James Kelleher

James Kelleher
James Kelleher, 2022 Doctoral Academy Fellow

Research:
Improving practical applications of dynamic occupancy models

Supervisors:
Dr Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita
Dr Natalie Briscoe

School / Faculty:
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences 
Faculty of Science of Science

PhD Details

I study models of species distributions, which we use to understand patterns of how wildlife are distributed across landscapes and how those change through time. In particular, I'm interested in the decisions practitioners make in building their models and how they use them for conservation.The goal of my PhD is to ensure the integrity of species distribution models in applied studies, identify how they can be improved to support management objectives, and facilitate their use for conservation of vulnerable species.

Q & A

Why did you decide to do a PhD?
Undertaking a PhD gives me the freedom to think about ecology at large scales and try to unravel how complex natural systems work, while supporting wildlife management in the best way that I can. The opportunity to learn about diverse topics and build skills was a huge motivator for me in pursuing graduate studies.

What do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy nature writing - some of my favourite books are Braiding Sweetgrass, Desert Solitaire, and A Sand County Almanac. I'm currently trying to read more books by Australian authors about indigenous flora and fauna.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working on your PhD?
I'm an avid cook and baker and love sharing the things I make. I also love long hiking trips, skiing, and getting out into nature.

Name one fun fact about you.
I worked in Yosemite counting birds for a summer during uni!