Melodie’s research focuses on the ecology and conservation of populations and communities. Her interests extend from quantifying and modeling the abundance and distribution of species to global change impacts on protected areas. She and her research group use plant and animal populations and communities to examine the dynamics of biological invasions and the response of communities to changing environments. Other projects include the quantification and monitoring of trends in biological invasion for the purpose of informing biodiversity policy and management and the response of sub-Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems to climate change.
Melodie studied Botany and Entomology at the University of KwaZulu Natal before moving to Pretoria University to complete her PhD. Her PhD, which set the scene for her future research interest in spatial ecology and the development of bioindicator systems, was completed in 1995 on the community ecology of an Acacia–fungus– insect interaction.
She conducted a postdoc at Sheffield University and has since held academic positions at Pretoria, Stellenbosch (South Africa) and Monash (Australia) Universities, as well as spending four years heading the Cape Research Centre of South African National Parks. In 2020 she joined La Trobe University’s School of Life Sciences in Melbourne, Australia.
Professor, School of Life Sciences, LaTrobe University
Co-Chair: GEOBON Species Populations Working Group
Coordinating Lead Author: IPBES Assessment on Invasive Alien Species and their Control
Lead: Biodiversity Status and Trends, Securing Antarctica’s Environmental Future
Adjunct Professor: School of Biological Sciences, Monash University