ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Peter Spooner

Associate Professor Peter Spooner

Associate Professor Peter Spooner is an ecologist based at Charles Sturt University's Albury-Wodonga Campus. His research endeavours to make a major contribution to the field of biodiversity conservation in rural landscapes. Major research interests include disturbance and landscape ecology of woodland ecosystems (grazing management, historical ecology, and fragmentation effects on plants - specifically Acacia species), and plant invasion processes in road corridors. On the latter, Peter had developed an expertise in the growing science of road ecology, which explores the relationship between the road system and the natural environment. This includes research on roadside vegetation and Travelling Stock Routes (TSRs), which make a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation targets in many rural areas.

Research Interests

  • Biodiversity conservation in rural landscapes
  • Disturbance and landscape ecology of woodland ecosystems - grazing management, historical ecology, and fragmentation effects on plants
  • Plant invasion processes in road corridors
  • Road ecology - roadside vegetation management and Travelling Stock Routes (TSRs)

Bachelor of Applied Science (Parks, Recreation and Heritage - with Distinction), Charles Sturt University, Albury, 1999
Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours, Class 1A), Charles Sturt University, 2000
PhD (Environmental Science), Charles Sturt University, 2005


Membership of Advisory Boards and Professional Asscociations

Slopes to Summit Steering Committee (member); Infra Eco Network of Europe) (member); Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) (member); Murray LLS Travelling Stock Reserve Steering Committee (member); IALE Historic Ecology Working Group (member); NSW Local Government Council Roadsides Reserves Advisory Committee (member)


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Palfi, Z., Spooner, P., Robinson, W. (2017) Seed Dispersal Distances by Ants Increase in Response to Anthropogenic Disturbances in Australian Roadside Environments. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 5. DOI: 0.3389/fevo.2017.00132.

Spooner, P. & Shoard, J. (2016) Using historic maps and citizen science to investigate the abundance and condition of survey reference `blaze´ trees, Australian Journal of Botany  http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_journals_pip_abstract_Scholar1.cfm?nid=65&pip=BT16054

Poudel, B.S., Spooner, P.G. & Matthews, A. (2016) Behavioural changes in marmots in relation to livestock grazing disturbance: an experimental test. European Journal of Wildlife Research http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10344-016-1014-0

Poudel, B. B., Spooner, P. G. and Matthews, A. (2016) Pastoralist disturbance effects on Himalayan marmot foraging and vigilance activity. Ecological Research, 31(1): 93-104. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11284-015-1315-x

Spooner, P.G. (2015) Minor rural road networks: values, challenges, and opportunities for biodiversity conservation. Nature Conservation 11, 129-142.

Francis, M.J., Spooner, P.G. and Matthews A. (2015) The influence of urban encroachment on squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis): effects of light and noise pollution. Wildlife Research 42(4), 324-333.

Poudel, B.S., Spooner, P.G. & Matthews, A. (2015) Temporal shift in activity patterns of Himalayan marmots in relation to pastoralism. Behavioral Ecology 26 (5): 1345-1351. doi: 10.1093/beheco/arv083

Francis, M.J.SpoonerP. G., & MatthewsA. (2015) The influence of urban encroachment on squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis): effects of road density, light and noise pollutionWildlife Research 42, 324–333. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR14182

Watson, S.J., Luck, G.W., Spooner, P.G., Watson, D.M. (2014) Land-use change: incorporating the frequency, sequence, time span, and magnitude of changes into ecological research. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 12: 241–249.

Coulson, C., Spooner, P.G., Lunt, I.D., and Watson, S.J. (2014) From the matrix to roadsides and beyond: the role of isolated paddock trees as dispersal points for invasion. Diversity and Distributions 20, 137–148

Luck, G., Spooner, P., Watson,  D.M., Watson, S., Saunders, M. (2014). Interactions between almond plantations and native ecosystems: lessons learned from north-western Victoria. Ecological Management and Restoration. Vol 15, Issue 1, pp 4-15. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/emr.12082/full

Matthews, A. & Spooner, P. G. (2013) Using a resource selection approach to predict the suitability of alpine habitats for a common herbivore. Austral Ecology doi:10.1111/aec.12053

Sharp, E. A., Spooner, P.G, Millar, J. & Briggs, S. (2012) Can't see the grass for the trees? Community values and perceptions of tree and shrub encroachment in south-eastern Australia. Landscape & Urban Planning 104, 260–269.

Spooner, P.G. & Morris, M.C. (2012) Long-term stock grazing management in Travelling Stock Reserves and influence on conservation values. Ecological Management and Restoration 13(3), 309–311.

Book Chapters

Spooner P.G, Niedra, S., Doerr, V.A. & Cummings, C. (2013) Slopes to Summit; focussing on bite-size chunks that matter. Linking Australia's Landscapes (James Fitzsimons, Ian Pulsford, Geoff Wescott eds.), CSIRO Publishing, Chapter 14, pp. 135-144.

Matthews, A., Spooner. P.G. & Lunney, D. (2012) Herbivores in alpine herbfields: will wombats shift to higher altitudes with climate change? In Wildlife and Climate Change: Towards Robust Conservation Strategies For Australian Fauna (Daniel Lunney & Pat Hutchings eds), Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman, Australia, pp. 68-79.

Conference Papers

Spooner, P. (2015) The role of TSRs in conserving biological connectivity and Indigenous history, presented at 2015  Biodiversity Dreaming Conference, CSU, Bathurst, Nov 10-11

Spooner, P.(2015) Biodiversity interactions in mallee almond crops. 6th Biodiversity Across the Borders Conference 2015, Federation University, Ballarat, June 12.


Current Projects

River red gum floristics and vegetation monitoring 2017. Spooner, P. (2017-2018) DECCW $186,471

Connectivity analyses for Slopes to Summit project. Spooner, P. & McDonald, S. (2016-2020) Holbrook Landcare and NSW Environmental Trust (Bush Connects), $30,000 Project details

Completed Projects

Floristics monitoring for ecological thinning trial in River Red Gum forests. Spooner, P. (2015-2016) Office of Environment & Heritage, $134,781 Project details

What can we learn about temperate woodland dynamics from dense tree regeneration? Lunt, I. Spooner, P. & Cross, E. (PhD student) (2015-2016) ANZ Charitable Trust-Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment, $7000

Managing agricultural landscapes to maximise production and conservation outcomes: the case of the Regent Parrot, Dr Peter Spooner, A/Prof David Watson & Prof Gary Luck, ARC Linkage grant  project with Select Harvest and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, $501,000  (2008-2013) Project details

Survey of hollow bearing trees and relationships to threatened fauna. Spooner, P. (2013) Albury Conservation Company. Honors scholarship. $7273 Project details

S2S (Slopes To Summit) heritage eucalyptus tree inventory, Spooner, P. (2013) Nature Conservation Trust, $10,000 Project Details

Designing landscapes to deliver ecosystem services to agriculture. Luck, G. and Spooner, P., (2009-2012) ARC Discovery Grant. Project details

Managing agricultural landscapes to maximise production and conservation outcomes: the case of the Regent Parrot.  Spooner, P., Watson, D. & Luck, G. (2008-2013) Project with Select Harvest and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage,  ARC Linkage grant  $501,000  Project details

Collation of environmental data for climate modelling in Alpine areas. Spooner, P. (2009)  Department of Environment and Climate Change,

Effects Of Grazing Management Following Fencing On Native Vegetation Spooner, P. (2006-2007) NSW Department of Environment & Conservation.

Patch Protection - An after the fence look at remnant vegetation Spooner, P. (2005-2006) NSW Environmental Trust/ CSIRO/ Greening Australia.l