Dr Bill Ellis

Research Fellow

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Faculty of Science

Research Fellow

Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
Sustainable Minerals Institute
w.ellis@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51670
0428 105 275

Overview

Dr Bill Ellis is an ecological researcher based in the Centre for Mined Land Research in teh Sustainable Minerals Institute. He gained a BSc with honours in Zoology at The Australian National University and holds a Master of Environmental Law from the same institution. Bill graduated with a PhD in Zoology from The University of Queensland in 1998 and has worked as a contract researcher at UQ since then.

Research Impacts

My research addresses the ecological dilemmas faced by koalas and land managers attending to their requirements, from issues of competing habitat utilisation to climate variability and resource extraction. I am investigating mechanisms of sexual selection and regulators of population dynamics among koala populations across Queensland. As a result, I have direct contact with and support land managers who desire an understanding of the key attributes that feed into a sustainable ecosystem for the koala. As a soft - money researcher, my research is often applied and supplies knowledge that transfers into conservation and management decision making, through the application of local knowledge rather than theoretical propositions.

Qualifications

  • Master of Environmental Law, Australian National University
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours), Australian National University

Publications

View all Publications

Grants

View all Grants

Supervision

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • This project examines the behaviour and physiology of koalas, in the context of extreme temperatures and changes in climate. We are investigating fine scale microclimatic influences on behavior, broad scale habitat requirements, and the mechanisms and physiology associated with the management of heat load in this species. The project revolves around hands on research with koalas in the field and laboratory in Queensland and skills in modeling heat balance for an arboreal vertebrate.

    The project includes the use of surgical techniques and field monitoring of koalas, so it requires field and laboratory capability and the ability to work in remote environments.

    This project has a PhD top up grant and has considerable technical assistance available. Short - term projects are available in the Brisbane region and longer - term projects in southern and central Queensland are also available.

  • We are investigating the social and spatial dimensions of pathogen transfer in koalas, combining pathogen detection and classification with research into host defense and susceptibility. Following a long-term study population on St Bees Island using state-of-the-art technology is allowing us to establish the social and spatial regulators of koala disease dynamics while revealing unique information on the ecology and biology of the koala.

    Students will have the opportunity to investigate disease transmission and host responses or investigate the drivers of social and spatial dynamics in this population, choosing a laboratory or field environment.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book

  • McAlpine, Clive A., Melzer, Alistair, Lunnery, Dan, Foley, Bill, Adams-Hosking, Christine, Lawler, Ivan, Whisson, Desley, Phillips, Steve, Kavanagh, Rod, Whisson, Steve, Baxter, Greg, Gordon, Greg, Ellis, Bill, De Villiers, Deidre, Walter, Michele, Molsher, Robyn, Todd, Charles, Moore, Ben, Menkhorst, Peter, Close, Rob, Phalen, David and Rhodes, Jonathan (2012) Conserving koalas in the 21st century: synthesising the dynamics of Australia's koala populations Australia: Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network

  • St. George, T. D., Bellis, Glen, Bishop, Alan, Cameron, Angus, Doherty, Bill, Ellis, Trevor, Gard, Geoff, Johnson, Steve, Kirkland, Peter, Melville, Lorna, Muller, Mike, Postle, Tony and Roe, Dick The history of bluetongue akabane and ephemeral fever viruses and their vectors in Australia 1975 – 1999. Canberra, Australia: Animal Health Australia, 2001.

Book Chapter

  • Johnston, Stephen, Mucci, Al and Ellis, William (2013). The role of captive koalas in koala conservation. In Nicole Flint and Alistair Melzer (Ed.), Conserving central Queensland's koalas (pp. 54-59) Rockhampton, QLD, Australia: Central Queensland University.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Ellis, William, Johnston, Steve, Melzer, Alistair, Carrick, Frank, Pyne, Michael and Fitzgibbon, Sean (2013). Disease and ecology in Central Queensland. In: Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (62-69). 1–3 February 2012.

  • Melzer, Alistair, Ellis, William, FitzGibbon, Sean and Carrick, Frank (2013). Drought and the koala: two case studies from the central highlands. In: Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (95-99). 1–3 February 2012.

  • FitzGibbon, Sean, Ellis, William and Carrick, Frank (2013). Koala reproduction and the effect of drought in central Queensland; lessons from the Koala Venture project. In: Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (91-94). 1–3 February 2012.

  • Melzer, Alistair, Ellis, William, FitzGibbon, Sean and Carrick, Frank (2013). Managing Central Queensland’s koala islands. In: Nicole Flint and Alistair Melzer, Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (25-28). 1–3 February 2012.

  • Melzer, Alistair, Ellis, William, FitzGibbon, Sean and Carrick, Frank (2013). Overview of Koala Research Centre study sites. In: Nicole Flint and Alistair Melzer, Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (20-24). 1–3 February 2012.

  • Ellis, William, FitzGibbon, Sean and Melzer, Alistair (2013). Regional research: perspectives from the field in central Queensland. In: Nicole Flint and Alistair Melzer, Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas: A Koala Research Centre of Central Queensland Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (11-15). 1-3 February, 2012.

  • FitzGibbon, Sean, Ellis, William and Carrick, Frank (2013). The Koala Venture Partnership: habitat clearing and restoration. In: Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (138-142). 1–3 February 2012.

  • FitzGibbon, Sean, Ellis, William and Carrick, Frank (2013). The Koala Venture research partnership: an overview of 24 years of regional koala research in central Queensland. In: Nicole Flint and Alistair Melzer, Conserving Central Queensland’s Koalas. Conserving Central Queensland's Koalas Workshop, Rockhampton, QLD, Australia, (16-19). 1–3 February 2012.

  • Ellis, WA, Fitzgibbon, SI, Roe, P, Bercovitch, FB and Wilson, R (2010). Unraveling the mystery of koala vocalisations: acoustic sensor network and GPS technology reveals males bellow to serenade females. In: INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY. Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Integrative-and-Comparative-Biology, Seattle WA, (E49-E49). JAN 03-07, 2010.

  • Melzer, A. and Ellis, W. A. (2009). Integrating research and conservation land management - A case study from koala research in St Bees Island National Park. In: 1st Australian Protected Areas Congress (APAC08), Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, (236-241). 24-28 November, 2008.

  • Seddon, J., Lee, K., Ellis, W., Johnston, S., De Villiers, D., Preece, H. and Carrick, F. (2008). Incorporating spatial data into analysis of koala populations in South-East Queensland. In: Annual Meeting of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Annual Meeting of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution 2008, Barcelona, Spain, (). 5-8 June, 2008.

  • Lee, K., Seddon, J., Ellis, W., Johnston, S., de Villiers, D., Preece, H. and Carrick, Francis N. (2007). Fine-scale genetic variation in declining Koala populations in South-east Queensland. In: Fenner Conference on the Environment. Fenner Conference on the Environment, Canberra, ACT, (). 2nd - 5th December 2007.

  • Lee, K., Seddon, J., Ellis, W., Johnston, S. and Carrick, F. N. (2007). Genetic variation of closed (captive and island) and open (mainland) Koala populations in Queensland. In: 53rd meeting of the Australian Mammal Society Conference, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia, (). 2-4 July 2007.

  • Carrick, F. N., Fitzgibbon, S. and Ellis, W. A. (2007). Long-term research on a long-lived species in a variable environment. In: Book of Abstracts of the Ecological Society of Australia 2007 Conference: Adapting to Change: Society - Environment - Science. Ecological Society of Australia 2007 Conference: Adapting to Change: Society - Environment - Science, Perth Convention Centre, Perth, Australia, (90-90). 25-30 November, 2007.

  • Carrick, Frank, Ellis, Bill, Fitzgibbon, Sean and Melzer, Alistair (2007). Planned Long-term Ecological Research Sites Preview Likely Effects of Climate Change on Tropical Koalas. In: Proceedings of the Ecological Society of Australia Conference 2007: Adapting to Change. Ecological Society of Australia Conference 2007: Adapting to Change (EAS 2007), Perth Convention Centre, Perth, Western Australia, (). 25-30 November 2007.

  • Carrick, F. N., Ellis, W. A. and Fitzgibbon, S. (2007). Seeing Forest (Fauna) instead of Trees - Lessons from the Long-term Study of an Arid Zone Koala Population. In: Fenner Conference on the Environment. Fenner Conference on the Environment, Canberra, ACT, (). 2nd - 5th December 2007.

  • Ellis, Bill and Fitzgibbon, Sean (2006). Koala ecology: "Known knowns, known unknowns or unknown unknowns?". In: Ecology Across the Tasman - 3rd Joint Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia and the New Zealand Ecological Society, Wellington, New Zealand, (). 28 August - 1 September 2006.

  • Woodward, William, Ellis, Bill, Carrick, Frank, Bowen, Dave and Smith, Paul (2005). Use by koalas of reconstructed landscapes, key inputs for land managers. In: AWMS Conference 2005. Australasian Wildlife Management Society Conference: 18th Scientific Meeting and Annual General Meeting, Hobart, Tasmania, (93 (Abstract)-93). 21-24 November 2005.

  • Carrick, F. N., Dique, D., Ellis, W., Thompson, J., Melzer, A. and Gordon, G. (2004). Koala Research and Management in Queensland. In: AWMS Conference Abstracts: 17th Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society. 17th Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Wildlife Management Society, Kangaroo Island S.A., (97-97). 29thNov – 2nd Dec, 2004.

  • Ellis, W. A. H., Hale, P. T., Carrick, F. N., Hasegawa, M., Neilson, M. and Esser, D. (2001). Aspects of the ecology of koalas at Blair Athol Coal Mine. In: K. LyonsThe Research and Management of Non-Urban Koala Populations, A. Melzer, F. Carrick and D.Lamb, The Research and Management of Non-Urban Koala Populations. The Research and Management of Non-Urban Koala Populations, Emerald, Queensland, (127-138). 2-4 July, 1997.

  • Ellis, W. A. and Carrick, F. N. (2001). The ecology of koalas in central Queensland. In: Proceedings of 16th International Symposium on Biotelemetry. 16th International Symposium on Biotelemetry (16th ISOB), Vienna, Austria, (). 6-11 May, 2001.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • This project examines the behaviour and physiology of koalas, in the context of extreme temperatures and changes in climate. We are investigating fine scale microclimatic influences on behavior, broad scale habitat requirements, and the mechanisms and physiology associated with the management of heat load in this species. The project revolves around hands on research with koalas in the field and laboratory in Queensland and skills in modeling heat balance for an arboreal vertebrate.

    The project includes the use of surgical techniques and field monitoring of koalas, so it requires field and laboratory capability and the ability to work in remote environments.

    This project has a PhD top up grant and has considerable technical assistance available. Short - term projects are available in the Brisbane region and longer - term projects in southern and central Queensland are also available.

  • We are investigating the social and spatial dimensions of pathogen transfer in koalas, combining pathogen detection and classification with research into host defense and susceptibility. Following a long-term study population on St Bees Island using state-of-the-art technology is allowing us to establish the social and spatial regulators of koala disease dynamics while revealing unique information on the ecology and biology of the koala.

    Students will have the opportunity to investigate disease transmission and host responses or investigate the drivers of social and spatial dynamics in this population, choosing a laboratory or field environment.