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WildCountry Science Council

Who are the WildCountry Science Council?

The WildCountry Science Council is a group of ecological scientists, including some of the most eminent and active in the science community both in Australia and internationally.  The group was originally established to provide a space for discussion on the critical factors for protecting and restoring biodiversity in Australia.  This group has created the WildCountry Vision and applied it to various conservation research questions.

The approach taken has been to focus on ecological processes and their operation at various scales.  Their work has helped develop a greater understanding of Australian ecology and provided scientific support to conservation efforts. Some of the group’s seminal publications have substantially influenced conservation policy and action both by Government and other organizations. While TWS has undertaken to provide logistical support for the Science Council, they remain scientifically independent.

For a background on WildCountry science, read this article by Emeritus Professor Harry Recher


The WildCountry Science Council members are:

Emeritus Professor Henry Nix AO

Professor Nix has extensive experience in a wide range of fields relevant to Australian ecology.  His career has been based on land management, agriculture and ecology, including expertise on birds, agriculture and hydrology. He has a particular interest in development of computer-based methods for ecosystem modelling and natural resources management.

Now retired, Henry worked for CSIRO for 25 years, and was the Director of the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University (now the Fenner School for Environment and Society).

In 2000 Henry was awarded an Order of Australia for "services to the environment, particularly the conservation of natural resources, and to land management through the development and application of simulation models for ecologically sustainable land utilisation".


Dr Sarah Legge

Dr Legge is the National Conservation and Science Manager for the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and is based at Mornington Sanctuary in the Kimberley. 

Sarah has experience in behavioural and conservation ecology in a variety of locations including Tanzania, south-eastern Australia and northern Queensland, in addition to the Kimberley. 

Sarah’s research has included a focus on birds and she has extensive knowledge of other wildlife of northern Australia. She joined the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) in May 2004.


Professor Hugh Possingham

Dr Possingham is Professor of Mathematics and Zoology, and Director of The Ecology Centre at the University of Queensland.  He is an applied mathematician and ecological modeller. Hugh has international standing in the field of conservation planning and prioritisation, and has experience in both terrestrial and marine systems. His expertise in this field has been received by both Commonwealth and State governments.

He was the Foundation Chair and Head of Department for the Department of Environmental Science, University of Adelaide, before establishing the Ecology Centre at University of Queensland. From 2003-2007 Hugh was an Australian Research Council Professorial Research Fellow. 

He is currently an ARC Federation Fellow (2007 – 2011) and is Director of a Commonwealth Environment Research Facility – Applied Environmental Decision Analysis.

Hugh has also been Chair of the Australian Government’s Biological Diversity Advisory Committee, member of the Natural Heritage Trust Advisory Committee and member of the Queensland Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vegetation Management. 

Hugh has been jointly awarded the POL Eureka Prize for Environmental Research in 1999 as well as being awarded the Inaugural Fenner Medal for Plant and Animal Science (Australian Academy of Science) in 2000 and the Australian Mathematics Society Medal in 2001. 

He is a fellow of the prestigious Australian Academy of Science.  

Dr Janette Norman

Dr Norman was formerly Senior Curator of Molecular Biology at Museum Victoria. She conducts DNA research on the origins and evolution of Australian fauna as well as ecosystem-based approaches to biodiversity conservation in Australia and New Caledonia.

Her research has included studies of a wide range of rare, threatened and migratory species. Research on the evolution and diversification of venom systems has taken her as far as Antarctica. Recent research has attracted support from the Australian Research Council.

Emeritus Professor Michael Soulé

Michael is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. He is one of the world’s most influential ecologists, having garnered widespread attention to the need for large scale restoration of ecological processes in order to conserve biological health. 

Michael has undertaken foundational research in population and evolutionary biology, population genetics, island biogeography, biodiversity policy and ethics and has published widely on these subjects.

Founder of the Wildlands Project and the Society for Conservation Biology, he is a champion for conservation planning to deliver the critical needs of nature.
He has had Fellowships with the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York), the California Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, New York Zoological Society, was a Smithsonian Regent's Fellow, and has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

He has received the Archie Carr Medal and the National Wildlife Federation's National Conservation Achievement Award for Science, and was named by Audubon Magazine as one of the 100 Champions of Conservation of the 20th Century.