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Department of Biological Sciences

Forest Ecology and Spatial Modelling



Dr Ross Peacock

Senior Research Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences

Telephone: +61 0428 651 440

Facsimile: +61 (02) 9850 9395

Email. ross.peacock[at]


Department of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Science

Macquarie University

North Ryde, NSW, Australia, 2109



My two main areas of research are vegetation dynamics in response to climate change, timber harvesting, thinning and cattle grazing and the development of spatial modelling techniques which integrate recent advances in generalised dissimilarity modelling (GDM) with traditional remote sensing techniques such as aerial photographic interpretation, satellite imagery segmentation and automated pattern recognition.

There are a number of active research programs in the lab, including:

  1. - Quantifying rainforest canopy tree productivity in a changing climate
  2. - Comparison of growth responses of shade tolerant versus intolerant rainforest seedlings to elevated temperature and CO2 conditions
  3. - Compartive field growth response of rainforest trees, saplings and seedlings and phenology to a changing climate
  4. - Rainforest leaf traits and their relationship to litter fall, decomposition and equilibrium biomass in cool temperate rainforest
  5. - Integrating contemporary tree growth measurements and dendrochronology/wood geochemistry to reconstruct the palaeoclimate of Gondwana World Heritage rainforest stands in northern NSW
  6. - Infra-red camera monitoring of fauna movement patterns and fine scale climate parameters, northern NSW (Phil Redpath, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Grafton)
  7. - Biodiversity response of Eucalyptus regrowth forests in Northern NSW, East Gippsland and Tasmania to overstorey thinning
  8. - Streamside reserve vegetation management during clearfall harvesting treatments in Tasmania
  9. - Ecology of Dicksonia antarctica in southern Tasmania
  10. - Ecological response of Spotted Gum-Grey Box forests in northern NSW to cattle grazing, fire and logging
  11. - Sub-tropical rainforest restoration - can it be accelerated by active intervention?
  12. - Development of forest biodiversity surrogates, metrics and monitoring systems for private forestry in NSW
  13. - The development of generalised dissimilarity modelling (GDM) of biodiversity spatial patterns
  14. - Optimising techniques to constrain probability surfaces with automated imagery classifications
  15. - The development of methods for contrained classification of vegetation communties
  16. - Bryophytes and lichens as fine scale indicators of climate variability in Nothofagus moorei rainforest
  17. - The conservation management of rare tree ferns in south eastern Australia


Current supporters of the lab's activities include the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Forests NSW, the NSW Regional Catchment Management Authorities, Forestry Tasmania, the Tasmanian Forest Practices Authority, the Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities (Caring for our Country) and the Australian Research Council. Much of the research is developed and implemented directly with industry partners, ensuring research outcomes are immediately available for incorporation into management practices.

I am involved in several research and technical networks including the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, Climate Futures At Macquarie, the Australian Government Primary Industries Standing Committee Research Working Group 4 Silviculture and Wildlife, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Biodiversity Adaptation Research Hub, the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee  and the Australian Forestry Standard Technical Reference Committee.

Getting Involved

Opportunities exist for volunteer work and post-graduate study, and student placements at both undergraduate and senior high school science level. Student placements typically involve a project being assigned involving laboratory, glasshouse or field tasks. In the past high school students within the Macquarie Experience program or placed by their respective schools have gained valuable experience in field work programs on the NSW north coast or in laboratories at Macquarie University. Student placements are available all year.





Opportunities currently exist for Masters and PhD students to build on existing research programs or new projects can be developed around the theme areas above. Inquiries concerning scholarship support should be directed to the Higher Degree Research Office


I currently contribute to the teaching of GSE_807 Environmental Measurement and Analysis. In the past I have contributed to GEOS214 Climate Impacts, BIOL227 Ecology, BIOL313 Plant Ecophysiology, BIOL347 Australian and World Vegetation, BIOL 390 Selected Topics in Biodiversity and Conservation and GSE850 Vegetation Dynamics and Management.


Click here for a list of my publications.

My staff page


Current Lab Members:
Dr Amina Zuberi: Hormone analysis in fishes
David Wells: Brush turkey mate choice
Joanna Wiszniewski: Social networks in dolphins
Anne-Laurance Bibost: Laterality in rainbowfish
Anne-Katrin Link: Effect of storm surges on costal fish communities
Andrew Bruce: Macquarie perch behavioural ecology
Eduardo Gallo: Bird communities on the Central Coast of NSW
Erin Kydd: Reintroduction of hatchery reared fishes
Gemma White: Spatial learning in intertidal gobies
Vincent Roult: Social learning mullaway
Heather Baldwin: Relatedness and social behaviour in Grey Headed Flying Foxes
Jennie Morgan: Interactions between introduced redfin and Macquarie perch
Suzzi Artiss: Brain and behaviour of Australian rainbowfish
Previous Lab Members:
Dr Kevin Woo: Cognition and behaviour of cuttlefish
Steph Snoyman: Micro-habitat choice in grey-headed flying fox
Diana Magat: Cerebral lateralization in Australian parrots
Krystle Keller: Effect of introduced fish on native fish
Steph Snoyman: Micro-habitat choice in grey-headed flying fox