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Dr Megan Barnes

"I undertake research to leverage decisions that will result in better on ground outcomes, ensuring the best outcomes for the amazing flora and fauna around the world"

Megan is the lead researcher for a national emerging priorities research project to prioritise monitoring for national surveillance in Australia, where she applies technical and monitoring expertise in her work to inform cost-effective national environmental investment strategies. Megan's research focuses on cost-effective decisions, monitoring and evaluation, and global protected areas policy. She has a diverse background in behavioral ecology and both theoretical and applied conservation science, with expertise in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, global vertebrate fauna, tropical ecology, decision science, statistics, protected areas management, conservation planning. Her current work also includes a national monitoring survey, and she also leads work on global protected areas policy and impact evaluation.

Megan current collaborative research projects include: understanding the impact of protected areas in both marine and terrestrial realms, conservation planning for cost-effective and representative marine protected areas, virtual ecology to understand bias in analysis of unstructured data, enabling conditions for the success of conservation interventions, and analytical methods for acoustic monitoring.

In addition to her research, Megan is a passionate naturalist, with a particular love of birds, amphibians and praying mantis, and she also works with community members to incentivise participation in citizen science and is working to launch eButtefly in Australia, as well as being a menber of the eremaea eBird communications committee. Before her PhD, Megan worked as a field ecologist, radio-tracking Rock wallabies, Harpy Eagles, Grizzly Bears, and Elk, and trapping mammals and reptiles for applied research and and conservation projects, and likes to keep her boots dirty by participating in field projects when she gets a chance.


  • Ph.D. Conservation Science, The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Science (Ecology and marine Science, First Class Honors), James Cook University

Areas of Expertise

  • Protected areas
  • Impact evaluation of conservation actions
  • International conservation policy
  • Statistics
  • Cost effective decisions
  • Prioritisation
  • Analysing unstrutured data

Listing Details

Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Member of project(s)
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