Gemma Taylor

PHD Student


PHD Title: Conservation planning for the recovery of the critically endangered Australian Regent honeyeater

Funding: London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership

Primary Institution: Zoological Society of London

Host University: UCL

CASE Partner: Birdlife Australia

Supervisors: John G. Ewen; Stefano Canessa; Tim Blackburn; Rohan Clarke

Conservation research and interests

My PhD aims to understand whether management actions to recover a critically endangered Australian passerine species, the regent honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia), are working. Current population numbers are believed to be as low as 400 individuals and the species has become locally extinct in many parts of its historic range in southern Australia, primarily due to habitat loss and fragmentation. For the last twenty years the regent honeyeater has been the subject of an intensive and collaborative recovery programme, which has included a captive breeding for release and habitat restoration. Captive bred birds have been released at different sites over the last 15 years, yet the efficacy of these is yet to be evaluated. This PhD will use monitoring data from the wild remnant population and from captive releases to build population models that quantify how the population has responded to the management strategies. The information I generate will be applied to continued management planning through the application of decision analytic tools such as structured decision making.

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