Umwelt’s New Ecology Team Members

As we start 2017 enthusiastically with a range of new and continuing projects to undertake and deliver, we thought we would reflect on the growth of our Ecology team during 2016. The latter half of the year saw four new staff join our expanding team in our Newcastle office, making us one of the largest providers of ecology and biodiversity services in NSW and, with our interstate staff, giving us a very strong presence Australia. Our new staff bring with them a diverse and significant range of skills and expertise outlined below.

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Naomi has a technical background in ecology and project management with over 24 years’ experience in environmental consulting in eastern Australia across a diverse range of sectors including utilities, infrastructure, renewables, defence, resources and property development. Her project management experience includes the management of multidisciplinary teams in the linear infrastructure (roads, railway and transmission lines) and resource sectors. Naomi has a significant depth of experience in both ecological survey design, assessment and management planning, as well as broader environmental impact assessment and operational support.

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Chris brings a rarely seen diversity and depth of experience in ecological analysis and assessment, covering data management, field, laboratory, analytical, ecological and taxonomic research design and implementation. Chris has extensive experience in satellite and airborne imagery analyses and interpretation; plant, mollusc and protozoan taxonomic methods; and qualitative and quantitative analyses of plant communities (e.g. PATN, Primer). He co-designed, researched (including all GIS and multivariate analyses), coded and migrated the NSW Vegetation Classification Assessment database, now the NSW OEH Vegetation Information System (PCT database). He is proficient in environmental niche modelling (e.g. Maxent) and improving environmental variable design for determining: past, present and future habitat distributions (available, used and preserved); and interactions of species and genomic types.

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Brooke joined Umwelt as an Ecologist after several years working as an Environmental Scientist. Brooke specialises in environmental approvals, construction environmental compliance and flora and fauna survey assessment. Brooke has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science and Zoology from James Cook University in Townsville and is currently completing a Masters in Environmental Management and Sustainability part-time through the University of Newcastle. She is also a wildlife carer with the Native Animal Trust Fund and is very passionate about all native wildlife.

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Rhys graduated with a Bachelor of Science (Biology) in 2014 and has recently completed his Honours thesis, investigating ecological measures of niche, correlative modeling and climate response of threatened amphibian species. Rhys began working in the industry in 2014 as a volunteer field ecologist whilst completing undergraduate studies. In 2015 he was employed as a field Ecologist focusing on flora and fauna surveys for a wide range of clients within the mining and residential development sectors. Rhys’s experience includes ecological impact assessments, GIS drafting, flora and fauna surveys, monitoring and targeted surveys for threatened species, mining-related research programs and biodiversity management plans.