My research examines broad ecological and evolutionary questions, including applied problems.  I take an integrative approach, using a combination of controlled experiments and observational studies to test hypotheses.  Much of my research has used reptiles and amphibians as model systems, but I am broadly interested in a variety of groups.

I am interested in the relationship between vertebrates and habitat structure, and study habitat use and shelter site selection, predator avoidance and thermoregulation, as they relate to habitat.  These interests have lead me to study the influence of various anthropogenic effects, such as logging, grazing, and weeds and their control, on vertebrate populations. 

The amphibian disease, chytridiomycosis, is strongly influenced by the environment selected by host amphibians.  Thus, behaviour and habitat selection by amphibians have important effects on disease dynamics in this system, and these relationships have drawn me to study this system in collaboration with colleagues at JCU and elsewhere.

Invasive species, as predators, prey and competitors can have negative effects on native species.  With an industry partner I have developed a trap that exploits the signalling system of invasive amphibians to selectively remove mature reproductive individuals from populations, as a means of local control for these pests. 

Adaptation to environmental pressures has lead to many amazing animal charactersitics.  Lizard skin shows adaptations ranging from high to low adhesivness and from superhydrophobicity to rapid water transport, depending on species and their environments.  I have been examining these traits with collaborators in chemistry and physics at JCU, and from the University of Idaho.

For more information see my Vertebrate Ecology Lab website.

  • AG1007: Introduction to Plants and Animals for Veterinary Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • BS1001: Introduction to Biological Processes (Level 1; TSV)
  • BS1007: Introduction to Biodiversity (Level 1; TSV)
  • BZ2490: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 2; TSV)
  • BZ3215: Conservation Biology (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ3230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ3725: Herpetology (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ5215: Conservation Biology (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5725: Herpetology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5990: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC3008: Professional Placement (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • SC5900: Special Topic (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5901: Special Topic 1 (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5902: Special Topic 2 (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5903: Literature Review (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5909: Minor Project and Seminar (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5912: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (1 of 2) (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5913: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (2 of 2) (Level 5; TSV)
  • Relationship between vertebrates and habitat structure
  • Behaviour and habitat selection
  • Signalling system of cane toads
Research Disciplines
  • 2007 - Dean’s Award for Best Research Group JCU
  • 1986 - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Fellowship
  • 1984 - Queensland Federation of University Women - Audrey Jorss, Freda Freeman Fellowship
  • 1995 to 1997 - JCU Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1993 to 1995 - Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • 1991 to 1993 - CSIRO Postdoctoral Research Fellowship

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Conference Papers
  • Konovalov D, Jahangard S and Schwarzkopf L (2018) In situ cane toad recognition. Proceedings of the International Conference on Digital Image Computing. In: DICTA 2018: Digital Image Computing: techniques and applications, 10-13 December 2018, Canberra, ACT, Australia

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 143+ research outputs authored by Prof Lin Schwarzkopf from 1983 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Understanding population growth time lags in invasive species: Chital deer as a model system

Indicative Funding
$394,015 over 6 years, in partnership with QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries ($80,000 over 5 yrs)
Lags in population growth of introduced species are common, but poorly understood. Chital deer (Axis axis) are an invasive species introduced to Australia over 130 years ago, but their numbers have only increased dramatically in the past 30-40 years. We will use data collected from wild animals, landholder surveys, and computer simulation models to clarify causes of sudden population expansion in more detail. Understanding lags will allow us to understand their causes, and better control populations of invasive species. By predicting drivers of rapid population growth, we can better mitigate the associated economic and environmental costs of invasive species.
Ben Hirsch, Lin Schwarzkopf and Jan Strugnell in collaboration with Tony Pople (College of Science & Engineering, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Forestry)
chital (Axis axis); Invasive Species; landscape geneticfs; beef production demography; deer

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Tackling Frog Disease

Indicative Funding
Chytridiomycois is one of the most dramatic and important emerging infectious diseases in wildlife. It is caused by a fungal pathogen (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis or Bd), which parasitizes the skin of amphibians. This highly contagious pathogen has been responsible for making frogs the most endangered vertebrates on earth. Remarkably, some populations that experienced drastic declines have recovered, and now appear to coexist with the fungus, but the nature of their recovery remains a mystery. There are a a range of possible complex and interacting reasons why frog populations may coexist with this disease, which could be evolutionary, behavioural, environmental, or ecological. We are examining possible reasons for coexistence, to find approaches to aid populations that persist but are not recovering.
Lin Schwarzkopf and Deborah Bower (College of Science & Engineering)
Frog; Disease; Recovery; infection dynamics

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Greater glider (Petauroides Volans) mechanisms for adaptation in extreme environments

Indicative Funding
$44,500 over 3 years
Greater gliders north of the Tropic of Capricorn are half the size of those occurring in southern Australia and may constitute a subspecies. The mechanism behind these size differences in endotherms is highly controversial. The prevailing theory is heat conservation, due to a decreased surface area to mass ratio in larger animals; however alternative mechanisms have been suggested. This study will be the first to examine divergence in their phylogeny, physiology and differences in thermal tolerance between populations ranging from tropical to temperate forests. Underlying mechanisms will be investigated including water/nutrient availability, seasonality, thermal responses, microhabitat, insulation, and predator/competitor pressure.
Denise McGregor, Andrew Krockenberger, Lin Schwarzkopf and Sarah Kerr (College of Science & Engineering and Research Infrastructure)
Bergmann?s rule; Thermoregulation; Greater glider; Petauroides Volans- Pseudocheiridae; Body Size; Genetic divergence

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Investigating the interaction between giant tortoises and farms in Galapagos

Indicative Funding
Endangered giant tortoises migrate to the highlands for access to important resources. The highlands, however have mostly been converted to support agriculture leaving few natural areas for tortoises to use freely. Because of this, tortoises regularly enter farms, causing conflict. Our aim is to better understand how tortoises use farms as part of their migratory movements and how this affects both tortoise ecology and farm outputs. An improved understanding of the needs of both tortoises and farms will be used to mprove management practices for the Galapagos National Park and farmers.
Lin Schwarzkopf and Kyana Pike (College of Science & Engineering)
giant tortoise (Chelonoidis spp); farm management; human-wildlife conflict; Migration; Galapagos Island; Conservation

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science - Innovations Connections

Humane Toxin for Invasive Cane Toad Control

Indicative Funding
$99,288 over 2 years (administered by Animal Control Technologies (Australia) Pty Ltd)
Animal Control Technologies (Australia) (ACTA) and James Cook University (JCU) have jointly developed a highly effective and target-specific cane toad trap and are approaching the commercial manufacture stage. A major next step in the development of this innovative trapping system is to identify a toxin that can be used to humanely euthanise trapped toads, as there is presently no such chemical available. Once the traps are commercially available, there will be a market for such a chemical because people will need to dispose of any trapped toads as quickly and humanely as possible.
Lin Schwarzkopf and Michael Oelgemoeller in collaboration with Rebecca Webb and Angus Shephard (College of Science & Engineering)
Toad; Toxin; Pest Control; Rhinella Marina

Qld Dept of Transport and Main Roads - Contract Research

The Provision of Research into Black Throat Finches

Indicative Funding
We will study the habitat required for BTFs, offset requirements and quality, and the impact of roads on BTFs.
Lin Schwarzkopf in collaboration with April Reside and Helene Marsh (College of Science & Engineering)
Birds; Ecology; Offsets; Threatened Species

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Call out and listen in: A new way to detect and control invasive species

Indicative Funding
$593,519 over 4 years, in partnership with Anindilyakwa Land Council ($229,000 over 3 yrs)
Invasive species can cause extinctions. Invasive amphibians are an under-appreciated but serious ecological problem in worldwide, because they are voracious predators, and are often toxic to native species. Male frogs call to attract mates, and answer calls they hear. Using new acoustic technologies, these behaviours can be exploited to (1) detect species and enable control, and (ii) attract gravid females for removal. This project aims combine an early warning system (electronic listening) and trap (calling and catching), which can be customised to any invasive frog, and use it to detect and remove cane toads, especially in low density populations. The goal of the project is to provide and test means to protect native species.
Lin Schwarzkopf and Paul Roe (College of Science & Engineering and Queensland University of Technology)
Rhinella Marina; new technology; Ecology; Invasive Species

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Toad Control on Thursday Island

Indicative Funding
Going to Thursday Island to supply prototype toad traps and lures and advise on their use.
Lin Schwarzkopf in collaboration with Jodie Nordine (College of Science & Engineering)
Toads; Trapping

QLD Department of Science, Information, Technology and Innovation - Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants

Discovering Urban Wildlife Workshop

Indicative Funding
Most kids, particularly those in cities, don't get the opportunity to experience native wildlife in far-flung places. Luckily. However, there is a diverse suite of native animals that live in our homes, backyards and local neighbourhoods! James Cook University proposes to deliver 'Discovering Urban Wildlife' a hands-on workshop for 4-7 year olds. During this workshop, students will be introduced to the unique urban native wildlife and learn how to collect scientific data.
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Urban wildlife; Engaging science; Stem

QLD Department of Science, Information, Technology and Innovation - Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants

AB3 - Australian Backyard Bird Box: Connecting School Students to the Environment

Indicative Funding
AB3 (an IoT device with a touch screen) will be deployed in Townsville schools. AB3 will: provide games to encourage students to learn local bird calls; record bird calls within the school area; encourage students to identify the recorded calls; and send these identified calls over the internet to help researcher to develop tools for monitor bird diversity. AB3 will leverage students? like of technology and animals to engage them with STEM, their local environment, and local research activities.
Mangalam Sankupellay, Lin Schwarzkopf, Paul Roe and Margot Brereton (College of Science & Engineering and Queensland University of Technology)
Ubiquitous Computing; Engagement; Internet Of Things

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Infrastructure (L-IEF)

Australian Acoustic Observatory: A Network to Monitor Biodiversity

Indicative Funding
$900,000 (administered by QUT)
Acoustic sensing is transforming environmental science by recording vocal species 24 x 7, providing data of unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution for ecosystem monitoring and research. This is particularly relevant to Australia's fragile and mega-diverse environment and Australia has leading research expertise in this emerging field. The proposed observatory will be the world's largest terrestrial acoustic sensor network comprising 450 listening stations deployed across Australia. Funds will purchase autonomous sound recorders and online storage and processing hardware. Data will be freely available to all online, enabling new science in understanding ecosystems, long-term environmental change, data visualisation and acoustic science.
Paul Roe, David Watson, Richard Fuller, Stuart Parsons, Tomasc Bednarz, Margot Brereton, Lin Schwarzkopf, Dale Nimmo, Berndt Janse van Rensburg, Martine Maron, Marcus Sheaves, Paul McDonald and Gary Luck (Queensland University of Technology, Charles Sturt University, The University of Queensland, College of Science & Engineering and The University of New England)

Australian Society of Herpetologists - Student Research Grants

Transcriptional responses of frogs to infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis

Indicative Funding
The primary goal of this research is to determine whether upland frog populations have genetic adaptions that allow them to colerate chytridiomycosis.
Donald McKnight and Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Pathology and Epidemiology of Ranavirus Infection in Australian Freshwater Turtles (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Interactions between bettongs, their environment and the net effect on grazing land (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Climatic variability and resilience: spatio-temporal climate variability and vulnerability of ant species to climate change in an Australian tropical rainforest (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Invading the soundscape: the impacts of vocal invasive species (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Habitat Modelling as a tool for conservation of the Black-Throated Finch southern subspecies (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Feral cats in the North Queensland wet tropics region: Understanding the behavioural and ecological interactions that affect conservation outcomes. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • The Effect of Invasive Toad Calls on the Calls of other Frogs (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The interaction between giant tortoises and agriculture on the Galapagos Islands (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Environmental influences on geographic variations in body size in greater gliders (Petauroides volans) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Life finds a way: The recovery of frog populations from a chytridiomycosis outbreak (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Ecology and management of Chital Deer in North Queensland (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Evolution and ecological adaptations of skin morphology of geckos (squamata, Gekkota) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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