Organising committee

The Victorian Biodiversity Conference is organised by postgraduate students. early-career researchers and early-career professionals from a diverse range of Victorian institutions. If you're interested in joining the team, or want to express an interest in helping with future conferences, feel free to contact us. The committee for the 2021 conference includes members from the following nine institutions:


Cassie Speakman

Deakin University

PhD candidate investigating the effects of climate change and other threats on the foraging behaviour of Australian fur seals, and what population-level impacts may result.

Nick Bradsworth

Deakin University

PhD Candidate investigating the impact of urbanisation on a threatened apex predator, the powerful owl, via GPS tracking devices.

Elodie Camprasse

Deakin University

Recently completed a PhD with the Centre for Integrative Ecology on individual specialisations in seabirds. She now works as a casual academic at Deakin University, as Project Manager at nature connection charity Remember The Wild, and as Emergency Response Operator at Wildlife Victoria. Elodie is passionate about science communication and is a coordinator for Pint of Science and the World Seabird Twitter conference. She is doing research on human-wildlife conflicts and is passionate about finding better ways for humans and wildlife to coexist and hope to pursue this research further though a post-doc.

Jess Lynch

Deakin University

Undergraduate student studying a Bachelor of Environmental Science, Wildlife and Conservation Biology. 


Ielyzaveta Ivanova

Monash University

PhD candidate looking at understanding the relative contribution that private protected areas make to Australia’s reserve system in the biodiversity values protected.

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Allie Nance

Monash University

PhD candidate working on understanding the unique challenges of, and opportunities for conservation on small islands inhabited by humans. Allie works on the ecology and management of Norfolk Island endemic passerines as a case-study, and looks at global patterns and experiences of conservation management on inhabited islands.


Jacinta Humphrey

La Trobe University

PhD Candidate, Research Centre for Future Landscapes. Jacinta is investigating the impacts of housing density and canopy tree cover on urban bird communities throughout greater Melbourne.

Iris Hickman

La Trobe University

Biological science student, currently investigating future climate change scenarios for alpine shrubs, in particular the variation of alpine shrub traits when protected by snow verse exposed with low snow cover.

Alicia Dimovski

La Trobe University

PhD Candidate at La Trobe University investigating the ecological and health consequences of light pollution on Australian mammals. Alicia is also working with lighting engineers to try and produce wildlife-friendly LED lighting that mitigates these impacts.

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James Shelley


James is a research scientist in the Aquatic Biodiversity and Conservation program at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. His current research focussed on eDNA detection of aquatic organisms and determining early life-history traits of the Mountain Galaxiid species complex.


Gabriel Cornell


Gabriel is a freshwater ecologist with an interest in fish, wetlands and invasive species.


Ella Loeffler


Ella completed her honours in wildlife conservation at Deakin University in 2018. She is now a biodiversity project officer at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning.

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Christine Connelly

Victoria University

Christine finished her PhD looking at the effects of urbanisation on eastern yellow robins with Deakin University in 2019. She now lectures in environmental science at Victoria University. She is an advocate for citizen science, because she loves working with passionate community groups.

Arabella Eyre

Zoos Victoria

Works in the Leadbeater’s possum field team within the Wildlife and Conservation Science group at Zoos Victoria, helping to support Victoria’s critically endangered faunal emblem. Arabella's interests are in threatened species ecology and conservation


Marco Gutierrez

RMIT University

PhD candidate, ICON Science Research Group

Marco's research focuses on how biodiversity and ecosystem services are addressed in strategic environmental assessments, and the opportunities and risks that they present to biodiversity conservation

Katherine Berthon

RMIT University

PhD candidate, ICON Science Research Group

Katherine uses a variety of methods to understand and predict the influence of green space design on plant-insect relationships, to better inform how green spaces can be designed to support biodiversity in cities.


Blythe Vogel

Department of Transport

Blythe graduated from the Master of Science at the University of Melbourne in 2019. She is now an environmental officer at the Department of Transport. She is passionate about urban ecology and achieving positive environmental outcomes