The Rhodes Conservation Group works at a range of spatial scales using a variety of approaches including collecting empirical field data, modelling to understand and predict impacts, and assessing decisions, monitoring requirements and realistic policy options. We work mainly on the following broad themes:

  • Landscape ecology and ecosystem services

  • Environmental decision-making and policy

  • Monitoring and value of information


If you are interested in working with the group please contact j.rhodes@uq.edu.au


Please see the University of Queensland Graduate School for information on postgraduate research degrees, including how to apply for admission and scholarships.

Available Projects: 

PhD project: Multi-agency prioritisation for the management of pests across land tenures

This exciting project seeks to improve conservation management by designing cooperative planning tools for multiple conservation agencies. Using an interdisciplinary decision analytic approach combining game theory, spatial modelling, ecology, and cost-effectiveness analysis we aim to create a novel framework identifying how and when agencies might collaborate, and how collaboration might impact on costs and benefits of pest control strategies. Action to avert these impacts is spread across multiple land use tenures and management agencies. By helping agencies work together to manage invasive species, more efficient and effective strategies are likely, and would dramatically improve local and global agricultural and environmental outcomes

The project forges a strategic research alliance between the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology with the two Queensland Government Departments Biosecurity Queensland and Queensland Parks and Wildlife) aimed at improving management of invasive species across Queensland, one of Australia's largest agricultural producing states and home to a vast number of Australia's threatened species.

For more information please contact Associate Professors Eve McDonald-Madden (e.mcdonaldmadden@uq.edu.au) or Jonathan Rhodes (j.rhodes@uq.edu.au). 


Environmental offsets have become a dominant policy tool for compensating for the environmental impacts of development. There has been considerable attention paid to understanding the environmental consequences of alternative offset policy settings. However, the economic consequences of offset policy settings have been largely ignored. As a consequence, we understand very little about the trade-offs that occur in environmental offsetting. Examples of these trade-offs include trade-offs between economic costs and environmental benefits, and trade-offs between different types of environmental benefits (including ecosystem services) and the equity in the distribution of those benefits and costs.

This PhD project will aim to explore the complex trade-offs that occur in environmental offsetting using an existing modelling framework that we have developed. The modelling framework has been developed for South-East Queensland, Australia but could be extended to other areas and for multiple ecosystem services. The outputs of the project will include making important policy contributions to the offset debate and have the potential to influence how future environmental offsets are developed.

The ideal student will have quantitative modelling skills (or the ability and interest to learn these skills) and interests in environmental policy, environmental economics, biodiversity conservation, or ecosystem services. This project is a collaborative project between the University of Western Australia (UWA), Perth and the University of Queensland (UQ), Brisbane and the successful student could be based in either of these locations. Prior to beginning the PhD the successful student must also obtain a postgraduate scholarship (or equivalent) from either the University of Western Australia (http://www.scholarships.uwa.edu.au/futurestudents/postgrad) or the University of Queensland (https://graduate-school.uq.edu.au/scholarships).

For more information please contact Dr Sayed Iftekhar (mdsayed.iftekhar@uwa.edu.au) or Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Rhodes (j.rhodes@uq.edu.au).

Background reading

GORDON, A., LANGFORD, W. T., WHITE, M. D., TODD, J. A. & BASTIN, L. 2011. Modelling trade offs between public and private conservation policies. Biological Conservation, 144, 558-566.

HABIB, T. J., FARR, D. R., SCHNEIDER, R. R. & BOUTIN, S. 2013. Economic and ecological outcomes of flexible biodiversity offset systems. Conservation Biology, 27, 1313-1323.

MARON, M., IVES, C. D., KUJALA, H., BULL, J. W., MASEYK, F. J., BEKESSY, S., GORDON, A., WATSON, J. E., LENTINI, P. E. & GIBBONS, P. 2016. Taming a wicked problem: Resolving controversies in biodiversity offsetting. BioScience, 66, 489-498.