Mr Chad Beranek

Mr Chad Beranek

Postdoctoral Researcher

School of Environmental and Life Sciences

Career Summary

Biography

I believe that the key to human thriving is through conserving and promoting biodiversity. I also believe that this is the current generations’ most significant problem to overcome. I base my life on this core foundation. My mission is to have the greatest positive impact on nature in one human lifetime. I try to achieve this through every facet of my life; from applying rigorous science down to small behavioural choices, such as purchasing sustainable products.

I have worked as an ecologist and researcher for private consultancies, personal business, government and universities. I am currently employed at the University of Newcastle as a teaching associate and a postdoctoral researcher. I also operate an ecological services and conservation education business.

While I am very fascinated about theoretical models, especially those pertaining to evolution, I am more interested in projects that implement practical solutions for on-ground conservation and restoration. My research has been focused on strategies to enhance habitat restoration for fauna. This has crossed over into other areas of ecological research such as conducting and improving ecological monitoring protocols, investigating population dynamics, determining impacts of disturbances and investigating population genetics. I am mostly interested in fauna, especially amphibians, but I have worked with plants. Below are some of the major projects I am focused on:

Assessing the impact of the 2019-2020 black summer bushfires on threatened amphibians in New South Wales, March 2021 – Ongoing. Assessment of the impacts of fire on the occupancy of several amphibians including Heleioporus australiacus, Litoria littlejohni, Litoria watsoni, Litoria daviesae, Litoria subglandulosa, Mixophyes balbus, Mixophyes iteratus,  Philoria pughi, Philoria sphagnicola, Pseudophryne australis.

Restoration and reintroduction ecology of the green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea), September 2016 – Ongoing. An investigation of methods to create habitat and conduct reintroductions to recover this threatened frog despite impacts from introduced fish and chytrid-induced disease. The aim is to recover this species across its former distribution.

Improving survey methods for estimating koala population size using drone-based thermal imagery, March 2019 – Ongoing. Utilising the latest drone and thermal camera technology combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop an improved protocol to detecting koalas, with the aim to apply statistical models to create density maps to estimate koala population size across entire regions. This will result an enhanced monitoring strategy for the koala so that conservation management can be applied effectively.

Determining the habitat use and home range patterns in gliders in urban areas of the Central Coast, April 2021 – Ongoing. Conducting radio-tracking for squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis) and sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) to determine how they use habitat in fragmented bushland in urban areas, and use this knowledge to inform urban friendly design for these species.

Conserving and enhancing fauna populations of the Cumberland Plain, September 2020 – September 2025. Implementing broad-spectrum fauna surveys across reserves of the Cumberland Plain to assess the response to conservation management interventions. The treatments being tested are (1) different intensity burns, (2) using coarse woody debris to increase the amount of structural habitat for ground dwelling animals and (3) trialling new artificial chainsaw hollow designs for the little lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusila) and the eastern coastal freetailed bat (Micronomus norfolcensis).

Monitoring of the broad-headed snake (Hoplocephalus bungaroides) on the Woronora Plateau, July 2018 – Ongoing. Conducting yearly ecological monitoring to assess the occupancy, abundance and population genetics of this threatened snake on the Woronora Plateau.

Get in touch if you would like to collaborate or volunteer.


Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Environmental Science, University of Sydney

Keywords

  • Conservation biology
  • Ecology
  • Population genetics
  • Restoration ecology
  • Urban ecology

Languages

  • English (Mother)

Fields of Research

Code Description Percentage
410401 Conservation and biodiversity 80
310308 Terrestrial ecology 20

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

Title Organisation / Department
Postdoctoral Researcher University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual Academic University of Newcastle
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
Australia
Casual ISSP Tutor Wollotuka University of Newcastle
Indigenous Education and Research
Australia

Professional appointment

Dates Title Organisation / Department
1/3/2019 - 30/6/2019 Koala Scientist NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Teaching

Code Course Role Duration
ENVS2004 Ecology
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle
This course aims to introduce fundamental concepts and principles of ecology, focusing on population and community dynamics. Through case studies, the course examines the factors affecting the distribution and abundance of species. The basic models of population growth and how these are affected by the environment and complex behaviour patterns are covered. The course examines the question whether population numbers are regulated or merely responding to the environment. It discusses species diversity, introduced species and biological control, and similarity among communities. The use of multivariate analysis methods for studying communities and the application of the island biogeography concept to designs of biological reserves will be discussed. Students will become familiar with the collection and handling of quantitative data and will develop appropriate scientific report writing skills.
Tutor 1/8/2018 - 10/12/2021
ENVS3003 Conservation Biology
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle
The principles of nature conservation and the paradigm of global biodiversity comprise the core of this course. The past and present impacts of development, invasive species, disease and climate change on biodiversity loss in Australian ecosystems and biomes are analysed. Implications of threatening processes for the management of natural systems and wildlife are considered. The course applies principles of ecology, genetics and spatial analysis to conservation biology at various landscape scales from the local to continental biomes. Levels of organisation of biodiversity from genes to populations, species and ecosystems provide context for understanding theory and practice. The principles of conservation biology are considered against a framework of environmental planning policy and legislation intended to manage biodiversity. Students learn through class work and participation in field studies.
Tutor 1/2/2017 - 1/7/2019
ENVS2006 Ecology and Management of Wildlife
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle

Wildlife around the world are increasingly heading toward extinction. One method governments use to avert this extinction crisis is to create threatened species recovery plans that outline what we know about a species and how we can keep it alive into the future.

This course will develop your understanding of the ecology and management of wildlife via the creation of a species recovery plan. Students will work in groups to identify why recovery plans are important, and then to collect the information necessary on their chosen taxa to compile a recovery plan.

In doing so, students will develop skills on species identification and survey methods to ensure they can make appropriate recommendations in their recovery plans. Students will summarise published data on their focal species and related taxa to generate sections of their recovery plan on the species ecology and evolutionary history, unique adaptations, threatening processes and fully costed management solutions.

Tutor 1/2/2017 - 1/7/2020
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Publications

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


Journal article (19 outputs)

Year Citation Altmetrics Link
2021 Beranek CT, Maynard C, McHenry C, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'Identifying a limiting factor in the population dynamics of a threatened amphibian: The influence of extended female maturation on operational sex ratio', AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, (2021)
DOI 10.1111/aec.13098
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors John Clulow
2021 Beranek CT, Xu G, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'Preliminary evidence for a two-for-one deal: Wetland restoration for a threatened frog may benefit a threatened bat', ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT & RESTORATION, 22 32-39 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/emr.12454
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors John Clulow
2021 Meyer NF, King J-P, Mahony M, Clulow J, Beranek C, Reedman C, et al., 'Large area used by squirrel gliders in an urban area, uncovered using GPS telemetry', ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION, 11 7147-7153 (2021)
DOI 10.1002/ece3.7644
Co-authors Matthew Hayward, Ninon Meyer, John Clulow
2021 Beranek CT, Maynard C, McHenry C, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'Rapid population increase of the threatened Australian amphibian Litoria aurea in response to wetlands constructed as a refuge from chytrid-induced disease and introduced fish.', Journal of environmental management, 291 112638 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112638
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 3
Co-authors John Clulow
2021 Beranek CT, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'Genetic evidence for polyandry in the threatened green and golden bell frog', GENETICA, (2021)
DOI 10.1007/s10709-021-00137-3
Co-authors John Clulow
2021 Beranek CT, Roff A, Denholm B, Howell LG, Witt RR, 'Trialling a real-time drone detection and validation protocol for the koala (Phascolarctos cinereus)', Australian Mammalogy, 43 260-260 (2021) [C1]
DOI 10.1071/am20043
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 3
Co-authors Ryan Witt
2020 Beranek CT, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'Wetland Restoration for the Threatened Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea): Development of a Breeding Habitat Designed to Passively Manage Chytrid-Induced Amphibian Disease and Exotic Fish', Natural Areas Journal, 40 362-374 (2020) [C1]

Amphibians are under threat from many drivers resulting in declining populations. Restoration and creation of habitat is a method used to reverse amphibian declines. The green and... [more]

Amphibians are under threat from many drivers resulting in declining populations. Restoration and creation of habitat is a method used to reverse amphibian declines. The green and golden bell frog (Litoria aurea) is distributed in southeastern Australia, and is threatened by the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendobatidis (chytrid), an introduced fish (the plague minnow, Gambusia holbrooki), and habitat loss. There have been numerous wetland restoration attempts to combat population declines in this species, which have been largely unsuccessful in producing persisting populations. Here we present a robust model for the creation of breeding habitat for the L. aurea population on Kooragang Island, New South Wales, which is based off thorough review of the literature and past pilot studies and experiments. We describe in detail the habitat, land use history, and wetland habitat design formulation and construction so that the context of the habitat creation is understood and so construction can be repeatable and the design can be further refined. The habitat features passive controls for chytrid and G. holbrooki, and contains the most optimum breeding habitat for L. aurea based upon current knowledge. This is the first attempt in our knowledge to create wetlands in an open system that have the potential to passively manage chytrid.

DOI 10.3375/043.040.0409
Citations Scopus - 6Web of Science - 3
Co-authors John Clulow
2020 Scott S, Mahony S, Beranek CT, 'An observation of predation and prey caching of Ctenophorus parviceps (Squamata: Agamidae) and Lerista miopus (squamata: Scincidae) in Western Australia', Herpetology Notes, 13 579-581 (2020) [C1]
2020 Meyer NFV, Balkenhol N, Dutta T, Hofman M, Meyer J-Y, Ritchie EG, et al., 'Beyond species counts for assessing, valuing, and conserving biodiversity: response to Wallach et al. 2019', CONSERVATION BIOLOGY, 35 369-372 (2020)
DOI 10.1111/cobi.13665
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors Simon Clulow, Andrea Griffin, Kaya Klop-Toker, Alex Callen, Matthew Hayward, Ninon Meyer, Rose Upton Uon
2020 Beranek CT, Clulow J, Mahony M, 'A simple design feature to increase hydro-period in constructed ephemeral wetlands to avoid tadpole desiccation-induced mortality', ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT & RESTORATION, 21 250-253 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1111/emr.12430
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
Co-authors John Clulow
2020 Mickaill LNN, Bell SAJ, Beranek CT, 'Dispersal potential in two restricted and five wide-ranging Senecio (Asteraceae) taxa from central eastern New South Wales, Australia', Australian Journal of Botany, 68 333-344 (2020) [C1]

Knowledge on how life history traits affect distribution in range-restricted and endemic plants is paramount for conservation and management, particularly for threatened species. ... [more]

Knowledge on how life history traits affect distribution in range-restricted and endemic plants is paramount for conservation and management, particularly for threatened species. Traits relating to dispersal ability are important in the ongoing persistence of range restricted species and may present a pathway to extinction or invasion. This is evident in the highly diverse and cosmopolitan genus Senecio (Asteraceae), where both threatened and invasive species occur within Australia. In this study, propagule geometry, settling velocity and dispersal potential for two range-restricted and threatened native taxa (S. linearifolious var. dangarensis Belcher ex I.Thomps., S. spathulatus var. attenuatus I.Thomps.) are contrasted with four native taxa that occupy wider ranges (S. amygdalifolius F.Muell., S. l. var. arachnoideus I.Thomps., S. l. var. macrodontus (DC.) I.Thomps., S. pinnatifolius A.Rich. var. pinnatifolius) and one introduced, wide-ranging species (S. madagascariensis Poir.). Differences were found in settling velocity and propagule morphology across all taxa. Based on propagule morphology, S. amygdalifolius has the greatest dispersal potential, S. spathulatus var. attenuatus the smallest, whereas all other taxa were similar. Although useful, dispersal potential alone does not fully explain distributional differences between all range-restricted and widespread taxa, and close assessment of habitat attributes may be required to further elucidate dispersal limitations in some taxa.

DOI 10.1071/BT20015
Co-authors Stephen Bell
2020 Beranek CT, 'Increased house mouse (Mus musculus) abundance in wetlands in response to Typha sp. flowering: Implications for understanding wetland occupancy patterns of the eastern grass owl (Tyto longimembris)', Australian Journal of Zoology, 67 210-214 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1071/ZO20063
Citations Scopus - 1Web of Science - 1
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
Citations Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
Co-authors Alex Callen, Matthew Hayward, Kaya Klop-Toker, John Clulow, Simon Clulow, Rose Upton Uon, Ryan Witt
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) [C1]

The ¿Compassionate Conservation¿ movement is gaining momentum through its promotion of ¿ethical¿ conservation practices based on self-proclaimed principles of ¿first-do-no-harm¿ a... [more]

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 - 16Web of Science - 17
Co-authors Alex Callen, Ninon Meyer, Simon Clulow, John Clulow, Matthew Hayward, Kaya Klop-Toker, Ryan Witt, Rose Upton Uon
2020 Witt RR, Beranek CT, Howell LG, Ryan SA, Clulow J, Jordan NR, et al., 'Real-time drone derived thermal imagery outperforms traditional survey methods for an arboreal forest mammal', PLOS ONE, 15 (2020) [C1]
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0242204
Citations Web of Science - 1
Co-authors John Clulow, Ryan Witt
2018 Beranek CT, 'Observation of a yellow-footed Antechinus Antechinus flavipes foraging on needle-leaved mistletoe Amyema cambagei flowers: Are Antechinus pollinators of mistletoe?', Victorian Naturalist, 135 16-18 (2018) [C1]
2017 Beranek CT, 'A successful long-distance aerial pursuit of an Australian Raven Corvus coronoides by a Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus', Australian Field Ornithology, 34 87-90 (2017)

The Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus has a variable diet comprising mainly avian prey and mammals, and most observations suggest that it employs a range of ambush tactics but rar... [more]

The Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus has a variable diet comprising mainly avian prey and mammals, and most observations suggest that it employs a range of ambush tactics but rarely uses long-distance aerial pursuits. Here I document a rare instance of a successful long-distance aerial pursuit of an Australian Raven Corvus coronoides by a Brown Goshawk, on 29 March 2015, on Broughton Island, New South Wales. After multiple unsuccessful aerial attacks, the Goshawk eventually succeeded. Although corvids are abundant and widespread throughout Australia and are within the preferred avian prey size range, they are rarely observed in the Goshawk's diet. Two ecological factors probably contributed to this observation: (1) there is little woodland here and thus little concealment for ambush tactics and (2) prey availability on Broughton Island and the surrounding islands has been altered by programs to eradicate pest mammals, thereby limiting the prey available to this species in this area.

DOI 10.20938/afo34087090
Citations Scopus - 2
2017 Walsh J, Beranek CT, 'First nesting pair of Little Eagles Hieraaetus morphnoides recorded in the Sydney region', Australian Field Ornithology, 34 91-94 (2017)

Although the Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides is broadly distributed across much of Australia, it appears to be declining in New South Wales. The key threatening process is the... [more]

Although the Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides is broadly distributed across much of Australia, it appears to be declining in New South Wales. The key threatening process is the removal of habitat, leading to loss of suitable nesting and foraging sites and changes in prey abundance. Here we present the frst report of successful nesting of the Little Eagle in greater Sydney (i.e. in the County of Cumberland), and recommend guidelines for management. The nest, discovered in a Smooth-barked Apple Angophora costata in the suburb of Ingleside on 15 October 2016, was visited one to three times per week, and observations on behaviour, diet and habitat of the Eagles were noted. The most common prey species taken was the European Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus. The chick fledged at c. 9 weeks old. The nest-site is at risk from a proposed development in the area and needs to be adaptively managed to ensure the continued presence and nesting of this species at this site.

DOI 10.20938/afo34091094
Citations Scopus - 1
Gould J, Beranek C, Valdez J, Mahony M, 'Quality versus quantity: The balance between egg and clutch size among Australian amphibians is related to life history and environmental conditions
DOI 10.1101/2020.03.15.992495
Co-authors John Gould
Show 16 more journal articles
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Research Collaborations

The map is a representation of a researchers co-authorship with collaborators across the globe. The map displays the number of publications against a country, where there is at least one co-author based in that country. Data is sourced from the University of Newcastle research publication management system (NURO) and may not fully represent the authors complete body of work.

Country Count of Publications
Australia 17
Germany 2
Mexico 2
Panama 2
United States 2
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Mr Chad Beranek

Positions

Postdoctoral Researcher
Conservation Biology Lab
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual Academic
Conservation Biology Lab
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual Research Assistant
Conservation Biology Lab
School of Environmental and Life Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Environment

Casual ISSP Tutor Wollotuka
Conservation Biology Lab
Indigenous Education and Research
Academic Division

Contact Details

Email chad.beranek@newcastle.edu.au
Links Instagram
Facebook
Twitter

Office

Location Callaghan Campus
University Drive
Callaghan, NSW 2308
Australia
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