Researcher biography

Melissa Houghton is a Tasmanian who is naturally passionate about wild places and conservation. She has worked on numerous pest-eradication programs on islands around Tasmania, most notably in the sub-Antarctic for the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication project as a dog handler. She has a keen interest in invasive species management, eradication programs and biosecurity. However, her particular fascination has become invertebrates - their beauty, mystery and utility for ecological monitoring. Melissa's PhD project investigates the use of invertebrates as bioindicators of ecosystem change following conservation action on islands, with supervisors Dr Justine Shaw (UQ), Dr Aleks Terauds (Australian Antarctic Division), Associate Professor David Merritt (UQ), Dr Michael Driessen (Tasmanian State Government – DPIPWE), and Professor Hugh Possingham (UQ). Her research will inform meaningful and efficient ecosystem monitoring on islands. She will also review the impacts of non-native invertebrates on sub-Antarctic ecosystems and identify the invasion risk of taxa being introduced to the region – informing targeted biosecurity.