Dr Thomas Newsome
The University of Sydney / Deakin University
Big animals like dingoes and wolves at the top of the food chain. Dr Newsome studies how top predators change the abundance and behaviour of their prey and competitors, and how that in turn affects other species and ecological processes. Currently, Australians kill or exclude top predators from enormous tracts of the continent. One quarter of Australia is now dingo-free and has been for half a century. In that time, Australia’s landscapes have degraded substantially. Australia has lost 29 native mammals to extinction since European settlement. If bringing back dingoes would stem that massive decline in ecosystem health, then we need to know. Fast. This is big picture, big impact research. It affects the long-term sustainability of our landscapes, the preservation of our remaining native animals, and our world’s future food security.
During his PhD, Thomas worked with indigenous ranger groups, designing and providing a training package that contributed to those rangers obtaining a Cert II in Conservation and Land Management. He has also been selected to participate in a two-year cross cultural leadership program developed by Desert Knowledge Australia. Recently he co-authored a book that aims to inspire the next generation of Central Australian wildlife researchers.