Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Matthew Adams
Research Fellow (DECRA)
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Ecosystems respond to gradual change in unexpected ways. Feedback processes between different parts of an environment can perpetuate ecosystem collapse, leading to potentially irreversible biodiversity loss. However, it is unclear if greater knowledge of feedbacks will ultimately change environmental decisions.

The project aims to identify when feedbacks matter for environmental decisions, by generating new methods that predict the economic benefit of knowing more about feedbacks. Combining ecological modelling and value-of-information theory, the outcomes of these novel methods will provide significant and broad environmental benefits, by enabling managers to make informed decisions and stay one step ahead of potential ecosystem collapse.

Research activities

  • Code up mathematical models which express alternative stable states.
  • Calibrate models to data.
  • Apply value-of-information analysis to the calibrated models.


  • New mathematical methods for analysing ecosystems.
  • Methods demonstrated by application to ecosystem models.
  • Development of expertise in multidisciplinary research, cutting across mathematics, ecology and decision science.

In this project there will be the opportunity to collaborate with and/or present results to applied mathematicians, statisticians, economists, ecologists and/or decision scientists both within QUT and from external institutions.

Skills and experience

Excellent skills in coding of ordinary differential equations and/or statistical inference, and an interest in using a combination of mathematics and statistics to address applied ecology problems.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

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Contact the supervisor for more information.