Research Colloquium: Hugh Possingham

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



Hugh Possingham
Applied Environmental Decision Analysis

University of Queensland, Australia

Friday, Dec. 4, 2009
1:30 - 2:30 p.m.
Bren Hall 1424

"Optimal Monitoring for Conservation"

Hosted by Bruce Kendall



Conservation science is booming, but how rigorously are we making our decisions? In this talk, I will discuss how my research group has been using decision-theory tools to pose and solve a variety of real-world conservation problems. More specifically, this talk will focus on our work on optimal monitoring. Forget everything you learned about statistics and monitoring for pure ecology, and think about questions such as: How much data we need to make decisions? Is monitoring sometimes too expensive? Do null hypotheses have any place in applied ecology? I conclude that applied monitoring is first and foremost an optimization problem.


Hugh Possingham completed graduated with honors and a degree in applied mathematics from the University of Adelaide in 1984. He attained a Rhodes Scholarship in 1984 and completed his PhD at Oxford University in 1987. Postdoctoral research periods followed at Stanford University and at the Australian National University (as a QEIII Fellow). He began lectur in applied mathematics at The University of Adelaide in 1991, and in 1995 was appointed Foundation Chair and professor in the Department of Environmental Science at the university's Roseworthy campus. In July 2000 Dr. Possingham assumed a joint professorship between the Departments of Zoology & Entomology, and Mathematics at The University of Queensland. In February the same year, he became founding director of The Ecology Centre. He was an ARC Professorial Research Fellow from 2003-2007 and is currently an ARC Federation fellow (2007–2011) andd director of a Commonwealth Environment Research Facility: Applied Environmental Decision Analysis. Information relevant to Dr. Possingham's talk is available at Decision Point.


NOTE: Research colloquia are hosted by Bren faculty members and are generally high-level talks about research in a particular area of environmental science and management.


To join the "bren-alerts" mailing list and receive regular announcements about Bren School news and events, or to manage your bren-alerts account, go to

To see a complete list of currently scheduled Bren events, visit

To have an event considered for distribution via bren-alerts, send e-mail to

For more information or for assistance in accommodating a disability, please contact BJ Danetra

To find out how to support the Bren School, please contact Jennifer Purcell Deacon