Dr. Kerrie Wilson

Australian Research Council Future FellowReasearch Week award winners

School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

Email: k.wilson2@uq.edu.au

Kerrie Wilson is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow and Senior Lecturer at The University of Queensland. Dr. Wilson is an associate editor of Diversity and Distributions and Conservation Letters, and is a member of the scientific committees the IUCN Save our Species Initiative, the Ecosystem Services Partnership, and the QLD Govt Biodiversity Research Partnership Program. She was a Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Research Fellow, European Commission Erasmus Fellow at The University of Copenhagen, and has served as a member of the Academic Board of The University of Queensland.

After completing her PhD in Conservation Biology at the University of Melbourne in collaboration with the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, Kerrie undertook post-doctoral research at The Ecology Centre before accepting the role of Director of Conservation with The Nature Conservancy Australia program. Her current research at The University of Queensland involves collaborations with government and non-government organizations. Kerrie is a Chief Investigator and UQ Node Director of the Research Hub for Environmental Decisions (a National Environmental Research Centre, $11 million over 4 years) and of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions ($11.9 million over 7 yrs).

Kerrie has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems, such as where to invest limited resources to protect or restore biodiversity. Her research requires an understanding of both the ecological and socio-economic context and has lead to the development of frameworks and decision support tools to inform how funds should be allocated between different activities to maximise conservation outcomes. Her research program also focuses on the analysis of uncertainty (with a particular focus on the impact of climate change and other institutional and socio-political factors that influence the likelihood of investment success), landscape dynamics (e.g. the evaluation of land use scenarios and threatening processes), and quantifying the conservation benefits of investments (e.g. ways to account for benefits to biodiversity and also ecosystem services).

Kerrie’s research in conservation ecology has incorporated ecological dynamics and economics into the identification of priority areas and actions for conservation and has resulted in new theory for how funds should be allocated. This theory and applications have been published in high level journals including Nature, Science, PLoS Biology, Nature Climate Change, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It has resulted in a seminal review for the New York Academy of Sciences and a co-edited book published by Oxford University Press. Earlier research in the field of conservation planning was broadly focused on investigating new ways to incorporate vulnerability (the likelihood of biodiversity loss due to land use changes) and the development of analytical approaches to quantify and represent data uncertainty (one of her first publications was awarded a Most Cited paper award from Biological Conservation).

Discussion with prospective collaborators and post-graduate students and post-docs regarding research opportunities that exist in the lab are welcomed.

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