David Watson

Environmental Science

Professor David M Watson

BSc (Hons) Monash University; PhD (Ecology) The University of Kansas

Professor in Ecology
Albury / Wodonga
Building 760 Room 19 (East Wing)

Dave is a handling editor for Austral Ecology and Oecologia and serves on the board of the Great Eastern Ranges.  He chairs the research committee for the School of Agriculture, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences and is a founding member of the Slopes to Summit partnership, Wirraminna Environmental Education Centre and the Australasian Ornithological Conference steering committee.  He was elected to the board of Birdlife Australia for two terms, and chaired the Research and Conservation Committee. He also served two terms on the NSW Threatened Species Scientific Committee and is an outspoken advocate for feral horse control across Australia.  Research highlights include establishing the Australian Acoustic Observatory, demonstrating the role of mistletoe as a keystone resource, and linking woodland bird declines to soil health and insect availability.

Eco System Unraveller

Google Scholar

In addition to teaching subjects in the Ornithology degree, Dave teaches a subject offered in the mid-year break based around an 18-day fieldtrip to the outback.  Commencing way back in 2002, this fieldtrip combines hands-on learning of field ecology (including camera trapping and acoustic monitoring, pitfall trapping and mist-netting, bird surveys, plant identification, reptile handling and ID) with opportunities to assist with ongoing research projects focused on mistletoe ecology, distributional dynamics of arid zone birds, and reintroduction of critical weight range mammals.  He also works closely with Honours, Masters and PhD students, typically designing projects in close consultation with prospective students

Dave’s a community ecologist, working across a wide range of topics within Australia and in various parts of the Neotropics.  His current research interests fall into four broad areas: connectivity conservation, ecological interactions between parasitic plants and animals, biodiversity survey methods and habitat restoration. Combining community-scale descriptive work with species-specific studies, most of his work is restricted to vertebrates, with particular expertise on birds. He has complemented community-scale studies with resource-based approaches, treating mistletoe and other parasitic plants as model systems. Some of his research has been conducted in national parks, travelling stock reserves and other public lands, but most of his field sites are on private land and he work closely with natural resource agencies, regional bodies and individual landholders to convert his findings into practical on-ground outcomes to safeguard populations.