Dr Alex Callen

Dr Alex Callen

Conjoint Lecturer

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

Dr Alex Callen is a conservation biologist in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences. Her research focuses on the response of threatened amphibian populations to multiple environmental stresses including stream pollution, disease and invasive predators, including within the Australian conservation system. Central to this research is her interest in how citizen science and improved science communication within the community can drive positive change to minimise environmental stress on plants, animals and ecosystems, leading to improved biodiversity protection.

Alex’s past research used fine scale habitat manipulations to improve landscape management to ease the impact of disease on threatened pond breeding frogs in coastal areas. This has led to a number of industry partnerships involving habitat design, creation, management and monitoring for vulnerable coastal amphibian communities in complex natural and industrial environments. Alex has experience in general flora and fauna surveys, surveys of threatened amphibians, citizen science programs, bioacoustics analysis, amphibian micro-chipping, habitat preference analysis, qPCR analysis (disease and infection analysis), water quality monitoring and analysis, statistical analysis and modelling, project management, impact assessment and industry liaison. She worked as an environmental scientist and ecologist in a variety of government and industry positions for sixteen years before returning to Newcastle University to pursue her research and teaching career.


Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Environmental Science, University of Newcastle
  • Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours), University of Newcastle

Keywords

  • Bioacoustics
  • Citizen Science
  • Conservation
  • Conservation Biology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental management
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Habitat manipulation
  • Reintroduction
  • Restoration
  • Science communication
  • Threatened species
  • Wildlife Disease

Languages

  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity 40
060208 Terrestrial Ecology 30
050102 Ecosystem Function 30

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual Web Learn Tutor Env & Life Sciences University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Research Associate University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia

Academic appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/2/2019 - 1/2/2020 Conjoint Lecturer The University of Newcastle, Australia
Australia

Teaching appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/7/2018 - 31/12/2018 Course Co-ordinator Biological Sciences University of Newcastle
Australia
28/2/2014 - 30/11/2018 Casual Academic School of Environmental & Life Sciences - Faculty of Science & IT - The University of Newcastle | Australia
Australia
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Publications

For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.


Journal article (6 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2020 Griffin AS, Callen A, Klop-Toker K, Scanlon RJ, Hayward MW, 'Compassionate conservation clashes with conservation biology: Should empathy, compassion and deontological moral principles drive conservation', Frontiers in Psychology, 11 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01139
Co-authors Andrea Griffin, Matthew Hayward
2020 Callen A, Hayward MW, Klop-Toker K, Allen BL, Ballard G, Beranek CT, et al., 'Response to comments on "Compassionate Conservation deserves a morally serious rather than dismissive response - reply to Callen et al., 2020"', BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 244 (2020)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2020.108517
Co-authors Rose Upton Uon, Ryan Witt, John Clulow, Simon Clulow, Matthew Hayward
2020 Callen A, Hayward MW, Klop-Toker K, Allen BL, Ballard G, Broekhuis F, et al., 'Envisioning the future with compassionate conservation : An ominous projection for native wildlife and biodiversity', Biological Conservation, 241 (2020)

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd The ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ movement is gaining momentum through its promotion of ¿ethical¿ conservation practices based on self-proclaimed principles of ... [more]

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd The ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ movement is gaining momentum through its promotion of ¿ethical¿ conservation practices based on self-proclaimed principles of ¿first-do-no-harm¿ and ¿individuals matter¿. We argue that the tenets of ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ are ideological - that is, they are not scientifically proven to improve conservation outcomes, yet are critical of the current methods that do. In this paper we envision a future with ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ and predict how this might affect global biodiversity conservation. Taken literally, ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ will deny current conservation practices such as captive breeding, introduced species control, biocontrol, conservation fencing, translocation, contraception, disease control and genetic introgression. Five mainstream conservation practices are used to illustrate the far-reaching and dire consequences for global biodiversity if governed by ¿Compassionate Conservation¿. We acknowledge the important role of animal welfare science in conservation practices but argue that ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ aligns more closely with animal liberation principles protecting individuals over populations. Ultimately we fear that a world of ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ could stymie the global conservation efforts required to meet international biodiversity targets derived from evidenced based practice, such as the Aichi targets developed by the Convention on Biological Diversity and adopted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the United Nations.

DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108365
Citations Scopus - 7Web of Science - 4
Co-authors Rose Upton Uon, Simon Clulow, John Clulow, Ryan Witt, Matthew Hayward
2019 Hayward MW, Jachowski D, Bugir CK, Clulow J, Krishnamurthy R, Griffin AS, et al., 'The search for novelty continues for rewilding', BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, 236 584-585 (2019)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.05.041
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Matthew Hayward, Andrea Griffin, John Clulow, Anita Chalmers, Rose Upton Uon
2019 Hayward MW, Scanlon RJ, Callen A, Howell LG, Klop-Toker KL, Di Blanco Y, et al., 'Reintroducing rewilding to restoration Rejecting the search for novelty', Biological Conservation, 233 255-259 (2019) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.03.011
Citations Scopus - 10Web of Science - 9
Co-authors Matthew Hayward, Rose Upton Uon, John Rodger, Anita Chalmers, Andrea Griffin, John Gould, Simon Clulow, John Clulow
2019 Hayward MW, Callen A, Allen BL, Ballard G, Broekhuis F, Bugir C, et al., 'Deconstructing compassionate conservation', Conservation Biology, 33 760-768 (2019) [C1]

© 2019 Society for Conservation Biology Compassionate conservation focuses on 4 tenets: first, do no harm; individuals matter; inclusivity of individual animals; and peaceful coex... [more]

© 2019 Society for Conservation Biology Compassionate conservation focuses on 4 tenets: first, do no harm; individuals matter; inclusivity of individual animals; and peaceful coexistence between humans and animals. Recently, compassionate conservation has been promoted as an alternative to conventional conservation philosophy. We believe examples presented by compassionate conservationists are deliberately or arbitrarily chosen to focus on mammals; inherently not compassionate; and offer ineffective conservation solutions. Compassionate conservation arbitrarily focuses on charismatic species, notably large predators and megaherbivores. The philosophy is not compassionate when it leaves invasive predators in the environment to cause harm to vastly more individuals of native species or uses the fear of harm by apex predators to terrorize mesopredators. Hindering the control of exotic species (megafauna, predators) in situ will not improve the conservation condition of the majority of biodiversity. The positions taken by so-called compassionate conservationists on particular species and on conservation actions could be extended to hinder other forms of conservation, including translocations, conservation fencing, and fertility control. Animal welfare is incredibly important to conservation, but ironically compassionate conservation does not offer the best welfare outcomes to animals and is often ineffective in achieving conservation goals. Consequently, compassionate conservation may threaten public and governmental support for conservation because of the limited understanding of conservation problems by the general public.

DOI 10.1111/cobi.13366
Citations Scopus - 12Web of Science - 10
Co-authors Simon Clulow, Matthew Hayward, Andrea Griffin, Ryan Witt, John Clulow, Rose Upton Uon
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Grants and Funding

Summary

Number of grants 9
Total funding $764,819

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.


20201 grants / $23,033

Status of Green and Golden Bell Frogs in Port of Newcastle managed zones of Kooragang Island$23,033

Funding body: Port of Newcastle

Funding body Port of Newcastle
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Colin McHenry, Doctor Alex Callen, Associate Professor John Clulow, Associate Professor Matthew Hayward
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2020
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G2000009
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

20194 grants / $504,200

Conserving vulnerable amphibian fauna in protected habitats$300,627

Funding body: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Funding body NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Project Team

Prof Michael Mahony, Proff Brett Neilan, A/Prof Matthew Hayward, A/Prof John Clulow, Dr Kaya Klop-Toker, Dr Alex Callen

Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2022
GNo
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON N

Population status, distribution, and demography of the Green and Golden Bell Frog on Kooragang Island$96,965

Funding body: Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG)

Funding body Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group (NCIG)
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Associate Professor John Clulow, Associate Professor Matthew Hayward, Doctor Colin McHenry, Doctor Alex Callen
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1901005
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

UoN Clyde Wetland Frog Survey 19 Monitoring, Environmental (PU)$96,098

Funding body: VIVA Energy Australia

Funding body VIVA Energy Australia
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Alex Callen
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2020
GNo G1901192
Type Of Funding C3111 - Aust For profit
Category 3111
UON Y

Measurement of the genetic diversity of the population of the threatened green and golden bell frog in the Brickpit habitat at the Sydney Olympic Parklands$10,510

Funding body: Sydney Olympic Park Authority

Funding body Sydney Olympic Park Authority
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Alex Callen
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2019
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1900785
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y

20184 grants / $237,586

Impact of closure works on Green and Golden Bell Frog populations on Koorangang Island$155,883

Funding body: Hunter Development Corporation

Funding body Hunter Development Corporation
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Colin McHenry, Doctor Alex Callen
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1800355
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210
UON Y

Expert herpetology advice for restoration of green and golden bell frog habitat at Clyde terminal$31,703

Funding body: VIVA Energy Australia

Funding body VIVA Energy Australia
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Alex Callen
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2018
GNo G1800652
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210
UON Y

Determining adaptive capacity of mountain top frogs to climate change predictions$30,000

Funding body: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Funding body NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Alex Callen, Associate Professor Matthew Hayward
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1800796
Type Of Funding C2210 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Own Purpose
Category 2210
UON Y

Establishing population status and identifying priority management sites for stuttering frog$20,000

Funding body: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Funding body NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
Project Team Professor Michael Mahony, Doctor Alex Callen, Professor Stephen Donnellan
Scheme Research Grant
Role Investigator
Funding Start 2018
Funding Finish 2019
GNo G1800713
Type Of Funding C2220 - Aust StateTerritoryLocal - Other
Category 2220
UON Y
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Research Supervision

Number of supervisions

Completed0
Current3

Current Supervision

Commenced Level of Study Research Title Program Supervisor Type
2020 Masters The Effects of Fire on Amphibian Survival and Habitat in Upland Streams M Philosophy (EnvironmentalSc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2020 PhD The Application of Environmental DNA (eDNA) for Detecting and Monitoring the Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in Stream Habitats PhD (Environmental Sc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
2020 Masters Understanding the Drivers of Decline of Threatened Frog Populations in the NSW National Park Reserve System M Philosophy (EnvironmentalSc), Faculty of Science, The University of Newcastle Co-Supervisor
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News

Researchers jump to action to save threatened frog species

January 24, 2019

As part of a new conservation initiative, community members in the Sydney Basin area will learn to identify frogs by their call.

Dr Alex Callen

Positions

Conjoint Lecturer
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Research Associate
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Casual Academic
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Casual Web Learn Tutor Env & Life Sciences
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Faculty of Science

Contact Details

Email alex.callen@newcastle.edu.au
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