Research

Keren’s current research as a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is centred on landscape-scale conservation planning for the critically endangered Be’er Sheva Fringe Fingered Lizard, and other threatened species. The work includes developing approaches for species distribution modelling across modified habitats, and incorporating population viability analyses that take dispersal, gene-flow, and multiple threats that vary across the habitat into account.

This research is being undertaken under the guidance of Dr. Dror Hawlena at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior & The Alexander Silberman Institute of Life Sciences, and with the support of the National Natural History Collection and the Golda Meir Postdoctoral Fellowship.

H Letaot (18)

In 2016 Keren completed her PhD investigating the ecological ramifications of resource development and developed conceptual approaches for environmental impact assessment to advance conservation policy, particularly for of large, relatively intact landscapes. This project focused on mining and associated infrastructure development in the internationally significant Great Western Woodlands – the largest remaining temperate woodland on earth.

Keren’s PhD was supervised by Prof Richard Hobbs and Dr. Leonie Valentine at the University of Western Australia, Prof. Hugh Possingham at the University of Queensland, and Dr. Suzanne Prober of CSIRO. It was supported by the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, a UWA Gledden Postgraduate Research Scholarship, The Wilderness Society, and Gondwana Link.

In her PhD, Keren proposed a conceptual framework for conceptualising and improving our understanding of ‘enigmatic ecological impacts’ – ecological impacts that are typically overlooked in impact evaluations and other approaches to conservation. She also conducted a spatial analysis of disturbance across the region and discovered that linear infrastructure (roads, tracks, railways etc.) is the dominant source of direct disturbance across the landscape.

Keren also investigated how roads affect the activity of predators (dingoes, cats and foxes) and detected large increases in activity in proximity to roads, with effects permeating surrounding landscapes. She also uncovered and quantified substantial effects of linear infrastructure on water movement through the landscape. Her PhD thesis Enigmatic ecological impacts of mining and linear infrastructure development in Australia’s Great Western Woodlands can be found in the UWA Digital Thesis Library. Read an overview of it here.

IMG_4601 The Great Western Woodlands

Keren has interspaced her research career with work as an environmental scientist in the Western Australian government on management of the ecological impacts of mining and infrastructure development, climate change, and silviculture, including threatened species and ecosystem management, eco-hydrology, and environmental impact assessment.

She conducted her honours research on the threat of the plant disease Phytophthora cinnamomi to plants of Aboriginal significance on Western Australia’s south-coast.

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3 Responses to Research

  1. Pingback: The Great Western Woodlands Campaign Launch:3rd February 2017 | Sustaining Ecology

  2. Clive Davies says:

    Hello,..What do you know about the Jungkajungka Woodlands Festival..??…are you going.to Norseman,WA../?

    regards, Clive

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