Dr Matthew Holden


Faculty of Science


Dr. Matthew Holden is an applied mathematician using dynamic models and decision theory to improve conservation planning when conservation benefits depend on how humans modify their behaviour in response to policy. Some of his projects include saving the African elephant from poaching for ivory and developing novel quantitative methods for invasive and threatened species management. He earned his PhD in Applied mathematics at Cornell University, winning a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowship to work on optimization problems in fisheries management, invasive species control, and sustainable agriculture. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Davis, where he won the University Medal, working on the effect of habitat fragmentation on species persistence.


  • PhD in Applied Mathematics, Cornell University


  • Castonguay, Adam C., Polasky, Stephen, H. Holden, Matthew, Herrero, Mario, Mason-D’Croz, Daniel, Godde, Cecile, Chang, Jinfeng, Gerber, James, Witt, G. Bradd, Game, Edward T., A. Bryan, Brett, Wintle, Brendan, Lee, Katie, Bal, Payal and McDonald-Madden, Eve (2023). Navigating sustainability trade-offs in global beef production. Nature Sustainability, 1-11. doi: 10.1038/s41893-022-01017-0

  • Plein, Michaela, O'Brien, Katherine R., Holden, Matthew H., Adams, Matthew P., Baker, Christopher M., Bean, Nigel G., Sisson, Scott A., Bode, Michael, Mengersen, Kerrie L. and McDonald‐Madden, Eve (2022). Modeling total predation to avoid perverse outcomes from cat control in a data‐poor island ecosystem. Conservation Biology, 36 (5) e13916. doi: 10.1111/cobi.13916

  • Baker, Christopher M., Campbell, Patricia T., Chades, Iadine, Dean, Angela J., Hester, Susan M., Holden, Matthew H., McCaw, James M., McVernon, Jodie, Moss, Robert, Shearer, Freya M. and Possingham, Hugh P. (2022). From climate change to pandemics: decision science can help scientists have impact. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10 792749. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2022.792749

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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Journal Article

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Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

Completed Supervision