Dr Ayesha Tulloch

Research Fellow

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science
+61 7 334 61647


Ayesha is a conservation biologist with a passion for the ecology of birds and mammals, who spent several years working as a zookeeper then as a landscape restoration project manager for the non-government organisation Greening Australia. She returned to academia in 2009 to complete a PhD at the University of Queensland’s School of Biological Sciences, focused on cost-effective and efficient resource allocation and decision-making processes for monitoring and management of threats to biodiversity. It is important to her that her research is applicable and accessible to agencies and organisations that make conservation decisions. She takes an integrated approach to her work, drawing on the fields of ecology, economics and sociology to answer questions about what, where and how should we monitor and manage threats to biodiversity. She has a particular interest in invasive and mobile predators, network theory, cost-benefit analysis, and threatened birds.

Her most recent research focuses on accounting for uncertainty in monitoring decisions, to enable scarce monitoring funds to be directed to the species and landscapes that will provide the best information for evaluating threatened species management decisions. She is also exploring uncertainty in contexts such as spatial conservation planning and incorporating risk aversion into prioritisation of species recovery projects. She works with non-government conservation organisations and government agencies concerned with managing biodiversity in Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A. and the U.K., to develop frameworks and tools for prioritising investment in the conservation of threatened species and ecosystems.

In 2013 Ayesha joined the School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management as a National Environmental Research Program (NERP) research fellow, to begin a conservation planning project in collaboration with the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the South Australian Government, and RMIT University, investigating the impacts of mining infrastructure development scenarios on threatened species in the arid zone of South Australia.

Whenever she is not analysing data she can generally be found out in the field conducting bird surveys.

Research Interests

  • Optimal Monitoring
    Cost-effective allocation of resources to monitoring for evaluating the success or failure of threat mitigation actions, and informing adaptive management, is crucial to ensure limited conservation funds are spent in the best way.
  • Uncertainty and Risk in Conservation Planning
    Conservation decisions are uncertain. Ayesha works with a team of researchers at the University of Queensland and around Australia to investigate how best to account for uncertainty in management effectiveness, feasibility of actions and their associated risk of failure, socio-economic costs, and the distributions of species, when conducting systematic conservation planning. She has a particular interest in the south-west Australian biodiversity hotspot, where she has worked on planning for fire management given uncertain responses of plants to different fire regimes, restoration under different scenarios of successful recruitment and survival, and invasive red fox control considering the willingness of landholders to engage in management.
  • Managing Biodiversity in Resource Conflict with Humans
    Conservation decisions in human-modified landscapes are difficult because of often conflicting objectives related to both biodiversity and social or economic factors. Her current research involves evaluating the likely impacts of planned mining development scenarios on threatened species in Australia, and developing approaches to deal with the uncertainty inherent in Impact Assessment. Ayesha also collaborates with researchers and non-government conservation organisations in the UK to investigate the impacts of changes in stocking densities of livestock on trends in threatened migratory Greylag Geese Anser anser.
  • Citizen Science and Conservation
    Citizen science is on the rise. Ayesha works with the two major citizen science bird monitoring programs in Australia, Eremaea eBird (http://ebird.org/content/australia) and BirdLife Australia's New Atlas of Australian Birds (http://birdata.com.au/), to improve their usefulness for informing conservation decisions.

Research Impacts

Professional Associations

· Society for Conservation Biology

· Ecological Society of Australia

· BirdLife Australia State of Australia’s Birds Advisory Group

· Website Managing Editor Eremaea eBird

· BirdLife Southern Queensland Conservation Committee

· BirdLife Southern Queensland Research Committee

· Fire Committee, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists Regional Environmental Accounts Trials


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Advanced) First Class Hon, The University of Sydney


View all Publications


View all Supervision


Book Chapter

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision