Dr Rebecca West
My research is focussed on reintroduction ecology and its role in ecosystem restoration. My PhD research focussed on assessing reintroduction as a tool for recovering populations of the endangered black-footed rock-wallaby in South Australia and I continue to act as a research consultant on the recovery team for this species. I have spent the past four years researching the role of in situ predation in improving predator avoidance behaviours of native species, and my research has also focussed on the role that the reintroduction of native predators could play in restoring ecosystem balance. I am also interested in examining the relationship between individual characteristics and survival following reintroduction to test whether selection for traits may be used to improve the outcomes of threatened species reintroductions. I am currently developing ecological monitoring frameworks underpinned by research to enable the refinement of strategies for arid zone ecosystem restoration through the new Wild Deserts project.
I am the ecologist for the new Wild Deserts project. The project is a collaboration between UNSW Centre for Ecosystem Science and Ecological Horizons, in partnership with the NSW government Saving Our Species program. Wild Deserts aims to restore a 350 km2 area of Sturt National Park in the far north-west on NSW, through the removal of feral species and the reintroduction of seven native species which have been absent from the region for over 100 years.
- Australian Museum Blog: Looking back to move forward: Traditional knowledge and genetics informs threatened species management
- UNSW Newsroom: Know your enemy: Teaching threatened species to be wary of predators
- National Geographic: 'Extinct' Marsupial Rediscovered in Parts of Australia
Looking back to go forward: genetics informs future management of captive and reintroduced populations of the black-footed rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis. Conservation Genetics, 19(1), 235-247. 2018
Discrimination of introduced predators by ontogenetically naïve prey scales with duration of shared evolutionary history. Animal Behaviour. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2018.01.013 2018
Designer prey: Can controlled predation accelerate selection for anti-predator traits in naïve populations? Biological Conservation, 217, 213-221. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2017.09.022 2018
Predator exposure improves anti-predator responses in a threatened mammal. Journal of Applied Ecology. doi:10.1111/1365-2664.12947 2017
Monitoring for adaptive management in a trial reintroduction of the black-footed rock-wallaby Petrogale lateralis. ORYX, 51(3), 554-563. doi:10.1017/S0030605315001490 2017
Testing the potential for supplementary water to support the recovery and reintroduction of the black-footed rock-wallaby. Wildlife Research, 44(3), 269-272. doi:10.1071/WR16181 2017
Deep evolutionary experience explains mammalian responses to predators. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. doi:10.1007/s00265-016-2181-4 2016
Reintroduction as a tool for the recovery of warru (Petrogale lateralis MacDonnell Ranges race) on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands of South Australia (PhD thesis). 2014
Taming anxiety in laboratory mice. Nature methods, 7(10), 825. 2010
Tibooburra NSW 2880