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Post Doctoral Fellows

Dr Sam Banks

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I'm a conservation biologist interested in how animals respond to environmental change. I'm something of a details person and like to find out about the processes operating in animal populations and how they respond to environmental changes caused by things like disturbance, habitat fragmentation or logging. I do a lot of field-based research, but often resort to genetic methods to study the things that animals don't tell us in other ways.
A current research focus of mine is the interaction between environmental disturbance, population dynamics and genetic diversity. We know that disturbance is a key driver of population and community dynamics globally, but its effects on biodiversity at the genetic level are largely unappreciated. I also do research on methods for understanding population processes like disper ...
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PositionFellow
Member of project(s)2.12.32.4
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Dr Megan Barnes

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

Megan is the lead researcher for a national emerging priorities research project to prioritise monitoring for national surveillance in Australia, where she applies technical and monitoring expertise in her work to inform cost-effective national environmental investment strategies. Megan's research focuses on cost-effective decisions, monitoring and evaluation, and global protected areas policy. She has a diverse background in behavioral ecology and both theoretical and applied conservation science, with expertise in both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, global vertebrate fauna, tropical ecology, dec ...
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PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
Member of project(s)3.3b3.7
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ResearcherIDLink
Dr Philip Barton

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Dr Philip Barton is a research fellow in the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University.

Philip is a community ecologist with broad interests in the spatial and temporal drivers of biodiversity change, and works across many different taxa, including insects, birds and plants. Philip's work is often done in a restoration ecology and landscape ecology context.

PositionPost Doctoral Researcher Fellow
Member of project(s)2.12.2
E-mail
ResearcherIDLink
Dr Joseph Bennett

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Joe's research touches on a variety of research areas in community ecology, including invasion ecology, biogeography and spatial statistics. He has a particular interest in practical questions regarding invasive species control and management to protect threatened species.

He also works on theoretical questions regarding coexistence in fluctuating environments and the determinants of community assembly in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. He is involved in three NERP projects along with NERP Researcher Prof Hugh Possingham:

  • Antarctic environmental threats - lessons learned from the Arctic (...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.51.6
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  • Dr Hawthorne Beyer

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    I work at the interface between disease, movement and population ecology. Spatial and social structure in host populations has a profound influence on disease transmission, prevalence, persistence and, therefore, the evolution of pathogens. My focus is on understanding how environment shapes the distribution and dispersal of hosts, trade-offs between connectivity and transmission, and the implications of metapopulation dynamics for control. Advancing our understanding of disease transmission in the context of host ecology is fundamental to improving our ability to respond effectively to emerging infectious disease, which is a critical human health and conservation threat.

    I am collaborating with fellow Hub Researchers Read More...

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.73.45.8
    E-mail
    Dr Duan Biggs

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    Duan is from South Africa and completed his PhD at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia in 2011 on the resilience of coral reef tourism to global change and crises. Duan holds an MsC in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town and has a trans-disciplinary undergraduate training with majors in Economics, Development Studies and Environmental Science. Duan has developed, coordinated and consulted to projects for BirdLife International, Conservational International and WWF among others. Subsequent to his PhD developed a tourism research program for South African National Parks to support decision-making and management of the trade-offs and synergies between conservation and tourism.

    In March 2012, Duan started a postdoctoral research fellowship at the ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)3.13.2
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Nathalie Butt

    My research focuses on the interaction of climate/climate change and biodiversity, previously mainly applied to forest ecosystems. Currently I am combining species distribution modelling and ecosystem vulnerability for tree species and communities in Australian vegetation groups to predict which treed ecosystems may be most threatened by climate change, and where conservation efforts should focus.

    Specific research areas I am working on with Hub Researchers Prof Hugh Possingham and Assoc Prof Clive McAlpine are:

    Potential changes in Eucalyptus species' climate space under future climate, related to Projects 1.4 & Read More...

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.43.23.34.1
    E-mail
    Dr Josie Carwardine

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    Josie is a joint post-doctoral fellow with the Conservation Decisions Lab at CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences and the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub at the University of Queensland Node. Her research focuses on conservation planning and decision making for biodiversity conservation under a changing climate and a carbon economy. She endeavours to draw together key ecological and socio-economic information to support better decision outcomes for biodiversity and people.
    Josie's current projects include both national and state-wide analyses of priority areas for restoration to achieve carbon and biodiversity benefits, which relates to NERP Project 5.6. Further, she is building upon her pioneering work on prioritising threat management for biodiversity conservation in the Kimberley, to undertake regional scale analyses o ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    AffiliationCSIRO
    Member of project(s)1.41.4a3.75.6
    E-mail
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    Dr Martina Di Fonzo

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    I have a background in population-level extinction risk analyses, which I am applying to develop methods for multi-species conservation prioritisation and to re-evaluate the concept of ‘minimum viable population size (MVP)’ using decision theory.

    I am generally interested in conservation prioritisation approaches, and I am involved in a working group focussed on resource allocation problems for threatened species using the Project Prioritisation Protocol (PPP) method. Specifically, I am working with Will ProbertAyesha Tulloch, Liana Joseph,  ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.55.8.
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    Dr Ascelin Gordon

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    AffiliationRMIT University
    Member of project(s)4.2b
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Cindy Hauser

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    I aim to develop rational, repeatable and transparent approaches to environmental management that account for uncertainty, incomplete knowledge and scarce data. I’m particularly interested in optimal monitoring (applying cost-benefit analysis to investment in monitoring), adaptive management (strategic management for gaining knowledge and data) and robustness (ensuring acceptable outcomes in the face of uncertainty).

    Projects I’m currently working on include:

    • Adaptive management of malleefowl with José Lahoz-Monfort, Michael Bode, Brendan Wintle, Read More...

      PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
      Member of project(s)5.2
      E-mail
      ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Geoff Heard

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    Geoff is a Research Fellow in the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group at the University of Melbourne, funded jointly by the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub and the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions.  He will commence working on NERP Project 1.2 in May 2013.

    Geoff's background is in field ecology, with focus on the threatened frogs and reptiles of south-eastern Australia. His current research aims to evaluate the application of decision science to real-world conservation problems, drawing on datasets he has gathered over the last decade. Decision science is revolutionizing applied ecology, but the application of this approach to on-ground conservation remains in its infancy. Over the next two years, Geoff will assess the application of decision science to problems including minimum sur ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.2
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    Dr Karen Ikin

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    My research focuses on wildlife and habitat conservation in human-modified environments, such as those that occur in urban and agricultural landscapes. I am particularly interested in how ecological knowledge can be applied to improve conservation, management and planning.

    I am currently a post-doctoral fellow with the Conservation and Landscape Ecology Group at the Australian National University. For this, I'm investigating the responses of bird and vegetation communities to patch and landscape scale management interventions in agricultural landscapes. I also have an interest in the conservation, planning and management of wildlife habitat in urban areas.

    PositionPost Doctoral Researcher Fellow
    Member of project(s)2.12.24.2
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Chris Ives

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    I am a Research Fellow in the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group. My interests lie in understanding the functioning of cities as socio-ecological systems and how science can be used to inform plans and policies related to biodiversity conservation. I have a diverse research background, having worked in the fields of riparian ecology, urban planning and social psychology. My current research is focused on understanding and planning for the multiple benefits of urban green space for biodiversity and social well-being. I am also working on predicting the impacts on biodiversity of different patterns of future urban growth in Australia.

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    AffiliationRMIT University
    Member of project(s)4.24.2b
    E-mail
    Dr Heini Kujala

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    Heini is a Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group at the University of Melbourne. She started her post in August 2012 and is currently involved in NERP Project 4.4.

    Heini's background is in ecology and conservation. The main focus of her research lays in the cross section of systematic conservation planning, spatial prioritization and climate change. As part of NERP Project 4.4 she will be working closely with the Regional Sustainability Plans (RSPs) of both Hunter-Valley and Perth-Peel regions where the aim is to facilitate the usage of modern biodiversity conservation methods. The ava ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)4.4
    E-mail
    Dr José J Lahoz-Monfort

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)5.2
    E-mail
    Dr Pia Lentini

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    Pia is a postdoc working with the Quantitative and Applied Ecology Group at the University of Melbourne, focusing on conservation planning and management in heavily modified systems. In particular, she is aiming to determine how we should prioritise where funds for connectivity conservation are spent, and the kinds of actions they are spent on, to ensure an effective increase in dispersal within and across landscapes. In addition, with others at the Australian Centre for Urban Ecology (ARCUE), she is also focussing on how we can plan for urban growth in a way which minimises impact on the species that inhabit our cities, particularly microbats."

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)3.3a4.2
    E-mail
    Dr Matthew Mitchell

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    Dr Matthew Mitchell is a Postdoctoral Fellow at UQ researching the topic of 'Achieving Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Service Delivery: the Role of Landscape Structure'.

    How does the structure of urban and peri-urban landscapes affect both biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services and how should we manage these landscape for these two components? This gap in our knowledge limits our ability, especially in rapidly changing urban and peri-urban areas, to predict how land use change will affect biodiversity and ecosystem services. Using ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)4
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Melinda Moir

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    Melinda's research is focused primarily on invertebrates and their management. She has interests in coextinction (extinction of host-dependent taxa with or before their host species), restoration, threatened taxa, refugia, biogeography and taxonomy. Melinda is also interested in the consequences for Australia's invertebrates in a changing climate, and possible management strategies.

     

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)2.12.33.54.1
    E-mail
    Dr Alessio Mortelliti

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    Most of my work is focused on the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation on vertebrate populations. I have carried out both pattern based (e.g. presence/absence) and process based (e.g. demography) studies with great emphasis on the role of habitat quality and its interaction with landscape structure. I am currently working on time-series data gathered by Professor David Lindenmayer's group, focusing on the effect of climate, dispersal and habitat connectivity on the synchrony and population dynamics of vertebrate populations.

    PositionPost Doctoral Researcher Fellow
    E-mail
    Dr Brett Murphy

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    I am a fire and vegetation ecologist at the University of Melbourne, with a particular fondness for tropical landscapes. My research focuses on the processes that have shaped and maintain tropical vegetation, especially the fire-mediated nexus between savannas and rainforests, and how fire can be best managed to maintain biodiversity.

    My current research projects are:

    1. understanding how fire regimes affect small mammals in northern Australia's tropical savannas, and whether appropriate fire management can help slow their rapid decline;
    2. evaluating the generality of the widely accepted paradigm that 'pyrodiversity begets biodiversity';
    3. identifying optimal fire regimes for biodiversity in northern Australia's savannas, and tradeoffs with other fire management objectives (e.g. g ...
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      PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
      E-mail
      ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Sam Nicol

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    Sam is broadly interested in how we make decisions to allocate resources to conservation projects. He uses mathematical optimization tools to figure out the best way to manage resources over time to achieve a conservation goal. Sam uses solution techniques drawn from operations research and artificial intelligence to solve these problems. Within the NERP hub, Sam’s postdoc fits into two projects: building lasting biodiversity assets, and monitoring for adaptive management. The postdoc is focussed on the adaptive management of dynamic networks. This means he is developing new methods to apply cutting-edge optimization tools to manage ecological networks that change over time. His current project is to determine how to manage migratory birds using the East Asia-Australasia flyway under uncertainty about the extent of fut ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    AffiliationCSIRO
    Member of project(s)3.25.25.8
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Laura Pollock

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.1
    E-mail
    Dr Anna Renwick

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    Anna is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Queensland and is a researcher in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) and National Environmental Research Program (NERP), supervised by Hugh Possingham. Her research brings together both ecological and socio-economic information to address policy relevant issues. Anna's current work looks at the trade-offs and synergies in ecosystem services and how to maximise both biodiversity and social livelihoods. Her current project focuses on carbon, biodiversity and co-benefits for indigenous people within the carbon farming initiati ...
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    PositionPostdoctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)5.6
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Claire Runge

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    Claire's work revolves around improving the way we manage migratory and nomadic species in Australia. In collaboration with SEWPaC, she is exploring the effects of current and potential legislation on the management of migratory species. In addition to this she is discovering ways to prioritise conservation actions for nomadic species, using outback Australia as a case study.

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)3.3b
    E-mail
    Dr Truly Santika

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.7
    E-mail
    Dr Leonie Seabrook

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.41.4a
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Danielle Shanahan

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    Danielle is currently exploring how the extinction of experience influences both physical and mental human wellbeing in urban landscapes, in collaboration with Hub researcher Dr Richard Fuller (relevant to Projects 4.1 & 4.2). In 2012 she joined the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub after working with the Queensland Government and is particularly interested in trying to bridge the gap between science and policy development for biodiversity. She completed her PhD in 2010 at the University of Queensland where her project focused on developing general rules and testing a pr ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)4.14.2
    E-mail
    Dr Justine Shaw

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    Justine Shaw is a postdoctoral fellow researching conservation decision making in the terrestrial Antarctica and sub-Antarctic, with a particular focus on non-native species. Her position is a collaborative one between EDG, the University of Queensland and the Australian Antarctic Division. Justine is currently examining the risks posed by non-native species to Antarctic protected areas, examining the interactions between indigenous and non-native species, and investigating how invasive species influence ecosystem function. Justine is interested in the role of invasive vertebrates as drivers of invasive plant distribution and abundance, and how these change over time, space and management regimes. She is interested in ways of dealing with uncertainty in large scale eradication attempts.

    Her previous postdoc ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.31.65.8
    E-mail
    Dr Luke Shoo

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.43.5
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Annabel Smith

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    How does fire affect ecosystem dynamics in contemporary landscapes? What is the best way to manage fire for biodiversity? These questions are highly relevant to most Australian ecosystems where fire regimes have been altered and will continue to shift under our changing climate. My research seeks to understand how plants and animals respond to fire in landscapes that often face additional pressures such as habitat loss, fragmentation and logging.

    I work on plants, reptiles and sometimes invertebrates along with an accomplished cast of colleagues including David Lindenmayer, Don Driscoll, Sam Banks, Philip Barton and Karen Ikin. My overarching aim is to increase our understanding of the effects of fire in modern ecosystems so that fire management decisions can be well informed and conserve biodiversity.

    PositionPost Doctoral Researcher Fellow
    E-mail
    Dr Colin Studds

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)3.3b
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Ayesha Tulloch

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    Ayesha is a conservation biologist interested in monitoring and management of threats to biodiversity. She integrates disciplinary perspectives (economic, social, political and environmental) to evaluate approaches for prioritising conservation investments in multiple stakeholder landscapes. Ayesha has a particular interest in invasive and mobile predators, network theory, return on investment, migratory species and bird ecology.

    Ayesha is currently working on tools and approaches for prioritising investment in management and monitoring of multiple species and threats, with a focus on applying decision-making software for systematic conservation planning and cost-effectiveness analysis to choose between actions for species recovery, and incorporating uncertainty in management outcomes and risk aversion into ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.53.3a3.3b5.25.8
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Leonie Valentine

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    Leonie is a wildlife biologist with broad interests in conservation biology and ecology, particularly focussed around the link between the environment, fauna and human-mediated disturbances. Her research seeks to understand how and why fauna respond to disturbances; the role of fauna in ecosystem function; and, adaptive management strategies available for land managers. Leonie is a post-doctoral research fellow with Prof. Richard Hobbs in the Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology lab at the University of Western Australia as part of the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). Her current research examines aspects of fire management and conservation, the role of fauna in restoration ecology, including the ecosystem dynamics of digging mammals and ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)2.23.3a4.14.2
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Oscar Venter

    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)3.7
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Amy Whitehead

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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)4.4b
    E-mail
    ResearcherIDLink
    Dr Kara Youngentob

    I completed a PhD in Environment from the Australian National University in 2010 and a MSc in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation from the University of Florida in 2004. My main interests are in applied ecological research to inform and improve wildlife management and conservation decisions. I am also a big fan of science communication. My current project for the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub involves investigating how forage quality might influence landscape use by koalas and other leaf-eating animals. I am also developing tools to map the quality of forage for browsing herbivores using airborne hyperspectral remote sensing data. In addition, I contribute to the development of derived remote sensing products, such as forest canopy ...
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    PositionPost Doctoral Research Fellow
    Member of project(s)1.7b3.5
    E-mail