Jessica Walsh

Post-doctoral Fellow


PhD, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
B.Sc Honours (First Class), School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland


My research aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of conservation policy and practice around the world, by using scientific evidence to inform conservation decision making.

I am currently working with Dr. John Reynolds, looking at how salmon influence forest ecosystems on the West Coast of Canada. I’m collating evidence about the relationships between Pacific salmon and a diverse range of forest components, such as the diversity and abundance of insects, birds and plants. I will then investigate the ecological and social feedbacks between salmon and ecosystem-based management in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Previously, I worked with Dr. Andrew Cooper at SFU, and an international team to identify how fisheries stock assessment models can be used to set robust, sustainable exploitation strategies for data-limited fisheries. I also assessed the value of new information for improving the selection of management strategies for these fisheries.

During my PhD I identified the barriers and solutions to implementing evidence-based conservation. I determined how to improve conservation practitioners’ use of scientific research in their management decisions in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand, using interdisciplinary methods.

Previously, I have quantified the return on investment of invasive predator control for an endangered Australian bird species, identified the drivers of invasive species impacts on islands at a global scale and evaluated the effectiveness of Australian recovery plans for threatened species and ecosystems. I have also been involved in research prioritization and horizon scanning exercises for global conservation and ecology issues, including a Horizon Scan for Antarctic Research.


Anderson, S.C., Cooper, A.B., Jensen, O.P., Minto, C., Thorson, J.T., Walsh, J.C., Afflerbach, J., Dickey-Collas, M., Kleisner, K.M., Longo, C., Osio, G.C., Ovando, D., Mosqueira, I., Rosenberg, A.A. and Selig, E.R. (in review) Improving estimates of population status and trend with superensemble models.

Rosenberg, A.A., Kleisner, K.M., Afflerbach, J., Anderson, S.C., Dickey-Collas, M., Cooper, A.B., Fogarty, M.J., Fulton, E.A., Gutiérrez, N.L., Hyde, K.J.W, Jardim, E., Jensen, O.P., Kristiansen, T., Longo, C., Minte-Vera, C.V., Minto, C., Mosqueira, I., Osio, G.C., Ovando, D., Selig, E.R., Thorson, J.T., Walsh, J.C. and Ye, Y. (in review) Applying a new ensemble approach to estimating stock status of marine fisheries around the world.

Hettwer Giehl, E.L., Moretti, M., Walsh, J.C., Batalha, M., Cook, C.N. (in review) Scientific evidence and potential barriers in the management of Brazilian protected areas.

Mupepele, A.C., Walsh, J.C., Sutherland, W.J. and Dormann, C.F. (2016) An evidence assessment tool for ecosystem services and conservation studies. Ecological Applications, 26: 1295-1301.

Walsh, J.C., Dicks, L.V. & Sutherland, W.J. (2015). The effect of scientific evidence on conservation practitioners’ management decisions. Conservation Biology, 29, 88-98.

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2015). Bird Conservation. What Works in Conservation (eds W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon & R.K Smith), pp. 95-244. Open Book Publishers, UK.

Dicks, L.V., Walsh, J.C. & Sutherland, W.J. (2014). Organising evidence for environmental decisions: a ‘4S’ hierarchy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution29, 607-613.

Kennicutt II, M.C., Chown, S.L., Cassano, J.J., Liggett, D., Peck, L.S., et al. (2014). A roadmap for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science for the next two decades and beyond. Antarctic Science27, 1-16.

Kennicutt II, M.C., Chown, S.L., Cassano, J.J., Liggett, D., Massom, R., Peck, L.S., Rintoul, S.R., Storey, J.W.V., Vaughan, D.G., Wilson, T.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2014). Six priorities for Antarctic science. Nature512, 23-25 (I am a co-signatory on this paper, due to limitations of authorship for Nature Comments).

Sutherland, W.J., Mitchell, R., Walsh, J.C., Amano, T., Ausden, M., Beebee, T.J.C., Bullock, D., Daniels, M., Deutsch, J., Griffiths, R.A., Prior, S. V, Whitten, T. & Dicks, L.V. (2013). Conservation practice could benefit from routine testing and publication of management outcomes. Conservation Evidence10, 1-3.

Walsh, J.C., Wilson, K.A., Benshemesh, J. & Possingham, H.P. (2012). Unexpected outcomes of invasive predator control: the importance of evaluating conservation management actions. Animal Conservation, 15, 319-328 (Selected as Feature Paper, followed by two commentaries & response).

Walsh, J.C., Wilson, K. A., Benshemesh, J. & Possingham, H.P. (2012). Integrating research, monitoring and management into an adaptive management framework to achieve effective conservation outcomes. Animal Conservation, 15, 334–336.

Walsh, J.C., Venter, O., Watson, J.E.M., Fuller, R., Blackburn, T. & Possingham, H.P. (2012). Exotic species richness and native species endemism increase the impact of exotic species on islands. Global Ecology and Biogeography21, 841-850.

Walsh, J.C., Watson, J.E.M., Bottrill, M.C., Joseph, L.N. & Possingham, H.P. (2012). Trends and biases in the listing and recovery planning of threatened species: an Australian case study. Oryx41, 134-143.

Bottrill M.C., Walsh, J.C., Watson, J.E.M., Joseph, L.N., Ortega-Argueta A. & Possingham, H.P. (2011). Does recovery planning improve the status of threatened species? Biological Conservation144, 1595-1601.

Watson, J.E.M., Bottrill, M.C., Walsh, J.C., Joseph, L.N. & Possingham, H.P. (2010). Evaluating threatened species recovery planning in Australia. Prepared on Behalf of the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts by the Spatial Ecology Laboratory, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 158pp.