The University of Queensland 

School of Biological sciences

(Brisbane, Australia) 


ECL News:


July 2021 - New Paper in Animal Conservation on tenrec hunting in Madagascar [link]

June 2021 - Matthew's seminar at CForBio - "Chinese Forest Biodiversity Monitoring Network"

May 2021 - ECL collaborator on NASA grant for work on Congo's megafauna seed dispersal!

+ Matthew gives JCU-Cairns TESS seminar hosted by Bill Laurance

+ Welcome postdoc Dr Dipanjan Nala! [link]

April 2021 - New Paper in Nature Communications

                + Welcome PhD student Bastien Dehaudt! [link]

March 2021 -    New Paper in Proceeding Royal Society-B

Feb 2021 - New Review Paper in Ecology Letters

                + Welcome new postdoc Dr Adia Sovie! [link               
Jan 2021 -  New Paper in Conservation Letters

                   -->Matthew gives SCB Emerging Issues Seminar [Watch here link]     

Dec 2020 - New Paper in Biological Conservation

        Welcome the ECL summer internships! 

  • Fellowship winners: Henri Decoeur, Samuel Lee Tham, Ashlea Dunn, & Ilyas Nursamsi​

  • Research students & volunteers: ​Harsh Pahuja, Victor Yiqian Li, Emma Valette, Carolina Zulueta, Thaung Ret, Alexander Hendry, Lindsey Arnold, Gary Young, Bora Aska, Jeffrey Lau, Xiaohan Liu, Lin Gan, Jessica Morrison, Abigail Rose Natusch, Tamzin Barber, "Niel" Nguyen Tran

Nov 2020 - ECL awarded $430K grant! (ARC DECRA to Matthew)

  • title: Ecological cascades in Queensland rainforests

  • Funding for 2 PhD students - please help us advertise!

October 2020 - Welcome Honours student Courtney Mueller​

September 2020 - Welcome Postdoc Calebe Mendes! [link]

August 2020 - Welcome MSc student Francis Chicas!

July 2020 - Welcome Postdoc Dr Therese Lamperty!

May 2020 - The ECL awarded $500K grant

  • Partnership w/ NParks in Singapore & David Wardle at NTU

  • Study of wild boar recolonization on the island

April 2020 - Welcome PhD student Zach Amir!

March 2020 - Jakarta Post article on African Swine Fever

Feb 2020 - Welcome researcher Shane Wen Xuan Chiok! 

2019 - New Paper in J of Applied Ecology

2018 - New Paper in PNAS 

2017 - TWO New Papers in Nature Communications 


How is rainforest biodiversity generated, maintained and eroded?


Our mission

The ECL strives to understand the key mechanisms that structure food webs. Disturbances can alter important regulating mechanisms that keep ecosystems in a dynamic equilibrium. Many places, the loss of one species such an apex predator can cause food webs to disassemble and ecosystems to collapse. For example, in some places, the poaching of wolves or tigers eliminates predation control of herbivore populations and triggers cascading impacts on the vegetation. In other locations, the loss of predators produces negligible cascading impacts. 

The ECL wants to understand why


 Basic research on how food webs are governed has applied uses in conservation. For protected areas and parks to maintain high diversity over the long term, we must identify and protect the key mechanism structuring those ecosystems. Thus, while the ECL focuses on conducting fundamental research, our findings will play a crucial role in maintaining healthy plant and animal communities in the coming decades.

Apex predators are crucial to regulating the populations of large herbivores in some ecosystems. This tiger was photographed as part of our work in Sumatra, which experienced the highest deforestation rates globally from 2000-2015. Area-demanding apex predators are now at severe risk of extinction. Our estimates of this critically endangered species population (618 tigers) and home range (200-400 km2) now guide Indonesia’s conservation program (Luskin et al. 2017a).

Our follow up work examines tigers' importance for maintaining healthy food webs. We do this by comparing the food web structure in a dozen forests in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, some which have lost tigers.

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Where we work

The Ecological Cascades Lab conducts wildlife sampling in Southeast Asia

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