Staff profile - Don Driscoll

Staff image

Prof Don Driscoll

Position: Professor Of Terrestrial Ecology
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env
Department: School of Life & Env. Sciences
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 925 17609 +61 3 925 17609


Biography summary

PhD, UNI WA, metapopulation ecology of endangered frogs.

CSIRO Post-Doc, Canberra. Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on reptiles and beetles in agricultural landscapes.

ARC Post-Doctoral Fellowship, UTAS. Habitat fragmentation and metapopulations.

Lecturer in Biodiversity, Flinders University. Coordinating/teaching a post-graduate biodiversity course. Fire and fragmentation research.

Associate Professor, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian Natrional University. Ecological synthesis, dispersal, fragmentation and fire research.

Professor of Terrestrial Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria.


  • Bachelor of Science, Australian National University, 1991
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Univ. of Western Australia, 1997

Professional activities

Chief Editor Ecological Society of Australia Hot Topics

Chair Ecological Society of Australia Media Working Group

Editor Austral Ecology, Plos1, Journal of Applied Ecology

Personal website


Knowledge areas

All of my research has conservation biology as a central theme, with a focus on how species use whole landscapes, particularly the role of dispersal. I take a range of approaches, including manipulative experiments, natural experiments and the application of population genetic techniques. I place a strong emphasis on testing ecological theory using applied conservation problems.

Projects under way are examining how reptiles, beetles and butterflies respond to habitat fragmentation and degradation, including examining the influence of the matrix on species that depend on remnant vegetation.

Student supervision

Current Projects

• Georgianna Storey. PhD. Wombat dispersal, social structure and rehabilitation. (ANU)

• Juliana Lazzari. PhD. Interaction of fire and habitat fragmentation, reptiles. (ANU)

• Laurence Berry. PhD. Fire and succession in Mt Ash forests. (ANU)

• Nellida Vellasinor. PhD. Impacts of urbanisation on frogs, birds and mammals. (ANU).

• Stephanie Pulsford. PhD. Matrix ecology. (ANU)

• Geoff Kay. PhD. PhD. Woodland reptiles and restoration. (ANU)

• David Johnson. PhD. Woodland plants and restoration. (ANU)

• Melissa Wynn. PhD. Threatened reptile communities and invasive pests. (ANU)

• Kat Ng. PhD. Invertebrate and plant movement through the matrix in farmland. Testing the conceptual model of the matrix.  (ANU)

• Nicole Hansen. PhD. Reptile movement through the matrix in farmland. Testing the conceptual model of the matrix. (ANU)

Media appearances

The Conversation



The Matrix in Ecology

"Feed or Weed"


Research projects

Honours Project Available. 

Title: Reconnecting landscapes through the matrix. A test using invertebrates.
Principal Supervisor: Professor Don Driscoll
Principal Supervisor contact details:
Associate Supervisor: Dr Nick Porch
Associate Supervisor, external: Stephanie Pulsford, PhD Candidate, ANU.
Start date: February 2016

Wildlife movement is critical.  It enables effective foraging within a home range, dispersal to new home ranges and range changes in response to climate change.  However, movement is severely curtailed by habitat loss associated with intensive agriculture. Our project aims to discover if wildlife movement can be improved through productive farmland by altering management within paddocks. By understanding the connectivity value of rotational grazing, fences, linear tree plantings, and addition of course woody debris, we will define new methods for enhancing ecological sustainability in production landscapes. Without this knowledge, opportunities for increasing connectivity may be foregone.

This project will involve converting a large invertebrate collection into data in Nick's lab, undertaking statistical analysis with the close guidance of Don and Stephanie, then writing up the project with input from all supervisors.  For the right student, this project has the potential to lead to one or more publications, and a great early start to your career.

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