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)
  • BS5460: Fundamentals of Ecology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ2490: Toolkit for the Field Biologist (Level 2; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ3215: Conservation Biology (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ3230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • BZ5215: Conservation Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5230: Ecological Research Methods (Level 5; TSV)
  • BZ5235: Biological Invasions (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)
  • TV1103: Fundamentals of Veterinary Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • Relationship between vertebrates and habitat structure
  • Behaviour and habitat selection
  • Signalling system of cane toads
  • Acoustic Biology
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 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
  • 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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 185+ 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 5 years, in partnership with QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries ($80,000)
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 and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)
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
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 Debbie 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 8 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

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

Australian Acoustic Observatory: A Network to Monitor Biodiversity

Indicative Funding
$927,000 over 8 years (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)
Monitoring; Frogs; acoustic; Birds

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Contract Research

Bioacoustics of Asian black-spined toad

Indicative Funding
$29,500 over 1 year
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.
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
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
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.
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
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
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.
Lin Schwarzkopf, Malcolm Kennedy and Mirsa Kusrini (College of Science & Engineering, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Perpetual Trustees)
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
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.
Lin Schwarzkopf in collaboration with Rishab Pillai (College of Science & Engineering)
Diplodactylidae; Locomotor performance; Morphology; Ecology

Lendlease - Contract Research

Elliot Springs ? Offset Management Plan compliance for Black-throated Finch Scientific Study

Indicative Funding
$60,000 over 3 years
We will be determining the efficacy of using remote acoustic monitoring tools for black-throated finches (southern subspecies), by deploying automated recorders for one week each in a variety of locations around Qld where black-throated finches may occur, and manually surveying these areas once at the beginning of deployment and once at the end. Acoustic recordings will be analysed using human listening and automated artificial intelligence screening for black-throated finch calls. The results from the two methods will be compared to determine if acoustic monitoring is sufficient to monitor the occurrence of these finches in various locations.
Lin Schwarzkopf and Juan Mula Laguna (College of Science & Engineering)
Poephila cincta cincta; Acoustic monitoring; ecology

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Acoustics for Large Scale Biodiversity Assessment

Indicative Funding
$560,082 over 2 years
Aims: This project will investigate using automated acoustic recording to efficiently census biodiversity assessment at a continental scale. Significance: To generate new techniques for analysing environmental acoustic data and assessing Australian biodiversity, verified empirical estimates of biodiversity, an understanding of causes of variation in biodiversity. Expected outcomes: methods for large-scale and accurate assessment of biodiversity, enhanced capacity to detect causes of variation in biodiversity, open-source software tools for analysing environmental audio data, biodiversity datasets. Benefits: measuring and understanding biodiversity change, allowing enhanced management, conservation, and use of Australian natural resources.
Lin Schwarzkopf, Richard Fuller, Paul Roe, David Watson and Paul McDonald (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Charles Sturt University and The University of New England)
ecoacoustics; Birds; sound recording; Frogs

Lifestyle Logic Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Gecko Repeller Spray Test.

Indicative Funding
Following from previous work testing a proposed gecko repellent on introduced, feral geckos, we will now test it on native geckos.
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Ecology; repellent; Gehyra dubia; Geckos

Lifestyle Logic Pty Ltd - Consultancy

Gecko Repeller Spray Test

Indicative Funding
$9,491 over 1 year
We will be determining the efficacy of a repellent spray for geckos developed by Pestrol. We will first test overall efficacy in part one of the grant, and if the substance works to repel geckos from shelters, we will further test the length of time it works for and whether geckos become habitutated to the substance.
Lin Schwarzkopf (College of Science & Engineering)
Hemidactylus frenatus; Ecology; Repellent; Gecko

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.

  • Species Classification using deep learning-Based signal processing techniques in natural soundscapes (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Feral cat ecology in the Australian Wet Tropics; Occupancy, interactions, and management. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Interactions between bettongs, their environment and the net effect on grazing land (Masters , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Applying new methods of acoustic analysis to ecological studies of animal chorusing behaviour. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Demographic, genetic and dietary analysis of introduced chital deer (axis axis) in the North Queensland dry tropics (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • The value of Sound: How can we use passive acoustic monitoring to survey terrestrial vertebrates? (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 Research Data Australia.


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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