Last Friday morning was a nerve-wracking one for researchers all over the country, with the latest round of ARC Discovery Grants (including DECRAs) due to be announced. Finger nails were being punished at QAECO as well, but by lunch time the dust had settled and jubilation was in the air: not one, but three applications got the nod!

Congratulations to Jane Elith and José Lahoz-Monfort who received a Discovery for their project ‘Using species distribution models to make robust conservation decisions under uncertainty’. Over the next 3 years Jane and José will work with Atte Moilanen from the University of Helsinki to explore sources of uncertainty in SDMs, conceive approaches to reduce uncertainty, and to evaluate the effects of uncertainty to assist robust conservation decision-making.

Congratulations to Cindy Hauser who will be working with Mark Burgman and Joslin Moore over the next 3 years as the named post doc on a Discovery project entitled ‘Maximising the benefit of emerging technologies for ecological survey’. Cindy will build a framework that optimally allocates resources among different survey methods over time. The framework will advance the theory of ecological survey design by addressing uncertainty in detection, and will improve understanding of emerging methods such as eDNA sampling, drones and sniffer dogs.

And last but by no means least, congratulations to Gurutzeta Guillera-Arroita for snaring a DECRA! Guru’s project, entitled ‘Connections between imperfect detection and ecological inference’, is designed to resolve whether or when it is important to account for imperfect detection when modelling communities of species. The project will produce a global synthesis of species detectability across taxa, geographical regions and survey methods, and evaluate the performance and limitations of existing and emerging community modelling methods in ecology.

With their extensive experience in species distribution modelling, survey design and conservation decision-making, Jane, José, Cindy and Guru are sure to produce important advances in these fields over the next few years. So stay tuned, there are exciting times ahead at QAECO!

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