J., Walke, C., Harrison, N., Victor, S., Woods, C., Amey, A.P., Bamford, M., Catt, G., Clemann, N., Couper, P.J., Cogger, H., Cowan, M., Craig, M.D., Dickman, C.R., Doughty, P., Ellis, R., Fenner, A., Ford, S., Gaikhorst, G., Gillespie, G.T., Greenlees, M.J., Hobson, R., Hoskin, C.J., How, R., Hutchinson, M.N., Lloyd, R., McDonald, P., Melville, J., Michael, D.R., Moritz, C., Oliver, P.M., Peterson, G., Robertson, P., Sanderson, C., Somaweera, T., Teale, T., Valentine, L., Vanderduys, E., Venz, M., Wapstra, E., Wilson, S. and Chapple, D.J. (2019) Geographic and taxonomic patterns of extinction risk in Australian squamates. Biological Conservation 238

Lindenmayer, D.B., Lane, P., Foster, C., Westgate, M., Sato. C., Ikin, K., Crane, M., Michael, D., Florance, D. & Scheele, B. (2018) Do migratory and resident birds differ in their responses to interacting effects of climate, weather and vegetation? Diversity and Distribution DOI: 10.1111/DDI.12874 2018: 1-13.

Michael, D., Blanchard, W., Scheele, B.C., Florance, D., Crane, M. & Lindenmayer, D. (2018) Comparative use of active searches and artificial substrates to survey amphibians in terrestrial environments. Austral Ecology DOI:10.1111/aec.12677

Webster, C., Massaro, M., Michael, D.R., Bambrick, D., Riley, J. L. & Nimmo, D.G. (2018) Not naïve – two species of native reptile respond to the olfactory cues of invasive mammalian predators Royal Society Open Science 5: 180136.

Hansen, N.A., Sato, C.F, Michael, D.R., Lindenmayer D.B. & Driscoll, D.A. (2018) Predation risk for reptiles is highest at remnant edges in agricultural landscapes. Journal of Applied Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13269

Michael, D.R., Florance, D., Crane, M., Blanchard, W. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018) Barking up the right tree: Comparative use of arboreal and terrestrial artificial refuges to survey reptiles in temperate eucalypt woodland. Wildlife Research 45: 185-192.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Blanchard, W., Crane, M., Michael, D. & Sato, C. (2018) Biodiversity benefits of vegetation restoration are undermined by livestock grazing Restoration Ecology doi:10.1111/ree.12676

Michael, D.R., Crane, M., Florance, D. and Lindenmayer, D.B. (2018) Revegetation, restoration and reptiles in rural landscapes: Insights from long-term monitoring programmes in the temperate eucalypt woodlands of south-eastern Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 19: 32-38.

O’Loughlin, T., O’Loughlin, L.S., Michael, D.R., Wood, J.T., Waudby, H.P., Falcke, F. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2017) The importance of Travelling Stock Reserves for maintaining high-quality threatened temperate woodlands Australian Journal of Botany http://

Fitzsimons, J. & Michael, D.R. (2017) Rocky outcrops: A hard road in the conservation of critical habitats. Biological Conservation 211: 36-44.

Bourke, G., Matthews, A. and Michael, D.R. (2017) Can protective attributes of artificial refuges offset predation risk in lizards? Austral Ecology 42: 497-507.

Michael, D.R., Ikin, K., Crane, M., Okada, S. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2017) Scale-dependent occupancy patterns in reptiles across topographically different landscapes. Ecography 40: 415-424.

Michael, D.R., Wood, J.T., O’Loughlin, T. & Lindenmayer, D.B. (2016) Influence of land sharing and land sparing strategies on vegetation patterns and terrestrial vertebrate richness and occurrence in Australian endangered eucalypt woodlands. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 227: 24-32.

Michael, D.R. and Johnson, G. (2016) Notes on a naturalised population of The Eastern Dwarf Tree Frog Litoria fallax (Peters) (Anuran: Hylidae) in North East Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist 133, 202-04.

Michael, D.R., Kay, G., Crane, M., Florance, D., MacGregor, C., Okada, S., McBurney, L., Blair D. and Lindenmayer D.B. (2015) Ecological niche breadth and microhabitat guild structure in temperate Australian reptiles: Implications for natural resource management in endangered grassy woodland ecosystems. Austral Ecology 40: 651-660.

Michael, D.R. and Alexander, J. (2015) Historical records of the Inland Carpet Python Morelia spilota metcalfei (Serpentes: Pythonidae) in North East Victoria and the implications for fire planning. The Victorian Naturalist 132 (2): 36-43.


Michael, D.R. & Lindenmayer, D.B (2018) Rocky Outcrops in Australia: Ecology, Conservation and Management. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Melbourne.

Lindenmayer, D.B. Michael, D.R., Crane, M., Florance, D. & Burns, E. (2018) Restoring Farm Woodlands for Wildlife. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

Lindenmayer, D.B., Michael, D.R., Crane, M., Barton, P., Ikin, K., Okada, S. (2016) Wildlife Conservation in Farm Landscapes. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Melbourne.

Hot topics in Ecology Online Article

Michael, D. (2019) Removal of critical rock habitat threatens biodiversity. Hot Topics in Ecology, Ecological Society of Australia.

Technical Reports

Bourke, G., Wassens, S. & Michael. D. (2019) Murrumbidgee Monitoring Evaluation and Research Program, ecological responses to Commonwealth environmental water, Field report. Number 2, December 2019. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Bourke, G., Michael. D., Spencer, J., Amos, C. & Wassens, S. (2019) Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report number 20, June 2019. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Wassens, S., Bourke, G., Spencer, J., Amos, C., & Michael, D. (2019) Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project, Murrumbidgee System Selected Area, Progress Report Number 19, April 2019. Charles Sturt University, Institute for Land, Water and Society. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Fact Sheet

Science for Policy, Research Findings in brief Project 2.1  Reptiles on the brink: The Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction.  Threatened Species Recovery Hub.  National Environmental Science Programme.  This factsheet summarises the key findings of the following paper Geyle, H.M. et al (2020). Reptiles on the brink: identifying the Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology. PC20033


Michael, D., Nimmo, D. & Wassens, S. (2020) Does Australia really have the deadliest snakes? We debunk 6 common myths. The Conversation, September 29.

Opinion Pieces CSU News

Michael, D. R., Nimmo, D. & Wassens, S. (2020) Aggressive? Poisonous? Deadly? Experts debunk myths about Australian snakes.  Charles Sturt University News Opinion, September 29

Current Projects

Monitoring, Evaluation and Research – Murrumbidgee. Wassens, S., Hall, A. (2019-2022), CEWO Project webpage

Ecological roles of surface rocks in multi-use landscapes (2019-2021). O’Sullivan (PhD), Michael, D.R. & Lindenmayer, D.B. Environmental Science Program Threatened Species Recovery Hub top up scholarship $16,500