Dr Ross Crates

Postdoctoral research fellow
ANU College of Science


I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of East Anglia in 2006 with first class honours in Ecology. After graduating, I worked for 3 ½ years as a research assistant at the Edward Grey Institute of Ornithology, Oxford University. Here, I was involved in a large-scale research project examining the social evolution of an intensively-monitored population of blue and great tits.

I am a member of the Difficult Bird Research Group here at ANU. I have broad interests in ecology, evolution and conservation, with a focus on birds. I am interested in how mobile species exploit food resources that vary in space and time, and how they are affected by extensive and ongoing environmental change.  For my PhD, I studied the ecology and conservation of the critically endangered regent honeyeater. The regent honeyeater population has declined as a result of extensive habitat loss throughout its range, but much more drastically than other species. I identifed factors that explain this disproportionate decline, in order to assist the conservation of the regent honeyeater and other woodland birds.

I am also very keen on science communication and outreach, working closely with schools and interest groups. Please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss outreach opportunities.

Researcher's projects

  • Ecology and conservation of the regent honeyeater
  • Developing effective management of noisy miners for conservation
  • Population conservation genomics
  • Lanscape-scale conservation of threatened woodland birds
  • Allee effects in threatened species conservation

Available student projects

Developing a noisy miner management strategy to conserve Australia’s threatened woodland birds

There is an urgent need to develop evidence-based, landscape scale management actions to counteract the impact of noisy miners and prevent avian extinctions. The results of current suppression attempts have varied greatly, but the underlying reasons for this variation in outcomes are poorly understood.

This collaborative project will:

? Develop a conceptual model of noisy miner suppression at varying spatial and temporal scales and in varying landscape contexts.

? Analyse existing data to place the contemporary size, density and distribution of both noisy miners and threatened woodland birds in an historical context.

? Build and validate a range-wide noisy miner habitat suitability model to 1) identify the ‘frontline’ of noisy miner invasion; 2) assess landscape-scale resistance to noisy miner dispersal; 3) identify priority areas for both noisy miner suppression and complementary woodland restoration.

? Experimentally suppress noisy miners to quantify the success of miner suppression and the benefits for threatened woodland birds.

Supervisors: Dr Ross Crates, Dr Dejan Stojanovic, Professor Rob Heinsohn

Email: ross.crates@anu.edu.au

Past student projects

Daniel Gautschi (Hons)- Landscape-scale distribution of nest predators and its relationship with regent honeyeater nest success.


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Updated:  20 July 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers