Dr Eve McDonald-Madden, The University of Queensland/CSIRO

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01 September 2011

Can we save the tiger with mathematics?

The diversity of life on Earth underpins the global economy. But we’re losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate and human-induced climate change will threaten more species—up to 37 per cent of the plants and animals with which we share the world.

Eve McDonald-Madden is doing something about it. She’s recognised that, despite the urgency of the problem, the funds and resources to tackle the problem are limited. So she’s turned to mathematics to develop systems that allow us to make smarter conservation decisions.

Working at The University of Queensland and CSIRO, she has already helped to develop and implement a policy for monitoring the Sumatran tiger to prevent poaching. In addition, she has come up with a strategy for managing Tasmanian devils as they confront an infectious facial tumour disease.

Her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship allowed her to travel to France with her young son to learn about and incorporate the latest techniques of artificial intelligence into her decision-making frameworks.


2008 – PhD (Integrative biology), The University of Queensland

2005 – Diploma in The Sciences (Mathematics and Statistics), University of New England

2001 – Honours, Bachelor of Science (Behavioural Ecology), The University of Melbourne

1999 – Bachelor of Science (Ecology and Environmental Science), The University of Melbourne

Career highlights, awards, fellowships, grants

2011-2017 – ARC Centre for Excellence in Environmental Decisions (CEED), one of fourteen Chief Investigators

2011-2014 – Chief Investigator, National Environmental Research Program Terrestrial Biodiversity Research Hub (RHED)

2010-2013 – ARC Discovery Grant, “The role of learning in conservation management: developing adaptive approaches for the conservation of biodiversity in a changing climate”, awarded to Possingham, H.P. & McDonald-Madden, E.

2010-present – Australian Research Council (ARC) Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland

2009-present – Postdoctoral Fellow, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems

2009-2010 – Queensland State Government International Fellowship

2008- 2009 – Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Queensland

2008 – Queensland Smart Women Smart State Awards, Highly Commended Postgraduate Students Science Category

2007 – University of Queensland Graduate School Research Travel Grant

2007 – Best Student Poster, School of Integrative Biology Poster Session

2007 – Best Student Presentation, Modelling and Simulation Society Conference, Christchurch, New Zealand

2006-2008 – Pest Animal Cooperative Research Centre Postgraduate Grant

2006-2008 – University of Queensland Postgraduate Research Scholarship

2002-2005 – Technical Officer, Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment

Research highlights

  • A total of 27 peer-reviewed journal articles published, including papers in the high-impact journals Natureand Science, the latter being one of 12 first author
  • 14 presentations at Australian and international conferences, including 4 invited conference and seminar presentations

Top five publications

McDonald-Madden, E., Baxter, P.W.J., Fuller, R.A., Martin, T.G., Game, E.T., Montambault, J., & Possingham, H.P. (2011) Monitoring does not always count, Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25:547-550. (Impact factor 11.6; 2 citations)

Fuller, R.A., McDonald-Madden, E., Wilson, K.A., Carwardine, J., Grantham, H.S., Watson, J.E.M., Klein, C.J., Green, D.C. & Possingham, H.P. (2010) Replacing underperforming protected areas achieves better conservation outcomes, Nature 466:365-367. (Impact factor 34.5; 7 citations)

McDonald-Madden, E., Gordon, A., Wintle, B., Grantham, H., Walker, S., Carvalho, S., Bottrill, M., Joseph, M., Ponce, R., Stewart, R. & Possingham, H.P. (2009) “True” conservation progress, Science 323:43-44. (Impact factor 31.1; 7 citations)

McDonald-Madden, E., Bode, M., Game, E.T., Grantham, H. & Possingham, H.P. (2008) The need for speed: informed land acquisitions for conservation in a dynamic property market, Ecology Letters 11, 1169-1177. (Impact factor 10.3; 10 citations)

Chadès, I., McDonald-Madden, E., McCarthy, M.A., Wintle, B., Linkie, M. & Possingham, H.P. (2008) When to stop managing or surveying cryptic threatened species, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences105:13936-13940. (Impact factor 9.4; 15 citations)

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