Lab Profiles

Postgraduate Students

Benjamin Wagner
ThesisTopic: Predicting habitat suitability for greater glider (Petauroides volans) using remote sensing: implications for conservation planning


Aim:  Development of methods to remotely sense habitat suitability for Australia’s largest gliding possum, the Greater Glider, based on nutrient status, structure, climate and topography of southeast Australian forests.

SupervisorsDr Craig Nitschke (primary); Prof Patrick Baker
Projected CompletionJune 2020
Skills/InterestsUAV application, remote sensing, forestry, forest management, wildlife ecology
EducationBSc. Forest sciences and Forest Ecology (University of Goettingen, Germany),


MSc. Tropical and International Forestry (University of Goettingen, Germany)

Awards & ScholarshipsMelbourne Research Scholarship
Paddy Palin Science Grant 2017
Wettenhall Small Environmental Grants Scheme 2017
DAAD PROMOS Award 2015 and 2016
Sean_at_the_beach_Sep_2016Sean F Walsh
ThesisTopic: Improving decision support tools for conservation of fire-adapted ecosystems in southern Australia, through integrated simulation of reproductive ecology and landscape dynamics.


Aim: Plants that use seeding strategies may be under increased pressure from climate change and altered fire regimes. But can we predict when and where native plant species will be at risk of local extinction? A model such as this would assist with long-term conservation planning and land management.

SupervisorsDr Craig Nitschke (primary); Assoc Prof Peter Vesk
Projected CompletionJanuary 2020
Skills/InterestsEcological science: Behaviour of bushfires and prescribed burns, fire ecology, seed-based reproduction in plants, forest microclimate and hydrology, field identification of native plant and bird species


Science communication: Writing and proofreading, graphics and visual art, teaching (university level)

Environmental science: Climate change and atmospheric science, urban air quality and noise, human health risk assessment, state of the environment reporting, policy development

Scientific IT and modelling: Mathematical modelling of complex systems, software development (C#, VB.NET, Python, R, C++, Fortran 90, VBA, SQL, Scripting languages), LINUX, supercomputing, mapping (ArcGIS), data analysis, data QA and outlier detection.

Cert IV in Training and Assessment, Victoria University, Australia
Master of Environmental Science, Monash University, Australia
Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Computer Systems)
Awards & Scholarships2016-2019
Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship
Certificate of Recognition, CASANZ: Operational forecasting and analysis of smoke from the Hazelwood Coal Mine fires
Team Innovation Award, EPA Victoria: Collaborative research into future air pollution impacts

Howard Brown Prize for Environmental Awareness, Monash University: Best team-based research report
Chairman’s Award, EPA Victoria: Creation of the Victorian Air Quality Index
PublicationsWalsh S F, Nyman P, Sheridan G J., Baillie C C., Tolhurst K G., Duff T J. (2017). Hillslope-scale prediction of terrain and forest canopy effects on temperature and near-surface soil moisture deficit. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26, 191-208.


Walsh S F, Duff T J, Loschiavo J, Chong D M, Tolhurst K G,and Di Stefano J (2015) Approaches to simulation of prescribed burns in forests of southern Australia, 21st International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (extended abstract), MSSANZ, Gold Coast 2015

Tel: 0435 35 2718

Stephen Stewart

Nationality Australian

Thesis Topic: Uncertainty in climate data and the associated implications for species distribution modelling

Aim: To assess the sensitivity of mechanistic and correlative species distribution models to climatic input variables

Supervisors Craig Nitschke

Projected Completion March 2020

QGIS; R; Geostatistics; Climate Data; Remote Sensing: MODIS, Landsat; Microclimate Modelling; Mechanistic and Correlative Species Distribution Modelling

Education 2011
Master of Environment and Sustainability (MES), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
Bachelor of Science (BSc), Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (Biology/Genetics)


University of Melbourne – Melbourne Research Scholarship (MRS)
Monash University – Howard Brown Award for Best Postgraduate Research Paper

Contact information

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School of Ecosystem & Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Australia

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