Dr Damien Fordham is an ARC Future Fellow working in the Environment Institute at the University of Adelaide. Damien’s research interests are diverse, and include ecological modelling, climate science, population ecology, extinction modelling, palaeoecology, wildlife management, conservation planning and invasive ecology. His particular speciality is developing complex mechanistic models that integrate demographic, physiological and evolutionary processes to improve forecasts of how biodiversity will respond to global change.
Opportunities are available for Ph.D., Masters and Honours students for specific on-going research projects with existing funding (see below). General inquiries for student projects on topics such as climate change impacts on biodiversity and extinctions are also welcome.
Potential PhD Projects
Revealing the drivers and mechanisms that caused the rapid extinction of moa This project will combine ecological models with biotic responses recorded in fossils and genes to discover how small groups of people rapidly drove the moa to extinction. In doing so it will take our understanding beyond a simplistic ‘the hunters did it’ to how the hunters actually did it.
Mapping the pace and stability of past climate change to determine its legacy on contemporary patterns of biodiversity This project will use seamless (monthly) global climate simulations for the last 21,000 years to map climate stability for marine and terrestrial systems and quantify its relative effect on macro-ecological patterns.
Establish the role of refugial habitats in mitigating extinction risk. This project will establish the demographic and spatial processes that make some species more reliant on population refugia for regional persistence during rapid climatic shifts.
Improving the implementation of measures to mitigate future biodiversity loss This project will identify and overcome potential biases in commonly used threatened species criteria using real-world examples of range contraction and extinction
Ms Emilie Roy-Dufresne (PhD commencing 2015) Supervisors Fordham D.A. & Mellin C. Modelling the effect of climate change on invasive species.
Miss Leah Collet (PhD commencing 2013) Supervisors Bradhsaw, C.J.A., Fordham D.A, Page B. Optimal survey and harvest models for South Australian macropods
Mr Dave Dean (Masters commenced 2013) Supervisors Bradhsaw, C.J.A. & Fordham D.A Wetland Species-Area Relationship Projections Under Climate Change
Miss Jessica Wadley. Supervisors: Austin J. &
Fordham D.A. Phylogeography and conservation genetics of Australian
Dr Bert Harris. Supervisors: Brook B.W., Sodhi, N.S. & Fordham, D.A. Synergistic effects of climate change and habitat loss on the range and abundance of birds in Southern Australia and Southeast Asia.
Dr Deb Bower. Supervisors: Georges, A., Hutchinson, M. & Fordham, D.A. Conservation biology and management of the broad-shelled turtle Chelodina expansa
Global extinction rates have soared over the past century, due predominantly to the resource demands of a burgeoning human population. Shifting land-use and wildlife exploitation, and elevated rates of competition and predation by invasive organisms, have reduced the range and abundance of many species, directly causing severe biodiversity loss at local scales, and indirectly limiting the scope for sufficient ecological and evolutionary adaptation to future environmental change. Managing these human-mediated impacts continues to be a clear focus for conservation biology, but with an increasing acknowledgement that extinction drivers are usually interacting and self-reinforcing. Understanding how biodiversity will respond to future human impacts requires innovative new approaches which explicitly couple ecological and climatic-geophysical processes. Delivering the predictive tools required to anticipate ecological responses to climate change in the context of other human-driven threatening processes is a central theme of my research. Present projects include:
Balancing model complexity and predictive skill to improve forecasts of species' range movement and persistence in response to global change
Using the fossil record and genetic data to determine uncertainties in forecasts of species' responses to climate change
Incorporating evolutionary and demographic processes into phenomenological and mechanistic models
Accounting for complex species interactions in climate change simulation models
Using the species area relationship to calculate extinction risk under climate change
2014-2018 Fordham. Integrating models with molecular 'logbooks' to better forecast extinction risk from climate change. Australian Research Council Future Fellowship ($772 000 AUD)
2012-2016 Fordham, Cassey, Brook, Mutze. An integrated tool for informing pest management: modelling range shifts for an invasive vertebrate in response to climate change. Australian Research Council Linkage Project ($750 000 AUD)
2010-2013 Fordham and Brook. Range dynamics and demographics of spatially structured populations under global change. Australian Research Council Discovery Project ($390 000 AUD)
2009-2012 Brook, Fordham, Araújo, and Foulkes. Planning for a transformed future: Modelling synergistic climate change and land use impacts on biodiversity. Australian Research Council Linkage Project ($636 000 AUD)
2009-2011 Corey and Fordham. Conserving turtles in Arnhem Land by managing an exotic species. Australian Government Caring for our Country ($134 637 Aus)
Present Postdoc and Research Associate
Dr Konstans Wells: Building robust epidemiological models that account for climate change
Dr Alice Jones:Meta-modelling of ecological, evolutionary and climatic systems dynamics
Dr Miguel Lurgi: Modelling the effects of invasive species on ecological communities
Dr Stephen Gregory: Range dynamics and demographics of spatially structured populations under global change
Dr Steve Delean: Modelling synergistic climate change and land use impacts on biodiversity
Dr Michael Watts: Developing novel model architectures to better predict biodiversity responses to climate and land-use change.
Dr Donna Harris: Population dynamics and persistence of macropods in rapidly changing landscape
Saltré F., Rodríguez-Rey M., Brook B.W., Johnson C.N., Turney C, Alroy J, Cooper A, Beeton N, Bird M.I., Fordham D.A. et al. Climate change not to blame for late Quaternary megafauna extinctions in Australia. Nature Communications (Accepted)
Mellin C., Mouillot D., Kulbicki M., McClanahan T.R., Vigliola L., Bradshaw C.J., Brainard R.E., Chabanet P., Edgar G.J., Fordham D.A. et al. Humans and seasonal climate variability threaten large-bodied, small-ranging fishes on coral reefs. Nature Communications (Accepted)
Jones A.R., Bull C.M., Brook BWB, Wells K, Pollock KH, Fordham DA Tick exposure and extreme climate events impact survival and threaten the persistence of a long-lived lizard. Journal of Animal Ecology (accepted)
Lurgi M, Brook BW, Saltré F. & Fordham DA 2015 Modelling range dynamics under global change: which framework and why? Methods in Ecology and Evolution 6, 247-256
Brook B.W. & Fordham D.A. 2015 Hot topics in biodiversity and climate change research. F1000Research 4, 928. (doi:10.12688/f1000research.6508.1)
Purwandana D., Ariefiandy A., Imansyah M.J., Ciofi C., Forsyth D.M., Gormley A.M., Rudiharto H., Seno A., Fordham D.A. et al. 2015 Evaluating environmental, demographic and genetic effects on population-level survival in an island endemic. Ecography 38, 1060-1070
Wells K, Brook BW, Lacy RC, Mutze GJ, Peacock DE, Sinclair RG, Schwensow N, Cassey R, O'Hara RB, Fordham DA. 2015. Timing and severity of immunizing diseases in rabbits is controlled by seasonal matching of host and pathogen dynamics. Journal of The Royal Society Interface 12. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2014.1184
Prowse TAA, Gillanders BM + 8 authors, Fordham DA (2015) Evidence for a broad-scale decline in giant Australian cuttlefish (Sepia apama) abundance from non-targeted survey data. Marine and Freshwater Research 66, 692-700
Fordham DA, Brook BW, Moritz C and Nogués-Bravo D (2014)
Better forecasts of range dynamics using genetic data Trends in Ecology
and Evolution 29, 436–443 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2014.05.007
Liu J, Fordham DA, Cooke BD, Cox T, Mutze G, Strive T
Distribution and prevalence of the Australian non-pathogenic rabbit
calicivirus is correlated with rainfall and temperature. PLoS ONE doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12315
Fordham DA, Shoemaker KT, Schumaker N, Akcakaya HR, Clisby N,
Brook BW (2014) How interactions between animal movement and landscape
processes modify local range dynamics and extinction risk. Biology
Letters 10, 20140198. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2014.0198
Gregory SD, Ancrenaz M, Brook BW, Goossens B, Alfred R, Ambu LN, and Fordham DA
(2014) Forecasts of habitat suitability improve habitat corridor
efficacy in rapidly changing environments. Diversity and Distribution 20, 1044–1057. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12208
Harris JBC, Putra DD, Gregory SD, Brook BW, Prawiradilaga DM, Sodhi NS, Wei D, and Fordham DA (2014) Rapid deforestation threatens mid-elevational endemic birds but climate change is most important at higher elevations. Diversity and Distributions 20, 773–785. doi: 10.1111/ddi.12180
Wadley JJ, Austin JJ, Fordham DA (2014) Genetic
inference as a method for modelling occurrence: A viable alternative to
visual surveys. Austral Ecology 39, 952-956
Harris DB, Gregory SD, Brook BW, Ritchie EG, Croft DB, Coulson G, Fordham DA (2014)
The influence of non-climate predictors at local and landscape
resolutions depends on the autecology of the species. Austral Ecology 39, 710-721
Pearson RG, Stanton JC, Shoemaker KT, Aiello-Lammens ME, Ersts PE, Horning N, Fordham DA, Raxworthy CJ, Ryu HY, McNees J and Akçakaya HR. (2014) Life history and spatial traits predict extinction risk due to climate change. Nature Climate Change 4, 217–221 doi:10.1038/nclimate2113
Mellin C, Bradshaw CJA, Fordham DA and Caley MJ (2014) Strong but opposing β-diversity-stability relationships in coral reef fish communities. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1993 (IF = 5.683)
Bradshaw CJA, Brook BW, Delean S, Fordham DA, Herrando-Pérez S, Cassey P, Early R, Sekercioglu CH, and Araújo MB. 2014. Predictors of contraction and expansion of area of occupancy for British birds. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences 281 doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0744
Kennett R, Fordham DA, Alacs E, Corey B and Georges A (2014) Chelodina oblonga Gray 1841 – Northern Snake-Necked Turtle. Chelonian Research Monographs No. 5, doi:10.3854/crm.5.077.oblonga.v1.2014
Shoemaker KT, Lacy RC, Verant ML, Brook BW, Livieri TM, Miller PS, Fordham DA and Akcakaya HR (2014) Effects of prey metapopulation structure on the viability of black-footed ferrets in plague-impacted landscapes: a metamodelling approach. doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.12223
Sequeira AMM, Mellin C, Fordham DA, Meekan MG and Bradshaw CJA (2014) Predicting current and future global distributions of whale sharks. Global Change Biology 20, 778-789 doi: 10.1111/gcb.1234
Purwandana D, Ariefiandy A, Imansyah MJ, Rudiharto H, Seno A, Ciofi C, Fordham DA and Jessop TS. (2014) Demographic status of Komodo Dragons Populations in Komodo National Park. Biological Conservation 171, 29–35 doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.01.017
Wadley JJ, Austin JJ, Gardner MG and Fordham DA (2014) Fifteen microsatellite loci for use in non-invasive sampling studies of antilopine wallaroo (Macropus antilopinus). Australian Journal of Zoology 61, 399-401 doi: 10.1071/ZO13074
Watts MJ, Fordham DA, Akçakaya HR, Aiello-Lammens ME & Brook BW Tracking range margin changes using geographical centroids of metapopulations weighted by population size and density Ecological Modelling 269, 61-69 doi 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2013.08.010
Harris JBC, Yong DL, Sodhi NS, Subaraj R, Fordham DA and Brook BW. Changes in autumn arrival of long-distance migratory birds in Southeast Asia. Climate Research 57, 133-141 doi:10.3354/cr01172
Fordham DA, Akçakaya HR, Brook BW, Rodríguez A, Alves PC, Civantos E, Triviño M, Watts MJ & Araújo MB 2013 Adapted conservation measures are required to save the Iberian lynx in a changing climate. Nature Climate Change 3, 899-903 doi: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1954
Fordham DA, Mellin C, Russel BD, Akçakaya HR, Bradshaw CJA., Aiello-Lammens ME, Caley MJ, Connell SD, Mayfield S, Shepherd SA and Brook BW. (2013) Population dynamics can be more important than physiological limits for determining range shifts under climate change. Global Change Biology 10, 3224–3237 doi: 10.1111/gcb.12289
Fordham DA, Akçakaya HR, Araujo MB, Keith D, Brook BW. (2013)Tools for integrating range change, extinction risk and climate change information into conservation management. Ecography 36, 956–964 doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2013.00147.x
Fordham DA, Brook BW1, Caley MJ, Bradshaw CJA and Mellin C. (2013) Conservation management and sustainable harvest quotas are sensitive to choice of climate modelling approach for two marine gastropods 19, 1299–1312 doi: 10.1111/ddi.12092
Delean S, Bull CM, Brook BW, Heard LMB and Fordham DA. (2013) Using
plant distributions to predict the current and future distributional
range of a rare lizard. Diversity and Distributions doi: 10.1111/ddi.12050
Bradshaw CJA, Bowman DMJS, Bond NR, Murphy BP, Moore AD, Fordham DA, Thackway R, Lawes MJ, McCallum H, Gregory SD, Dalal RC, Boer MM, Lynch AJ, Bradstock RA, Brook BW, Henry BK, Hunt LP, Fisher DO, Hunter D, Johnson CN, Keith DA, Lefroy EC, Penman TD, Meyer W, Thomson JR, Thornton CM, VanDerWal J, Williams RJ, Keniger L & Specht A (2013) Brave new green world – consequences of a carbon economy for the conservation of Australian biodiversity Biological Conservation doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2013.02.012
Haby NA, Prowse TAA, Gregory SD, Watts MJ, Delean S, Fordham DA,
Foulkes J and Brook BW. (2013) Two scales: fine-tuning metapopulation models
used to predict climate change impacts on small mammals Ecography doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2012.07749.x
Russell BR, Connell SD,Mellin C, Brook BW, Burnell OW and Fordham DA (2012) Predicting the distribution of commercially viable invertebrate stocks under future climate. PLoS ONE 7(12): e46554.
Fordham DA, Sinclair RG, Peacock DE, Mutze GJ, Cassey P,
Kovaliski J, Capucci L and Brook BW (2012) European rabbit survival and
recruitment are linked to epidemiological and environmental conditions
in their exotic range. Austral Ecology, 37, 945-957 doi: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2011.02354.
Gregory SD, Brook BW, Goosssens B, Ancrenaz M, Alfred R, Ambu LN and Fordham DA (2012) Long-term field data and climate-habitat models show that orangutan persistence depends on effective forest management and greenhouse gas mitigation PLoS ONE 7(9): e43846. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043846
Fordham DA, Watts MJ, Delean S, Brook BW, Heard LMB and Bull CM. (2012)
Managed relocation as an adaptation strategy for mitigating climate
change threats to the persistence of an endangered lizard. Global Change
Biology 18, 273-2755 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2012.02742.x
Read JL, Kovack K-J, Brook BW and Fordham DA. (2012) Booming
during a bust. Asynchronous populations responses of arid zone lizards
to climate variables. Acta Oecologia. 40, 51-61 doi:10.1016/j.actao.2011.09.006
Harris JBC, Fordham DA et al. (2012) Managing the long-term persistence of a rare cockatoo under climate change. Journal of Applied Ecology 49, 785-794 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02163.x
Hindell MA, Bradshaw CJA,Brook BW, Fordham DA, Kerry K, Hull C, McMahon CR (2012) Long-term breeding phenology shift in royal penguins linked to changes in climate. Ecol Evol doi:10.1002/ece3.281
Fordham DA, Akçakaya HR, Araújo MB et al. (2012) Plant
extinction risk under climate change: are forecast range shifts alone a good indicator of species vulnerability to global warming? Global
Change Biology 18, 1357–1371 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2011.02614.x
Harris JBC, Scheffers BR, Leighton R, Wanger TC, Sodhi NS, Fordham DA and Brook BW (2012) Conserving imperiled species: a comparison of the IUCN Red List and U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation Letters 5, 64-72 doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00205.x
Bradshaw CJA, McMahon CR, Miller PS, Lacy RC, Watts MJ, Verant ML, Pollack JP, Fordham DA,
Prowse TA and Brook BW (2012) Novel coupling of individual-based
epidemiological and demographic models predicts realistic dynamics of
tuberculosis in alien buffalo. Journal of Applied Ecology 49, 268-277 doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2011.02081.x
Fordham DA, Wigley TML, Watts MJ, Brook BW (2012) Strengthening forecasts
of climate change impacts with multi-model ensemble averaged
projections using MAGICC/SCENGEN 5.3. Ecography 35, 4-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.07398.x
Mellin C, Russell BR, Connell SD, Brook BW & Fordham DA (2012) Geographic range determinants of two commercially important marine molluscs. Diversity and Distributions 18, 133-146 doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00822.x
Fordham DA, Wigley TML and Brook BW (2011) Multi-model climate projections for biodiversity risk assessments. Ecological Applications. 21, 3317–3331.
Watts MJ, Li Y, Russel BD, Mellin C, Connell SD, and Fordham DA (2011) A novel method for mapping reefs and subtidal rocky habitats using artificial neural networks. Ecological Modelling. 222, 2606-2614
Harris JBC, Sekercioglu CH, Sodhi NS, Fordham DA, Paton DC, and Brook BW (2011) The tropical frontier in avian climate impact research. Ibis. 153, 877-882
Firth RS, Brook BW, Woinarski JCZ and Fordham DA. (2010) Decline and likely extinction of a northern Australian native rodent, the brush-tailed rabbit-rat Conilurus penicillatus. Biological Conservation. 143, 1193-1201
Fordham DA & Brook BW (2010) Why tropical island endemics are
acutely susceptible to global change. Biodiversity and Conservation. 19, 329-342
Fordham DA, Georges A, Brook BW (2009) Experimental evidence for density dependent responses to mortality of snake-necked turtles. Oecologia. 159, 271-278
Anderson, B.J., Akçakaya, H.R., Araujo, M.B., Fordham, D.A., Martinez-Meyer, E., Thuiller, W. & Brook, B.W. (2009) Dynamics of range margins for metapopulations under climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, 276, 1415-1420
Fordham DA, Georges A, Brook BW (2008) Indigenous harvest, exotic pig predation and local persistence of a long-lived vertebrate: managing a tropical freshwater turtle for sustainability and conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology 45, 52-62.
Fordham DA, Georges A, Brook BW (2007) Demographic response of snake-necked turtles correlates with indigenous harvest and feral pig predation in tropical northern Australia. Journal of Animal Ecology 76, 1231-1243.
Fordham DA, Georges A, Corey B (2007) Optimal conditions for egg storage,incubation and post-hatching growth for the freshwater turtle, Chelodina rugosa: Science in support of an indigenous enterprise. Aquaculture 270, 105-114.
Fordham DA, Georges A, Corey B (2006) Compensation for inundation-induced embryonic diapause in a freshwater turtle: Achieving predictability in the face of environmental stochasticity. Functional Ecology 20, 670-677.
Fordham DA, Georges A, Corey B, Brook BW (2006) Feral pig predation threatens the indigenous harvest and local persistence of snake-necked turtles in northern Australia. Biological Conservation 133, 379-388.
Fordham DA, Akçakaya HR, Araujo M and Brook BW (2011) Modelling range shifts for invasive vertebrates in response to climate change. In Wildlife Conservation in a Changing Climate. Eds. Brodie J, Post E, Doak D, University of Chicago Press. In press
Fordham DA and Brook BW (2010) Why tropical island endemics are acutely susceptible to global change. Tropical Islands Biodiversity Crisis: The Indo-west Pacific. Eds. Lane DJW Springer Verlag pp 17-30
Fordham A, Fogerty B, Corey B and Fordham D. (2010) Knowledge foundations for the development of sustainable wildlife enterprises in remote indigenous communities of Australia. Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research Report. http://www.anu.edu.au/caepr/Publications/WP/2010WP62.php
Fordham DA (2007) Population regulation in snake-necked turtles in northern tropical Australia: modelling turtle population dynamics in support of Aboriginal harvests PhD. University of Canberra, Canberra
Fordham D, Hall R, Georges A (2004) Aboriginal harvest of long-necked turtles in Arnhem Land, Australia. Turtle and Tortoise Newsletter, 7, 20-21
Editorial Board: Handling editor for Ecography
Societies: Australasian Wildlife Management Society http://www.awms.org.nz Ecological Society of Australia http://www.ecolsoc.org.au Society for Conservation Biology http://www.conbio.org IUCN Turtle and Tortoise Specialist Group http://www.iucn-tftsg.org
Entry last updated: Saturday, 19 Dec 2015
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