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Personal profile

Personal profile

Professor David M Watson's research falls into three principal areas: managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes; measuring and predicting the biological effects of habitat fragmentation; and the ecology of parasitic plants. His research has been conducted through detailed community-level field studies in Australia and Latin America; species-specific studies of distribution and abundance; theoretical advances; empirical studies based on previously published data; & synthetic reviews consolidating existing information and proposing new hypotheses. Most of his research is applied, improving our understanding and management of natural systems. He has developed a new way of conducting bird surveys; articulated a generalised explanation for distribution patterns of parasitic plants; demonstrated parasitic plants boost productivity in their communities; & suggested changes in productivity and food availability underlie woodland bird declines.

Research Interests

Research Interests

  • Managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes
  • Measuring and predicting the biological effects of habitat fragmentation
  • Ecology of parasitic plants

Professional Information

External Appointments & Memberships:

  • Technical Advisory Group (member) for the Great Western Woodlands Project (jointly managed by Birdlife Australia and the Nature Conservancy)
  • Slopes to Summit Partnership (regional hub of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative)( founding member and senior ecologist)
  • Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre (member of the management committee)

Editorial roles on journals:

  • Austral Ecology (Associate editor)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy (Ecology), University of Kansas


Bachelor of Science (Honours 1), Monash University



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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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