Lesley Gibson
DBCA (Western Australia)

Photo of Lesley Gibson (woman smiling at the camera)

Lesley Gibson

Principal Research Scientist, WA Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions

See Lesley’s full research profile here.

E: [email protected]

Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • WA Subterranean Fauna Research Program – Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute (WABSI)
    The WABSI team has actively sought high-level advice from key decision makers regarding the State’s strategic priorities for the delivery of biodiversity knowledge to underpin WABSI’s Research Priorities Plan. A key outcome of the WABSI research programs is to provide critical knowledge to specifically inform both government policy and priorities. One good example is the development of a state-wide research program for subterranean fauna, a first for Australia. The impetus was the growing frustration of environmental regulators faced with uncertain predictions of impacts, and development proponents due to associated delays in decisions. Dr Gibson applied a transdisciplinary approach that balanced the diverse needs of stakeholders. A further strategic program she commenced during her secondment to WABSI involved the integration of new technologies for increasing the efficiency of biodiversity assessments, and an associated state-wide strategic survey program. Dr Gibson now Chairs the steering committee overseeing the implementation of the research program with several end-user funded projects being progressed (including ARC Linkage & ARC ITTC).
  • Kimberley Island and Pilbara Biodiversity Surveys
    The research that Dr Gibson and her team have undertaken fills significant biodiversity knowledge gaps that provide the necessary baseline information to inform land management decisions. The collections, datasets and publications resulting from the surveys are a proven valuable and enduring resource to natural resource managers and conservation decision-makers. Our innovative approaches to identifying gaps in the proportional representation of biota within the conservation reserve system have also reduced the uncertainty around the selection of areas for conservation. She has provided specialist scientific advice regarding the implementation of government policies and priorities via the output of survey results. These surveys underpin the selection of areas for the conservation reserve system, provide information to determine conservation status of species, inform environmental impact assessments and fill significant gaps in biodiversity knowledge.
  • Threatened species research
    A selection of outcomes resulting from Dr Gibson’s threatened species research include: recommendations regarding the protection of core habitat for regionally endemic species; restoration and management of core habitat for rare and threatened species; identification of habitat linkages under climate change for both rare and threatened species; an improved understanding of the factors influencing mammal declines nation-wide; new approaches to the analysis of survey data that account for imperfect detection; identification of prescribed fire mosaics beneficial to savannah mammals; and survey and monitoring guidelines for threatened species.
  • NESP Northern Hub project: Monitoring, mapping and safeguarding Kimberley bilbies.

Current academic employment and positions

  • Principal Research Scientist, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, 2014-Present
  • Program Leader (Biogeography then Animal Science), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, 2014-Present
  • Program Director, Western Australian Biodiversity Science Institute, 2016-Present
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Western Australia, 2018-Present
  • Partner Investigator, ARC Linkage LP170100061, 2018-Present
  • Partner Investigator, ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre, Data Analytics for Resources and Environments, 2020-Present
  • Project Leader, NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub Research, 2019-Present

Highest Qualification

  • 1999: PhD, University of Sydney

Major Prizes, Medals and Honours

  • 1995, Australian Postgraduate Award

Roles on government or regional organisation committees

  • Uunguu Evaluation and Monitoring Committee, Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation: Review progress against the Healthy Country Plan and provide scientific advice to effectively achieve outcomes
  • Pilbara Environmental Offset Program, Implementation Advisory Committee: Provide scientific advice on the implementation of PEOF
  • Chair of the WA Subterranean Fauna Research Program Steering Committee: Guide the implementation of the WA Subterranean Fauna Research Program Plan
  • Feral Cat Technical Committee, DBCA: Provide scientific advice on effective feral cat control
  • NESP Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub, Research Executive Committee: Review progress of Hub projects
  • Western Shield Advisory Group, DBCA: Scientific advice regarding Western Shield program for the effective control of introduced predators
  • IUCN Australasian Marsupial and Monotreme Species Specialist Group: Provide scientific advice
  • Multiple threatened fauna recovery teams as Chair and member: Provide scientific advice to effectively recover threatened species.

Links with non-government groups or networks

  • Australian Wildlife Conservancy/DBCA Advisory Panel
  • Multiple NGOs in relation to translocations.

My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present