Hi ,

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne under the supervision of Professor Mark Burgman (CEBRA) and Dr. Terry Walshe (AIMS) .  I started in October 2014.  I’m interested in the use of expert opinion within ecological decision-making. My PhD research involves exploring a method developed by Roger Cooke for the selection and elicitation of experts in engineering, and applying it to ecologists.

Prior to undertaking my PhD, I completed honours on Gabo Island, Victoria, where I developed an adaptive management trial for cattle in relation to a large colony of Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor).   Should we remove the cattle? The trial ran for six years and was completed in November 2014. Watch this space for a paper.

After completing honours, I worked as a consultant botanist and environmental scientist for five years.  In this role, I undertook a large number projects ranging from vegetation surveys, to the development of monitoring and management plans. Clients included a number of Victorian and NSW water authorities and Catchment Management Authorities, Parks Victoria, NSW Natural Resources Commission, the Australian Department of Defence, and the Port of Hastings Authority.  This work provided me with invaluable experience in vegetation survey, monitoring design, data analysis, risk assessment and decision making under uncertainty. It also planted a number of questions in my mind about the selection and use of experts in environmental science.  These questions led to me leaving my job, returning to full time study and dedicating my PhD research to finding answers.

At the end of my current research I hope to be able to demonstrate how widely we rely on expert opinion, tell you how you should pick an expert, how to elicit them, and how to analyse their judgements to inform your decision.  But for now, I’m investigating what has been done in expert judgement as part of my literature review.

Have some questions or thoughts? You can contact me at hemmingv@student.unimelb.edu.au


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