Dr Desley Whisson

STAFF PROFILE

Position

Senior Lecturer in Wildlife and Conservation Biology

Faculty

Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env

Department

School of Life & Env. Sciences

Campus

Melbourne Burwood Campus

Qualifications

Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2009
Certificate II in Horticulture, TAFE SA, 2006
Graduate Diploma of Applied Science, Charles Sturt University, 2005
Doctor of Philosophy, Queensland Univ. of Technology, 1994
Bachelor of Applied Science, Queensland Univ. of Technology, 1987

Biography

My research focusses on identifying scientifically-based solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. In my early career, I worked in Mexico and the USA and on a diverse range of both agricultural and natural resource issues and species including birds, pocket gophers, squirrels, mongooses, and rats. I returned to Australia in 2004 to manage the Kangaroo Island Koala Management Program.

When I moved to Deakin University in 2007, I maintained my interest in koalas, undertaking research on their southern distribution, population dynamics, and behaviour. I also developed a keen interest in the ecology of alpine regions.

I have a strong interest in spatial ecology, especially related to animal home range and movements.

Please contact me if you are interested in undertaking a PhD. I have a number of opportunities and would love to discuss these with you.

Read more on Desley's profile

Biography summary

1987 - 1992 Queensland University of Technology: Research assistant - The management of canefield rats in North Queensland sugarcane.

1993 Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico: Postdoctoral fellow - wildlife pest management.

1994 - 2004 University of California (Davis): Wildlife Extension Specialist

2004 - 2007 SA Department for Environment and Heritage: Koala program manager

2007 - current Deakin University

Research interests

  • The ecology of small mammals in alpine environments
  • Koala ecology and management
  • Management of invasive mammal species

Affiliations

Australasian Wildlife Management Society

Teaching interests

Geographic Information Systems

Pest ecology and management

Australian vertebrates

Units taught

SLE332 Geographic Information Systems (Chair)

SLE310 Pest Plants and Animals (Chair)

SLE324 Australian Vertebrates (Chair)

SLE353 Asian Conservation and Environment Sustainability (Lecturer)

Knowledge areas

  • Human-wildlife conflicts
  • Spatial ecology (distribution mapping; animal home range and movements)
  • Koala ecology and management

Expertise

Small mammal ecology; Management of overabundant native species; Koala ecology; Spatial ecology
  • Ecology
  • Wildlife

Professional activities

Associate Editor, Human-Wildlife Interactions

Media appearances

ABC Catalyst (March 2013): Koalas at Cape Otway (http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/3715819.htm)

Earthwatch TV (2014): Conserving Koala Country (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoSgHJ_Qpug)

Research groups

Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University

Awards

2016 - Earthwatch Australia - Contribution of excellence to Environmental Science award

2017 - Team award - Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence

Projects

Southern koalas (https://victoriankoalaresearch.wordpress.com/)

The distribution and ecology of a cool climate species, the Broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus), in Victoria.

Habitat selection by the common wombat at Wilson's Promontory, Victoria

Publications

Filter by

2018

Urban corvids on the move: habitat use and movement ecology of the little raven Corvus mellori at a peri-urban wetland

K Ekanayake, D Whisson, T Schlacher, M Weston

(2018), Vol. 42, pp. 29-37, Corella, Penrith, N.S.W., C1

journal

Tree canopy defoliation impacts avifauna

Desley Whisson, Amy Orlowski, Michael Weston

(2018), Vol. 428, pp. 81-86, Forest ecology and management, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal

Woodland birds and rural towns: artificial clutch survival in fragmented Box-Ironbark forests

Beau Meney, S Cunningham, Michael Weston, Desley Whisson

(2018), Vol. 130, pp. 7-17, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria, Clayton, Vic., C1

journal

Does zonation and accessibility of wetlands influence human presence and mediate wildlife disturbance?

P Guay, W Van Dongen, E McLeod, D Whisson, H Vu, H Wang, M Weston

(2018), pp. 1-15, Journal of environmental planning and management, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal
2017

Subharmonics increase the auditory impact of female koala rejection calls

B Charlton, D Watchorn, D Whisson

(2017), Vol. 123, pp. 571-579, Ethology, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal

Case studies of motion-sensing cameras to study clutch survival and fate of real and artificial ground-nests in Australia

M Weston, K Ekanayake, S Lomas, H Glover, R Mead, A Cribbin, L Tan, D Whisson, G Maguire, A Cardilini

(2017), Vol. 64, pp. 476-491, Bird study, Abingdon, Eng., C1

journal
2016

Use of expert knowledge to elicit population trends for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)

C Adams-Hosking, M Mcbride, G Baxter, M Burgman, D de Villiers, R Kavanagh, I Lawler, D Lunney, A Melzer, P Menkhorst, R Molsher, B Moore, D Phalen, J Rhodes, C Todd, D Whisson, C Mcalpine

(2016), Vol. 22, pp. 249-262, Diversity and distributions, London, Eng., C1

journal

Failure to respond to food resource decline has catastrophic consequences for koalas in a high-density population in Southern Australia .

D Whisson, V Dixon, M Taylor, A Melzer

(2016), Vol. 11, pp. 1-12, PLoS one, San Franciso, Calif., C1

journal

Habitat selection by two sympatric rodent species in an alpine resort

L Beilharz, D Whisson

(2016), Vol. 64, pp. 327-334, Australian journal of zoology, Clayton, Vic., C1

journal
2015

Persistence of a threatened species in a modified alpine resort environment: the broad-toothed rat

D Whisson, G Holland, T Kelly

(2015), Vol. 96, pp. 151-158, Journal of mammalogy, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal

Home range, habitat use and movements by the little raven (Corvus mellori) in a coastal peri-urban landscape

D Whisson, M Weston, K Shannon

(2015), Vol. 42, pp. 500-508, Wildlife research, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal

Intense predation of non-colonial, ground-nesting bird eggs by corvid and mammalian predators

K Ekanayake, D Whisson, L Tan, M Weston

(2015), Vol. 42, pp. 518-528, Wildlife research, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal

Conserving koalas: A review of the contrasting regional trends, outlooks and policy challenges

C McAlpine, D Lunney, A Melzer, P Menkhorst, S Phillips, D Phalen, W Ellis, W Foley, G Baxter, D de Villiers, R Kavanagh, C Adams-Hosking, C Todd, D Whisson, R Molsher, M Walter, I Lawler, R Close

(2015), Vol. 192, pp. 226-236, Biological conservation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal
2014

Sex bias in captured little ravens corvus mellori varies with entry aperture size in a modified australian crow trap

K Shannon, M Weston, D Whisson

(2014), Vol. 38, pp. 22-23, Corella, Penrith, N. S. W., C1

journal

The influence of cover on nesting Red-capped Plovers: a trade-off between thermoregulation and predation risk?

Lomas, Stephanie, Whisson, Desley, Maguire, Grainne, Tan, laura, Guay, Patrick-Jean, M Weston

(2014), Vol. 131, pp. 115-127, The Victorian naturalist, Blackburn, Vic, C1

journal
2013

Free-ranging male koalas use size-related variation in formant frequencies to assess rival males

B Charlton, D Whisson, D Reby

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-9, PLOS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal

Impacts and management of invasive burrowing herbivores in grasslands

P Fleming, H Limin, D Whisson

(2013), pp. 1600-1608, Proceedings of the 22nd International Grassland Congress : Revitalising grasslands to sustain our communities, Sydney, NSW, E1

conference

Activity patterns of free-ranging koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) revealed by accelerometry

M Ryan, D Whisson, G Holland, J Arnould

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-10, PLoS ONE, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal
2012

Translocation of overabundant species : implications for translocated individuals

D Whisson, G Holland, K Carlyon

(2012), Vol. 76, pp. 1661-1669, Journal of wildlife management, Hoboken, N. J., C1

journal
2010

Temporal variation in reproductive characteristics of an introduced and abundant island population of koalas

D Whisson, K Carlyon

(2010), Vol. 91, pp. 1160-1167, Journal of mammalogy, Lawrence, Kan., C1

journal
2009

Inbreeding and testicular abnormalities in a bottlenecked population of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus)

R Cristescu, V Cahill, W Sherwin, K Handasyde, K Carlyon, D Whisson, C Herbert, B Carlsson, A Wilton, D Cooper

(2009), Vol. 36, pp. 299-308, Wildlife research, Australia, C1

journal

Assessing the effectiveness of bait stations for controlling California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi)

D Whisson, T Salmon

(2009), Vol. 28, pp. 690-695, Crop protection, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1

journal
2008

Integrated management of vertebrate pests in alfalfa

D Whisson, P Salmon. Terrell

(2008), pp. 187-196, Irrigated afalfa management for mediterranean and desert zones, Oakland, Calif., B1-1

chapter

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Diet and potential impacts of feral cats on native wildlife on King Island, Tasmania

Dr Desley Whisson

  • 2009: $9,160

Understanding the impacts of koala-related tree defoliation on bird and mammal communities

Dr Desley Whisson, A/Prof Mike Weston, Amanda Orlowski

  • 2010: $1,500

Understanding the effect of revegetation age, structure and distance to native vegetation remnants on mammal communities in agricultural areas

Dr Desley Whisson, Brodie Harrison

  • 2011: $1,000

Expert advice - NSW Koala strategy research

Dr Desley Whisson

  • 2018: $6,084

Industry and Other Funding

A preliminary study of the distribution and habitat requirements of the Broad-toothed Rat, Mastacomys fuscus, in the Mt Buller Alpine Resort

Dr Desley Whisson, A/Prof John White

  • 2009: $5,279
  • 2008: $5,279

The influence of koala-related tree defoliation on woodland bird and ground dwelling mammal assemblages.

A/Prof Mike Weston, Dr Desley Whisson, Amanda Orlowski

  • 2010: $1,650

Understanding the ecology of koalas in the face of climate change

Dr Desley Whisson, Dr Alistair Melzer

  • 2016: $17,540
  • 2015: $23,919
  • 2014: $20,609
  • 2013: $23,972
  • 2012: $33,410
  • 2011: $27,883

Conserving southern koalas: Spatial dynamics and habitat occupancy of koala populations in blue gum plantations of southern Australia

Dr Desley Whisson, Ms Kita Ashman

  • 2017: $5,625

Koala personality: What does it take to succeed?

Dr Desley Whisson

  • 2018: $1,000

Supervisions

Associate Supervisor
2016

Laetitia Kernaleguen

Thesis entitled: Drivers and Fitness Consequences of Individual and Sexual Foraging Specialisation in Fur Seals

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Kasun Bandara Ekanayake

Thesis entitled: Little Raven (Corvus mellori) as an Egg Predator of Other Bird Species

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences

Lauren Patricia Angel

Thesis entitled: Factors influencing foraging behaviour in the Australasian gannet

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences