Photograph thanks to Steve Hogan

The Leeuwin Group

The Leeuwin Group (TLG) is an independent group of concerned scientists who are committed to the conservation and protection of Western Australia's biodiversity and natural environment.

TLG's purpose is to: Provide high-level independent scientific commentary and advice on environmental matters to Government, industry, environmental organisations and managers.

The Members

Emeritus Professor John Bailey BSc, PhD

John is Associate Dean Learning and Teaching, School of Veterinary and Life Sciences, at Murdoch University He has been at Murdoch since the late 1980s teaching and researching at the boundary between environmental science and environmental policy and law. One of the strengths of the Environmental Science group at Murdoch is that is been able to bring together scientists and policy experts to teach new generations of environmental professionals and to undertake key research that has supported the conservation and management of WA’s environments.

Whilst at Murdoch John served for eight years on the Board of the Environmental Protection Authority and, more recently, as the Chair of the Conservation Commission of Western Australia.

Emeritus Professor Don Bradshaw BSc (Hons) PhD FAIBiol

Don is an ecophysiologist who held the Foundation Chair of Zoology at UWA from 1976 until his retirement in 2005. His major research interest has been the study of field populations of vertebrate animals that live in environments where extreme heat, drought, dehydration and electrolyte loading are common. This has led him to work in some of the major desert regions of the world, including the Sahara, comparing the ways in which Australian animals cope with aridity. He has supervised over 30 postgraduate students working on a wide range of native animals, including fish, frogs, reptiles, birds and many marsupials. A deep knowledge of the many adaptations of the native fauna serves to underpin his efforts over the last decade to translate this basic research into management options needed to preserve the unique plant and animal species that have evolved in Australia’s only threatened biodiversity hotspot in the southwest of WA. He was elected Membre Correspondant du Muséum D’Histoire Naturelle in Paris in 1975, a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London in 1985 and awarded the Kelvin Medal of the Royal Society of WA in 2010. His third book, Vertebrate Ecophysiology (CUP), was voted an Outstanding Academic Title by The New York Review of Books in 2004, translated into Portuguese and released in Brazil by Santos Editore in 2007. In 2015 he was awarded a Special Commendation by the Royal Zoological Society of NSW in Sydney for “the promotion of knowledge and conservation of Australasian fauna through many outstanding publications over an extended time period.”

Professor Kingsley Dixon BSc (Hons) PhD FLS

Kingsley is a former Science Director at Kings Park and Botanic garden in Perth and a highly published scientist who developed one of Australia’s leading conservation science and restoration ecology research groups. He is known for the development of the first integrated conservation facility in Australia and a leader in the science and practice of conservation with a focus on rare and threatened species and restoration of disturbed landscapes including post-mining sites. Kingsley is responsible for the discovery of smoke germination for Australian species including characterising the chemical species responsible for post-fire germination: science that led to widespread global applications and advances in the conservation, restoration and horticultural sciences. He currently holds the position of Professor in the Department of Environment and Agriculture at Curtin University and is a Visiting Professor at both the School of Plant Biology, UWA and Kings Park and Botanic Garden.

Professor John Dodson BSc (Hons) PhD

John graduated with a BSc with First Class Honours and an MSc from Monash and then a PhD from ANU. He has held academic positions at University of Canterbury (NZ), University of NSW (Sydney, including a period as Head of School), University of Western Australia (Professor of Geography) and Brunel University (London, Inaugural Head of Institute for Environment). From 2007 to 2015 he became Head of the Institute for Environmental Research at ANSTO in Sydney. He is now a Professor at Institute of Earth Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Xi'an and holds honorary professorial positions at University of NSW and University of Wollongong. His has published over 150 papers and books on environmental change, vegetation dynamics and human impact on environmental systems in Australia, Pacific Islands, Ireland and China. He has also served on several national and international scientific bodies and has supervised over 30 PhD and MSc students

Professor Richard Hobbs BSc Edin., MA(Biol) Calif., PhD Aberd., FAA

Richard is an IAS Distinguished Fellow and Professor in the School of Plant Biology at the University of Western Australia, where he holds an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship, and leads the Ecosystem Restoration and Intervention Ecology Research Group. Originally from Scotland, he graduated with a BSc in Ecological Science from Edinburgh University in 1976, and then spent a year at the University of California Santa Barbara on a Fulbright Scholarship, graduating with a MA (Biology) in 1977. He then did his PhD at the University of Aberdeen on fire management in heathland vegetation, finishing in 1982, after which he spent 2 years at Stanford University in California as a postdoc on a NERC/NATO scholarship.

He has been in Western Australia since 1984, working with CSIRO until 2000 on the ecology and management of fragmented ecosystems, and thereafter at Murdoch University before joining UWA in 2009, where he held an Australian Laureate Fellowship 2009-2014. His particular interests are in vegetation dynamics and management, invasive species, ecosystem restoration, conservation biology and landscape ecology. He has several long-term ecological studies underway including a 32 year study of California grassland dynamics.

He is the author of over 300 scientific publications, many magazine articles and other publications, and author/editor of 20 books. He serves or has served in executive positions in a number of learned societies and on numerous editorial boards and was Editor in Chief of the journal Restoration Ecology 2005-2014. He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2004, is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher and was awarded the Ecological Society of Australia Gold Medal in 2010 and the Western Australian Scientist of the Year Award in 2011. His current research focuses on "Intervention ecology: managing ecosystems in the 21st century".

Professor Stephen D. Hopper AC BSc (Hons) PhD Hon DSc FLS FTSE

Steve Hopper is a conservation biologist, widely travelled, with extensive publications in evolution, phylogenetics, ecology and taxonomy. He has named some 300 plants new to science. He has specialist expertise in botanic gardens, eucalypts, the plant family Haemodoraceae (containing kangaroo paws), orchids, plants of granite outcrops, threatened plants, ethnobotany and pollination of plants by birds and mammals.

Steve currently holds the position of Professor of Biodiversity at UWA and has worked sequentially in the Western Australian Government, at UWA, and been Director of two world class botanic gardens (Kings Park and Kew), while maintaining an active field research program right up to the present day. He has received several awards and honours, culminating in 2012 with a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) and induction into the Western Australian Science Hall of Fame. Currently, he is building a research and teaching program on sustainable living with biodiversity at UWA’s Albany campus, focussing on the evolution, ecology, conservation and indigenous knowledge systems of temperate global biodiversity hotspots, especially those with the world’s oldest, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes

Professor Hans Lambers FAA FRNAAS

Hans is Professor of Plant Biology at UWA and is a plant ecophysiologist, with an extensive network of collaborators in Europe, Asia, and North, South and Central America, and more than 350 refereed publications in plant physiology, plant ecology, conservation biology, and rhizosphere biology. He has edited 12 books, including Plant Life on the Sandplains in Southwest Australia, a Global Biodiversity Hotspot. He, is the lead author of a textbook, Plant Physiological Ecology, and Editor in Chief of Plant and Soil since 1992. He has specialist expertise in plant functioning on severely phosphorus-impoverished soils in biodiversity hotspots, especially Proteaceae, Cyperaceae and Fabaceae.

A graduate with undergraduate degrees and PhD from the University of Groningen (the Netherlands), since 1985 he has held Chairs at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) and UWA (since 1998). He has been Inaugural Head of School of Plant Biology at UWA, while maintaining an active research program right up to the present day. He has received several awards and honours, including being listed, since the beginning, on the ISI list of highly-cited authors in the field of animal and plant sciences, comprising less than one half of one percent of all publishing researchers in that field:, and an Honorary Professorship from China Agricultural University. Currently, he is leading a research and teaching program on plants and phosphorus, with a strong emphasis on biodiversity, in UWA’s School of Plant Biology, focussing on the physiology, ecology, conservation and possible applications of native global biodiversity hotspots, especially those in the world’s oldest, climatically-buffered, infertile landscapes.

Professor Malcolm McCulloch BAppSc, MAppSc Curtin, PhD Calif.Tech. FAA FRS

Malcolm is an ARC Laureate Fellow undertaking research on the theme ‘Coral Reef Futures: a new paradigm for quantifying the resilience of marine calcifiers to ocean acidification and global change'. He is a member of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and leader of the UWA node - Program 3: Responding to a changing world. In mid-2009 he was appointed to UWA as a Western Australian Premier’s Fellow. Professor McCulloch received his PhD from the Californian Institute of Technology (Caltech) and previously held an appointment at the Australian National University. He is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher and has published over 270 scientific papers in leading international journals, including 26 in Science and Nature

Dr Graeme Pearman AM BSc (Hons) PhD FAA ATSE FRoySocVic

Graeme joined CSIRO, in 1971 where he was Chief of Atmospheric Research, 1992–2002. He contributed over 200 scientific journal papers primarily on aspects of the global carbon budget. He now runs a consultancy company contracting to both private and public sector organizations and is an Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at Monash University. In the last decade he gave 500 briefings on climate-change science and sustainability to governments, peak industry bodies, public groups, and companies as part of their climate-change risk assessments. He has worked as Australian science advisor to the Hon. Al Gore on three occasions when Mr. Gore visited Australia.

He was elected to Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science (1988), the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2005). He was awarded the CSIRO Medal (1988), a United Nation’s Environment Program Global 500 Award (1989), Australian Medal of the Order of Australia (1999) and a Federation Medal (2003).

Graeme is a member of the Board of the Climate Institute (Sydney) and past board member of START International (Washington) and Greenfleet Australia (Melbourne). He is a Science Advisory Panel member of the Australian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (Canberra) and until recently the Singapore National Research Foundation (Singapore) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (Berlin).

Current interests include describing holistic strategies that build resilient energy futures and emissions reductions appropriate for specific nations or communities; transport technologies and limitations and risks associated with bio-fuels; dimensions of human behaviour in the climate-change issue; and the role of science in modern societies.


Fiona is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Kids Institute (formerly Telethon Institute for Child Health Research), Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Western Australia and Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbournewhere she was Director, 2013 Festival of Ideas

Trained in maternal and child health, epidemiology and public health, Fiona has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects. Her research includes the gathering and analysis of population data for epidemiological and public health research; the causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological disorders, particularly the cerebral palsies; patterns of maternal and child health in Aboriginal and Caucasian populations; various ways of determining the developmental origins of health and disease; collaborations to link research, policy and practice; and strategies to enhance health and well-being in populations. She pioneered the development, linkage and analysis of population level data and record linkage in Western Australia as a research and evaluation capacity.

Her major contribution has been to establish the Telethon Kids Institute, a unique multidisciplinary independent research institute focussing on the causes and prevention of major problems affecting children and youth and to establish the Australian ResearchAlliance for Children and Youth. She has over 300 publications, books and book chapters and is a board member of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Gurrumul Yunupingu Foundation. She is also a Governor of The Ian Potter Foundation and a former member of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, and has served on major international, national and local committees. For her research on behalf of Australia's children and Aboriginal social justice, she was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 she was made a UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.

More recently she has become a spokesperson for the Climate Council, Doctors for the Environment Australia (member of their Scientific Advisory Committee) and, on the health effects of climate change.

Dr Joanna Young BSc PhD

Joanna Young’s expertise and interests include forest pathology, forest management and conservation. She has worked in the past with the US Forest Service, CALM and South Coast NRM. Her research career was focused on understanding the epidemiology of Phytophthora dieback and other forest tree diseases. She published papers papers on host-pathogen interactions and causes of defects in timber. She helped initiate and then managed Project Dieback which delivered on the identification of priority areas, with high biodiversity values, for protection from Phytophthora dieback. She is a past member of the State Conservation Commission and has advised the EPA and the Conservation Commission on dieback and ecologically sustainable forest management. In recent years she has been active in community conservation projects along the South Coast.

Professor Robyn Owens BSc (Hons) Aust., MSc DPhil Oxf., FAA, FACS, ATSE, GAICD

Professor Robyn Owens is currently a part-time Professorial Fellow with the University of Western Australian, having retired from the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) in December 2019. Prior to this she was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Research Training) (2004-2009), co-Acting Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) for 2003 and Head of the School of Computer Science & Software Engineering at UWA (1998-2002). She has supervised over 20 PhD and Masters’ research theses to completion, and in 2001 was awarded an Excellence in Teaching Award for Postgraduate Supervision. Her awards include the UK Rank Prize for Nutrition in 2009, the Kenneth Clarke Prize for the best paper published in the Australasian College of Physical Scientists and Engineers in Medicine Journal, 1994, the Asia Pacific IT Award for Best Research Project 1999, and for The Auslan Tuition System, Commendation in the Innovation Category of the Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Award (WAITTA) 2004. She has over 7000 citations for her published work and an H-Index of 37 (Google Scholar). She is an elected Fellow of the Australian Computer Society, an elected Fellow of the Australian Academic of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science.