Professor Mike Letnic
Field of Research: 
Ecology, wildlife management, conservation biology
Contact details:
+61 2 9385 2079
Room 5112, Level 5
Biological Sciences South (E26)

UNSW, Kensington 2052

My research is focused on the conservation, management and restoration of ecosystems. I am currently investigating new approaches to improve the outcomes of threatened species reintroductions, the utility of rewilding as an approach for ecosystem restoration, the role that top predators play in sustaining biodiversity and managing the impacts of introduced species including feral cats, foxes, feral goats and cane toads.

In the Media:
  • BIOS3601 Advanced Field Biology (Course Coordinator)


Shrub encroachment in an arid landscape is linked to extirpation of an apex predator. Journal of Animal Ecology 86, 147-157. 2017

Deep evolutionary experience explains mammalian responses to predators. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology (in press)

Harnessing natural selection to tackle the problem of prey naïveté. Evolutionary Applications 9, 334-343. 2015

Functional extinction of a desert rodent: implications for seed fate and vegetation dynamics.  Ecography. 10.1111/ecog.01648. 2015

Reintroduction of Tasmanian devils to mainland Australia can restore top-down control in ecosystems where dingoes have been extirpated. Biological Conservation 191, 428-435. 2015

Mesopredator suppression by an apex predator alleviates the risk of predation perceived by small prey Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 282, 20142870.2015

Interference competition: odours of an apex predator and conspecifics influence resource acquisition by red foxes. Oecologia 179, 1033-1040. 2015

Restricting access to invasion hubs enables sustained control of an invasive vertebrate. Journal of Applied Ecology 52,341-347. 2015

Correlates of recent declines of rodents in northern and southern Australia: habitat structure is critical. Plos One 10, e0130626 2015

Resolving the value of the dingo in ecological restoration. Ecological Restoration 23, 201-208. 2015

Invasive cane toads’ predatory impact on dung beetles is mediated by reservoir type at artificial water points.  Ecosystems 18,826-838. 2015

Response to commentary by Woinarski (Critical-weight-range marsupials in northern Australia are declining: a commentary on (Fisher et al., 2014). The current decline of tropical marsupials in Australia: is history repeating? Global Ecology and Biogeography 24, 123-125 2015

Lethal control of an apex predator has unintended cascading effects on forest mammal assemblages. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B  281, 20133094. 2014

Behavioural flexibility allows an invasive vertebrate to survive in a semi-arid environment. Biology Letters 20131014. 2014

An updated description of the Australian Dingo (Canis dingo, Meyer, 1793). Journal of Zoology293, 192-203. 2014

Artificial water points facilitate the spread of an invasive vertebrate in arid Australia. Journal of Applied Ecology 51, 795-803. 2014

Fire type and hemisphere determine fire effects on alpha and beta diversity of vertebrates: A global meta-analysis. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23, 1146-1156. 2014

Status and ecological effects of the world's largest carnivores. Science 343,124184-1241484. 2014

Desert small mammal responses to wildfire and predation in the aftermath of a La Nińa driven resource pulse.  Austral Ecology38, 841-849. 2013

The historical and current decline of tropical marsupials in Australia. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23, 181-190. 2014

Could direct killing by larger dingoes have caused the extinction of the thylacine from mainland Australia? PLos One 7, e34e877. 2012

Ecosystem restoration with teeth: what role for predators? Trends in Ecology and Evolution27, 265-271. 2012

Top predators as biodiversity regulators: the dingo Canis lupus dingo as a case study. Biological Reviews 87, 390-413. 2012

Burning for biodiversity or burning biodiversity? Prescribed burning vs wildfire impacts on plants, lizards and mammals. Ecological Applications21, 3238-3253. 2011

Does a top predator reduce the predatory impact of an invasive mesopredator on an endangered rodent? Ecography 34, 827-835. 2011

Excluding access to invasion hubs can contain the spread of an invasive vertebrate. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B278, 2900-2908. 2011

Does a top predator suppress the abundance of an invasive mesopredator at a continental scale? Global Ecology and Biogeography 20, 343–353. 2011

Resource pulses and mammalian dynamics: conceptual models for hummock grasslands and other Australian desert habitats. Biological Reviews 85, 501-521. 2010

Keystone effects of an alien top predator stem extinctions of native mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B276, 3249-3256. 2009

Invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) cause mass mortality of freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnstoni) in tropical Australia. Biological Conservation 141, 1773-1782. 2008

Changes in the distribution and abundance of saltwater crocodiles, Crocodylus porosus, in the upstream, freshwater reaches of rivers in the Northern Territory, Australia. Wildlife Research 33, 529-538. 2006

Boom means bust: interactions between the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), rainfall and the processes threatening mammal species in arid Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation15, 3847–3880. 2006

The responses of mammals to La Nina (El Nino Southern Oscillation) - associated rainfall, predation and wildfire in central Australia. Journal of Mammalogy 86, 689-703. 2005

The responses of small mammals and lizards to fire and rainfall in arid Australia. Journal of Arid Environments 59, 85-114. 2004

Dispossession, degradation and extinction: environmental history in arid Australia. Biodiversity and Conservation 9, 295-308. 2000