Primary research interest

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

Researcher biography

Professor Salit Kark is a conservation and environmental scientist, with international experience examining the processes shaping biodiversity and their implications for conservation, ecology, environmental decisions, practice and management. Kark and her group provide international leadership in the areas of conservation science, prioritization, invasive species, urban ecology, spatial planning, island conservation, terrestrial, marine and coastal conservation, human-wildlife conflict, and cross-boundary collaboration, working across land-based, coastal and marine environments and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders and partners in Australia and internationally. The Biodiversity Research Group is a dynamic research team led by Professor Salit Kark at The University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia with interests in conservation science, ecology and biodiversity. The Kark Group works on a range of conservation, environmental and ecological aspects and collaborates with multiple groups worldwide across terrestrial, coastal and marine ecosystems and across spatial scales, ranging from regional to global to help solve key environmental questions, ecological, sustainability and conservation challenges around the Planet. We mentor and train future generations of conservation scientists and practitioners, working with local communities and partners internationally to enhance conservation that supports livelihoods and communities.

Kark and her Biodiversity Research Group students and fellows work on addressing environmental and conservation challenges using advanced approaches and tools 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. Our group works to enhance close collaboration in conservation with Indigenous and local communities.

Kark is currently serving as a member of UQ's Cultural Inclusion Council and one of UQ's Senate committees and has served on the Promotions and the Confirmation Committee of the Faculty of Science (LCPC), as well as the School of Biological Science's Equity and Diversity Committee (ongoing), the research committee and the the First Nations Engagament committee (ongoing).

Professor Kark served as 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 Professor at the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Queensland, Brisbane (Australia) and was a Chief Investigator at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED; 2011-2018) and CEED's Theme A (Environmental Policy and Management) Leader. Kark was Chief Investigator of the Commonwealth-supported NESP Threatened Species hub (2015-2021). In this hub, Kark has initiated and led the national-scale Australian islands conservation project (Saving Species on Australian Islands), which aims to examine and prioritize the conservation of threatened species and actions for native and invasive species across Australia's 9000+ islands.

Kark's Biodiversity Research Group is very international, enhancing gender equity, cultural diversity, and Indigenous engagement, and includes students and fellows from over 20 countries. Kar's graduates are now based across continents in key positions in a broad range of governmental organizations, NGOs, academic organizations, industry, the private sector, and diverse conservation, management and policy roles.

Kark completed her PhD in 1999. She 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) where she established and led the Biodiversity Research Group, which she currently leads at the University of Queensland.