About

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 vertebrate 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. 

Presently, much of my research is centered on ecoacoustics - the sounds made by animals in the environment, and how they can be used to monitor biodiversity.  In my lab, we have been working on techniques and approaches to facilitate the use of such data for biologists.  We examine both threatened and rare vocal species (for example - Southern Black Throated Finches), as well as abundant and invasive species, to help us learn to interpret the patterns in sounds around us, with the goal of developing solutions to monitoring vertebrates in many different settings.

Invasive species, as predators, prey and competitors can have negative effects on native species.  With an industry partner I developed a trap that exploits the signalling system of invasive amphibians (cane toads) to selectively remove mature reproductive individuals from populations, as a means of local control for these pests. With partners at DAF and in Indonesia are examining means to broaden the use of these traps for other invasive amphibians, such as Asian Black-Spined Toads.

For more information see our http://vertecolab.weebly.com/ and  http://a2obioproject.weebly.com/ websites.

Teaching
  • 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; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ3215: Conservation Biology (Level 3; TSV)
  • BZ3230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5215: Conservation Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5990: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 5; 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)
  • TV1103: Fundamentals of Veterinary Science (Level 1; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Relationship between vertebrates and habitat structure
  • Behaviour and habitat selection
  • Signalling system of cane toads
  • Acoustic Biology
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2021 - I was made a Distinguished Professor for outstanding achievement at JCU
  • 2019 - Outstanding Achievement in Research
  • 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
Fellowships
  • 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
Publications

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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 198+ 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.

Anglo American Foundation - Positive Biodiversity Outcomes Grant

Continental-Scale Threatened Species Monitoring using an Acoustic Observatory

Indicative Funding
$303,215 over 2 years
Summary
Monitoring threatened species and biodiversity is the cornerstone of conservation. However, it is difficult to monitor land at the scale necessary to implement conservation actions for many species. Acoustic monitoring offers a potential solution, though large scale continuous monitoring of vocal threatened species, and of biodiversity more generally. Monitoring is needed to track the trajectories of species populations, determining whether they are endangered, and to plan and execute subsequent management actions. Monitoring is also needed to evaluate the success, or otherwise, of conservation activities. Our project leverages a large infrastructure project called the Australian Acoustic Observatory (Roe et al. 2021. Methods in Ecology and Evolution 12:1802-8). The Observatory comprises 344 acoustic recorders, located at various types of nature reserves, and some grazing properties, all over Australia. The acoustic devices record environmental sound 24/7, and have done so since mid-2020, and will continue to monitor until 2025 or longer. This provides an amazing resource, but the data needs to be mined to provide information on threatened species presence and activity, to inform conservation. Acoustic monitoring is a relatively new approach to conservation, and projects are required to develop methods and tools to make sense of the huge data being collected. Thus far, we have established the A2O, and are presently conducting a project to do manual surveys (bird watching, camera trapping, live trapping, and active searching) at 6 sites over 2 years, confirming the high quality monitoring capacity of the Observatory by comparing species lists obtained using each method. We have manually detected 5 near threatened, vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species at only these 6 sites, but there is the potential to detect many more, by searching the acoustic data across all our sites, not just 6. However, this requires automated tools to analyse mass data to provide reports for land managers on threatened species to drive conservation actions. It is these activities that are the essence of our project.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
biodiversity; vertebrates; Vocal animals; acoustics; Rare and threatened species

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Resilient Landscapes Hub

Project 3.7 Managing and monitoring resilience in Australia?s national parks

Indicative Funding
$53,500 over 2 years (administered by University of Western Australia)
Summary
This project will build on existing research in acoustic monitoring by Roe and Schwarzkopf, and on survey design analysis by Southwell et al (in review).1 The results will directly inform decisions about future avian monitoring on Christmas Island and provide lessons that can be applied in other places.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf and Paul Roe (College of Science & Engineering and Queensland University of Technology)
Keywords
Birds; Acoustics; Detectability

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

Demographic, genetic and dietary analysis of introduced chital deer (Axis axis) in the dry tropics.

Indicative Funding
$5,300 over 1 year
Summary
This project aims to detail the dietary richness of chital deer diet, and explore the association between individual dietary quality and body condition. This will be achieved utilising faecal sample DNA metabarcoding techniques to sequence and analyse the dietary items consumed by chital deer, in combination with faecal chromatography techniques to estimate dietary quality, and exploration of animal morphometric data to investigate the variance in body condition among individuals. My results will detail the dietary items that are associated with chital deer of higher body condition, and more importantly, the dominant vegetation communities that chital deer may utilise to facilitate further range expansion.
Investigators
Matthew Quin, Ben Hirsch, Lin Schwarzkopf and Jan Strugnell (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Chital deer (Axis axis); Habitat preference; Invasive species; DNA metabarcoding; Faecal analysis; Dietary analysis

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

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

Indicative Funding
$394,015 over 5 years, in partnership with QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries ($80,000)
Summary
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.
Investigators
Ben Hirsch, Lin Schwarzkopf and Jan Strugnell in collaboration with Tony Pople (College of Science & Engineering and DAF)
Keywords
chital (Axis axis); Invasive Species; landscape geneticfs; beef production demography; deer

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Tackling Frog Disease

Indicative Funding
$155,000 over 9 years
Summary
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.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf and Debbie Bower (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
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 8 years
Summary
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.
Investigators
Denise McGregor, Andrew Krockenberger, Lin Schwarzkopf and Sarah Kerr (College of Science & Engineering and Research Infrastructure)
Keywords
Bergmann's rule; Thermoregulation; Greater glider; Petauroides Volans- Pseudocheiridae; Body Size; Genetic divergence

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

Australian Acoustic Observatory: A Network to Monitor Biodiversity

Indicative Funding
$927,000 over 8 years (administered by Queensland University of Technology)
Summary
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.
Investigators
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)
Keywords
Monitoring; Frogs; acoustic; Birds

Australasian Wildlife Management Society - Postgraduate student research award

Predicting habitat vulnerable to invasion: Diet and body condition of introduced chital deer (Axis axis) in the Australian dry tropics

Indicative Funding
$2,000 over 1 year
Summary
This project aims to detail the dietary richness of chital deer diet, and explore the association between individual dietary quality and body condition. This will be achieved utilising faecal sample DNA metabarcoding techniques to sequence and analyse the dietary items consumed by chital deer, in combination with faecal chromatography techniques to estimate dietary quality, and exploration of animal morphometric data to investigate the variance in body condition among individuals. My results will detail the dietary items that are associated with chital deer of higher body condition, and more importantly, the dominant vegetation communities that chital deer may utilise to facilitate further range expansion.
Investigators
Matthew Quin, Ben Hirsch, Lin Schwarzkopf and Jan Strugnell (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Chital deer (Axis axis); Habitat preference; Invasive species; DNA metabarcoding; Faecal analysis; Dietary analysis

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Contract Research

Bioacoustics of Asian black-spined toad

Indicative Funding
$29,500 over 1 year
Summary
This Project will extend the research of the original project by increasing the number of ABST calls recorded and improving understanding of the breeding and calling behaviour of ABST and improving surveillance (trapping and camera trapping approaches) for ABST. This Project will also facilitate provision of advice to overseas collaborators in undertaking studies of ABST under the first contract mentioned above. Additional complementary data collection and/or research areas may be undertaken by mutual agreement between the Department and the Collaborator.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
toads; Duttaphrynus melanostictus (Asian black-spined toad; Invasive Species

Australian Communities Foundation - Australian Communities Foundation

Ecoacoustic data analysis

Indicative Funding
$100,000 over 1 year
Summary
It is now possible to collect and store vast amounts of environmental sound, or bioacoustic data. The promise of environmental recording is that it could allows us to monitor populations of vocal fauna (birds, mammals and amphibians), but there is so much data, it is not possible for expert human listeners to listen to and identify each species. Thus, artificial intelligence, or AI methods would be useful. However, ecologists also lack the large amounts of labelled data required to easily create convolutional neural networks typically used for such tasks. To develop new AI approaches for monitoring fauna, we require skilled people. This grant is intended to support a post-doctoral fellow to conduct this work.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Acoustic Monitoring; Ecoacoustics; Mammals; Birds; Amphibians

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Grant

Ecology and bioacoustics of the Asian black-spined toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)

Indicative Funding
$39,500 over 2 years
Summary
A process has been designed by JCU, DAF and IPB University, based on Muller and Schwarzkopf, to determine and optimise ABST responses to lure calls and toad traps. Here we will extend that process to record, analyse and test ABST calls from outside of the local range of toads from Bogor Indonesia.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf, Malcolm Kennedy and Mirsa Kusrini (College of Science & Engineering, DAF and Perpetual Trustees)
Keywords
toads; invasive species incursions; biodiveristy protection

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

Ecological influences on biodiverse morphology in climbing geckos

Indicative Funding
$13,670 over 2 years
Summary
Ecological interactions are one of the main drivers of biodiversity generation. The influence of ecology on the morphology of organisms is one such interaction that influences the generation of biodiversity. Australian Diplodactyline geckos are some of the most morphologically and ecologically diverse systems in the world. They occupy a diverse range of habitats and have evolved unique toe pads enable the exploitation of several substrates within the habitats they occupy. Therefore, my project will investigate how toe pads have evolved in response to habitat use in Diplodactyline geckos. We will examine these relationships by studying habitat use and morphology, with locomotor performance as an intermediary link.
Investigators
Lin Schwarzkopf in collaboration with Rishab Pillai (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Diplodactylidae; Locomotor performance; Morphology; Ecology
Supervision

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.

Current
  • Demographic, genetic and dietary analysis of introduced chital deer (axis axis) in the North Queensland dry tropics (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Species Classification using deep learning-Based signal processing techniques in natural soundscapes (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • The value of Sound: How can we use passive acoustic monitoring to survey terrestrial vertebrates? (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Sounds of invertebrates of Australia: a primarly analysis of insect calls in the East side of Australia. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Population genetics and non-invasive population estimation of the endangered northern bettong, Bettongia tropica (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Sticky fingers: functional morphology of toepads and associated external attachment structures (Gekkota: diplodactylidae) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Using Sound to explore the population dynamic, bioacoustic interaction, patterns and acoustic community in frogs (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Environmental influences on geographic variations in body size in greater gliders (Petauroides volans) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
Completed
Data

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

Collaboration

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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Email
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Location
  • 142.206, The Science Place (Townsville campus)
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