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Matthew Luskin

  ABOUT THE CI/PI & lab goals

I am a broadly trained ecologist working at the nexus of land-use change, wildlife ecology, plant-animal interactions, and conservation science. My work focuses on investigating the secondary cascading impacts from hunting, deforestation, and agriculture on forest ecosystems. My current projects in Southeast Asia dig into the long-term unintended consequences of these disturbances in otherwise pristine forests.

In Australia, I founded the Wildlife Observatory of Australia (WildObs) which is revolutionizing our ability to monitor mammals using standardized Australia-centric deployments and hierarchical bayesian abundance models. This initiative has seed funding from UQ's CBCS, the ARC DECRA, and is housed at TERN.

 ~ Learn more about WildObs here [link] ~


My research program developed out of my long commitment to Southeast Asia, both its jungles and its people. This immersion has fostered my investigations of complex, situated, and indirect pathways in which land-use change shapes the ecology of remaining forests. I am strongly question-driven and my approaches often draw on my earlier studies of economics and geography. I employ an interdisciplinary set of methods including biophysical and ecological measurements, social science methods such as interviews and monitoring wildlife trade, as well as direct and indirect wildlife monitoring, such as remotely triggered camera traps and live trapping. I also work on long-term tree demography using the 'big data' tree censuses curated by the Smithsonian's ForestGEO program.


There is a focus in my lab on investigating the processes regulating wildlife and plant populations. We aim to quantify the relative importance of top-down control (predation, herbivory) and bottom-up limitation (food resources). How do these mechanisms structure Southeast Asian food webs? My approach is to use large-scale experiments to manipulate wildlife and resources (e.g. exclosures, predator reintroductions, fruit additions, etc.).

Feel free to contact me at or follow my work via Google Scholar

Sumatra headshot.jpg

Mapping newly deforested areas in Kerinci Seblat National Park, Sumatra

Matthew Luskin
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