Presented by: 
Cindy Hauser, University of Melbourne
Tue 2 Jul, 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Room 214, Gordon Greenwood Building (32)

Ecologists routinely conduct surveys to identify the presence, absence or abundance of a species they’re interested in. However there’s always a risk that they fail to detect what’s there: surveys can rarely cover the entire territory of interest; a bird might be silent or have moved to another part of its home range; a plant might be misidentified or simply overlooked. Furthermore, detection success often depends on variable conditions like the weather, the expertise of the surveyor or the surrounding terrain. To avoid biases and misleading conclusions, it’s important that such imperfect detection is accounted for when surveys are designed and survey data are analysed.
This presentation will outline how these challenges have been addressed in a Victorian state government program to eradicate invasive hawkweeds from the Alpine National Park. We conducted field experiments to test the detectability of hawkweeds under a variety of conditions, fit statistical models to the experimental data, and employed optimisation methods to identify where Park surveyors can most efficiently search for and destroy hawkweeds.

Cindy Hauser brings mathematical modelling to environmental management problems, and has a particular interest in optimal monitoring (applying cost-benefit analysis to investment in monitoring), adaptive management (strategic management for gaining knowledge and data) and robustness (ensuring acceptable outcomes in the face of uncertainty).
During her PhD candidature at the University of Queensland she focused on sustainable harvest of kangaroos in Australia, waterfowl in the United States and moose in Sweden. She has since been employed by University of Melbourne, initially collaborating with the Victorian Department of Primary Industries and Parks Victoria to develop smart surveillance strategies for eradicating invasive hawkweed species from the state’s alpine region. Hauser currently works with Parks Victoria and other agencies on malleefowl conservation, vegetation regeneration and kangaroo management in the Mallee National Parks, and has contributed to projects addressing wallaby translocation, Tasmanian facial tumour disease, invasive willow control and protecting islands from pests.

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