Sandy Spaces

Image: Checking mammal populations, Desert Ecology Research Group fieldwork, Simpson Desert. Photograph by Aaron Greenville, 2008.
Wednesday 13 September 2017
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

This event has passed


Nicholson Museum
Manning Road
Camperdown, NSW 2006



Sydney University Museums

Sandy spaces – does a desert’s ecology make a difference to its animal inhabitants?

A Sydney University Museums event. 

Join us at the Nicholson Museum for a public lecture by Professor Chris Dickman, the University of Sydney.

Most of the world’s deserts are young, arising during the Miocene and becoming progressively more arid during the Pliocene-Pleistocene epochs. Similarity in arid conditions has long-shaped how we understand the mammals that adapted and moved into desert regions over time. But should it? In this illustrated talk, Professor Chris Dickman details how specific ecologies relate to differences in mammal behaviour and form. Following decades of research in Australia’s most extreme desert region, the Simpson Desert, Dickman argues that we need to pay attention to the dynamics of desert life to ensure thoughtful management and the continuity of our unique desert fauna.

Professor Christopher Dickman researches factors influencing the distribution and abundance of terrestrial vertebrates. For the last 25 years, his primary focus has been to elucidate, by observation and field experiment, what regulates vertebrate diversity in arid Australia, including rain, fire, and predators like dingoes. Research on the exceptionally rich communities of small mammals, birds and lizards of this region provides an opportunity to contribute to theoretical debate about the importance of biotic and physical processes in shaping population and species dynamics, and especially to achieve practical conservation and management goals.

Chris has published several books and over 200 papers on his research, many in collaboration with Honours and PhD students and professional colleagues in Australia and overseas. He is a Professor in Terrestrial Ecology at the University of Sydney, and also holds a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award from the ARC.