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Lachlan G. Howell

Casual Academic and PhD Candidate | School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle

I am a casual academic and final year PhD candidate in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences at the University of Newcastle. I ultimately aim to build the case for strong public investment into fauna conservation using economic, scientific and social arguments.

My research aims to identify gaps in knowledge and funding for Australian threatened species conservation, using quantitative approaches to analyse public policy, decision making and trends in research investment. I also use qualitative techniques such as survey design to assess conservation practitioner or community perceptions and attitudes towards public policy and major issues in Australian threatened species conservation.

My work also aims to identify the most cost-effective tools and technologies for threatened species conservation, for example biobanking technology as a support tool for captive breeding or drone technology as a wildlife monitoring tool, using desktop-based cost modelling and cost-benefit analysis. This work aims to uncover conservation interventions and technologies which will deliver maximum conservation outcomes in a limited funding landscape for fauna conservation.

I have an interest in science communication and aim to utilise various media platforms to communicate complex environmental policy issues of direct public interest in an accessible way. I also have an interest in the scholarship of teaching and learning. I enjoy teaching and lecturing scientific thinking and environmental science at an undergraduate level. I have also presented research at international scientific conferences (most notably the 9th World Congress of Herpetology 2020 in Dunedin, New Zealand).

I have published research on Australian conservation public policy, topical global conservation issues and emerging trends, drone technology for koala monitoring and biobanking in amphibian captive management, in journals such as Conservation Biology, Biological Conservation, Australian Mammalogy, Theriogenology and Pacific Conservation Biology.


  • 2020–present
    Freelance Conservation Scientist Consultant, NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • 2019–present
    Freelance Conservation Scientist Consultant, FAUNA Research Alliance
  • 2020–present
    Casual Academic , University of Newcastle
  • 2017–present
    PhD Candidate , University of Newcastle
  • 2016–2017
    Research assistant, University of Newcastle


  • 2016 
    The University of Newcastle , Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Honours)
  • 2015 
    The University of Newcastle , Bachelor of Science with a major in Biological Sciences and with a major in Earth Sciences


  • 2021
    Beyond species counts for assessing, valuing, and conserving biodiversity: response to Wallach et al. 2019, Conservation Biology
  • 2020
    Integrating biobanking minimises inbreeding and produces significant cost benefits for a threatened frog captive breeding programme, Conservation Letters
  • 2020
    Real-time drone derived thermal imagery outperforms traditional survey methods for an arboreal forest mammal, Plos one
  • 2020
    PUTTING THE PASS IN CLASS: IN-CLASS PEER MENTORING ON CAMPUS AND ONLINE, Proceedings of The Australian Conference on Science and Mathematics Education (formerly UniServe Science Conference)
  • 2020
    Trialling a real-time drone detection and validation protocol for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus), Australian Mammalogy
  • 2020
    Response to comments on “Compassionate Conservation deserves a morally serious rather than dismissive response-reply to Callen et al., 2020”, Biological Conservation
  • 2020
    Evaluating amphibian biobanking and reproduction for captive breeding programs according to the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan objectives, Theriogenology
  • 2020
    Envisioning the future with ‘compassionate conservation’: An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity, Biological Conservation
  • 2019
    The search for novelty continues for rewilding, Biological Conservation
  • 2019
    Reintroducing rewilding to restoration–Rejecting the search for novelty, Biological Conservation
  • 2019
    Deconstructing compassionate conservation, Conservation Biology
  • 2018
    An examination of funding for terrestrial vertebrate fauna research from Australian federal government sources, Pacific Conservation Biology

Professional Memberships

  • FAUNA Research Alliance

Research Areas

  • Environmental Sciences (05)
  • Animal Reproduction (070206)
  • Wildlife And Habitat Management (050211)
  • Public Policy (160510)
  • Conservation And Biodiversity (050202)