Doctor Ricky Spencer

Doctor Ricky Spencer

Associate Professor in Ecology,
Natural Science (SoSH)

Biography

  • Dr Ricky Spencer is The head of WildLab and  Senior Lecturer of Zoology at UWS. (Facebook:Wildlab)
  • Ricky is a member of the School of Science and Health, as well as a member of the Hawkesbury Institute.  
  • Prior to beginning at UWS, Ricky was a Senior Research Scientist for a Pestat within the Invasive Animals CRC, conducting research and development as part of a $3.18 million project to develop new vertebrate pest control methodologies, specifically using PAPP\
  • Ricky completed his PhD in 2001 was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Qld (Fire Ecology on Fraser Island); Iowa State University (Temperature dependent Sex Determination in turtles (TSD) and his PhD research investigated the impact of foxes on freshwater turtle populations of the Murray River.
  • Ricky has spent 15 years actively working on vertebrate pests and major current projects include an ARC Linkage Project on the 'Turtle Crisis' in the Murray River, as well as evaluating optimal fox management strategies for managing nest predation on turtles and water birds.
  • Ricky is also the manager of TurtleSAT and WomSAT, two community mapping Citizen Science projects. (Facebook: TurtleSAT)
  • Ricky strives for active engagement with communities and management agencies to ensure best practice research is integrated to its full potential.

PLEASE CHECK THE WildLab HOME PAGE FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION

This information has been contributed by Doctor Spencer.

Qualifications

  • PhD University of Sydney
  • BSc University of Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • TurtleSAT Manager (2014 - 2014)
  • WildLab Manager (1910)

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Natural Science (SoSH)

Contact

Email: R.Spencer@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 4570 1962
Mobile:
Location: M15.G.47
Hawkesbury
Website:

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Teaching

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300878 Animal Behaviour, 2014
  • 300909 Biological Adaptation to Climate Change, 2014
  • 300913 Field Project 1, 2014
  • 300914 Field Project 2, 2014

Publications

Chapters in Books

  • Loudon, F. and Spencer, R. (2012), 'Applying theories of life history and ageing to predict the adaptive response of Murray River turtles to climate change and habitat modification', Wildlife and Climate Change : towards Robust Conservation Strategies for Australian Fauna, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 9780980327250.

Journal Articles

  • Dormer, J., Old, J., Van Dyke, J. and Spencer, R. (2016), 'Incubation temperature affects development order of morphological features and staging criteria in turtle embryos', Journal of Zoology, vol 299, no 4 , pp 284 - 294.
  • Spencer, R., Van Dyke, J. and Thompson, M. (2016), '[In Press] The ethological trap : functional and numerical responses of highly efficient invasive predators driving prey extinctions', Ecological Applications, .
  • McGlashan, J., Loudon, F., Thompson, M. and Spencer, R. (2015), 'Hatching behavior of eastern long-necked turtles (Chelodina longicollis) : the influence of asynchronous environments on embryonic heart rate and phenotype', Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, vol 188 , pp 58 - 64.
  • Old, J., Spencer, R. and Wolfenden, J. (2014), 'The Common Myna (Sturnus tristis) in urban, rural and semi-rural areas in Greater Sydney and its surrounds', Emu, vol 114, no 3 , pp 241 - 248.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2014), 'A novel hypothesis for the adaptive maintenance of environmental sex determination in a turtle', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 281, no 1789 .
  • Spencer, R., Georges, A., Lim, D., Welsh, M. and Reid, A. (2014), 'The risk of inter-specific competition in Australian short-necked turtles', Ecological Research, vol 29, no 4 , pp 767 - 777.
  • Loudon, F., Spencer, R., Strassmeyer, A. and Harland, K. (2013), 'Metabolic circadian rhythms in embryonic turtles', Integrative & Comparative Biology, vol 53, no 1 , pp 175 - 182.
  • Blamires, S. and Spencer, R. (2013), 'Influence of habitat and predation on population dynamics of the freshwater turtle Myuchelys georgesi', Herpetologica, vol 69, no 1 , pp 46 - 57.
  • McGlashan, J., Spencer, R. and Old, J. (2012), 'Embryonic communication in the nest : metabolic responses of reptilian embryos to developmental rates of siblings', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 279, no 1734 , pp 1709 - 1715.
  • Spencer, R. (2012), 'Embryonic heart rate and hatching behavior of a solitary nesting turtle', Journal of Zoology, vol 287, no 3 , pp 169 - 174.
  • Old, J. and Spencer, R. (2011), 'Development of online learning activities to enhance student knowledge of animal behaviour prior to engaging in live animal handling practical sessions', Open Journal of Animal Sciences, vol 1, no 2 , pp 65 - 76.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2011), 'Hatching Behavior in Turtles', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 51, no 1 , pp 100 - 110.
  • Pascoe, J., Mulley, R., Spencer, R. and Chapple, R. (2011), 'Diet analysis of mammals, raptors and reptiles in a complex predator assemblage in the Blue Mountains, eastern Australia', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 59, no 5 , pp 295 - 301.
  • Georges, A., Spencer, R., Welsh, M., Shaffer, H., Walsh, R. and Zhang, X. (2011), 'Application of the precautionary principle to taxa of uncertain status : the case of the Bellinger River turtle', Endangered Species Research, vol 14, no 2 , pp 127 - 134.
  • Colbert, P., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Mechanism and cost of synchronous hatching', Functional Ecology, vol 24, no 1 , pp 112 - 121.
  • Schwanz, L., Spencer, R., Bowden, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Climate and predation dominate juvenile and adult recruitment in a turtle with temperature-dependent sex determination', Ecology, vol 91, no 10 , pp 3016 - 3026.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Demographic consequences of adaptive growth and the ramifications for conservation of long-lived organisms', Biological Conservation, vol 143, no 9 , pp 1951 - 1959.
  • Schwanz, L., Bowden, R., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2009), 'Nesting ecology and offspring recruitment in a long-lived turtle: Ecological Archives E090-119', Ecology, vol 90, no 6 , pp 1709 - 1709.
  • Spencer, R. and Baxter, G. (2006), 'Effects of fire on the structure and composition of open eucalypt forests', Austral Ecology, vol 31, no 5 , pp 638 - 646.
  • Spencer, R., Janzen, F. and Thompson, M. (2006), 'Counterintuitive density-dependent growth in a long-lived vertebrate after removal of nest predators', Ecology, vol 87, no 12 , pp 3109 - 3118.
  • Spencer, R. and Thompson, M. (2005), 'Experimental analysis of the impact of foxes on freshwater turtle populations', Conservation Biology, vol 19, no 3 , pp 845 - 854.
  • Fuller, S., Bull, C., Murray, K. and Spencer, R. (2005), 'Clustering of related individuals in a population of the Australian lizard, Egernia frerei.', Molecular Ecology, vol 14 , pp 1207 - 1213.
  • Spencer, R., Cavanough, V., Baxter, J. and Kennedy, M. (2005), 'Adult free zones in small mammal populations: Response of Australian native rodents to reduced cover', Austral Ecology, vol 30, no 8 , pp 868 - 876.
  • Blamires, S., Spencer, R., King, P. and Thompson, M. (2005), 'Population parameters and life-table analysis of two coexisting freshwater turtles: Are the Bellinger River turtle populations threatened?', Wildlife Research, vol 32, no 4 , pp 339 - 347.
  • Bowen, K., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2005), 'A comparative study of environmental factors that affect nesting in Australian and North American freshwater turtles', Journal of Zoology, vol 267, no 4 , pp 397 - 404.
  • Spencer, R. and Thompson, M. (2003), 'The significance of predation in nest site selection of turtles: An experimental consideration of macro- and microhabitat preferences', Oikos, vol 102, no 3 , pp 592 - 600.
  • Kennedy, M., Spencer, R. and Baxter, G. (2003), 'Using small mammals to test ecological processes driving population and community processes after fire in a nutrient poor environment', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 , pp 843 - 843.
  • Spencer, R. and Clark, W. (2003), 'Testing a theoretical model of nest site selection in turtles and water birds.', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 .
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2003), 'Ecology and evolution of TSD in turtles: the value of long-term research and the effects of climate change', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 .
  • Spencer, R. (2002), 'Experimentally testing nest site selection: Fitness trade-offs and predation risk in turtles', Ecology, vol 83, no 8 , pp 2136 - 2144.
  • Spencer, R. (2002), 'Growth patterns of two widely distributed freshwater turtles and a comparison of common methods used to estimate age', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 50, no 5 , pp 477 - 490.
  • Spencer, R., Thompson, M. and Banks, P. (2001), 'Hatch or wait? A dilemma in reptilian incubation', Oikos, vol 93, no 3 , pp 401 - 406.

Research

PLEASE view the WildLab Web page for up to date details

This information has been contributed by Doctor Spencer.

Current Projects

Title: Extinction of turtles in the River Murray: consequences and solutions
Years: 2014-11-19 - 2017-11-18
ID: P00021890
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
  • Save Lake Bonney Group Inc
  • Department of Environment and Primary Industries
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife
  • Winton Wetlands Committee of Management Incorporated
Title: Assessing distribution, abundance and habitat preferences of feral Indian Mynas in an urban landscape
Years: 2008-11-27 - 2016-09-30
ID: P00016468
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and Julie Old
Funding:
  • Blacktown City Council
Title: The recovery of the imperilled Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, Myuchelys georgesi
Years: 2016-03-01 - 2019-03-01
ID: P00023518
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and James Van Dyke
Funding:
  • The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
Title: Wianamatta Regional Park Emu PhD Study
Years: 2015-03-13 - 2019-04-30
ID: P00022671
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • Office of Environment and Heritage

Previous Projects

Title: WomSAT
Years: 2014-09-01 - 2015-12-31
ID: P00022424
Western Researchers: Julie Old and Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
Title: UWS Research into ecology of freshwater turtles in the Murray River
Years: 2014-02-25 - 2015-09-28
ID: P00021790
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority
Title: Contract 2012053 - Freshwater turtle monitoring in the Gunbower Lagoons [via The Arthur Rylah Institute - Dept of Sustainability and Environment VIC]
Years: 2012-12-03 - 2014-12-31
ID: P00021349
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
Title: Assessing the impact of foxes on ground nesting shorebirds using new technologies
Years: 2009-06-23 - 2011-06-22
ID: P00016663
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Funding:
  • Gosford City Council
Title: Developing Innovative Cost-Saving Fox Control Technologies at the Western Treatment Plant
Years: 2009-11-02 - 2011-12-30
ID: P00017668
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • Melbourne Water Corporation
Title: New Technology for Management of Fox Impacts on Agriculture [via Pestat Pty Ltd]
Years: 2009-12-05 - 2011-12-30
ID: P00017670
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (non ACRG)
Title: Eco-Toxicogenomics to Save the Dingo
Years: 2008-12-18 - 2010-12-28
ID: P00016496
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • University of Western Sydney
Title: Wolgan Valley Biodiversity
Years: 2008-09-09 - 2014-12-31
ID: P00016359
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Funding:
  • Emirates Hotels (Australia) Pty Ltd
Title: Taxonomy of the Bellinger River Emydura
Years: 2008-07-04 - 2012-10-31
ID: P00016220
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Title: Immunoecology of Manorina honeyeaters: effects of landscape, range size, and extinction risk
Years: 2012-10-24 - 2013-11-24
ID: P00021104
Western Researchers: Brianne Addison and Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • University of Western Sydney
Title: WildLab: Ontogenetic Changes in Digestive Physiology of Juvenile Turtles
Years: 2015-01-07 - 2015-08-31
ID: P00022520
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Funding:
  • Fish Fuel Co Pty Ltd
Title: Identification of key sites for protection and habitat enhancement for the endangered Bush Stone-curlew
Years: 2010-03-31 - 2011-08-31
ID: P00018055
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Funding:
  • Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Title: Assessing the distribution and impact of Indian Mynas in Wollongong LGA
Years: 2011-11-14 - 2016-06-30
ID: P00020639
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and Julie Old
Funding:
  • Wollongong City Council

Supervision

Doctor Spencer is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Title: Life History Evolution of Long and Short Lived Organisms.
Field of Research:
Title: The Physiology and Behaviour of Reptillian Eggs: Sychronous Hatching and The Evolution of Endothermy
Field of Research:
Title: Ecology of Urban/Peri-Urban Cats in Australia and the USA
Field of Research:
Title: Identification of Key Sites and Habitat Preferences of the Endangered Bush Stone-curlew in the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Area
Field of Research:
Title: Success of Social Behaviour of the Bush Rat (Rattus Fucipes) After Translocation
Field of Research:
Title: Synchronous Hatching in Freshwater Turtles: Metabolic and Endocrine Physiological Mechanisms
Field of Research: ZOOLOGY; ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION; BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY; OTHER NATURAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES

Previous Supervision

Title: Apex Predators in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
Field of Research: NATURAL AND PHYSICAL SCIENCES
Thesis: Apex Predators in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
Title: Influence of Temperature on the Life History of Turtles: An Exploration of the Embryonic and Maternal Adaptions to Incubation Temperature
Field of Research: BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Thesis: Influence of Temperature on the Life History of Turtles: An exploration of the embryonic and maternal adaptions to incubation temperature

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