Dr. Joe Fontaine

Lecturer, Environmental Science

About me

My interests are broad but are unified by an interest in doing ecological research with a strong applied angle.  Good examples include work on assessing bushfire threat and impact of shortened fire intervals in Western Australia or examining impacts of high-severity fire and post-fire management on forest development and wildlife in Western North America.  My work also includes investigation of the impacts of urbanisation on Mediterranean woodlands and methods, such as topsoil transfer, to restore some level of biodiversity to degraded urban reserves.

To learn more, check out these pages:





Teaching area

I am primarily responsible for Environmental Restoration (ENV334) and Advanced Research Methods (VLS683). Environmental Restoration is a third year capstone unit with a significant emphasis on field trips and facilitating interactions with professional practitioners. Research Methods engages with postgraduate students helping them to develop skills necessary to successfully undertake an independent research project.

I also help out with Ecology (ENV241) and guest lecture across several units. In particular, I participate in the annual week-long ecology fieldcamp in Jurien Bay every year.

Research areas

Fire Ecology and Management, Urban Ecology, Wildlife Science, Restoration Ecology

For more information, see


Current projects

See the webpage of the terrestrial ecology research group for more information:


Student Opportunities

This page will be updated periodically with potential student projects (honours, masters).  For additional information about the larger research group and its activities, see: http://www.murdoch.edu.au/Research-capabilities/Terrestrial-Ecology/



Fire Management.  Loss of homes during bushfires is a tragic outcome.  What are potential predictors of home loss at both the home (construction style, landscaping) and landscape scales (location in estate, proximity to natural vegetation, weather conditions)?  This is a GIS-intensive project that might be undertaken by an honours or master by coursework student.

Fire ecology.  How do plant species commonly planted in gardens and occurring in bushland areas differ in their flammability?  Collection of field samples followed by ignition testing may be used to estimate relative flammability of live foliage.  Outcomes of this research may help inform landscaping suggestions in fire-prone areas.

Restoration Ecology.  Our group is actively involved in a range of restoration projects in Banksia woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain.  A number of opportunities exist to work alongside our a PhD student on rehabilitation treatments including topsoil transfer, direct seeding, planting of greenstock to improve understanding of rehabilitation treatment options.

Wildlife Ecology. Two existing projects on urban birds and wildlife corridor use in the wheatbelt are ongoing with opportunities to work alongside PhD and MSc students.





  • Birnbaum, C., Bradshaw, L., Ruthrof, K., Fontaine, J., (2017), Topsoil stockpiling in restoration: impact of storage time on plant growth and symbiotic soil biota., Ecological Restoration, 35, 3, pages 237 - 245.
  • Eakin-Busher, E., Fontaine, J., Ladd, P., (2016), The bees don't know and the flowers don't care: the effect of heterospecific pollen on reproduction in co-occurring Thysanotus species (Asparagaceae) with similar flowers, Linnean Society. Botanical Journal, 181, 4, pages 640 - 650.
  • Hall, C., Bryant, K., Fontaine, J., Calver, M., (2016), Do collar-mounted predation deterrents restrict wandering in pet domestic cats?, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 176, , pages 96 - 104.
  • Campbell, J., Fontaine, J., Donato, D., (2016), Carbon emissions from decomposition of fire-killed trees following a large wildfire in Oregon, United States, Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, 3, pages 718 - 730.
  • Matusick, G., Ruthrof, K., Fontaine, J., Hardy, G., (2016), Eucalyptus forest shows low structural resistance and resilience to climate change-type drought, Journal of Vegetation Science: official organ of the international association for vegetation science, 27, 3, pages 493 - 503.
  • Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Campbell, J., (2016), Burning the legacy? Influence of wildfire reburnon dead wood dynamics in a temperate conifer forest, Ecosphere, 7, 5, pages -.
  • Campbell, J., Donato, D., Fontaine, J., (2016), Effects of post-fire logging on fuel dynamics in a mixed-conifer forest, Oregon, USA: a 10-year assessment, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25, 6, pages 646 - 656.
  • Ruthrof, K., Fontaine, J., Matusick, G., Breshears, D., Law, D., Powell, S., Hardy, G., (2016), How drought-induced forest die-off alters microclimate and increases fuel loadings and fire potentials, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 25, 8, pages 819 - 830.
  • Walden, L., Harper, R., Mendham, D., Henry, D., Fontaine, J., (2015), Eucalyptus reforestation induces soil water repellency, Soil Research, 53, 2, pages 168 - 177.
  • Fowler, W., Fontaine, J., Enright, N., Veber, W., (2015), Evaluating restoration potential of transferred topsoil, Applied Vegetation Science, 18, 3, pages 379 - 390.
  • Mikoláš, M., Svitok, M., Tejkal, M., Leitão, P., Morrissey, R., Svoboda, M., Seedre, M., Fontaine, J., (2015), Evaluating forest management intensity on an umbrella species: Capercaillie persistence in central Europe, Forest Ecology and Management, 354, , pages 26 - 34.
  • Clarke, P., Lawes, M., Murphy, B., Russell-Smith, J., Nano, C., Bradstock, R., Enright, N., Fontaine, J., Gosper, C., Radford, I., Midgley, J., Gunton, R., (2015), A synthesis of postfire recovery traits of woody plants in Australian ecosystems, Science of the Total Environment, 534, , pages 31 - 42.
  • Gower, K., Fontaine, J., Birnbaum, C., Enright, N., (2015), Sequential disturbance effects of hailstorm and fire on vegetation in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem, Ecosystems, 18, 7, pages 1121 - 1134.
  • Hall, C., Fontaine, J., Bryant, K., Calver, M., (2015), Assessing the effectiveness of the Birdsbesafe (R) anti-predation collar cover in reducing predation on wildlife by pet cats in Western Australia, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 173, , pages 40 - 51.
  • Craig, M., Stokes, V., Fontaine, J., Hardy, G., Grigg, A., Hobbs, R., (2015), Do state-and-transition models derived from vegetation succession also represent avian succession in restored mine pits?, Ecological Applications, 25, 7, pages 1790 - 1806.
  • Enright, N., Fontaine, J., Bowman, D., Bradstock, R., Williams, R., (2015), Interval squeeze: altered fire regimes and demographic responses interact to threaten woody species persistence as climate changes, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13, 5, pages 265 - 272.
  • Westcott, V., Enright, N., Miller, B., Fontaine, J., Lade, J., Lamont, B., (2014), Biomass and litter accumulation patterns in species-rich shrublands for fire hazard assessment, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23, 6, pages 860 - 871.
  • Enright, N., Fontaine, J., Lamont, B., Miller, B., Westcott, V., (2014), Resistance and resilience to changing climate and fire regime depend on plant functional traits, Journal of Ecology, 102, 6, pages 1572 - 1581.
  • Enright, N., Fontaine, J., (2014), Climate Change and the Management of Fire-Prone Vegetation in Southwest and Southeast Australia, Geographical Research, 52, 1, pages 34 - 44.
  • Ruthrof, K., Fontaine, J., Buizer, M., Matusick, G., McHenry, M., Hardy, G., (2013), Linking restoration outcomes with mechanism: the role of site preparation, fertilisation and revegetation timing relative to soil density and water content, Plant Ecology, 214, 8, pages 987 - 998.
  • Shackelford, N., Hobbs, R., Burgar, J., Erickson, T., Fontaine, J., Laliberte, E., Ramalho, C., Perring, M., Standish, R., (2013), Primed for change: Developing ecological restoration for the 21st century, Restoration Ecology, 21, 3, pages 297 - 304.
  • Calver, M., Fontaine, J., Linke, T., (2013), PUBLICATION MODELS IN A CHANGING ENVIRONMENT BIBLIOMETRIC ANALYSIS OF BOOKS AND BOOK CHAPTERS USING PUBLICATIONS BY SURREY BEATTY SONS, Pacific Conservation Biology: a journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region, 19, , pages 394 - 408.
  • Buma, B., Brown, C., Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Johnstone, J., (2013), The Impacts of Changing Disturbance Regimes on Serotinous Plant Populations and Communities, BioScience: organisms from molecules to the environment, 63, 11, pages 866 - 876.
  • Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Kauffman, J., Robinson, W., Law, B., (2013), Fuel mass and forest structure following stand-replacement fire and post-fire logging in a mixed-evergreen forest, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 22, 5, pages 652 - 666.
  • Buchalski, M., Fontaine, J., Heady, P., Hayes, J., Frick, W., (2013), Bat Response to Differing Fire Severity in Mixed-Conifer Forest California, USA, PLoS One, 8, 3, pages e57884 -.
  • Standish, R., Fontaine, J., Harris, R., Stock, W., Hobbs, R., (2012), Interactive effects of altered rainfall and simulated nitrogen deposition on seedling establishment in a global biodiversity hotspot, Oikos: a journal of ecology, 121, 12, pages 2014 - 2025.
  • Fontaine, J., Wescott, V., Enright, N., Lade, J., Miller, B., (2012), Fire behaviour in south-western Australian shrublands: evaluating the influence of fuel age and fire weather, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 21, 4, pages 385 - 395.
  • Stephens, S., McIver, J., Boerner, R., Fettig, C., Fontaine, J., Hartsough, B., Kennedy, P., Schwik, D., (2012), The effects of forest fuel-reduction treatments in the United States, BioScience: organisms from molecules to the environment, 62, 6, pages 549 - 560.
  • Craig, M., Hardy, G., Fontaine, J., Garkakalis, M., Grigg, A., Grant, C., Fleming, P., Hobbs, R., (2012), Identifying unidirectional and dynamic habitat filters to faunal recolonisation in restored mine-pits, Journal of Applied Ecology: ecology with management relevance, 49, 4, pages 919 - 928.
  • Fontaine, J., Kennedy, P., (2012), Meta-analysis of avian and small-mammal response to fire severity and fire surrogate treatments in U.S. fire-prone forests, Ecological Applications, 22, 5, pages 1547 - 1561.
  • Halofsky, J., Donato, D., Hibbs, J., Campbell, J., Donaghy Cannon, M., Fontaine, J., Thompson, J., Anthony, R., Bormann, B., Kayes, L., Law, B., Peterson, D., Spies, T., (2011), Mixed-severity fire regimes: lessons and hypothesesfrom the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion, Ecosphere, 2, 4, pages 1 - 19.
  • Enright, N., Fontaine, J., Westcott, V., Lade, J., Miller, B., (2011), Fire interval effects on persistence of resprouter species in Mediterranean-type shrublands, Plant Ecology, 212, 12, pages 2071 - 2083.
  • DeMars, C., Rosenberg, D., Fontaine, J., (2010), Multi-scale factors affecting bird use of isolated remnant oak trees in agro-ecosystems, Biological Conservation, 143, 6, pages 1485 - 1492.
  • Fontaine, J., Donato, D., Campbell, J., Martin, J., Law, B., (2010), Effects of post-fire logging on forest surface air temperatures in the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon, USA, Forestry: an international journal of forest research, 83, 5, pages 477 - 482.
  • Fontaine, J., Donato, D., Robinson, W., Law, B., Kauffman, J., (2009), Bird communities following high-severity fire: Response to single and repeat fires in a mixed-evergreen forest, Oregon USA, Forest Ecology and Management, 257, , pages 1496 - 1504.
  • Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Robinson, W., Kauffman, J., Law, B., (2009), Vegetation response to a short interval between high-severity wildfires in a mixed-evergreen forest, Journal of Ecology, 97, 1, pages 142 - 154.
  • Donato, D., Campbell, J., Fontaine, J., Law, B., (2009), Quantifying char in postfire woody detritus inventories, Fire Ecology, 5, 2, pages 104 - 115.
  • Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Robinson, W., Kauffman, J., Law, B., (2009), Conifer regeneration in stand-replacement portions of a landscape-scale mixed-severity wildfire, Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 39, , pages 823 - 838.
  • Donato, D., Fontaine, J., Campbell, J., Robinson, W., Kauffman, J., Law, B., (2006), Post-wildfire logging hinders regeneration and increases fire risk, Science, 311, , pages 352 - 352.
  • Haig, S., Beever, E., Chambers, S., Draheim, H., Dugger, B., Dunham, S., Elliott-Smith, E., Fontaine, J., Kesler, D., Knaus, B., Lopes, I., Loschl, P., Mullins, T., Sheffield, L., (2006), Taxonomic considerations in listing subspecies under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Conservation Biology, 20, , pages 1584 - 1594.




Kennedy, P.L., J.B. Fontaine. 2009. Synthesis of knowledge on the effects of fire and fire surrogates on wildlife in US dry forests. Oregon State University Special Report 1096.

Wheelwright, N.T., E.E. Dukeshire, J.B. Fontaine, S.H. Gutow, D.A. Moeller, J.G. Schuetz, T.M. Smith, S.L. Rodgers, A.G. Zink. 2006. Pollinator limitation, autogamy and minimal inbreeding depression in insect-pollinated plants on a boreal island. American Midland Naturalist 155:19-38

Donato, D.C., J.B. Fontaine, J.L. Campbell, W.D. Robinson, J.B. Kauffman, B.E. Law. 2006.  Response to comments on ‘Post-wildfire logging hinders regeneration and increases fire risk’.  Science 313:615c