Leonie is a conservation biologist working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the ERIE lab. A consistent theme of her research is investigating how and why fauna respond to disturbances, understanding the role of fauna in ecosystem function and restoration ecology, and exploring novel resource use by threatened animals.
Leonie has worked in northern and south-western Australia as a conservation researcher and a manager for state government agencies. Her previous research examined the responses of reptiles, birds and their resources to invasive species, fire and land management strategies. Leonie’s current research examines the role of digging mammals as ecosystem engineers and how translocations of threatened species may be important for landscape restoration. Her work is often collaborative with conservation management agencies and she hopes that their joint research will result in greater conservation outcomes.
Originally from northern Queensland, Leonie completed her doctoral research at James Cook University on the impacts of an invasive weed, rubber-vine, and fire management on fauna in tropical savannas. After moving to Western Australia, she worked on biodiversity issues related to the Gnangara Sustainability Strategy for the Department of Environment and Conservation; and as a post-doctoral researcher at Murdoch University for the WA Centre of Excellence for Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health. She joined the UWA ERIE team as a postdoctoral researcher in late 2012. She currently works part-time, living somewhat vicariously through her students, and hopes to stay working with the ERIE team for many years to come.
Teaching and Community Service
Leonie regularly engages with community groups and enjoys sharing research findings to a broad audience. She has provided research and conservation advice on numerous committees, including the Black Cockatoo Project Advisory Group. In addition, Leonie is an Associate Editor for Austral Ecology, and provides reviews in her professional capacity for a number of journals.
In a professional teaching capacity, Leonie has been a co-supervisor for numerous research students. She has previously been involved in supervising to completion 4 PhD, 4 Masters and 7 Honours students. She currently co-supervisors a number of fabulous students (5 PhD and 1 Masters), listed below, and wishes she could do the field work with them all.
Dan Bohorquez: Does digging by quenda facilitate litter decomposition and nutrient release in soils? (Masters candidate, UWA)
Gabrielle Beca: Restoring degraded landscapes: the role of digging mammals on seedling recruitment (PhD candidate, UWA)
Bryony Palmer: Reintroduction of digging mammals: interactions with novel ecosystems and their potential in ecosystem restoration (PhD candidate, UWA)
Harry Moore: Northern quolls in the Pilbara region of WA (PhD candidate, CSU)
Emilia Haimbili: Community conservation and restoration of degraded land in semi-arid Namibia (PhD candidate, UWA)
Jon-Paul Emery: Evaluating conservation management options for two “extinct in the wild’ reptiles on Christmas Island (PhD candidate, UWA)
Catherine Ryan: The influence of quenda on surface fuel loads in an urban reserve (Masters, UWA)
Sian Thorn: The road to nowhere: assessing the effectiveness of biodiversity offsets in the Roe 8 Highway Extension (Masters, UWA)
Lauren Halstead: Digging up the dirt: quantifying the effect of eastern barred bandicoots on soil properties (Honours, Deakin)
Dawn Dickinson: GREENspace Perth: a social-ecological study of urban green space in Perth (PhD, UWA)
Mike Wysong: Predator interactions in rangelands (PhD, UWA)
Keren Raiter: Ecology, mining and offsets: balancing ecological integrity and economic prosperity in the Great Western Woodlands (PhD, UWA)
Tracey Moore: The responses of fauna to wandoo woodland decline (PhD, Murdoch)
Helena Bowler: Are quenda eating the endangered wester swamp tortoise eggs? (Honours, UWA)
Jelena May: An evaluation of the effectiveness of biodiversity offsets in WA (Masters, UWA)
Ayeshe Kerimofski: Habitat use of Tiliqua rugosa in tuart-banksia woodlands (Honours, UWA)
Michael Bretz: The role of quenda digging in ecosystem processes (Honours, Murdoch)
John Stuart: Microhabitat use of small skinks in wandoo woodland (Honours, Murdoch)
Hannah Anderson: The relationship between tuart health and medium-sized mammals (Honours, Murdoch)
Donna Simmons: Impacts of dieback on reptiles in banksia woodlands (Honours, Murdoch)
Brady Roberts: Effects of non-native vegetation on fauna (Masters, JCU)