Primary research interest

  • Invasive species, biodiversity, conservation science, urban and avian ecology

Researcher biography

Associate Professor Salit Kark is an ecologist and conservation scientist, with expertise in the processes (ecological, behavioural and evolutionary) shaping biodiversity and their implications for conservation, environmental decisions and management.

Kark and her Biodiversity Research Group students and fellows work on addressing environmental and conservation challenges using advanced approaches across multiple spatial scales, from global to local (examining latitudinal and altitudinal gradients), and in both terrestrial (birds and mammals mostly) and marine ecosystems. This includes work across both natural and human-dominated landscapes, examining the generality of spatial patterns and processes. Kark's work integrates socio-economic and historical factors as well as biological and ecological drivers in disentangling the role of the multiple factors that shape biodiversity and its conservation and management. In this framework, Kark's work advances the links between science, practice and policy and in leading actions that allow us to improve science-based conservation.

Associate Professor Kark is Deputy Director of UQ's Faculty of Science Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. Kark was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow and is currently teaching and research academic and A/Professor at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Brisbane (Australia) and am a Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED; 2011-2018) and am CEED's Theme A (Environmental Policy and Management) Leader. I am also CI on the recently established Commonwelath funded NESP Threatened Species hub (2015-2021). In this hub, Kark has initiated and leads the national-scale Australian islands conservation project (Saving Species on Australian Islands, which aims to examine and prioritise conservation of threatened species and actions for native and invasive species across Australia's 9000+ islands.

Kark's Biodiversity Research Group is very international, with students and fellows from over 15 countries and her group's graduates are now based across continents at a broad range of governmental organisations, NGOs, academic organisations, industry, the private sector and key conservation, management and policy positions.

Kark completed her Ph.D. at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2000) and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University (between 1999-2002) working with Prof. Harold Mooney, Prof. Gretchen Daily and Prof. Paul Ehrlich at the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford. Between 2002 and June 2013, Kark was a full-time research and teaching faculty member (Senior Lecturer) at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem where she established and led the Biodiversity Research Group.

Awards, Grants, Prizes and Honours

July 2013-2017 - Australian Research Council Future Fellow

November 2011 – 2014 - Appointed as an Honorary Associate Professor at The University of Queensland.

November 2008 – 2011 - Appointed as an Honorary Reader at The University of Queensland.

2008 – Chosen by The Nature Conservancy (key global conservation organisation) as a Leader in the Global Mediterranean initiative.

2007 – Awarded ARC Linkage International Fellowship for Sabbatical with Prof. Hugh Possingham, UQ.

2006 – Awarded the Prof. Hannah Farkas-Himsley and Alexander Himsley prize for a young scientist for excellence in scientific research in the Institute of Life Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Oct 2003 - 2006 - Awarded by the Israel Council for Higher Education the prestigious Alon Fellowship for Excellent Early Career Scientists.

During Kark's postdoctoral fellowship (1999-2002), she was awarded the prestigious Rothschild Fellowship, was offered the Fulbright (US-Israel) post-doctoral Fellowship, held a Stanford University post-doctoral fellowship and appointment, was awarded the Stanford University Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies fellowship, and was offered the Israel Council for Higher Education and Israel Science Foundation Bikura post-doctoral fellowship.