community ecology of hummock grassland vertebrates dasyurid ecology ethno-zoology python ecology threatened reptiles

Email David

+61 8 9405 5112

+61 8 9306 1641
Street Address
37 Wildlife Place, Woodvale WA 6026, Australia
Postal Address
Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre WA 6983, Australia


I have worked for CALM as a scientist since late 1985, based for the first three years in Kalgoorlie and then at Woodvale, a suburb of Perth. I was employed initially to work with Aboriginal people to document their knowledge of fire and its impact on the fauna, particularly the suite of mammals which had disappeared from the desert. This role expanded into more general fire ecology and survey for rare species.

My current work program is focussed on threatened reptiles; Carpet, Woma and Pilbara Olive Pythons and the Lancelin Island Skink. I have ongoing projects looking a fire impact on terrestrial fauna in the Great Victoria Desert and developing management programs with desert Aboriginal communities to conserve threatened fauna.


  • threatened reptiles, python ecology, ethno-zoology, dasyurid ecology, community ecology of hummock grassland vertebrates

Brief CV

Academic Record

  • 1980-1983: Bachelor of Natural Resources (Hons), University of New England, Armidale N.S.W.
  • 1985-1988: Graduate Diploma of Aboriginal Studies, SACAE, Underdale S.A.
  • 1988-1994: Master of Science (Botany), University of Western Australia, Perth W.A.

Other Education

  • 1984: Aboriginal Language Studies-Iwaidja, Summer Institute of Linguistics, Darwin N.T.
  • 1987-1988: "Western Desert Language" "Aboriginal Language Studies 2" Kalgoorlie College, W.A.

Employment Experience

1974-1981: Occasional volunteer field assistant, Australian Museum

November-December 1980: Volunteer field assistant, N.S.W. National Parks and Wildlife Service/ University of Sydney

1981-1983: Seasonal Ranger , N.S.W. National Parks and Wildlife Service, Warrumbungle National Park

December-March 1983: Technical Officer, Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, Alice Springs, N.T.

February 1984-September 1985: Ranger (Grade R1), Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory and seconded to Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, based in Kakadu National Park, N.T.

September-November 1985: R2 Ranger, Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, Cobourg Peninsula Wildlife Sanctuary, N.T.

November 1985-September 1988: Research Officer-Aboriginal Liaison (Level 1), Wildlife Research Branch, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Kalgoorlie, W.A.

Undertook research on nature conservation issues in desert regions; concentrating on traditional Aboriginal fire usage, ethno-biological information and the effect of fire on hummock grassland flora and fauna. This involved the establishment of long-term study areas in the Queen Victoria Spring and Gibson Desert Nature Reserves to look at the impact of fires in different seasons on reptiles and small mammals.

September 1988-January 1993: Research Scientist (Levels 2/4 to 5), Research Division, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth, W.A.

Research projects as listed immediately above, with the addition of several others; an Aboriginal liaison role in the "Desert Dreaming" project to reintroduce the Burrowing Bettong (Bettongia lesueur) and the Golden Bandicoot (Isoodon auratus) to the Gibson Desert and the description of the vegetation and flora of Queen Victoria Spring Nature Reserve and the preparation of a reserve vegetation map (topic of MSc. thesis).

February 1993-present: Senior Research Scientist (Level 6), Science and Information Division, Department of Conservation and Land Management, Perth, W.A.

Ongoing research on small mammal and lizard communities and the impact of fire in the Great Victoria and Gibson Desert. Completion of flora survey in Queen Victoria Spring; collaborative surveys for the Mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda); liaison with central desert Aboriginal communities on wildlife conservation issues, and supervision of contract work on the ecology of the Lancelin Island Skink (Ctenotus lancelini).


  • See employment experience above.