Melbourne Head Office
Research & Conservation Staff
Bachelor of Science (Conservation Biology and Ecology, Hons) La Trobe University (2005)
Dean has been involved with BirdLife Australia (then known as Birds Australia) since 2002 when he would spend spare time between university assignments entering Orange-bellied Parrot sighting data at the office. While he studied Dean continued to assist project staff with all manner of tasks, from vetting of Atlas records to completing surveys for Swift Parrots, Orange-bellied Parrots and Grey-crowned Babblers.
In 2005 Dean assisted with the banding data analysis for the final volume of HANZAB, at the same time as coordinating the winter Orange-bellied Parrot surveys and completing his Honours research. For this Dean investigated the ecology of mixed-species woodland bird flocks, assessing which species utilised them and who ‘took control’ of moving the flock around the landscape. He also tested the two main theories around why species participate in these flocks – better protection from predators or better access to food – using Scarlet Robins as a focal species.
From 2006-2008 Dean coordinated the Threatened Bird Network, working to assist volunteers to find opportunities with threatened bird recovery programs. This allowed a great deal of interaction with project across the country, and in this time Dean served on three recovery teams, several informal recovery groups, and interacted with hundreds of volunteers around the country. Some of the projects coordinated by Dean in this time included surveys for Black-eared Miners in Murray-Sunset NP, Australian Painted Snipe across their range, and woodland birds in revegetated agricultural landscapes. From 2009 Dean co-managed the Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project, working to secure the future of our threatened and declining woodland birds through covenants on private land, implementation of key recovery actions, and presentation of numerous talks and workshops. As part of this role Dean has also worked as the national recovery coordinator for the Regent Honeyeater. This has seen Dean redraft the national recovery plan, coordinate three captive-releases of the species, conduct surveys, banding and blood sampling of the bird, and liaise with a wide range of stakeholders to ensure the survival of this charismatic woodland species. Dean is the current Threatened Bird Program manager, overseeing BirdLife Australia’s full range of research projects around the country.
Dean is a staunch advocate of citizen science and is constantly inspired by the contribution the wider community makes to bird conservation. In what little spare time Dean has he runs a bird banding project in central Victoria (he is an A class bander), tries to take photos of as many bird species as he can, and spends time with his family so they don’t forget what he looks like!
PhD Australian National University, Canberra (2006)
Diplom Biologe, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Univerität Bonn, Germany (2001)
Golo Maurer manages BirdLife Australia’s KBA Program. He also initiated and coordinates BirdLife Australia’s Indigenous Grant for Bird Research and Conservation. Prior to this Golo ran BirdLife Australia’s Shorebirds 2020 project. In June 2015 Golo opened BirdLife Australia’s North Australia Office in Cairns where he is now based. His position allows him to combine science, conservation and an infectious enthusiasm for birds to grow BirdLife Australia’s existing partnerships. Best of all, he can indulge his passion for thinking outside the box to develop novel collaborations to protect Australia’s native birds and their habitats.
Prior to working at BirdLife Australia Golo’s scientific career in ornithology saw him complete a PhD on Pheasant Coucals at the Australian National University and conduct postdoctoral research in Australia and the UK on cuckoos and egg-shell evolution. He has over 30 peer reviewed articles to his name and also contributes to popular science magazines and ornithological books.
Golo is currently an assistant editor for Emu , an Honorary Research Fellow at Adelaide University in Dr Phill Cassey’s invasion ecology Group (www.cassey-invasion-ecology.org) and an Adjunct Research Fellow in the College of Marine & Environmental Sciences with Dr Brad Congden (https://research.jcu.edu.au/portfolio/brad.congdon/). He has taught Ornithology Courses at the University of Birmingham, UK and at Charles Sturt University.
PhD The University of Melbourne (2005), B.Sc. (Hons) The University of Melbourne (1998)
Grainne is passionate about the natural environment, having grown up exploring the Australian bush with her family. Grainne majored in Botany and Zoology subjects during her Science degree at The University of Melbourne. She then carried out her Honours research on the dispersion of foraging Eastern Grey Kangaroos between habitats of differing pasture quality and mob sizes at Yan Yean, within the framework of the Ideal Free Distribution theory. After completing Honours, Grainne worked as a research assistant at Melbourne Uni and then got a job developing training packages for Vocational Education and Training and Assessment Services. However, her passion for behavioural ecology was not being fulfilled, and so she soon enrolled in a PhD studying the habitat ecology and breeding behaviour of the Southern Emu-wren.
Grainne carried out her research in the heathland and swamps around Portland, Lower Glenelg and Anglesea. An elusive and difficult to study species was no barrier to Grainne who was keen to uncover the habitat requirements and impacts of habitat quality on breeding success so as to better inform heathland management and weed removal programs. A fascination with mating systems and parental care led Grainne to install remote cameras at emu-wren nests to explore gender roles and variation in care. A year in the lab developing microsatellites and exploring paternity revealed that emu-wrens are highly monogamous with rare cases of extra-paternity and cooperative breeding. During her PhD, Grainne worked closely with volunteers, managing a small team to maximise data collection from the notoriously secretive emu-wrens. She also worked closely with Alcoa and discovered the value of feeding research findings into land management practises.
After finishing her PhD, Grainne was employed at Birds Australia on the Beach-nesting Birds project. Since 2006, Grainne has worked on this award winning project, which evolved from a case study into the effectiveness of nest site protection for improving Hooded Plover breeding success on Victorian beaches, to an established citizen science program along the eastern mainland where Friends of the Hooded Plover groups monitor and actively protect nests every spring and summer. The program has been extended to other species of beach nesters and encompasses coastal management issues more broadly.
Grainne is an A class bander and currently coordinates Hooded Plover banding across the Victorian and South Australian coasts. She maintains close links with Deakin University through collaborations with Mike Weston, co-supervises numerous Honours projects and has over 20 peer reviewed articles to her name.
PhD Deakin University, Melbourne (2009)
Bachelor of Conservation Ecology (2000) Honours (2001)
At the age of nine Meg Cullen decided she wanted to be a Zoologist and very little changed as she made her way through school. Meg began her undergraduate course as a part of the first group of students to undertake a Bachelor of Conservation Ecology at Deakin University.
Drawn to the Otway Ranges, where she spent many of her childhood holidays exploring both the bush and the beach, she headed down to the Geelong campus of Deakin University to embark on research for her honours project. Meg examined long-term temporal changes in small mammal communities in the Anglesea Heath. Becoming thoroughly addicted to Antechinus and Potoroos, and surprisingly not sick of cleaning out smelly Elliott traps, Meg headed straight onto further research. She investigated biogeographical aspects of small mammal and vascular plant communities in a wider region of the Otway Ranges, resulting in the completion of her PhD in 2009.
While enjoying the independence of research, Meg saw the importance of creating a nexus between conservation research and environmental education in order to capture the interest of individuals and communities, to incite cooperation in conservation programs and implement crucial behavioral change. During her postgraduate studies she spent five years teaching environmental science/management at Deakin University and since completing her studies, she has spent the last five years teaching and developing environmental programs at Edendale Environmental Education Center.
Meg began working at BirdLife Australia in 2007 providing statistical and GIS assistance on a variety of research projects. In 2009 she began working on the Beach-nesting Bird project, a citizen science program with over 650 volunteers involved in nest monitoring, surveys and awareness raising. During this time Meg has utilised her experience in environmental education to develop and implement a range of educational and awareness raising programs.
Bachelor of Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology, Hons) Deakin University (2012).
Renee began working as a Beach-nesting Birds Project Officer at Birdlife Australia only four days after completing her Honours at Deakin University! Renee’s Honours research explored the clutch fate and success of Hooded Plovers Thinornis rubricollis along the Victorian coastline using remote sensing cameras. This research contributed greatly to our knowledge of the fate of eggs, the relative impacts of different predators and included an investigation into nest site selection at a microhabitat scale. Renee grew to know the Victorian coastline back to front through her Honours project as well as gaining great insights into beach-nesting bird behaviour. This made her perfect for joining the Beach-nesting Birds Team at BirdLife Australia. Since then she has coordinated a national Hooded Plover count and compiled maps and reports, carried out volunteer training workshops and awareness raising activities across Victoria and has spent endless hours working through the breeding season data to compile nesting summaries for each pair that is monitored.
Prior to working at BirdLife Australia, Renee has worked at the Department of Sustainability and Environment as a River Health Policy Officer as a Summer Placement during her undergraduate degree, and has also worked for Parks Victoria as a summer Ranger at the Mornington Peninsula.
Samantha Vine is the Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia, managing a diverse portfolio of conservation policies, programs and campaigns. Samantha is committed to threatened species recovery and preventing extinctions.
Samantha has over a decade of experience engaging the community in threatened species conservation. She has a strong history of convening recovery-planning forums and building threatened species projects and programs. Samantha has participated in numerous recovery teams, stakeholder groups and international delegations. Samantha was recently appointment to the Federal Ministerial Advisory Committee for the Environment, primarily to advise on threatened species matters.
Samantha was a founding member of the Places You Love Alliance and co-convened the original campaign team from its inception. She now chairs the PYL Management Committee.
Prior to working at BirdLife, Samantha headed WWF Australia's Flagship Species Program, and before that was the Regional Manager for the Threatened Species Network in Eastern and Southern Australia. Samantha worked for the University of Sydney’s Institute of Wildlife Research as well as various State and Federal Government Departments prior to joining the NGO sector.
Samantha studied at the University of Sydney, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science, majoring in ecology and evolution, and a Masters degree in wildlife health and population management.
PhD, Ulm University with University of Queensland, Cambridge University, Endeavour Research Fellow (2009), MSc, Ulm University and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (2004), BSc, The University of Queensland (2002)
Steve obtained his PhD in Animal Ecology and is a keen birdwatcher and an A class bird and bat bander. As an Australian Government Endeavour Research Fellow, he studied the behaviour of migratory Australian grey-headed flying-foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus) in a collaboration between The University of Queensland, Ulm University (Germany) and Cambridge University (UK), carrying out his field research in the Gondwana Rainforests World Heritage in northern New South Wales. He also spent a year on tiny Mellum Island in the North Sea's Wadden Sea National Park studying oystercatchers (Haematopus ostralegus) and worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) on Barro Colorado Island in Panama. Steve has advised on wildlife conservation in corporate and government roles in an international context for more than a decade and is an expert with the IUCN Commissions on Ecosystem Management (CEM) and Protected Areas (WCPA). He joined BirdLife Australia in 2018 after having been an active member with BirdLife for 30 years. Working in the Conservation Team at National Office, he coordinates the implementation of BirdLife Australia’s Conservation Action Plan for Migratory Shorebirds both within Australia and internationally and has attended consultations in the context of international agreements as an Australian Government delegation member. Steve is a member of BirdLife Tasmania's Executive Committee.
Research & Conservation Staff across Australia
Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Assessment and Management, 1994)
Mick has been an avid birder since his tertiary education days in the early 90’s when studying ecology at Newcastle University. Following uni Mick travelled extensively around Australia getting involved in research projects in places such as the Simpson Desert, Kakadu, Shark Bay and the Gondwanan Rainforest reserves of NSW. A few years later he embarked on a 12 month solo sojourn around the world and assisted with bird surveys in the Andean cloud forests, Ecuadorean tropical dry coastal forests and the rehabilitation of injured macaws, guans and other Neotropical birds in Bolivia (and even got to ‘walk’ a Puma). He has also volunteered for environmental project work in Ireland and Thailand and is a firm believer in giving back to areas that he visits overseas as a volunteer.
In between, he has birded on 5 continents during several extended trips as a ‘backpacking birder’ and knows full well how heavy field guides can get inside a backpack (especially South American ones!).
In his professional career, Mick worked for 10 years as an ecologist for various environmental consultancies mainly based in NSW, but also worked in many parts of Australia. Most recently though (before joining BirdLife) he worked as a Senior Threatened Species Officer for the NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change and as a Conservation Officer for the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW. He also does part-time bird tour-guiding, is the current President of the Hunter Bird Observers Club, heads up the notorious Hunter Home Brewers Twitchathon team, is a member of the NSW Ornithological Records Appraisal Committee and, most challenging of all, arranges pelagic birding trips off Port Stephens (he openly admits to being a ‘petrel-head’).
Mick is the NSW Project Coordinator for the Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project and is based in Newcastle, NSW working predominantly in the species-rich-yet-under-threat woodlands of the Hunter Valley.