Joe Fontaine  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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+618 9360 6075


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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.


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:



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.