Professor Rob Heinsohn

Professor
Associate Director (Research)

Professor Rob Heinsohn's research centres on conservation biology and the evolutionary ecology of vertebrates, with a focus on birds.

He has completed major field projects on the behavioural ecology and conservation biology of mammals (Serengeti lions), reptiles (e.g. green pythons), and birds (e.g. cooperative breeding in white-winged choughs, colour dimorphism in Eclectus parrots, waterfowl movements, tool use in palm cockatoos and the conservation of swift parrots).

Increasingly, Professor Heinsohn is directing his research at the landscape level as he seeks to identify the broad-scale processes shaping conservation problems.

His main research theme is the conservation biology of parrots, the bird order with the highest proportion of endangered species, but several other endangered non-parrot species come into the mix.

He finds this research particularly stimulating because it combines his strong background in behavioural and evolutionary ecology with his passion for conservation biology. 

The book “Boom and Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Country” (Robin, Heinsohn, Joseph, 2009, CSIRO Press) explored the adaptations of Australian birds to erratic weather across historic, pre-historic and geological time frames, and won Australia’s most prestigious award for zoological publications, the 2009 Whitley Medal (Royal Zoological Society, NSW) for its landmark contribution to zoological knowledge.

Research interests

Professor Heinsohn's primary research interests lie in conservation biology and evolutionary ecology of vertebrates, with a focus on birds.

To date, he has completed four major ARC/NSF funded field projects, three on the behavioural ecology and conservation biology of birds (White-winged choughs, 1985-1997, Eclectus Parrots, 1997-2007, waterfowl movements in northern Australia, 2007-2010) and the other on mammals (Serengeti lions, 1990-1995).

He has also contributed to a variety of published collaborations on over 40 vertebrate species.

Increasingly, Professor Heinsohn is directing his research at the landscape level as he seeks to identify the broad-scale processes shaping conservation problems.

The bird species he chooses to work with are often large and wide-ranging, and make excellent tools for investigations of habitat use over large areas. However, he maintains a strong interest in individual based social behaviour, cognition and tool use. 

He is also developing a broad research program on the conservation biology of parrots, the bird order with the highest proportion of endangered species.

Professor Heinsohn finds this research particularly stimulating because it combines his strong background in behavioural and evolutionary ecology with his more recent passion for conservation biology.

The ANU’s Fenner School is unique in Australia for its broad inter-disciplinary approach to environmental problems and creates many opportunities for exciting, novel perspectives that might not be possible in purely disciplinary departments.

Professor Heinsohn's research program takes advantage of the proximity of researchers across diverse disciplinary perspectives including, anthropology, ecology, paleobiology, and environmental history to explore the conservation issues faced by our unique wildlife.

An example of the success of this approach was the book “Boom and Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Country” (Robin, Heinsohn, Joseph, 2009, CSIRO Press) which explored the adaptations of Australian birds to erratic weather across historic, pre-historic and geological time frames.

It won Australia’s most prestigious award for zoological publications, the 2009 Whitley Medal (Royal Zoological Society, NSW) for its landmark contribution to zoological knowledge.

See Professor Heinsohn's website and the Difficult Bird Research Group for more information.

Major research projects

1.      The endangered swift parrot as a model for managing small migratory birds
          (ARC Linkage Project 2012-15)

This project aims to adapt cutting-edge technologies for aerial-tracking of small migratory birds across vast landscapes, and provide multi-scale insights into the conservation needs of endangered swift parrots.

Conservation of migratory species requires knowledge of the species’ ecology at multiple sites and the links between phases of the migratory cycle. Austral (within southern hemisphere) migrants such as swift parrots can be challenging to conserve because variable climatic conditions cause great plasticity in their movements.

Knowledge of habitat requirements, reproductive success, and mortality, including disease prevalence and return rates from migration, will enable optimal conservation strategies and effective land management.

2.       Evolutonary and conservation implications of extreme predation on female

          endangered swift parrots

          (ARC, MACHEnergy, Whitehaven Mining Offsets)

3.      Conservation biology of endangered swift parrots and regent honeyeaters

          (Ravensworth Mine Offset grant 2014-2018)

4.      On-ground habitat conservation for critically endangered swift parrots

          (NSW Environmental Trust Saving Our Species grant)

5.      The impact of climate change on inter-specific interactions

        (ARC Discovery Project with Drs Langmore (lead CI), Kilner, and Lacy 2011-16)

An investigation of the phenological mismatch hypothesis for interactions between cuckoos, their hosts and their prey in south-eastern Australia. Amongst wildlife, the most commonly documented response to climate change involves alterations of species phenologies. For example, many species show an advance in the timing of breeding with increasing temperatures.

However, phenological shifts are often unequal across different trophic levels and between different life history strategies, which can result in phenological mismatches between closely interacting species, such as predators and prey or parasites and hosts. The research aims to test the phenological mismatch hypothesis for interactions between cuckoos, their hosts and their prey in south-eastern Australia.

6.      Tool use and conservation biology of palm cockatoos

         (Hermon Slade Foundation grant with Dr Langmore 2012-14 )

Palm cockatoos are charismatic and emblematic of northern Australia yet Professor Heinsohn's research suggests they are in steep decline. The research aims to study the demography and dynamics of the meta-population on Cape York Peninsula and to find the cause of their decline.

Palm cockatoos are possibly the only non-human species that manufacture and use a sound tool. They make drumsticks by breaking off a branch, stripping the foliage and trimming to appropriate length. They then grasp the drumstick in their foot and beat it against a hollow trunk.

This project also aims to explore the evolution of complex cognition through analysis of tool manufacture in palm cockatoos.

Current Postdocs

Ross Crates (since 2019)

Ross continues to run large scale monitoring of endangered regent honeyeaters, and devise ways to increase their reproduction, control the impacts of their competitors, study maladaptive trends in their vocalisations, and optimise the impact of captive bred birds released into the wild population.

Matt Webb (since 2018)

​Matt developed broad landscape level techniques for detecting and monitoring breeding swift parrots across eastern Tasmania.

Dejan Stojanovic​ (since 2015)

Funded by a Ravensworth Mining Offset grant.

Debbie Saunders​ (since 2013)

Funded by a NSW SOS Grant.

I am an ecologist with a passion for wild creatures and wild places. My most recent project is a collaboration NSW Government to protect the state's swift parrot population. The project will take place over a 10-year project to protect threatened species and will focus on the western slopes habitats in the Riverina and drought refuge habitat on the Central Coast. I will conduct research on the swift parrots' changing use of habitats over the past 20 years, as well as the implications for land management in relation to changing climate. My past projects include an Australian Research Council Linkage Project with international partner Loro Parque Fundación, which provide multi-scale insights into the breeding biology and migration ecology of the endangered swift parrot. I shed new light on habitat requirements, reproductive success, mortality, disease prevalence and migratory movements of this small migrant to enable optimal conservation strategies to be developed and more effective land management to be implemented. In order to better understand the movements of small animals that move dynamically through the environment or inhabit rugged or inaccessible terrain, I also worked with the Australian Centre for Field Robotics and Loro Parque Foundacion to adapt cutting-edge drone technologies for robotic aerial-tracking of small, radio-tagged wildlife.  By delving into the world of robotic drones, I shed light on the movements of many species that have previously proved elusive due to the challenges of their variable movements across vast landscapes or their habitats that are difficult to access on the ground. Following on from this research I have co-founded Wildlife Drones, a start-up company providing highly efficient and unique animal radio-tracking services using drones.

Previous Postdocs

George Olah (2016–2018)

George was conducting conservation and population genetics researches on Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeater.

Julian Reid (2015–2017)

Funded by a South Australian Department of Environment grant.

Jake Gillen (2015–2017)

Funded by a South Australian Department of Environment grant.

Laura Rayner (2015–2017)

Funded by a Bulga Mining Offset grant.

Rebecca Stirnemann (2014–2016)

Funded by a Darwin Initiative (UK government) grant.

Peer reviewed articles

  • Webb, M, Heinsohn, R, Sutherland, W et al 2019, 'An empirical and mechanistic explanation of abundance-occupancy relationships for a critically endangered nomadic migrant', The American Naturalist, vol. 193, no. 1, pp. 59-69.
  • Keighley, M, Heinsohn, R, Langmore, N et al 2019, 'Genomic population structure aligns with vocal dialects in Palm Cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus); evidence for refugial late-Quaternary distribution?', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 119, no. 1, pp. 24-37pp.
  • Stojanovic, D, Cook, H, Sato, C et al 2019, 'Pre-emptive action as a measure for conserving nomadic species', Journal of Wildlife Management, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 64-71.
  • Edworthy, A, Langmore, N & Heinsohn, R 2019, 'Native fly parasites are the principal cause of nestling mortality in endangered Tasmanian pardalotes', Animal Conservation, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 96-103pp.
  • Webb, M, Alves Amorim, F, Tulloch, A et al 2019, 'All the eggs in one basket: Are island refuges securing an endangered passerine?', Austral Ecology, vol. 44, no. 3, pp. 523-533.
  • Heinsohn, R, Olah, G, Webb, M et al 2019, 'Sex ratio bias and shared paternity reduce individual fitness and population viability in a critically endangered parrot', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 88, no. 4, pp. 502-510.
  • Zdenek, C, Heinsohn, R & Langmore, N 2018, 'Vocal individuality, but not stability, in wild palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus)', Bioacoustics, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 27-42.
  • Stirnemann, R, Stirnemann, I, Abbot, D et al 2018, 'Interactive impacts of by-catch take and elite consumption of illegal wildlife', Biodiversity and Conservation, vol. 27, no. 4, pp. 931-946.
  • Stojanovic, D, Olah, G, Peakall, R et al 2018, 'Genetic evidence confirms severe extinction risk for critically endangered swift parrots: implications for conservation management', Animal Conservation, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 313-323.
  • Radley, M, Davis, R, Dekker, W et al 2018, 'Vulnerability of megapodes (Megapodiidae, Aves) to climate change and related threats', Environmental Conservation, vol. 45, no. 4, pp. 396-406.
  • Crates, R, Rayner, L, Stojanovic, D et al 2018, 'Contemporary breeding biology of critically endangered Regent Honeyeaters: implications for conservation', IBIS, vol. 161, no. 3, pp. 521-532.
  • Crates, R, Terauds, A, Rayner, L et al 2018, 'Spatially and temporally targeted suppression of despotic noisy miners has conservation benefits for highly mobile and threatened woodland birds', Biological Conservation, vol. 227, pp. 343-351.
  • Olah, G, Theuerkauf, J, Legault, A et al 2018, 'Parrots of Oceania - a comparative study of extinction risk', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 118, no. 1, pp. 94-112.
  • Heinsohn, R, Buchanan, K & Joseph, L 2018, 'Parrots move to centre stage in conservation and evolution', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 118, no. 1, pp. 1-6pp.
  • Allen, M, Webb, M, Alves Amorim, F et al 2018, 'Occupancy patterns of the introduced, predatory sugar glider in Tasmanian forests', Austral Ecology, vol. 43, no. 4, pp. 470-475pp.
  • Keighley, M, Langmore, N, Zdenek, C et al 2017, 'Geographic variation in the vocalizations of Australian palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus)', Bioacoustics, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 91-108pp.
  • Olah, G, Smith, A, Asner, G et al 2017, 'Exploring dispersal barriers using landscape genetic resistance modelling in scarlet macaws of the Peruvian Amazon', Landscape Ecology, vol. 32, no. 2, pp. 445-456.
  • Heinsohn, R, Zdenek, C, Cunningham, R et al 2017, 'Tool-assisted rhythmic drumming in palm cockatoos shares key elements of human instrumental music', Science Advances, vol. 3, no. 6, pp. 1-7.
  • Webb, M, Terauds, A, Tulloch, A et al 2017, 'The importance of incorporating functional habitats into conservation planning for highly mobile species in dynamic systems', Conservation Biology, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 1018-1028.
  • Stojanovic, D, Alves Amorim, F, Cook, H et al 2017, 'Further knowledge and urgent action required to save Orange-bellied Parrots from extinction', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 118, no. 1, pp. 126-134pp.
  • Stojanovic, D, Rayner, L, Webb, M et al 2017, 'Effect of nest cavity morphology on reproductive success of a critically endangered bird ', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 117, no. 3, pp. 247-253.
  • Crates, R, Terauds, A, Rayner, L et al 2017, 'An occupancy approach to monitoring regent honeyeaters', Journal of Wildlife Management, vol. 81, no. 4, pp. 669-677pp.
  • Olah, G, Heinsohn, R, Brightsmith, D et al 2017, 'The application of non-invasive genetic tagging reveals new insights into the clay lick use by macaws in the Peruvian Amazon', Conservation Genetics, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 1037-1046pp.
  • Crates, R, Rayner, L, Stojanovic, D et al 2017, 'Undetected Allee effects in Australia's threatened birds: implications for conservation', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 117, no. 3, pp. 207-221pp.
  • Langmore, N, Bailey, L, Heinsohn, R et al 2016, 'Egg size investment in superb fairy-wrens: Helper effects are modulated by climate', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 283, no. 1843, pp. 20161875-20161875.
  • Saunders, D, Cunningham, R, Wood, J et al 2016, 'Responses of Critically Endangered migratory Swift Parrots to variable winter drought', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 116, no. 4, pp. 350-359pp.
  • Webb, M, Holdsworth, M, Stojanovic, D et al 2016, 'Immediate action required to prevent another Australian avian extinction: the King Island Scrubtit', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 116, no. 3, pp. 223-229.
  • Olah, G, Heinsohn, R, Brightsmith, D et al 2016, 'Validation of non-invasive genetic tagging in two large macaw species (Ara macao and A-chloropterus) of the Peruvian Amazon', Conservation Genetics Resources, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 499-509pp.
  • Olah, G, Butchart, S, Symes, A et al 2016, 'Ecological and socio-economic factors affecting extinction risk in parrots', Biodiversity and Conservation, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 205-223.
  • Stojanovic, D, Webb (nee Voogdt), J, Webb, M Heinsohn R 2016, 'Loss of habitat for a secondary cavity nesting bird after wildfire', Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 360, pp. 235-241.
  • Zdenek, C, Heinsohn, R & Langmore, N 2015, 'Vocal complexity in the palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus)', Bioacoustics, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 253-267.
  • Heinsohn, R, Webb, M, Lacy, R et al 2015, 'A severe predator-induced population decline predicted for endangered, migratory swift parrots (Lathamus discolor)', Biological Conservation, vol. 186, pp. 75-82.
  • Cliff, O, Fitch, R, Sukkarieh, S et al 2015, 'Online Localization of Radio-Tagged Wildlife with an Autonomous Aerial Robot System', Robotics Science and Systems Conference 2015, ed. Lydia E. Kavraki, David Hsu, and Jonas Buchli, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, pp. 1-9.
  • Olah, G, Heinsohn, R, Espinoza, J, Brightsmith, D, and Peakall, R, 2015, 'An evaluation of primers for microsatellite markers in Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and their performance in a Peruvian wild population', Conservation Genetics Resources, vol. 7, pp. 157-159.
  • Stojanovic, D, Terauds, A, Westgate, M et al 2015, 'Exploiting the richest patch has a fitness pay-off for the migratory swift parrot', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. Online, pp. 1-8.
  • Stojanovic, D, Webb, M, Alderman, R et al 2014, 'Discovery of a novel predator reveals extreme but highly variable mortality for an endangered migratory bird', Diversity and Distributions, vol. 20, no. 10, pp. 1200-1207.
  • Carter, A, Marshall, H, Heinsohn, R et al 2014, 'Personality predicts the propensity for social learning in a wild primate', PeerJ, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-22.
  • Webb, M, Wotherspoon, S, Stojanovic, D et al 2014, 'Location matters: Using spatially explicit occupancy models to predict the distribution of the highly mobile, endangered swift parrot', Biological Conservation, vol. 176, pp. 99-108.
  • Stojanovic, D, Koch, A, Webb, M et al 2014, 'Validation of a landscape-scale planning tool for cavity-dependent wildlife', Austral Ecology, vol. 39, no. 5, pp. 579-586.
  • Castles, M, Heinsohn, R, Carter, A et al 2014, 'Social networks created with different techniques are not comparable', Animal Behaviour, vol. 96, pp. 59-67.
  • Driscoll, D.A., Banks, S.C., Barton, P.S., Ikin, K., Lentini, P., Lindenmayer, D.B., Smith, A.L., Berry, L.E., Burns, E.L., Edworthy, A., Evans, M.J., Gibson, R., Heinsohn, R., Howland, B., Kay, G., Munro, N., Scheele, B.C., Stirnemann, I., Stojanovic, D., Sweaney, N., Villaseñor, N.R. & Westgate, M.J. (2014). The trajectory of dispersal research in conservation biology. Systematic review. PLoS ONE, 9, e95053.
  • Olah, G, Vigo, G, Heinsohn, R, and Brightsmith, D, 2014, 'Nest site selection and efficacy of artificial nests for breeding success of Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao macao) in lowland Peru', Journal for Nature Conservation, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 176-185.
  • Carter, A, Feeney, W, Marshall, H et al 2013, 'Animal personality: what are behavioural ecologists measuring?', Biological Reviews, vol. 88, no. 2, pp. 465-475.
  • Le Souef, A, Stojanovic, D, Burbridge, A et al 2013, 'RETENTION OF TRANSMITTER ATTACHMENTS ON BLACK COCKATOOS CALYPTORHYNCHUS SPP', Pacific Conservation Biology, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 55-57.
  • Carter, A, Marshall, H, Heinsohn, R et al 2013, 'Personality predicts decision making only when information is unreliable', Animal Behaviour, vol. 86, no. 3, pp. 633-639.
  • Feeney, W, Medina Guzman, I, Somveille, M et al 2013, 'Brood Parasitism and the Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Birds', Science, vol. 342, no. 6165, pp. 1506-1508.
  • Dhami, K, Joseph, L, Roshier, D et al 2013, 'Multilocus phylogeography of Australian teals (Anas spp.): A case study of the relationship between vagility and genetic structure', Journal of Avian Biology, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 169-178.
  • Carter, A, Marshall, H, Heinsohn, R et al 2012, 'Evaluating animal personalities: do observer assessments and experimental tests measure the same thing?', Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, vol. 66, no. 1, pp. 153-160.
  • Carter, A, Heinsohn, R, Goldizen, A et al 2012, 'Boldness, trappability and sampling bias in wild lizards', Animal Behaviour, vol. 83, no. 4, pp. 1051-1058.
  • Heinsohn, R 2012, 'The lengths birds will go to avoid incest', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 81, no. 4, pp. 735-737.
  • Stojanovic, D, Webb, M, Roshier, D et al 2012, 'Ground-based survey methods both overestimate and underestimate the abundance of suitable tree-cavities for the endangered Swift Parrot', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 112, no. 4, pp. 350-356.
  • Roshier, D, Heinsohn, R, Adcock, G et al 2012, 'Biogeographic models of gene flow in two waterfowl of the Australo-Papuan tropics', Ecology and Evolution, vol. 2, no. 11, pp. 2803-2814.
  • Carter, A, Goldizen, A & Heinsohn, R 2012, 'Personality and plasticity: temporal behavioural reaction norms in a lizard, the Namibian rock agama', Animal Behaviour, vol. 84, no. 2, pp. 471-477.
  • Carter, A, Marshall, H, Heinsohn, R et al 2012, 'How not to measure boldness: Novel object and antipredator responses are not the same in wild baboons', Animal Behaviour, vol. 84, no. 3, pp. 603-609.
  • Gardner, J, Kearney, M, Peters, A et al 2011, 'Mechanisms and consequences of changing body size: reply to Bickford et al. and McCauley and Mabry', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 555-556.
  • Blackmore, C, Peakall, R & Heinsohn, R 2011, 'The absence of sex-biased dispersal in the cooperatively breeding grey-crowned babbler', Journal of Animal Ecology, vol. 80, no. 1, pp. 69-78.
  • Langmore, N, Stevens, M, Maurer, G et al 2011, 'Visual mimicry of host nestlings by cuckoos', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 278, no. 1717, pp. 2455-2463.
  • Heinsohn, R, Langmore, N, Cockburn, A et al 2011, 'Adaptive Secondary Sex Ratio Adjustments via Sex-Specific Infanticide in a Bird', Current Biology, vol. 21, no. 20, pp. 1744-1747.
  • Blackmore CJ, Peakall R. and Heinsohn R (2011) Population genetic structure and the absence of sex-biased dispersal in the cooperatively breeding grey-crowned babbler. Journal of Animal Ecology 80:69-78
  • Gardner, J.L., Peters, A, Kearney, M.R., Joseph, L., Heinsohn, R. 2011, 'Declining body size: A third universal response to warming?', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 26, no. 6, pp. 285-291.
  • Heinsohn R, Langmore N, Cockburn A & Kokko H 2011 Adaptive Secondary Sex Ratio Adjustments via Sex-Specific Infanticide in a Bird. Current Biology 21, 1-4
  • Landstrom MT, Heinsohn R, Langmore NE (2011) Does clutch variability differ between populations of cuckoo hosts in relation to the rates of parasitism? Animal behaviour 81: 307-312
  • Langmore, N, Stevens M, Maurer G, Heinsohn R, Hall M, Peters A, Kilner R. (2011) Visual mimicry of host nestlings by cuckoos. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B (doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.2391)
  • Landstrom, M, Heinsohn, R & Langmore, N 2010, 'Clutch variation and egg rejection in three hosts of the pallid cuckoo, Cuculus pallidus', Behaviour, vol. 147, no. 1, pp. 19-36.
  • Gardner, J, Heinsohn, R & Joseph, L 2009, 'Shifting latitudinal clines in avian body size correlate with global warming in Australian passerines', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 276, no. 1674, pp. 3845-3852.
  • Heinsohn, R 2009, 'White-Winged Choughs: The Social Consequences of Boom and Bust', in Libby Robin, Robert Heinsohn, Leo Joseph (ed.), Boom and Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Country, CSIRO Publishing, Canberra, Australia, pp. 223-239.
  • Heinsohn, R, Zeriga, T, Murphy, S et al 2009, 'Do Palm Cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) have long enough lifespans to support their low reproductive success?', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 109, pp. 183-191.
  • Joseph, L, Adcock, G, Linde, C et al 2009, 'A tangled tale of two teal: population history of the grey Anas gracilis and chestnut teal A. castanea of Australia', Journal of Avian Biology, vol. 40, pp. 430-439.
  • Heinsohn, R 2009, Eclectus' True Colors Revealed, BirdTalk.
  • Robin, Libby, Heinsohn, R & Joseph, L, eds, 2009, Boom and Bust: Bird Stories for a Dry Country, CSIRO Publishing, Canberra.
  • Heinsohn, R 2008, 'Ecology and Evolution of the Enigmatic Eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus)', Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 146-150.
  • Saunders, D & Heinsohn, R 2008, 'Winter habital use by the endangered, migratory Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) in New South Wales', Emu - Austral Ornithology, vol. 108, no. 1, pp. 81-89.
  • McCallum, H, Roshier, D, Tracey, J et al 2008, 'Will Wallace's Line Save Australia from Avian Influenza?', Ecology and Society, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 41-57.
  • Heinsohn, R 2008, 'The ecological basis of unusual sex roles in reverse-dichromatic Eclectus parrots', Animal Behaviour, vol. 76, pp. 97-103.
  • Heinsohn, R 2008, Life in the Cape York Rainforest, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne Australia.
  • Blackmore, C & Heinsohn, R 2008, 'Variable mating strategies and incest avoidance in cooperating breeding grey-crowned babblers', Animal Behaviour, vol. 75, no. 1, pp. 63-70.
  • Beck, N, Peakall, R & Heinsohn, R 2008, 'Social constraint and an absence of sex-biased dispersal drive fine-scale genetic structure in white-winged choughs', Molecular Ecology, vol. 17, pp. 4346-4358.
  • Heinsohn, R, Roshier, D & Joseph, L 2008, NOTHING TO BE SNEEZED AT Avian influenza: what is bird flu and what dangers does it present for us and our birds?, Wingspan.
  • Hill, B, Reid, J & Heinsohn, R 2008, Development of a Translocation Protocol for the Endangered Cocos Buff-banded Rail through the Application and Refinement of Wildlife Management Techniques â?? Report on Field Trips, AG Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
  • Wilson, D & Heinsohn, R 2007, 'Geographic range, population structure and conservation status of the green python (Morelia viridis), a popular snake in the captive pet trade', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol. 55, pp. 147-154.
  • Wilson, D, Heinsohn, R & Endler, J 2007, 'The adaptive significance of ontogenetic colour change in a tropical python', Biology Letters, vol. 3, pp. 40-43.
  • Blackmore, C & Heinsohn, R 2007, 'Reproductive success and helper effects in the cooperatively breeding grey-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)', Journal of Zoology, vol. 273, no. 3, pp. 326-332.
  • Gardner, J & Heinsohn, R 2007, 'Probable consequences of high female mortality for speckled warblers living in habitat remnants', Biological Conservation, vol. 135, pp. 473-483.
  • Fischer, J, Manning, A, Steffen, W et al 2007, 'Mind the sustainability gap', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 22, no. 12, pp. 621-624.
  • Gardner, J, Richard, P, Trueman, J et al 2007, 'Story-telling: an essential part of science', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 22, no. 10, p. 510.
  • Heinsohn, R, Ebert, D, Legge, S et al 2007, 'Genetic evidence for cooperative polyandry in reverse dichromatic Eclectus parrots', Animal Behaviour, vol. 74, pp. 1047-1054.
  • Heinsohn, R 2006, 'Coloured Perceptions the unimaginably colourful, hidden world of birds', Wingspan, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 20-25.
  • Wilson, D, Heinsohn, R & Legge, S 2006, 'Age- and sex-related differences in the spatial ecology of a dichromatic tropical python (Morelia viridis)', Austral Ecology, vol. 31, pp. 577-587.
  • Beck, N & Heinsohn, R 2006, 'Group composition and reproductive success of cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs (Corcorax melanorhamphos) in urban and non-urban habitat', Austral Ecology, vol. 31, pp. 588-596.
  • Wilson, D, Heinsohn, R & Wood, J 2006, 'Life-history traits and ontogenetic colour change in an arboreal tropical python, Morelia viridis', Journal of Zoology, vol. 270, pp. 399-407.
  • Adcock, G, Hodges, K, Boland, C et al 2006, 'Microsatellite loci for behavioural studies of rainbow bee-eaters (Merops ornatus:Aves)', Molecular Ecology Notes (electronic), vol. 6, pp. 734-736.
  • Starling, M, Heinsohn, R, Cockburn, A et al 2006, 'Cryptic gentes revealed in pallid cuckoos Cuculus pallidus using reflectance spectrophotometry', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 273, pp. 1929-1934.
  • Blackmore, C, Adcock, G, Ebert, D et al 2006, 'Microsatellite loci for population and behavioural studies of grey-crowned babblers (Pomatostomus temporalis: Aves)', Molecular Ecology Notes (electronic), vol. 6, pp. 412-414.
  • Hazell, D, Heinsohn, R & Lindenmayer, D 2005, 'Ecology', in R.Q.Grafton, L.Robin & RJ Wasson (ed.), Understanding the environment: bridging the disciplinary divides, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 97-112.
  • Heinsohn, R, Legge, S & Endler, J 2005, 'Extreme Reversed Sexual Dichromatism in a Bird Without Sex Role Reversal', Science, vol. 309, pp. 617-619.
  • Adcock, G, Heinsohn, R, Ebert, D et al 2005, 'Microsatellite loci for behavioural studies of Eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus: Aves)', Molecular Ecology Notes (electronic), vol. 5, pp. 616-618.
  • Legge, S, Heinsohn, R & Garnett, S 2004, 'Availability of nest hollows and breeding population size of eclectus parrots, Eclectus roratus on Cape York Peninsula, Australia', Wildlife Research, vol. 31, pp. 149-161.
  • Heinsohn, R, Lacy, R, Lindenmayer, D et al 2004, 'Unsustainable harvest of dugongs in Torres Strait and Cape York (Australia) waters: two case studies using population viability analysis', Animal Conservation, vol. 7, pp. 1-9.
  • Heinsohn, R 2004, 'Parental care, load-lightening, and costs', in Walter Koenig and Janis Dickinson (ed.), Ecology and Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Birds, Cambridge University Press, UK, pp. 67-80.
  • Heinsohn, R & Double, M 2004, 'Cooperate or speciate: new theory for the distribution of passerine birds', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 55-57.
  • Magrath, R, Heinsohn, R & Johnstone, R 2004, 'Reproductive skew', in Walter Koenig and Janis Dickinson (ed.), Ecology and Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Birds, Cambridge University Press, UK, pp. 157-176.
  • Beck, N, Peakall, R & Heinsohn, R 2003, 'Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in the white-winged chough (Corcorax melanorhamphos)', Molecular Ecology Notes, vol. 3, pp. 586-588.
  • Murphy, S, Legge, S & Heinsohn, R 2003, 'The breeding biology of palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus: a case of a slow life history', Journal of Zoology, vol. 261, pp. 327-339.
  • Legge, S, Heinsohn, R, Blackman, C et al 2003, 'Predation by Rufus Owls on Eclectus Parrots and other animals at Iron Range National Park, Cape York', Corella, vol. 27, pp. 45-46.
  • Heinsohn, R, Murphy, S & Legge, S 2003, 'Overlap and competition for nest holes among eclectus parrots, palm cockatoos and sulphur-crested cockatoos', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol. 51, pp. 81-94.
  • Heinsohn, R & Legge, S 2003, 'Breeding biology of the reverse-dichromatic, co-operative parrot Eclectus roratus', Journal of Zoology, vol. 259, pp. 197-208.
  • Heinsohn, R & Legge, S 2001, 'Seeing red: a parrot's perspective', Nature Australia, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 32-41.
  • Legge, S, Heinsohn, R, Double, M et al 2001, 'Complex sex allocation in the laughing kookaburra', Behavioral Ecology, vol. 12, no. 5, pp. 524-533.
  • Legge, S & Heinsohn, R 2001, 'Kingfishers in paradise: the breeding biology of Tanysiptera sylvia at the Iron Range National Park, Cape York', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol. 49, pp. 85-98.
  • Heinsohn, R, Dunn, P, Legge, S et al 2000, 'Coalitions of relatives and reproductive skew in cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs', Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences, vol. 267, pp. 243-249.
  • Magrath, R & Heinsohn, R 2000, 'Reproductive skew in birds: models, problems and prospects', Journal of Avian Biology, vol. 31, pp. 247-258.
  • Heinsohn, G & Heinsohn, R 1999, 'Long-term dynamics of a rodent community in an Australian tropical rainforest', Wildlife Research, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 187-198.
  • Heinsohn, R & Legge, S 1999, 'The cost of helping', Trends in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 53-57.

Books

​Magazine Articles

Professor Heinsohn's post-graduate students, collectively referred to as the HERD (Heinsohn Ecological Research Division) work in a variety of areas including behavioural ecology, conservation biology and community ecology. Much of the research is carried out in remote regions such as Papua New Guinea, Cape York Peninsula, the Australian arid zone and southern Africa. Topics include bird migration, cooperative breeding and mating systems, animal personalities, biology of endangered species, human-wildlife conflict, and landscape ecology.​

Current PhD Students

Rachael Low​e, commenced in 2019

​Rachael is studying the threats to elephants in southern Africa, especially the impacts of climate change.

Janneke Webb​, commenced in 2018

​Janneke is studying the biology and threat to native birds from introduced rainbow lorikeets in Tasmania.

Fernanda Alves​, commenced in 2018

​Fernanda is studying the conservation biology of endangered forty-spotted pardalotes in Tasmania, with a view to re-establishing populations in their old range on the main island.

Adam Cisterne, commenced in 2018

Adam is studying endangered masked owls in the forests of Tasmania.

Connie Leon, commenced in 2014

Connie is studying the impact of climate change on cooperatively breeding white-winged choughs.

Georgia Troup, commenced in 2016

Georgia is a PhD student studying human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Tsavo, Kenya. Human-elephant conflict, specifically crop-raiding, has become a significant conservation concern threatening the long-term survival of the African elephant (Loxodonta africana). Working in collaboration with Save the Elephants’ Elephants and Bees Project, Georgia’s study focuses on African elephants as a priority conflict species to advance our present understanding of ‘risky’ behaviour developed in mammals living in close proximity to human settlements.

Specifically, her research investigates a) the social dynamics of crop-raiding elephants and b) the potential nutritional motivation for crop-raiding by elephants in this semi-arid area of East Africa. The results of her research will provide insight for the development of long-term, targeted management techniques aimed at reducing crop-raiding in the Taita Taveta wildlife corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. Georgia is co-supervised by Dr. Lucy King from Save the Elephants.

Previous students

Ross Crates, PhD in 2019

The critically-endangered regent honeyeater population has declined as a result of extensive habitat loss throughout its range. The decline of the species has been much more drastic than other woodland species. Ross' PhD identified factors that explain this disproportionate decline and set up a long-term monitoring strategy for the species.

Matt Webb, PhD in 2018

Matt developed broad landscape level techniques for detecting and monitoring breeding swift parrots across eastern Tasmania.

Miles Keighley, commenced in 2013

Miles' research investigated the structure of the meta-population of palm cockatoos across Cape York Peninsula. Miles used vocal and behavioural recordings, and population genetics to document extensive geographic variation across the sub-populations on Cape York Peninsula. His population viability analyses support an up-listing of palm cockatoos from vulnerable to endangered.​

Amanda Edworthy, PhD in 2017

Amanda worked on the conservation biology of endangered 40-spotted pardalotes in south-eastern Tasmania.

George Olah, PhD in 2016

George studied the conservation biology and population genetics of large macaws in the Peruvian Amazon.

Kevin MacFarlane, PhD in 2016

Kevin was seeking solutions to human-wildlife conflict in southern Africa. His project aimed to identify why lions leave the Central Kalihari Game Reserve in Botswana to hunt cattle on neighbouring farms. KALAHARI LION RESEARCH

Julian Reid, PhD in 2015

Julian Reid worked on the community ecology of Australia’s arid zones. This project used data sets on vertebrates compiled by Julian at many locations over the last fifteen years. He used new ecological theory to explain biodiversity, abundance, and spatial and temporal changes. Supported by the Wildlife and Conservation Fund.

Dejan Stojanovic​, PhD in 2014

The endangered Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor) is declining throughout its range in the south-eastern Australia and habitat loss and fragmentation is the most likely cause. The ability of land managers to respond to this decline is severely hampered by lack of knowledge about swift parrot movements and population ecology. How changes to habitat availability and quality have impacted on the populations of Swift Parrots has not been measured. Dejan's research looked at key demographic indicators to assess the viability of populations of these birds. He also investigated how the distribution of resources across the landscape influences the movements of these birds to better understand why Swift Parrots move, where they go and how they get there.

Jake Gillen, PhD in 2014

Jake investigated the landscape ecology of flooding, soils, and vegetation structure in the Coongie Lakes Ramsar Wetlands. This project aimed to determine the ecological dynamics of a highly significant area within the Lake Eyre drainage basin. Supported with funds from the Wildlife and Conservation Fund.

Alecia Carter, PhD in 2013

Alecia is fascinated by animal personalities and did her thesis on chacma baboons and agama lizards in Namibia.

Christina Zdenek, MSc in 2010

Christina studied the conservation biology of palm cockatoos on Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland. Her project evaluated techniques for identifying individual palm cockatoos by their voices to enable long term monitoring of the population. Christina's thesis has been passed and she will graduate in late 2012.

Tanya Zeriga​, MSc in 2008

Tanya undertook Masters research using population viability analysis (PVA) to establish the impact of growing human populations and logging operations on bird populations in Papua New Guinea. Tanya was especially interested in the application of modern genetics to conservation issues in PNG.

Debbie Saunders​, PhD in 2007

Debbie was all about trying to save endangered swift parrots from extinction. Her research investigated the ecological requirements of “swifties” during winter migration and the implementation of landscape scale conservation for this species.

Dave Wilson​, PhD in 2006

Dave studied the conservation biology of green pythons on Cape York Peninsula. These brightly coloured snakes have three colour morphs (green, yellow and red) and are taken illegally from the wild in large numbers. This project documented their distribution, ecology, behaviour and ontogenetic colour change.

Nadeena Beck​, PhD in 2006

Nadeena studied the mating system and population genetics of one of the world's most cooperative birds, the white-winged chough. Dispersal in choughs is usually non-existent, but occurs in eruptive phases during severe El-Nino induced droughts.

Caroline Blackmore​​, PhD in 2006

Caroline studied the mating system and social dynamics of cooperatively breeding grey-crowned babbler. Her aim was to determine the social factors that cause population decline in fragmented habitat.

Steve Murphy​​, PhD in 2006

Steve worked on the breeding biology and distribution of endangered palm cockatoos on Cape York Peninsula.

Emma Tiller​, PhD in 2006

Emma investigated a systems approach to natural pest control in the cotton industry with emphasis on the role of the pests' natural enemies.

Paul Igag​, MSc in 2002

Paul completed his Masters thesis on the breeding biology of palm cockatoos, Pesquet's Parrots, and eclectus parrots at Crater Mountain, Papua New Guinea. Virtual memorial: ​http://paul-igag.virtual-memorials.com