Plenaries & Panel Discussions

VicBioCon22 will feature four exciting plenary speakers and two panel discussions. So far, we have announced the following people who will grace the main stage (virtually) in February 2022:

Plenary Speakers

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Dr Jack Pascoe

Conservation and Research Manager, Conservation Ecology Centre


'The work of the Conservation Ecology Centre'

Jack is a Yuin man who grew up on Gadabanut Country before leaving to study Environmental Science at Deakin University. Jack completed a PhD with the University of Western Sydney, where he studied the predators of the Blue Mountains. His key fields of interest are fire ecology and biocultural landscapes.

Jack is the Conservation and Research Manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre and is passionate about restoring productive ecosystems on Maar Country, where CEC operations are based. Immediately prior to joining the CEC, Jack worked with one of our project partners, the Southern Otway Landcare Network, primarily focusing on mitigating the impacts of pest plants and animals throughout the Otways.

Jack is currently a member of the Independent Expert Panel reviewing the Wildlife Act 1975 on behalf of the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change and is also a member of both the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning’s Scientific Reference Panel and Zoos Victoria’s Scientific Advisory Committee.

He also volunteers in firefighting, road rescue, steep angle recovery and search and rescue with the Apollo Bay Country Fire Authority.

Prof. Melodie McGeoch

Department of Environment and Genetics, La Trobe University


'Antarctic biodiversity: Past, present and future'

Melodie McGeoch is an ecologist, interested in measuring, modelling and monitoring biodiversity. She works across ecosystems and taxa, from Victoria to Antarctica, with the aim of understanding the ecological processes and consequences of climate change and invasive alien species impacts on biodiversity.


Melodie is passionate about building sustainable ways of monitoring and reporting on biodiversity change and delivering this information for policy. Her work has been influential in establishing the scientific frameworks for monitoring biodiversity policy effectiveness for the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Previously, she headed the Cape Research Centre of South African National Parks, responsible for providing the scientific evidence required for managing environmental change in South Africa's national protected areas.


Melodie is the current lead of the Biodiversity Status and Trends Theme in the ARC Strategic Research Initiative – Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future. You can read more about Melodie’s research at: 

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Dr Marissa Parrott

Reproductive Biologist, Wildlife Conservation and Science, 
Zoos Victoria


'Wildlife conservation and emergencies: recovery, resilience and preparedness for the future'

As the Reproductive Biologist for Zoos Victoria, Marissa works across Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and a variety of field locations to improve threatened species reintroduction and captive breeding success, and lead reproductive and behavioural research projects. She has twenty years’ experience in wildlife field work, five years in molecular genetics laboratories, and eighteen years in captive breeding programs.


Marissa is also involved in wildlife emergency work including animal evacuation and rescue, supplementary feeding, and development of emergency strategies and equipment. She has been involved in a variety of wildlife and conservation programs across Australia, Asia, Africa and the Americas.


Marissa has been named an Australian Science Hero by the Office of the Chief Scientist and was part of the largest ever all-woman expedition to Antarctica with Homeward Bound, a competitive global leadership initiative for women in STEM. Marissa sits on a number of Threatened Species Recovery Teams, plus international specialist groups for the IUCN, and has a strong focus on endangered native marsupial, rodent and frog species to aid Zoos Victoria’s commitment that no Victorian terrestrial vertebrate species will ever go extinct.

On-Country Bushfire Recovery Crew

Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC)


'Talk title to be confirmed'

The On-Country Bushfire Recovery Crew was formed following the 2019 - 2020 Black Summer bushfires that swept through Gunaikurnai Country. They work across the fire footprint, monitoring the impacts of bushfire and the recovery of species that are significant for their culture and people.

“Country heals us and connects us to our ancestors, our culture and our history. But our mob cannot be healthy when Country is sick which is why it’s been so important to get community out and involved in bushfire recovery – reading and healing, connecting and sharing knowledge.” 

Pictured: Cath Thomas, Bushfire Recovery Team Leader.

You can read more about GLaWAC's work here:


Panel Discussions

At VicBioCon 2022, our expert panels will be discussing the following topics:


‘Challenges and opportunities for ecological restoration in the suburbs: How do you restore habitat over someone's back fence?’


Moderator: Prof. Sarah Bekessy (Convener of ICON Science, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University).

‘Reflections on the recent IPCC report and COP26 Climate Summit: How can we turn the climate narrative around?’


Moderator: Dr Shane Huntington OAM (Host of 3RRR FM's Einstein A Go Go; Deputy Director, Strategy and Partnerships, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, University of Melbourne).