Dr Kylie Soanes

Dr Kylie Soanes talks about her science journey and reflects on her PhD studies in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences.

"Conservation sounds like a job you want when you’re four years old, not a job you actually have as an adult.” That’s how someone responded when I told them what I do for a living. Of course, I was in no way offended. She was dead right. Conservation biology is exactly what I wanted to do ‘when I grew up’. I used to rescue wildlife from roads. I used to go through my grandfather’s wildlife magazines and write lists of all the threatened species then make ‘fact sheets’ for how to save them. I now do both of these things, every day.

My PhD research assessed the benefit of building road-crossing structures to improve the connectivity of tree-based mammal populations. My project was focused on squirrel gliders along the Hume Highway and how the five newly built crossing bridges could benefit their habitat connectivity. Squirrel gliders are an endangered species who cannot travel further than 40 metres.

I chose conservation biology because I don’t think that human actions should lead to the whole-sale destruction of the environment. I have been upset by extinction since I learned what it was. I love nature – not because of what it gives us, just because. I believe that human-caused biodiversity loss is unnecessary and unacceptable. I believe we can do better. And I believe science can help us do that.

To read more about Kylie’s work go to http://www.lifeontheverge.com.au/

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