Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Associate Professor Skye Wassens

Associate Professor Skye Wassens

BAppSci(Hons) CSU, PhD CSU

Associate Professor Skye Wassens is an internationally recognised ecologist specialising in the ecology and conservation of wetland dependant fauna and ecological responses to environmental flows. Her research on the responses of amphibians to environmental flooding and amphibian water requirements has lead the way for the inclusion of amphibians into environmental flooding programs throughout the Murray-Darling Basin. Her research wetland depend frogs currently underpins environmental flooding strategies in the Lowbidgee floodplain and Yanga National Park, the Murrumbidgee Water Sharing Plan and management of wetlands in the Mid Lachlan River. She currently leads major multidisciplinary field based research projects focus on the evaluation of ecological outcomes to environmental flows as well as projects focused on amphibian dispersal, tadpole ecology, the relationship between native and introduced freshwater fish and amphibian recruitment during wetland flooding, temporal activity patterns of wetland dependant frogs and large scale drivers of amphibian habitat occupancy in regulated rivers and floodplain wetlands.

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Current Subjects Taught
  • BIO216 Conservation Biology
  • BIO312 Landscape Ecology
  • ENM422  Environmental Impact Assessment and Auditing

Areas of Expertise

  • Flow ecology relationships
  • Amphibian ecology and conservation within regulated wetland systems
  • Environmental watering
  • Ecological monitoring
PhD students
  • Carmen Amos
  • Kendal Krause
  • Amelia Walcott
  • Sarah Talbot

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RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

External grants (last 5 years)

Chief investigators

Title of grant

Granting agency and type of grant

Year, amount of grant (rounded)

Wassens, Jenkins, Spencer, et al

Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project - Stage 2 - Murrumbidgee River System

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2014-2019

3.6M

Wassens, Jenkins, Spencer, et al

Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project - Stage 1 - Murrumbidgee River System

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2013-14

162 K

Wassens, Jenkins, Spencer, et al

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2013-14 to the Murrumbidgee River

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2013-14

700K

Watts, Kopf, Wassens et al.

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Edward Wakool river system

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2012-13

900K

Wassens

SDL Adjustment Ecological Elements Development Project

CSIRO

2013-8K

Wassens, Luck

Frog communities of the Mid and Lower Lachlan River

NSW OEH

2012

13K

Wassens, Hall

Assessment of the status of Southern bell frogs in the Lower Murrumbidgee after major flooding from 2010-12

NSW OEH

2012-13

15K

Wassens, Singh

Response of freshwater turtles to altered flow regimes in floodplain wetlands - CSIRO PhD Scholarship - Kylie Singh ILWS

CSIRO

2012-15

39K

Wassens, Jenkins, Spencer, Watts et al

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee River

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2012-13

816K

Watts, Kopf, Wassens, Howitt, Zander et al.

Monitoring the Ecological Response of Commonwealth Environmental Water in the Edward-Wakool Delivered in 11 – 12

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2012

200K

Wassens, Watts, Howitt, Zander and Hall

Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

2011-92K

2012-80K

Wassens

Assessing the resilience of frog communities to periods of extreme drought in river red gum forests of the Murrumbidgee river

Department of Environment and Climate Change

2010-10K

2011-10K

Watts, Finlayson, Wassens, Humphries

"Ecological Response to Altered Flow Regimes" under the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship:

CSIRO

2010-160K

2011-160K

2012-160K

Wilson, Wassens et al

Farm Focus Wetland Study

Murrumbidgee CMA

2009-115K

2010-114K

Wassens, Wilson

Identification of hydrological and habitat requirements to maintain viable Southern Bell Frog populations (Phase 2)

Department of Environment and Climate Change

2008-15K

2009-30K

2010-10K

2011-15K

Wassens

Review of the impacts of fire on the ecology and population persistence of the Purple Copper Butterfly (Paralucia spinifera)

Department of Environment and Climate Change

2008 - 4K

Wassens, Watts

Identification of hydrological and habitat requirements to maintain viable Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) populations (Phase 1)

Department of Environment and Climate Change

2007-14K

2008-14K

Wassens, Watts

Optimising frog breeding responses to flooding in managed wetlands.

Murray Wetlands Working Group

2007-22K

2008-45K

2009-22K

Wassens, Watts

Assessing the diversity, abundance and hydrological requirements of frog populations in anabranch creeks of the mid-Lachlan River.

Department of Environment and Climate Change

2007-23K

Most relevant publications and reports (last 5 years)

Book Chapters

Wassens, S (2010) Frogs. In Water requirements of biota in the Murray Darling Basin (eds Rogers, K and Ralph, T.) CSIRO Publishing Canberra. Chapter 5, pp. 253-274

Wassens S. (2010) Flooding regimes for frogs in lowland rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin  In: Ecosystem Response Modelling in the Murray-Darling Basin (eds N. Saintilann and I. C. Overton). CSIRO Publishing Canberra. Chapter 14, pp.  215-229

Wassens, S., 2006. Frog communities of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area, NSW In Taylor, I. R., P. A. Murray & S. G. Taylor (eds.), Wetlands of the Murrumbidgee River Catchment: Practical Management in an Altered Environment. Fivebough and Tuckerbil Wetlands Trust, Leeton, NSW: 86-95.

Refereed journals

Talbot, S., Freire, R. and Wassens, S. (2014). "Effect of captivity and management on behaviour of the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo)." Applied Animal Behaviour Science 151(0): 94-101.

McDonald, P. J., Luck, G. W., Pavey, C. R. and Wassens, S. (2013). "Body sizes, activity patterns and habitat relationships of the orange-naped snake (Furina ornata) (Serpentes : Elapidae) in the MacDonnell Ranges, Northern Territory." Australian Journal of Zoology 61(2): 132-136.

Wassens, S., Walcott, A., Wilson, A. and Freire, R. (2013). "Frog breeding in rain-fed wetlands after a period of severe drought: implications for predicting the impacts of climate change." Hydrobiologia 708(1): 69-80.

McDonald, P. J., Luck, G. W., Pavey, C. R. and Wassens, S. (2012). "Importance of fire in influencing the occurrence of snakes in an upland region of arid Australia." Austral Ecology 37(7): 855-864.

Wassens S., Maher M. (2011) River regulation influences the composition and distribution of inland frog communities. River Research and Applications 27:238-246. DOI: 10.1002/rra.1347.

Smallbone L.T., Luck G.W., Wassens S. (2011) Anuran species in urban landscapes: Relationships with biophysical, built environment and socio-economic factors. Landscape and Urban Planning 101:43-51.

Wassens S., Hall A., Osborne W., Watts R.J. (2010) Habitat characteristics predict occupancy patterns of the endangered amphibian Litoria raniformis in flow-regulated flood plain wetlands. Austral Ecology 35:944-955. DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2010.02106.x.

Car C. & Wassens S. (2009) Getting the most out of arthropod biodiversity surveys: a comparison of survey techniques and taxonomic groups General and Applied Entomology 38, 31-35.

Wassens S. (2008) Review of the past distribution and decline of the southern bell frog Litoria raniformis in New South Wales. Australian Zoologist 34, 446-452.

Wassens, S., Watts, R. J., Jansen, A. & Roshier, D. (2008) Movement patterns of Southern Bell Frogs (Litoria raniformis) in response to flooding. Wildlife Research, 35, 50 - 58.

Wassens, S., Roshier, D. A., Watts, R. J. & Robertson, A. I. (2007) Spatial patterns of a Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) population in an agricultural landscape. Pacific Conservation Biology, 13, 104-110.

Refereed technical reports commissioned by government and other agencies

Wassens, S., Jenkins, K., Spencer, J., Thiem, J., Kobyashi, T., Bino, G., Lenon, E., Thomas, R., Baumgartner, L., Brandis, K., Wolfenden, B. and Hall, A. (2014). Murrumbidgee Monitoring and Evaluation Plan Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia

Wassens, S., Jenkins, K., Spencer, J., Wolfenden, B., Ocock, J., Thiem, J. D., Lenon, E., Kobayashi, T., Bino, G., Thomas, R., Baumgartner, L. and Hall , A. (2014). Monitoring and evaluating ecological responses to Commonwealth environmental water use in the Murrumbidgee River Valley, in 2013-14. Draft, Report 1 to Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder. Canberra, Albury, Commonwealth Environmental Water Office and Charles Sturt University

Wassens, S. B., J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Spencer, J., Watts, R. J., Kobayashi, T., Iles, J., Baumgartner, L., Thomas, R. and Hall, A. (2013). Monitoring the ecosystem responses to Commonwealth environmental water delivered to the Murrumbidgee River and connected wetlands, 2012-13. Report 2. Prepared for Commonwealth Environmental Water. Albury, Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University.

Wassens, S., Spencer, J. and Lenon, E. (2013). Assessment of the status of Southern bell frogs in the Lower Murrumbidgee after major flooding in 2010-12. Albury and Sydney, Institute for Land, Water and Society and Office of Environment and Heritage.

Wassens, S., Bindokas, J., Jenkins, K., Lenon, E., Spencer, J., Watts, R. J., Kobyashi, T., Iles, J., Baumgartner, L., Thomas, R. and Hall, A. (2013). Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2012-13 to the Murrumbidgee River. Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia 2013.

Amos, C., Wassens, S. and Luck, G. (2013). Assessment of post-flood recovery of frog populations in the Lachlan catchment. Albury - Wodonga., Institute of Land and Water Society, Charles Sturt University.

Wassens, S., R. J. Watts, J. A. Spencer, J. Howitt, N. A. McCasker, V. Griese, A. Burns, R. Croft, A. Zander, C. Amos and A. Hall (2012). Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. Albury, Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University.

Wassens, S. and J. A. Spencer (2012). Monitoring of ecosystem responses to a major natural flood in Autumn 2012Albury, Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University for Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Wassens, S. Watts, R., Howitt, J., Spencer, J., Zander, A. and Hall, A. (2011) Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Murrumbidgee system. Report 1 to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Institute of land, Water and Society.

Wassens, S. & C. Amos, 2011, Assessing the resilience of frog communities within River Red Gum forest. Report to New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney.

Spencer J.A., Thomas R., Wassens S., Lu Y., Wen L., Iles J., Kobayashi Y., Hunter S., Ling J., Saintilan N. (2010) Environmental flow monitoring in the Lowbidgee wetlands and Macquarie Marshes in 2009-10. Testing wetland resilience: monitoring the response of iconic wetlands to re-flooding following historic drought project. NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Sydney.

Spencer J. A. & Wassens S. (2010) Responses of waterbirds, fish and frogs to environmental flows in the Lowbidgee wetlands in 2008-10.  Final report for the NSW Rivers Environmental Restoration Program. Rivers and Wetland Unit, DECCW Sydney.

Wassens, S., Healey, S. & Watts (2010) Optimising frog breeding responses to flooding in managed wetlands (II) frog distributions through the Murray Floodplain. Final report for the NSW DECCW, Albury

Wassens S., Healy S. & Watts R. (2009) Optimising frog breeding responses to flooding in managed wetlands (i) Temporal activity pattern and selection of breeding sites. Department of Environment and Climate Change, Albury.

Spencer J. A. & Wassens S. (2009) Responses of waterbirds, fish and frogs to environmental flows in the Lowbidgee wetlands in 2008-09.  Final report for the NSW Rivers Environmental Restoration Program. Rivers and Wetland Unit, Sydney.

Wassens, S., Arnaiz, O.L., Healy, S., Watts, R. and Maguire, J. (2008) Hydrological and habitat requirements to maintain viable Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) populations on the Lowbidgee floodplain- Phase 1. Department of Environment and Climate Change.

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