Tim Doherty

My research aims to improve our understanding of the natural world, so we can better conserve species and ecosystems.

Applied ecological research

About Me

I am an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow at the University of Sydney where I conduct applied research in disturbance, movement and predator-prey ecology, spanning local to global scales. I achieve this through field experiments, empirical modelling, quantitative syntheses and partnerships with industry and government.

Previously I was an Alfred Deakin Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology in Melbourne, Australia.

I am always interested to hear from potential collaborators and research students, so please get in contact.


(1) Impacts of anthropogenic disturbance and landscape change on animal movement

Movement is fundamental to the survival of animals, as it allows them to find resources, mates and shelter, and escape competition and predation. However, many animals must alter their movement patterns as they adapt to changes in resource availability and habitat connectivity caused by humans. We are conducting both field-based and meta-analytical work to better understand how animals change their movement in response to disturbance and what the outcomes are for populations and communities.

(2) Managing the impacts of fire and invasive predators on native fauna

Invasive predators are responsible for massive biodiversity loss worldwide, but they do not act alone to impact native fauna. Their impacts can be exacerbated by other disturbances that make it easier for them to hunt. Emerging evidence suggests that the impacts of introduced foxes and feral cats on Australia fauna are greater following bushfires. We are conducting field experiments in Victoria and New South Wales to better understand i) how cats and foxes respond to fire, ii) how small mammals and reptiles respond to the combined impacts of fire and predation, and iii) whether predator control or providing artificial refuges can improve fauna survival and abundance in the face of fire and predation.

(3) Mechanisms and consequences of habitat degradation in agricultural landscapes

Some species can persist in highly modified agricultural and urban environments, but their persistence may depend on habitat quality. While the impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation in human-dominated landscapes have been well documented, less attention has been paid to the impacts of habitat degradation. Gradual decreases in habitat quality occur over longer time scales and may be causing the silent loss of biodiversity from production landscapes. We are studying the patterns and process of habitat degradation in central New South Wales, using mallee woodlands with a spinifex understorey as a model system. We are tackling this question from the perspective of both plants and animals (reptiles)



PhD candidates

Honours students


2019/20: Mary Thorpe, Habitat associations and management of herbivores and predators in the Little Desert. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie and Ben Holmes.

2019/20: Meg Farmer, Long-nosed potoroo ecology on French Island. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie, Amy Coetsee and Anthony Rendall.

2019: Dylan Lees, Microhabitat use by small mammals with regard to fire and refuges. Co-supervised by Don Driscoll and Darcy Watchorn.


2018: Viv Miritis, Feral cat ecology on French Island. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie, Amy Coetsee and Anthony Rendall.


2017/18: Charlie Fist, Movement ecology of bearded dragons in fragmented agricultural landscapes. Co-supervised by Don Driscoll.


2017/18: Bec Cherubin, Evaluating the ecological impacts of feral horses in the Alps. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie, Don Driscoll and Susanna Venn.


2016: Evie Jones, Factors influencing feral cat density and distribution in a mallee ecosystem. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie, Tom Newsome and Dale Nimmo.


2016: Gavin Trewella, Herbivore distribution and habitat use in the Big Desert. Co-supervised by Euan Ritchie, Tom Newsome and Dale Nimmo.



Below I provide a summary of key papers according to research themes.
Please visit my Google Scholar and ResearchGate profiles for a full publication list.
Please email me for reprints.
*senior author


[51]   Main M, Davis RA, Blake D, Mills H, Doherty TS* (2020) Human impact overrides bioclimatic drivers of red fox home range size globallyDiversity and Distributions.

[50]   Radley P, Davis RA, Doherty TS (2020) Impacts of invasive rats and tourism on a threatened island bird: the Palau Micronesian ScrubfowlBird Conservation International.

[49]   Miritis V, Rendall AR, Doherty TS, Coetsee AL, Ritchie EG (2020) Living with the enemy: a threatened prey species coexisting with feral cats on a fox-free islandWildlife Research.

[48]   Doherty TS, Balouch S, Bell K, Burns TJ, Feldman A, Fist C, Garvey TF, Jessop TS, Meiri S, Driscoll DA (2020) Reptile responses to anthropogenic habitat modification: a global meta-analysisGlobal Ecology and Biogeography.

[47]   Soanes K, Cranney K, Dade M, Edwards AM, Palavalli-Nettimi R, Doherty TS* (2020) How to work with children and animals: A guide for school-based citizen science wildlife researchAustral Ecology.



Dr Tim S. Doherty
School of Life and Environmental Sciences
University of Sydney
tim.doherty [@] sydney.edu.au

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