Associate Professor Salit Kark

Associate Professor

School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science
s.kark@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 51376

Overview

Associate Professor Salit Kark is an ecologist and conservation scientist, with expertise in the processes (ecological, behavioural and evolutionary) shaping biodiversity and their implications for conservation, environmental decisions and management.

Kark and her Biodiversity Research Group students and fellows work on addressing environmental and conservation challenges using advanced approaches across multiple spatial scales, from global to local (examining latitudinal and altitudinal gradients), and in both terrestrial (birds and mammals mostly) and marine ecosystems. This includes work across both natural and human-dominated landscapes, examining the generality of spatial patterns and processes. Kark's work integrates socio-economic and historical factors as well as biological and ecological drivers in disentangling the role of the multiple factors that shape biodiversity and its conservation and management. In this framework, Kark's work advances the links between science, practice and policy and in leading actions that allow us to improve science-based conservation.

Associate Professor Kark is Deputy Director of UQ's Faculty of Science Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. Kark was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and is currently teaching and research academic and A/Professor at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Brisbane (Australia) and am a Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED; 2011-2018) and am CEED's Theme A (Environmental Policy and Management) Leader. I am also CI on the recently established Commonwelath funded NESP Threatened Species hub (2015-2021). In this hub, Kark has initiated and leads the national-scale Australian islands conservation project (Saving Species on Australian Islands, which aims to examine and prioritise conservation of threatened species and actions for native and invasive species across Australia's 9000+ islands.

Kark's Biodiversity Research Group is very international, with students and fellows from over 15 countries and her group's graduates are now based across continents at a broad range of governmental organisations, NGOs, academic organisations, industry, the private sector and key conservation, management and policy positions.

Kark completed her Ph.D. at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2000) and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University (between 1999-2002) working with Prof. Harold Mooney, Prof. Gretchen Daily and Prof. Paul Ehrlich at the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford. Between 2002 and June 2013, Kark was a full-time research and teaching faculty member (Senior Lecturer) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she established and led the Biodiversity Research Group.

Awards, Grants, Prizes and Honours

July 2013-2017 - Australian Research Council Future Fellow

November 2011 – 2014 - Appointed as an Honorary Associate Professor at The University of Queensland.

November 2008 – 2011 - Appointed as an Honorary Reader at The University of Queensland.

2008 – Chosen by The Nature Conservancy (key global conservation organisation) as a Leader in the Global Mediterranean initiative.

2007 – Awarded ARC Linkage International Fellowship for Sabbatical with Prof. Hugh Possingham, UQ.

2006 – Awarded the Prof. Hannah Farkas-Himsley and Alexander Himsley prize for a young scientist for excellence in scientific research in the Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Oct 2003 - 2006 - Awarded by the Israel Council for Higher Education the prestigious Alon Fellowship for Excellent Early Career Scientists.

During Kark's postdoctoral fellowship (1999-2002), she was awarded the prestigious Rothschild Fellowship, was offered the Fulbright (US-Israel) post-doctoral Fellowship, held a Stanford University post-doctoral fellowship and appointment, was awarded the Stanford University Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies fellowship, and was offered the Israel Council for Higher Education and Israel Science Foundation Bikura post-doctoral fellowship.

Research Interests

  • Biodiversity, global change and conservation science
    Research Interests My research group studies the patterns and processes shaping biodiversity and their implications for conservation in a changing world. We work on both native and alien invasive species across different continents and at multiple spatial scales, from global to local. We work across environmental gradients ranging from native to human-dominated ecosystems, including urban and agricultural landscapes. We combine in our research fieldwork, field experiments, spatial and temporal analyses of large databases using geographic information systems, remote sensing and other advanced tools. I am a member of the ARC Centre of Excellence of Environmental Decisions (CEED) and collaborate widely globally, and particularly in the Mediterranean. We are interested in how we can wisely and efficiently prioritise biodiversity conservation actions and efforts to manage native and invasive species in both terrestrial and marine environments in the face of global change. Current main projects • Invasive alien species – spatial patterns, processes, establishment, traits, impacts and prioritization of action How do interactions between alien species shape establishment success, spatial patterns and introduction outcomes? (with focus on birds and mammals). • Urban ecology – spatial, temporal trends and conservation of urban biodiversity. The factors shaping success of species in urban environments. • Conservation planning and prioritisation at local, regional and global scales. Incorporating socio-political and human-related drivers into biodiversity conservation. • The role of cross boundary collaboration and conflicts in conservation. • Biodiversity changes along species distribution ranges and particularly across environmental and ecological gradients (such as altitudinal, latitudinal, urban-rural, land-sea and bathymetric gradients). • Island conservation • Developing tools and approaches for 3D marine and terrestrial conservation • Conservation planning and prioritisation in the Mediterranean Basin and Sea at the regional scale in the face of new challenges, such as oil and gas operations. • Examination of approaches that can be used to close the gap between managers, policy makers and scientists (such as horizon scanning). • The role of cross-boundary collaboration and conflicts in conservation.

Research Impacts

Leadership – Science-policy: In recent years, Associate Professor Salit Kark has taken an important leading role in high-rank science-policy national projects, which I have initiated and have been leading. She established and led a large national project aimed at identifying the gaps between scientists, policy-makers and practitioners in the areas of biodiversity and conservation and proposing a national plan for narrowing these gaps. In this framework, she led via dedicated research grants I won a consortium of ±25 partners from governmental, non-governmental and academic organizations have organized international workshops. Kark wrote and published a national report entitled: Promoting science-based conservation in Israel: Identification of gaps and proposed action plan (http://www.sciencebasedconservation.org/default.aspx?pageid=14), which I presented to the Israel Parliament Science and Technology Committee and which was widely distributed to parliament members, government offices, NGO's, the industry, a range of stakeholders and scientists in Israel and worldwide. The report proposes a plan to establish the Israel National Natural Resources and Biodiversity Institute (http://www.sciencebasedconservation.org/).

Leading of international and national workshops: In recent years, Kark has organised and chaired over 25 workshops and conferences, including international conferences/workshops. In 2012 and 2013, I chaired three international workshops in Greece and in Israel on Conservation Planning in the Mediterranean Sea, which lead to new successful collaborations among multiple leading scientists working in the region on conservation prioritisation and planning. Management of alien invasive species also requires collaboration and coordination among different states and regions. In 2010, I coordinated and chaired an International Expert Workshop: Science-based Conservation: Achievements, Gaps and Challenges, to which I invited experts from 5 continents (http://www.sciencebasedconservation.org/default.aspx?pageid=15). During 2009-2011, I lead a working group and of monthly workshops on the links between science, policy and practice in biodiversity conservation (science-based conservation).

Policy advice: Kark has participated in academic and national policy committees and advisory boards, including the steering committee on invasive species in Israel (The Israel Nature and Parks Authority); the National Biodiversity Plan, The Israel Ministry of Environment; the Israel Annual Backyard Bird Survey; Curriculum development in science teaching for the Israel Ministry of Education; the Israel Society for Protection of Nature and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Israel National Ecological Monitoring Program. she an invited Steering Committee member for the Jerusalem Municipality (Local Action for Biodiversity) and was invited to The Nature Conservancy’s Global Mediterranean Action Network (Global NGO).

Outreach impact: Associate Professor Salit Kark's scientific work and several of my papers have received substantial press, being covered in over a hundred national and international newspaper, magazine and Internet articles, including Science Magazine news (ScienceNOW Daily News), ABC, BBC news, BBC Science & Environment Earth News, United Press International (UPI), National Geographic (Hebrew Edition and on-line), Sigma Xi and Public Radio International, Ha’aretz, Globes, The Jerusalem Post, CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), on TV and other media sources.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Urban ecology – spatial, temporal trends and conservation of urban biodiversity. The factors shaping success of species in urban environments.

  • Invasive alien species – spatial patterns, processes, establishment, traits, impacts and prioritization of action

  • How do interactions between alien species shape establishment success, spatial patterns and introduction outcomes? (with focus on birds and mammals).

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Mazor, Tessa, Levin, Noam, Brokovich, Eran and Kark, Salit (2018). Conservation challenges in the face of new hydrocarbon discoveries in the Mediterranean sea. In Offshore energy and marine spatial planning (pp. 260-273) London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315666877

  • Kark, Salit (2013). Ecotones and ecological gradients. In Rik Leemans (Ed.), Ecological Systems: Selected Entries from the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology (pp. 147-160) New York , NY, United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5755-8

  • Kark, Salit (2013). Effects of ecotones on biodiversity. In Simon A. Levin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Biodiversity 2nd ed. (pp. 142-148) Oxford: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-384719-5.00234-3

  • Kark, Salit (2012). Ecotones and Ecological Gradients. In Rik Leemans (Ed.), Ecological Systems (pp. 147-160) New York, NY, United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5755-8_9

  • Kark, Salit (2012). Ecotones and ecological gradients. In Robert A. Meyers (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology (pp. 3357-3367) New York, United States: Springer New York. doi:10.1007/978-1-4419-0851-3_572

  • Kark, S (2012). Ecotones and ecological gradients. In Encyclopedia of sustainability science and technology (pp. 3357-3367) New York, United States: Springer.

  • Shirley, Susan M. and Kark, Salit (2011). Impacts of alien vertebrates in Europe. In David Pimentel (Ed.), Biological invasions: economic and environmental costs of alien plant, animal, and microbe species 2nd ed. (pp. 177-198) Boca Raton, FL, United States: CRC Press. doi:10.1201/b10938-12

  • Kark, Salit, Solarz, Wojeciech, Chiron, Francois, Clergeau, Philippe and Shirley, Susan (2009). Alien birds, amphibians and reptiles of Europe. In Philip E. Hulme and DAISIE (Ed.), Handbook of Alien Species in Europe (pp. 105-118) Dordrecht: Springer.

  • Kark, Salit (2007). Effects of Ecotones on Biodiversity. In Simon Asher Levin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Biodiversity () Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/b978-012226865-6/00573-0

  • Kark, S., Volis, S. and Novoplansky, A. (2004). Biodiversity along core-periphery clines. In Moshe Shachak, James R. Gosz, Steward T. A. Pickett and Avi Perevolotsky (Ed.), Biodiversity in Drylands: Toward a Unified Framework (pp. 30-56) New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

  • Polis, G. A., Ayal Y., Bachi, A., Dall, S., Goldberg, D., Holt, R, Kark, S., Kotler, B., Lubin, Y. and Mitchell, W. (2004). United framework I: interspecific interactions and species diversity in drylands. In Moshe Shachak, James R. Gosz, Steward T. A. Pickett and Avi Perevolotsky (Ed.), Biodiversity in Drylands: Toward a Unified Framework (pp. 122-152) New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.

  • Lens, L., Van Dongen, S., Kark, S., Talloen, W., Hens, L. and Matthysen, E. (2001). The use of bilateral asymmetry in ecology and conservation: concepts, developments, and prospects. In S. G. Pandalai (Ed.), Recent research developments in ecology (pp. 21-43) Trivandrum, India: Transworld Research Network.

Journal Article

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

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.

  • Urban ecology – spatial, temporal trends and conservation of urban biodiversity. The factors shaping success of species in urban environments.

  • Invasive alien species – spatial patterns, processes, establishment, traits, impacts and prioritization of action

  • How do interactions between alien species shape establishment success, spatial patterns and introduction outcomes? (with focus on birds and mammals).

  • Conservation planning and prioritisation at local, regional and global scales. Incorporating socio-political and human-related drivers into biodiversity conservation.

  • Systematic conservation planning and prioirtisation in the Mediterranean Basin and Sea at the regional scale in the face of new challenges, such as oil and gas operations.

  • The role of cross boundary collaboration and conflicts in conservation in terrestrial, marine and freshwater systems

    Land-sea interactions and conservation prioirtization in the world's largest rivers

  • Biodiversity changes along species distribution ranges and particularly across environmental and ecological gradients (such as altitudinal, latitudinal, urban-rural, land-sea and bathymetric gradients).

  • Examination of approaches that can be used to close the gap between managers, policy makers and scientists (such as horizon scanning).

  • Shaping conservation and management prioritiies on Australian and global islands