Dr Karen Ikin

BSc (Hons), LLB (Hons), PhD (ANU)
Research Fellow, Fenner School of Environment and Society
ANU College of Science

Areas of expertise

  • Ecological Applications 0501
  • Landscape Ecology 050104
  • Conservation And Biodiversity 050202
  • Wildlife And Habitat Management 050211

Research interests

My research focuses on wildlife and habitat conservation in human-modified environments, such as those that occur in urban and agricultural landscapes. I am particularly interested in how ecological knowledge can be applied to improve conservation, management and planning.

Researcher's projects

I am a research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, based at the Fenner School of Environment and Society. I work on a range of landscape ecology and conservation research projects.

Agricultural landscapes

I’m currently working on several long-term projects, managed by Prof David Lindenmayer, which investigate the responses of birds and other fauna to landscape change in agricultural NSW, Aust. This research seeks to understand local and landscape-scale influences of vegetation structure and cover on wildlife diversity and assemblages.

Urban landscapes

I am also interested in wildlife responses to urbanisation. In collaboration with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, I’m investigating the influence of the surrounding urban matrix on different types of urban greenspace, and long-term bird community change in response to urbanisation.

Prior to this research, I completed a PhD focussing on the conservation, planning and management of birds and their habitat in urban and future urban landscapes, and on the urban fringe. I investigated patterns of landscape use by birds, including the importance of trees in the urban landscape, the relationship between habitat structural complexity and bird diversity, the value of degraded land and the provision of novel resources and the importance of management in the matrix. I used this information to recommend a series of evidence-based strategies for urban planning, policy and management.

Available student projects

Mechanisms determining species response to pine plantation establishment

Supervised by Professor David Lindenmayer (ANU), Dr Alessio Mortelliti (ANU and University of Maine) and Dr Karen Ikin (ANU).

Although the formal application period is now closed, please still contact me if you are interested.


Current student projects

Donna Belder (PhD): Survival and persistence of birds in box-gum grassy woodland restoration plantings (co-supervised with Prof David Lindenmayer and Dr Jennifer Pierson). http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/about-us/people/donna-belder

Ciara Fitzgerald (Masters): Arthropod Edge Effects Study: The effect of luminous pathways on arthropods (Chair, co-supervised with Dr Philip Barton).

Joseph Stapleton (Masters): Does coarse woody debris reduce mammalian browsing damage on woody plant saplings in box-gum grassy woodlands? (co-supervised with Dr David Freudenberger).

Past student projects

Darren Le Roux (PhD), 2012-2016: Maintaining and perpetuating resources associated with mature trees for wildlife in modified landscapes (co-supervised with A/Prof Philip Gibbons, Prof David Lindenmayer and A/Prof Adrian Manning).

Richert Ahlers (Masters), 2015: Ecosystem services from Canberra’s urban public forests: distribution and trade-offs (co-supervised with Dr David Freudenberger).

Ciara Fitzgerald (Masters, Independent Research Project), 2016: Biodiversity in our urban forests: testing the relationship between birds and trees within Canberra, ACT.


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Updated:  04 April 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers