Our lab is enthusiastic about developing new partnerships with government and NGOs who are interested in finding improved ways of managing landscapes for biodiversity conservation.  Contact Don to discuss how your cash investment could leverage a PhD scholarship through Deakin’s industry scholarship program, or a whole research fiesta through the ARC Linkage program.


Post Doctoral

Deakin University offers the Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellowship.

If you are interested in joining our lab as an ADPF (and you have a strong track record with several papers in high-ranking journals; ADPFs are very competitive), please contact me to discuss your ideas for projects.

If you have a great idea on a theme relevant to our lab and you can gather financial support from industry partners, I am happy to discuss developing an ARC Linkage grant.



Deakin University offers several types of PhD scholarships.

In addition, there are occasional calls for industry-related scholarships, and Deakin has a standing call for industry co-funded scholarships ($20k/year industry, half scholarship $13k/year Deakin). If you have an industry related project with an organisation able to sponsor your project, please contact me.

If you have published a paper (or more), consider applying for a PhD.


Information technology in applied conservation and ecology.

If you have solid background in machine learning and image analysis and would like to contribute to revolutionising the way ecology is done in the field, there are opportunities opening up in cross-disciplinary research. Email me to discuss options.



If you have a great idea that would complement an existing PhD or Post-Doctoral project, please contact me to discuss your ideas.

Current projects available:


Honours Project: Could disturbance enhance spread of a disease-carrying frog into threatened frog habitat?

Description: Disturbance in natural environments caused directly or indirectly by human actions lead to a loss of habitat for some species while creating opportunity for others. While the impacts on species’ distributions in response to large-scale habitat change can be obvious, the impact of changes occurring on a smaller-scale or patchily within the landscape are less clear. For example how does disturbance by deer or four-wheel driving affect the distribution of amphibian populations. This is an important question because some frog species can spread the disease chytridiomycosis, while other frogs can be driven extinct if exposed to the disease. And the species that spread the disease can typically use shallow pools created by disturbance.  In this project we will focus on the impacts of habitat modification within an upland forest landscape. New aquatic habitat will be created adjacent to current habitat and in a range of different landscape contexts then monitored to assess colonisation by amphibians and invertebrates. Which species will colonise the created habitat and how will this change through time? How will pond isolation, and its distance from other disturbed areas affect the species that colonise?  This honours project is suited to fit individuals who love a physical challenge, working in forested environments and have an aptitude for bringing together ecological concepts with analysis and field data to provide important conservation insights.

Start date: mid-year 2018 for spring/summer fieldwork

Supervision: Prof Don Driscoll, Tom Burns (PhD student), Deakin University Burwood Campus

If interested please contact d.driscoll@deakin.edu.au or THOMAS BURNS (burnst@deakin.edu.au) ****





Title: Reconnecting landscapes through the matrix. A test using invertebrates.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Don Driscoll

Principal Supervisor contact details: d.driscoll@deakin.edu.au

Associate Supervisor: Dr Nick Porch nicholas.porch@deakin.edu.au

Associate Supervisor, external: Stephanie Pulsford, PhD Candidate, ANU.


Wildlife movement is critical.  It enables effective foraging within a home range, dispersal to new home ranges and range changes in response to climate change.  However, movement is severely curtailed by habitat loss associated with intensive agriculture. Our project aims to discover if wildlife movement can be improved through productive farmland by altering management within paddocks. By understanding the connectivity value of rotational grazing, fences, linear tree plantings, and addition of course woody debris, we will define new methods for enhancing ecological sustainability in production landscapes. Without this knowledge, opportunities for increasing connectivity may be foregone.


This project will involve converting a large invertebrate collection into data in Nick’s lab, undertaking statistical analysis with the close guidance of Don and Stephanie, then writing up the project with input from all supervisors.  For the right student, this project has the potential to lead to one or more publications, and a great early start to your career.





*Almost all of our projects require driving manual four-wheel drives.  You must have a licence to drive a manual vehicle to take on a field project.