ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr Maggie Watson

Dr Maggie Watson

Dr Maggie Watson is an early career, post-doctoral researcher with ILWS. Her major interests include the effects of parasites on life history traits and physiology, behavioural ecology and conservation. Maggie has worked for many years on the ecology of seabirds, both in the United States and in Australia. She has also worked on other study organisms such as chameleons, frogs and insects. She is currently working with Conservation Evidence on an evidence-based manual for reptile conservation.  Along with her research, Maggie teaches at the undergraduate and post-graduate level as a sessional lecturer with the School of Environmental Sciences at CSU.

Research Interests

  • Parasitology
  • Ethology
  • Ecology - birds, reptiles, crayfish, urban wildlife
  • Eco-immunology

Bachelor of  Arts (Zoology) with certificate of Honors, University of Missouri Columbia, 1991 
MS (Behavioral Ecology)  University of Massachusetts Boston, 1998
Grad Cert (Secondary) (Science) Education,  Charles Sturt University, 2006
Doctor of Philosophy, Charles Sturt University, 2012

External Appointments & Memberships

Board of Petaurus Education Group Inc. (Public officer)

Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre (member of the management committee)

Editorial roles on journals

Book Reviews Editor for Ecological Society of Australia's publications Austral Ecology and Ecological Management and Restoration.

Full Publication List CRO research outputs

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Sion, G., Watson, M.J. & Bouskila, A. (2021). Measuring body condition of lizards: a comparison between non-invasive dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, chemical fat extraction and calculated indices. Frontiers in Zoology 18, 1 Open Access

Watson, M.J. & Watson, D.M. (2019) Post-Anthropocene Conservation, Trends in Ecology & Evolution, DOI:

Driscoll, D.A. & Watson, M.J. (2019) Science denialism and compassionate conservation: response to Wallach et al. 2018, Conservation Biology.

Spennemann, D.H.R., Pike, M., & Watson, M.J. (2018) The acidity of pigeon excreta and its implications for heritage conservation Restoration of Buildings and Monuments 23: 15–28

Spennemann, D.H.R. & Watson, M.J. (2018) The impact of bird excreta on the conservation of architectural metals. A review. APT Bulletin 49: 19–26

Spennemann, D.H.R., Pike, M. & Watson, M.J. (2018) Bird impacts on heritage buildings. Australian practitioner’s perspectives. Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development. 8 (1)  62-75.

Spennemann, D.H.R., Pike, M. & Watson, M.J. (2017) The acidity of pigeon excreta and its implications for heritage conservation. International Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation 35: 2–15.  doi:

Spennemann, D.H.R. & Watson, M.J. (2017) Dietary Habits of Urban Pigeons (Columba livia) and Implications of excreta pH–A Review. European Journal of Ecology, 3: 27–41.

Pike, M., Spennemann, D.H.R., & Watson, M.J. (2017) Building use by urban commensal avifauna in Melbourne CBD, Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology. 117: 284-289.

Haddaway, N.R. & Watson, M.J. (2016) On the benefits of systematic reviews for wildlife parasitology. International Journal for Parasitology: Parasites and Wildlife. 5: 184-191

Watson, D.M. & Watson, M.J. (2015) Wildlife restoration: Mainstreaming translocations to keep common species common. Biological Conservation.

Watson, M.J. (2012) What drives population-level effects of parasites? Meta-analysis meets life-history, International Journal of Parasitology: Parasites & Wildlife, Vol. 2 (2013), pp. 190–196.

Watson, M.J. (2012) A blood sampling technique for prehatched chicks, Journal of Field Ornithology, 83: 406–410

Watson, M.J., Spendelow, J.A., Hatch, J.J.(2012) Post-fledging brood and care division in the roseate tern Sterna dougallii, Journal of Ethology, 30: 29–34.

Watson, M.J.,Hatch, J.J.(1999) Differences in foraging performance between juvenile and adult roseate terns at a pre-migratory staging area. Waterbirds: The International Journal of Waterbird Biology, 22: 463–465.

Hecker, S., Watson, M.J., (1999)Staging of roseate terns Sterna dougallii in the post-breeding period around Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.  Atlantic Seabirds, 1: 145–158.

Conference Presentations

Watson, M. (2017) A complicated symbiosis: understanding the parasitic-mutualistic continuum between Temnocephala and crayfish, Eco TAS 2017 The Ecological Society of Australia  and the New Zealand Ecological Society joint conference Hunter Valley, NSW, Nov 26 to Dec 1


Watson, M.J. (2013) Starling control and management in Macquarie Street, Dubbo. Institute of Land, Water and Society: Albury Australia Report 77.

Bio-Acoustic Observatory: Engaging Birdwatchers to Monitor Biodiversity by Collaboratively Collecting and Analysing Big Audio Data. Roe,P., Brereton, M.,  Watson, D, M. Watson, M., (2014-2017) ARC Discovery grant,  $477,000 Project details

Effects of climate variability on Adélie penguins in Antarctica (Principle Investigator: D.G. Ainley). Research grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Antarctic Penguin Project:

Parasitic diversity and burden in the Sinai Chameleon Chamaeleo chamaeleon musae and the Mediterranean Chameleon C. c. recticrista' Effects of parasites on chameleons in Israel (Principle Investigator: A. Bouskila, Ben Gurion University, Israel). Research grant from the ILWS

Acoustic monitoring of seabirds (Principle Investigators: P Roe, QUT and D Watson, ILWS). Research grant by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Acoustics workbench: