Reid Tingley

Research Overview

We use field studies, laboratory experiments, and statistical modelling to study how species traits and environmental change influence the dual processes of invasion and extinction at macroecological scales. Most of our work focuses on Australian amphibians and reptiles.

Our current research revolves around three main themes:

Biological invasions as model systems for understanding ecological consequences of environmental change
Identifying the factors that facilitate invasion success is the first step toward managing invasions but can also provide interesting insight into ecological and evolutionary theory. This is because many of the processes that unfold during an invasion are the same as those that occur as native species shift their ranges in response to environmental change. Invasions therefore provide model systems for understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes involved in range shifts, and for testing our ability to predict those shifts.

We strive to apply our research on invasions to on-ground management problems encompassing each stage of the invasion pathway: from introduction to spread. Our current work focuses on innovative ways to halt the spread of cane toads in Australia; on the effects of plasticity and adaptation on the spread of Australian frogs in New Zealand; and on ways to combat the smooth newt invasion in Melbourne.

Using environmental DNA sampling to monitor threatened and invasive species
Along with our colleagues at EnviroDNA, we develop statistical and mathematical methods for evaluating the sensitivity and cost-efficiency of this promising new monitoring tool. We have applied this technique to a wide array of freshwater organisms in south-eastern Australia, including native and non-native amphibians, platypus, and fish.

Macroecological analyses of extinction risk
We study how species traits and extrinsic threats influence extinction risk in amphibians and reptiles, and investigate how we can use predictive models to estimate extinction risk in unassessed and Data Deficient species. Our current work on extinction risk is focused on Australian lizards and snakes, in collaboration with the Chapple Lab and The International Union for Conservation of Nature.