Dr Caragh Threlfall

The University of Melbourne
Research Field: Urban ecology

The overarching theme underpinning Dr Threlfall’s research is understanding the ecology of cities. She uses inter-disciplinary approaches, to look at ways to reduce the environmental impacts of urbanisation and develop environmentally based solutions. Her research examines how urbanisation influences ecological interactions, ways people engage with urban nature, and which management actions are most effective in restoring biodiversity. She employs experimental and modelling techniques, drawing on landscape and spatial ecology, and linking this with the social sciences.

To address these questions, she has worked on a range of taxa including bats, birds, native bees, and butterflies, and is increasingly examining the human dimensions of urban ecology. Her current research focuses on evaluating the success of actions to return urban nature and developing practical guidelines to facilitate improved practice
Returning nature to cities is essential to making them liveable and sustainable. To this end, city governments are engaging in ‘million trees’ programs, backyard wildlife gardening, and installing nest boxes. Whilst these actions can often promote biodiversity, there is growing concern they may also promote aggressive species, parasites, and disease. Dr Threlfall’s research looks to improve understanding of which species benefit from these practices, and guide future management activities.