Protected Areas of the ACT 2018


From the 29th November to the 6th of December 2018, six teachers from around Australia travelled to the ACT, visiting various protected areas including Namadgi National Park and Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve.

For six days, they worked as reserach assistants, helping scientists who had travelled from all around Australia, to survey the flora and fauna of the area and uncover important information that can help scientists and land managers protect local and national biodiversity for generations to come.

Click on their names below to read their blogs, see photos and videos of the expedition and read lesson plans and activities they have created for their students.

Following the expedition, the teachers will be using their new scientific research skills to engage their students in science and nature-focussed projects.





Adriana Sardoni from Xavier Catholic College in Hervey Bay, Queensland






Alyce Brownlie from Taroona High School in Hobart, Tasmania






Cara Bulger from Taminmin College, Northern Territory






Jane Brandenburg from Presbyterian Ladies' College in Perth, Western Australia






Oliver Lintott from Nerang State High School in Nerang, Queensland






Michelle Allen from Birrigai Outdoor School, Australian Capital Teritory


Below is a list of the scientists who were on this expedition; identifying and collecting as many species as they can for the time they are on the Bush Blitz:



Cecile Gueidan (Lichens)

I work as a researcher at the Australian National Herbarium (CSIRO) since 2014. Previously, I had a position at the Natural History Museum in London. I have worked on lichens since my undergraduate studies in France, and did a PhD in the USA (Duke University). My work addresses the taxonomy and of lichens and the molecular biology of the lichen symbiosis.


Dave Albrecht

Botanist based at Australian National Herbarium since 2015, previously at Alice Springs and Melbourne Herbaria. Has participated in three previous Bush litz trips (Kiwirrkurra, Neds Corner, Henbury). Generalist botanist with particular interest in the taxonomy of Lobeliaceae and Monotoca.

Chris Cargill

I am a bryologist, ie I study the taxonomy and systematics of liverworts and hornworts. I am also the curator of the cryptogam collections at the Australian National Herbarium in Canberra.


Simone Louwhoff

Simone has been studying lichen ecology and taxonomy for more than 25 years. She is currently employed part time at Federation University, Gippsland, Victoria and teaches in the Environmental Sciences. 


Nimal Karunajeewa

BSc Botany/Zoology, BSC Hons, PhD Zoology University of Melbourne. Have worked for Parks Victoria and Environment Protection Authority Victoria. Have worked at the National Herbarium of Victoria (MEL), Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria since 2001 on various curation projects (e.g. Australia's Virtual Herbarium project). Since 2011 have been the Curation Officer (Cryptogams), responsible for MEL's collections of algae, fungi, lichens and bryophytes.

Michael Hammer

Michael is an experienced aquatic ecologist, with 20 years studying and observing fishes and their habitats through field survey using a wide range of techniques and aquaculture, and is an authority on the identification, taxonomy and ecology of Australian freshwater species [BTech (Aqua), BSc (Hons), PhD] 


Matt Beitzel

Im an aquatic ecologist with over 20 years experience in the ACT and east coast. I have worked in the ACT for the past 10 years with the ACT conservation Research unit on managing and studying ACT threatened fish species. 

Christopher Portway

Passionate about frogs. Have been working at the Australian Museum for two and a half years on several frog taxonomy and conservation projects, and have volunteered for other frog and reptile projects for more than five years.


Jodi Rowley

Dr Jodi Rowley is the Curator of Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology at the Australian Museum and UNSW Sydney. Jodi’s focus is on amphibians because they are a vital part of ecosystems, highly vulnerable to extinction and incredibly poorly-known. Her research strives to uncover amphibian biodiversity, assess population threats and trends, and inform conservation decisions. Much of her work in the last decade has been in Southeast Asia, a region facing an impending amphibian extinction crisis. There she has led dozens of expeditions and described dozens of frog species (including the Vampire Flying Frog!). Recently, she’s spending more time closer to home, searching for a frog that hasn’t been seen in decades (and unfortunately still hasn’t been seen..) and leading the scientific side of FrogID, a national citizen science project.


Ian Brennan

I'm originally American, and came for the PhD, but stayed for the lizards. I'm studying evolutinoary patterns in Australian reptiles at ANU. 

Jessica Fenker Antunes

Jessica is a PhD candidate at ANU, working with diversification of lizards in savanna ecosystems. Her interests include macoevolution, ecology and conservation.

Renee Catullo

Renee Catullo is a Postdoctoral felllow at the ANU/CSIRO. She has worked on frogs across Australia, particularly describing new species in the monsoonal tropics.


Christiana McDonald-Spicer

Christiana is a PhD student at ANU, studying the impact of past climate changes on reptile distributions. 

Damien Esquerre

Damien was born and raised in Chile, where he also obtained his Bachelor's degree in biology. He came to Australia in 2013 to pursue his Masters at the Australian National University, where is currentrly enrolled finishing his PhD. His research foscuses on different aspects of evolutionary biology and systematics of reptiles, particularly the pythons of the world and the liolaemid lizards of South America. He is a nature photographer, and author of several papers and a book.

Robert Raven

Described more funnelweb, trapdoor and tarantula speices than any person living or dead

Eamon Amsters

I'm a 3rd year univeristy student currently completing a bachelor of science, majoring in ecology at the University of Queensland 

Ryan Shofner

Hailing from the United States, Ryan has been turning rocks and swinging nets in persuit of lizards, snakes and bugs from a very early age.  This passion has only grown through the years, and  Ryan now enjoys photographing the creatures he persues. Ryan has a Bachelor of Science in Biodiversity and Conservation, and a Master of Science in Ecology, both from Fort Hays State University in Kansas.  He is currently persuing his PhD with Dr. Gerry Cassis at the University of New South Wales, and is studying the taxonomy, systematics, and ecology of a pestiferous species of lace bug infesting macadamia orchards.

Nikolai Tatarnic

I am Curator of Entomology at the WA Museum. My research focuses on the evolution and systematics of Australasian and Indo-Pacific insects. I use a multidisciplinary approach, combining morphological, molecular and behavioural studies to explore various aspects of the evolution and diversity of True Bugs (Heteroptera), and more recently grasshoppers (Orthoptera). I am particularly interested in the role of sex in evolution - how sexual selection drives morphology and behaviour at both micro- and macroevolutionary scales, ultimately leading to speciation.


Gary Taylor

Gary is an ABRS-funded Researcher at the University of Adelaide describing new species of Australian psyllids and lerp insects (Hemiptera: Psylloidea), including host plant associations, biodiversity, ecology and conservation (Convenor of the Australian Entomological Society Conservation Committee).

You Ning Su

I studied Australian nemobiine cricket (Gryllidae: Nemobiinae) before joining CSIRO in 2000- 02 to co-author the book 'A Guide to Australian Grasshoppers and Locusts'. I re-joined CSIRO in 2008 as a Research Projects Officer and assumed responsibility for Lepidoptera collection management and curatorial duties for the Orthoptera collection. I have co-authored several taxonomic revisions describing new Lepidoptera and Orthoptera species. I am curently co-authoring " A Guide to Crickets of Australia", this book is expexted to be lunched in early 2019.


Luisa Teasdale

I am currently a postdoc at ANIC where I mainly work on genomics projects focused on moths, beetles, and flies. I spent my PhD at Museums Victoria where I investigated the genetic relationships between the major groups of land snails, including Australia’s carnivours land snails, the Rhytididae.

Juanita Rodriguez

Juanita Rodriguez joined ANIC-CSIRO in 2016 as a research scientist. Her research focuses on the use of molecular phylogenetics to study the systematics, evolution and biogeography of terrestrial arthropods, specifically Hymenoptera and millipedes. She is also passionate about bioinformatics and developing tools for phylogenetic comparative methods.

Olivia Evangelista de Souza

Dr. Evangelista's professional background spans a variety of areas in insect systematics. Her current activities include the curation and digitization of the Hymenoptera collection at ANIC, as well as overseeing data acquisition for the research projects being developed by Dr. Rodriguez and her graduate students. Dr. Evangelista's primary group of expertise are the charismatic treehoppers (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha), and her academic interests involve the myriad interactions that they establish with hymenopterans, in terms of their intricate symbioses and mimicry of several hymenopteran models.

David Paul

David Paul was most recently Museum Victorias Specialist Wildlife Photographer  working on a project titled ‘Catching the Eye’ generously funded by the Ian Potter Foundation. He also has participated in the Victorian BioBlitz programs since 2010.
The aim of the project was to document Victoria’s Rich Wildlife producing images that are both beautiful and detailed suitable for long term archiving to benefit future generations. 
The subject matter is diverse and includes: insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fresh water and marine aquatic species both in the field and in the studio.
The final stage of the process involves identification and accurate metadata entry enabling search and acquisition across all platforms