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

off campus

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. 


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

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), 2010.

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), 2009.

A review of habitat selection by the swamp rat, Rattus lutreolus (Rodentia: Muridae)’,  Austral Ecology  32, 837–849, 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, 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, 2007

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, 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, 2005

Using faecal pellet counts along transects to estimate quokka (Setonix brachyurus) population density’, Wildlife Research 32: 503-507, 2005

Distribution of lizard species across edges delimiting open-forest and sand-mining areas’,  Austral Ecology  29: 188-200, 2005

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, 2004

In Memoriam: Marilyn Dale Fox  28 August – 20 October 2002. Austral Ecology  29: 483-488, 2001

Monitoring and assessment of restoration of a rainforest remnant at Wingham Brush, NSW’, Austral Ecology  29: 489-507, 2004

Interaction of multiple disturbances: importance of disturbance interval in the effects of fire on rehabilitating mined areas’, Austral Ecology  29: 508-529, 2004

Experimental manipulation of habitat structure: A retrogression of the small mammal succession’, J. Anim. Ecol. 72: 927-940, 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, 2003

Local population structure of a naturally occurring metapopulation of the quokka (Setonix brachyurus Macropodidae: Marsupialia)’, Biological Conservation 110: 343-355, 2003

Assembly rules and competition in desert rodents’American Naturalist  160: 815-818, 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, 2002

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, 2001

Disturbance effects from fire and mining produce different lizard communities in eastern Australian forests’, Austral Ecology  26: 193-204, 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, 2001

Assembly rules: desert rodent communities are structured at scales from local to continental’,  American Naturalist  156: 314-321, 2000

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

Behavioural mechanisms of competition in small dasyurid marsupials’, Aust. J. Zool. 48: 561-576, 2000

Habitat-dependent competition and the coexistence of Australian heathland rodents’,  Oikos 91: 294-306, 2000

Small mammal succession is determined by vegetation density rather than time elapsed since disturbance’, Austral Ecology 25: 580-87, 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, 2000

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, 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, 1999