Associate Professor Mike Letnic
BSc (Hons) UNSW, PhD (Sydney)
ARC Future Fellow
Field of Research: 
Ecology, wildlife management, conservation biology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 2079

Room 615
Biological Sciences Building (D26)
UNSW, Kensington 2052

Research & Current Projects

My research is focused on the conservation and management of ecosystems. I am particularly interested in improving understanding of landscape and continental-scale processes that influence the structure of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and threaten biodiversity. I am currently investigating the role that top predators play in sustaining biodiversity, the ecology and biology of crocodiles and landscape scale approaches to control the impacts of invasive species, particularly, cane toads and foxes.

Dingoes champions of diversity


Research in the Media

ABC News: Fencing Can Stop Cane Toads Spreading

BBC News: Dingoes could help rare species

Daily Telegraph: See the crocodile killed by cane toads

ABC Rural: Going croc spotlighting


Research Students

Dan Hunter (PhD candidate)

Viyanna Leo (PhD candidate)

Lisa Steindler (PhD candidate)

Nicholas Tong (MPhil candidate)

Nick Colman (PhD candidate UWS) - Effects of dingoes on the forested landscapes of eastern Australia.

Ben Feit (PhD candidate UWS) - Cane toad dispersal and their effects on goannas in semi-arid Australia.

Chris Gordon (PhD candidate UWS) - Effect of a top-order predator on shrub communities.

Louise Pastro (PhD candidate, USyd) - The effect of fire on biodiversity in central Australia (co-supervised with Professor Chris Dickman)





BIOS3601 Advanced Field Biology (Lecturer)



Book chapters

Letnic M, Fillios M & Crowther MS (in press) The arrival and impact of the dingo. In: AS Glen & CR Dickman. Carnivores of Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne. Accepted 27/10/2011.

Letnic M (2010) The pituri country stories. In L Robin & CR Dickman, Desert Channels: The Impulse to Conserve. Pp. 61-70.CSIRO publishing.

Dickman CR & Letnic M (2010) Reptiles, amphibians and fish: going with the flow. In L Robin & CR Dickman Desert Channels: The Impulse to Conserve. Pp. 192-209. CSIRO publishing.

Dickman CR, Glen AS & Letnic M (2009) Reintroducing the dingo: can Australia’s conservation wastelands be restored? In: MW Hayward & MJ Somers (eds).Reintroduction of top order predators. Pp. 238-269. Wiley-Blackwell, London.

Nichols T & Letnic M (2008) Problem crocodiles: Reducing the risk of attacks by Crocodylus porosus in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia.  In: RE Jung & JC Mitchell (eds) Urban Herpetology. Herpetological Conservation 3, pp. 509-517. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Salt Lake City, UT.

Letnic M (2007) The pastoral industry: history and impact on arid zone fauna. In D Lunney & CR Dickman (eds). Animals of arid Australia: out on their own? Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, pp 65-76. Sydney.


Journal articles

Ritchie EG, Elmhagen B, Glen AS, Letnic M, Ludwig, G & McDonald RA (in press). Ecosystem restoration with teeth: what role for predators? Trends in Ecology and Evolution Accepted 31/12/2011.

Fillios, M, Crowther, M & Letnic, M. (in press).  Did dingoes cause the extinction of the thylacine on mainland Australia? World Archaeology. Accepted 10/10/2011

Pastro L, Dickman CR & Letnic M (2011) Burning for biodiversity or burning biodiversity? Prescribed burning vs wildfire impacts on plants, lizards and mammals.Ecological Applications 21, 3238-3253.

Letnic M, Ritchie, E & Dickman (2011) Top predators as biodiversity regulators: the dingo Canis lupus dingo as a case study. Biological Reviews. Published online 2nd November 2011.

Letnic M, Story P, Story G, Field J, Brown, OJF. & Dickman CR. (2011) Resource pulses, switching trophic control and the dynamics of small mammal assemblages in arid Australia. Journal of Mammalogy 92, 1210-1222.

Letnic M & Dworjanyn SA (2011) Does a top predator reduce the predatory impact of an invasive mesopredator on an endangered rodent? Ecography 34, 827-835.

Florance D, Webb JK, Dempster T, Worthing A, Kearney MR & Letnic M (2011) Excluding access to invasion hubs can contain the spread of an invasive vertebrate.Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 278, 2900-2908.

Cupples J, Crowther M, Story G & Letnic M (2011) Dietary overlap and prey selectivity among sympatric carnivores: Could dingoes suppress foxes through competition for prey? Journal of Mammalogy 92, 590-600.

Russell B, Letnic, M & Fleming P (2011) Manipulating feral goat access to water in the rangelands. Rangeland Journal 33, 143-152.

Fukuda Y, Webb G, Manolis C, Delaney R, Letnic M, Lindner G & Whitehead P (2011) Recovery of saltwater crocodiles following unregulated hunting in tidal rivers of the Northern Territory, Australia. Journal of Wildlife Management 75, 1253-1266.

Letnic M, Crowther, MS, Dickman CR & Ritchie E (2011) Demonising the dingo: how much wild dogma is enough? Current Zoology 57, 668-670.

Letnic M, Greenville A, Denny E, Dickman CR, Tischler M, Gordon C & Koch F (2011)  Does a top predator suppress the abundance of an invasive mesopredator at a continental scale? Global Ecology and Biogeography 20, 343–353.

Walther B, Dempster T, Letnic M & McCulloch M (2011) Movements of diadromous fish in large unregulated tropical rivers inferred from geochemical tracers. PLoS One 6, e18351.

Letnic M, Carmody P & Burke J (2011) Problem crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) in the freshwater, Katherine River, Northern Territory, Australia. Australian Zoologist 35, 858-863.

Letnic M & Dickman CR (2010) Resource pulses and mammalian dynamics: conceptual models for hummock grasslands and other Australian desert habitats.Biological Reviews 85, 501-521.

Fillios MA, Gordon C, Koch F & Letnic M (2010) The effect of a top predator on kangaroo abundance in arid Australia and its implications for archaeological faunal assemblages. Journal of Archaeological Science 37, 986-993.

Letnic M & Koch F (2010) Are dingoes a trophic regulator in arid Australia? A comparison of mammal communities on either side of the dingo fence. Austral Ecology 35, 167-175.

Letnic M, Koch F, Gordon C, Crowther, MS & Dickman, CR (2009) Keystone effects of an alien top predator stem extinctions of native mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 276, 3249-3256.

Greenville AC, Dickman CR, Wardle GM & Letnic M (2009) The fire history of an arid grassland: the influence of antecedent rainfall and ENSO.  International Journal of Wildland Fire 18, 631-639.

Letnic M, Crowther MS & Koch, F (2009) Does a top-predator provide an endangered rodent with refuge from an invasive mesopredator? Animal Conservation 12, 302-312.

Letnic M, Webb JK & Shine RS (2008) Invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) cause mass mortality of freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) in tropical Australia. Biological Conservation 141, 1773-1782.

Letnic M (2008) A comparison of saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) populations in freshwater-floodplain and tidal river habitats of the Adelaide River catchment, Northern Territory. Applied Herpetology 5, 243-252.

Doody JS, Sims R & Letnic M (2007) Environmental manipulation to avoid a unique predator: drinking hole excavation in the agile wallaby, Macropus agilis. Ethology113,128-136.

Phillips P, Hauser P & Letnic M (2007) Displacement of Black Flying Foxes (Pteropus alecto) from Batchelor, Northern Territory. Australian Zoologist 13, 119-124.