Professor Barry Fox
Professorial Visiting Fellow
Contact details:
+61 2 4944 9710

off campus

Research & Current Projects


I retired from teaching at UNSW in mid 2001 and now live in Newcastle , but, I remain actively interested in research as a Visiting Professor. I am continuing to write up the results of research projects with colleagues and particularly with previous research students who now have teaching and research positions at other universities.  The main focus of this research has been on trying to improve our understanding of habitat use and experimental manipulations of habitat to illuminate the mechanisms involved.

My research has been conducted from two main locations: the School of Biological Science's Smiths Lake Field Station and the Hunter Water Corporation's catchment at Tomago Sandbeds, and encompasses the following topics.

Disturbance Ecology:

- studies of rehabilitation on areas following sand mining for heavy minerals, and also the effects of fluoride fallout from aluminium smelters;

- studies of habitat fragmentation and edge effects in forest and heath habitats, particularly those subject to disturbance events above.

Fire Ecology:

- the effects of wildfire and intentional burning on plant and animal communities, particularly with respect to the frequency component of the fire regime.

Community Ecology:

- a wide range of topics: competition, habitat selection, species packing and succession.

Assembly Rules:

- development of assembly rules for species occupying 'favoured states', following the initial studies of Jared Diamond. Refining models for desert rodent communities published with Jim Brown and Doug Kelt.



Writing-up results from previous research in my lab together with  current review papers.  Collaborating with some of my previous postgraduate students as well as researchers from California and Alaska analysing data from studies of interspecific competition and community structure.


Research Students


Vaughan Monamy  (PhD - 1998) - Native rodent distributions along successional gradients: the role of plant cover in structuring a small mammal community.

Mathew Hayward (PhD - 2002) - Ecology of the quokka.

Jennifer Taylor (PhD - 2004) - Mechanisms of coexistence in the sympatric lizards, Ctenotus robustus and Ctenotus taeniolatus  (Scincidae) on the sand-mined coastal dunes of Port Stephens-Myall Lakes.

Karen Ross (PhD - 2005) - Effects of fragmentation and disturbance on a eucalypt open-forest plant community in south-eastern Australia.



Fox BJ, 2011, ‘Review of small mammal trophic structure in drylands: resource availability, use, and disturbance’,  Journal of Mammalogy  92: 1179–1192.

Monamy V; Fox BJ, 2010, ‘Responses of two species of heathland rodent to habitat manipulation: vegetation density thresholds and the habitat accommodation model’, Austral Ecology 35, 334-347.(Published Online: Oct 19 2009 6:28AM).

Ritchie EG; Martin JK; Johnson CN; Fox BJ, 2009, ‘Separating the influences of environment and species interactions on patterns of distribution and abundance: competition between large herbivores’, Journal of Animal Ecology 78: 724-31.(Published Online:  23 Jan 2009).

Fox BJ; Monamy V, 2007, ‘A review of habitat selection by the swamp rat, Rattus lutreolus (Rodentia: Muridae)’,  Austral Ecology  32, 837–849.

Fox BJ , 2007, ‘Eastern Chestnut Mouse Pseudomys gracilicaudatus.’  Pp 634-5  In "The mammals of Australia" ed by S Van Dyck, R Strahan. New Holland Publishers, Sydney.

Fox BJ, 2007, ‘Common Dunnart Sminthopsis murina’, In "The mammals of Australia" ed by S Van Dyck, R Strahan. New Holland Publishers, Sydney, Australia, pp 153-4.

Sanders MG; Filewood LW; FoxBJ, 2005, ‘Differential use of habitat aids local coexistence of three species of wrens (Maluridae) and the White-browed Scrubwren. Sericornis  frontalis: Pardalotidae in Myall Lakes National Park’, Australian Zoologist 33: 223-232.

Monamy V; Fox BJ, 2005 ‘Differential habitat use by a local population of sub-adult the Common Dunnart Sminthopsis murina following wildfire in coastal wet heath, New South Wales, Australia’, Wildlife Research 32: 617-624.

Hayward MW; de Tores PJ; Dillon MJ; Fox BJ; Banks PB, 2005, ‘Using faecal pellet counts along transects to estimate quokka (Setonix brachyurus) population density’, Wildlife Research 32: 503-507.

Bragg JG; Taylor JE; Fox BJ, 2005, ‘Distribution of lizard species across edges delimiting open-forest and sand-mining areas’,  Austral Ecology  29: 188-200.

Hayward MW; de Tores PJ; Augee ML; Fox BJ; Banks PB, 2004, ‘Home range and movements of the quokka Setonix brachyurus (Macropodidae: Marsupialia) on the viability of the metapopulation on the Australian mainland’, J. Zool. Lond 263: 219-228.

Fox BJ, 2004, ‘In Memoriam: Marilyn Dale Fox  28 August – 20 October 2002. Austral Ecology  29: 483-488.

Harden  GJ; FoxMD; FoxBJ, 2004, ‘Monitoring and assessment of restoration of a rainforest remnant at Wingham Brush, NSW’, Austral Ecology  29: 489-507.

Ross KA; Taylor JE; Fox MD; Fox BJ, 2004; ‘Interaction of multiple disturbances: importance of disturbance interval in the effects of fire on rehabilitating mined areas’, Austral Ecology  29: 508-529.

Fox BJ; Taylor JE; Thompson PT, 2003, ‘Experimental manipulation of habitat structure: A retrogression of the small mammal succession’, J. Anim. Ecol. 72: 927-940.

Fox BJ; Fox MD 2003, ‘Review of Flammable Australia : The Fire Regimes and Biodiversity of a Continent (eds R.A. Bradstock, J.E. Williams & M.A. Gill)’. The Quarterly Review of Biology 78: 247.

Hayward MW; de Tores PJ; Dillon MJ; Fox BJ, 2003, ‘Local population structure of a naturally occurring metapopulation of the quokka (Setonix brachyurus Macropodidae: Marsupialia)’, Biological Conservation 110: 343-355

Brown JH; Kelt DA; Fox BJ 2002, ‘Assembly rules and competition in desert rodents’,  American Naturalist  160: 815-818.

Ross KA; Fox BJ; Fox MD 2002, ‘Changes to plant species richness in forest fragments: fragment age, disturbance and fire history may be as important as area’, Journal of Biogeography, 29, 749-765.

Taylor JE; Fox BJ, 2001, ‘Assessing the disturbance impact on vegetation and lizard communities of fluoride pollution interacting with fire and mining in eastern Australia’, Austral Ecology  26: 321-37.

Taylor JE; Fox BJ, 2001, ‘Disturbance effects from fire and mining produce different lizard communities in eastern Australian forests’, Austral Ecology  26: 193-204.

Jefferys EA; Fox BJ, 2001, ‘The diet of the Pilliga mouse Pseudomys pilligaensis (Rodentia: Muridae) from the Pilliga Scrub, Northern New South Wales’, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 123, 89-99.

Brown JH; Fox BJ; Kelt DA, 2000, ‘Assembly rules: desert rodent communities are structured at scales from local to continental’,  American Naturalist  156: 314-321.

Knight  EH; Fox BJ, 2000, ‘Does habitat structure mediate the effects of forest fragmentation and human-induced disturbance on Antechinus stuartii abundance’, Aust. J. Zool. 48: 577-595.

Righetti J; Fox BJ; Croft DB, 2000, ‘Behavioural mechanisms of competition in small dasyurid marsupials’, Aust. J. Zool. 48: 561-576.

Morris DW; Fox BJ; Luo J; Monamy V, 2000, ‘Habitat-dependent competition and the coexistence of Australian heathland rodents’,  Oikos 91: 294-306.

Monamy V; Fox BJ, 2000, ‘Small mammal succession is determined by vegetation density rather than time elapsed since disturbance’, Austral Ecology 25: 580-87.

Fox BJ; Fox MD, 2000, ‘Factors determining mammal species richness on habitat islands and isolates: habitat diversity, disturbance, species interactions and guild assembly rules’,  Global Ecology and Biogeography  9: 19-37.

Fox BJ, 1999,  ‘The genesis and development of guild assembly rules for guilds’ In: "The search for assembly rules in ecological communities"  ed.  by Evan Weiher and Paul Keddy.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K., pp 23-57.

Monamy V; Fox BJ, 1999, ‘Habitat selection by female swamp rats (Rattus lutreolus) drives asymmetric competition and coexistence with long-tailed mice (Pseudomys higginsi)’,  J. Mammalogy  80: 232-242.