PhD (University of Melbourne)
Position: ARC Future Fellow

Room: 243 Goddard Building 8
Phone: +61 7 3365 2829

Research Interests

Kerrie has a particular interest in applied conservation resource allocation problems, such as where to invest limited resources to protect biodiversity, to restore habitat, or manage systems. 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 published in 2005 was awarded a Most Cited paper award from Biological Conservation).

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 The Ecology Centre, and has held the position of Director of Conservation with The Nature Conservancy Australia program.

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

Selected Publications

Wilson, K. A., M. Lulow, J. Burger, Y.-C. Fang, C. Andersen, D. Olson, M. O'Connell, and M. F. McBride. (2011). Optimal restoration: Accounting for space, time and uncertainty. Journal of Applied Ecology 48: 715-725.

Wilson, K. A., E. Meijaard, S. Drummond, H. S. Grantham, L. Boitani, G. Catullo, L. Christie, R. Dennis, I. Dutton, A. Falcucci, L. Maiorano, H. P. Possingham, C. Rondinini, W. Turner, O. Venter, and M. Watts. (2010). Conserving Biodiversity in Production Landscapes. Ecological Applications. 20 (6): 1721-1732.

Wilson, K. A., J. Carwardine, and H. P. Possingham. (2009). Setting Conservation Priorities. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The Year in Ecology and Conservation Biology: 1162: 237-264.

Wilson, K. A., E. C. Underwood, S. A. Morrison, K. R. Klausmeyer, W. W. Murdoch, B. Reyers, G. Wardell-Johnson, P. A. Marquet, P. W. Rundel, M. F. McBride, R. L. Pressey, M. Bode, J. M. Hoekstra, S. J. Andelman, M. Looker, C. Rondinini, P. Kareiva, M. R. Shaw, and H. P. Possingham. (2007). Maximising the Conservation of the World's Biodiversity: What to do, Where and When. PLoS Biology. 5. e233

Wilson, K. A.,
M. McBride, M. Bode, and H. P. Possingham. (2006). Prioritising global conservation efforts. Nature. 440:337-340.

Funded Projects

Prioritising habitat restoration for biodiversity and ecosystem service outcomes
Grant Body: Australian Research Council
Grant Period: 2011-2018
Value: $705,000

Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.
Grant Body: Australian Research Council
Grant Period: 2011-2018
Value: $12 million

NERP Environmental Decisions hub
Grant Body: National Environmental Research Facility
Grant Period: 2010-2015
Value: $13 million

Climate Adaptation Research Initiative
Grant Body: CSIRO
Grant Period: 2009-2012
Value: $207 000

Spatial prioritisation in the context of climate change and unforeseen opportunities: maximising conservation outcomes in Gondwana Link.
Grant Body: Australian Research Council.
Grant Period: 2008-2013
Value: $630 000

Maximising the Conservation of biodiversity and the delivery of ecosystem services: What to do, where and when
Grant Body: Australian Research Council
Grant Period: 2008-2011
Value: $380 000

Selected Awards

  • 2013: Australian Museum Eureka Prize Outstanding Young Researcher Finalist

  • 2011: Australian Research Council Future Fellowship

  • 2010: Australian Academy of Science, International Science Linkages – Science Academies Program Award.

  • 2009: Australian Leadership Award

  • 2009: European Erasmus Mundus Scholar in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management at University of Copenhagen

  • 2008: “Most Cited Author Award” by Biological Conservation for the paper titled “Sensitivity of conservation planning to different approaches to using predicted species distribution data” (Vol 122: 99-11).

  • 2007: Australian Research Council Post-doctoral Fellowship

Professional Associations

  • UQ Node Director of the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions

  • Associate editor of Diversity and Distributions and Conservation Letters

  • Member of the UQ Academic Board

  • Member of the scientific committee for Diversitas

  • Member of the advisory committee for the IUCN Save our Species Initiative

  • Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Research Fellow

  • Society for Conservation Biology

  • Ecological Society of Australia

  • Member WCPA-Australia New Zealand region


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