Dr. Anke Frank – Research Affiliate
Botanisches Institut, AG Linstädter
University of Cologne
Zülpicher Straße 47b
D-50674 Cologne, Germany
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig
– Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere –
D-53113 Bonn, Germany
3rd Affiliation (Research Associate)
School of Biological Science
Private Bag 55
The University of Tasmania
Hobart TAS 7001, Australia
Current Research Project
I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Cluster of Excellence on Plant Sciences CEPLAS working in the ERC funded AraPop project. In this project, I investigate the urban ecology of Arabidopsis thaliana in an interdisciplinary team of evolutionary geneticists (Prof Juliette de Meaux, Dr Gregor Schmitz, Dr Andrea Schrader) and ecologists (PD Dr Anja Linstädter and myself).
I am a terrestrial ecologist with equal interests in flora and fauna. Most of my research was conducted in arid and semi-arid, as well as tropical savanna systems in central and northern Australia as well as northern South Africa (LLL project). My main research interest is to better understand trophic and biotic-abiotic interactions and to determine which key top-down and bottom-up processes drive ecosystem functioning processes. My strength is networking and team work as I enjoy communicating ideas with colleagues within and outside (e.g. psychology, pharmacology, physiology) my own discipline, as well as with locals (including indigenous people) and the wider community through citizen science.
I have a passion for arid zone and grazing ecology as well as studying the impact of introduced species and predator-prey interactions. I also have a history of teaching (grades 5-13) in Biology and Geography at German and Australian schools, as well as teaching students at university level (University of Sydney, Macquarie University, University of Tasmania).
Fields of Competence
- Arid zone and savanna ecology
- Ecosystem functioning
- Predator-prey interactions
- Introduced/ invasive species
- Public engagement (citizen science, public lectures)
Regional Research Foci and Fieldwork Experience
- Grasslands, shrublands and woodlands of Australian arid/ semi-arid zones and savannas
- Monte Desert, Argentina
- Grasslands in the Limpopo Province, South Africa
- Bat trapping, tracking and detecting in Australian and German forests
PhD student in Terrestrial Ecology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney.
Thesis: “The ecological impacts of cattle grazing within spinifex grassland and gidgee woodland in the Simpson Desert, central Australia”
“2. Staatsexamen” (Teacher on Probation at the Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium, Aachen, Germany).
Thesis for Advanced Teaching Degree: “Secondary school excursion: cattle behaviour studies on an organic farm”
Visiting Student at the University of New South Wales Arid Zone Research Station Fowlers Gap, Australia
Visiting Student at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
“1. Staatsexamen” (equivalent to a Master in Teaching at secondary schools). Subjects: Biology and Geography.
Thesis: “Reptile diversity in different habitats in the Australian arid zone”
Student at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Germany
Major Research Projects
Since July 2016
Research Associate (PostDoc) in the BMBF funded research program “LLL - Limpopo Living Landscapes”, Subproject 4: Livelihoods and farming systems (Principal Investigator Dr. Anja Linstädter, University of Cologne, Germany).
Principal Investigator in the Citizen Science Project “Backyard Wildlife Hobart”, University of Tasmania, Australia. Funded by a Dr Edward Hall Environment Grant.
Research Associate (PostDoc) at the University of Tasmania in the Cooperative Project “Mammal declines in northern Australia: science for conservation and recovery”; Subproject: “The role of feral cats (Felis catus) in the current small mammal declines in northern Australia”. Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).
PhD Student at the University of Sydney, project “Effects of grazing on flora and fauna in different habitats in the Simpson Desert, central Australia”. Funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).
Scholarships and Prizes
6-months Return Scholarship from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service)
Dr Edward Hall Environment Grant
Head of School Special Fund, University of Tasmania
School of Zoology Establishment Fund, University of Tasmania
Finalist, School of Biological Sciences Excellence Prize (University of Sydney)
Postgraduate Research Support, University of Sydney
Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) Student Travel Grant
Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship
DAAD scholarship for two semesters at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Publications (Peer Reviewed)
Parsons, M., Apfelbach, R., Banks, P., Cameron, E., Dickman, C., Frank, A.S.K., Jones, M.E., MacLean, S., McGregor, I., Müller-Schwarze, D., Sparrow, E., Blumstein, D.T. (2017 in press). Biologically meaningful scents: A framework for understanding predator-prey research across disciplines. Biological Reviews. DOI: 10.1111/brv.12334
Jones, M.E., Apfelbach, R., Banks, P., Cameron, E., Dickman, C., Frank, A.S.K., MacLean, S., McGregor, I., Müller-Schwarze, D., Parsons, M., Sparrow, E., Blumstein, D.T. (2016). A nose for death: Integrating trophic and olfaction-based informational networks for conservation. Frontiers in Ecology and Environment 4(124). DOI: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00124.
Frank, A.S.K., Carthey, A.J.R., Banks, P. (2016). Does historical coexistence with dingoes explain current avoidance of domestic dogs? Island bandicoots are naïve to dogs, unlike their mainland counterparts. PLOS ONE 11(9): e0161447. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161447
Frank, A.S.K., Wardle, G.M., Greenville, A.C., Dickman, C.R. (2016). Cattle removal in arid Australia benefits kangaroos in high quality habitat but does not affect camels. The Rangeland Journal 38(1), 73-84. DOI: 10.1071/RJ15039
Stokeld, D., Frank, A., Hill, B., Low Choy, J., Mahney, T., Stevens, A., Young, S., Gillespie, R. (2016). Multiple cameras required to reliably detect feral cats in northern Australian tropical savanna: an evaluation of sampling design when using camera traps. Wildlife Research 42(8), 642-649. DOI: 10.1071/WR15083
Lawes, M. J. Fisher, D. O., Johnson, C. N., Blomberg, S. P., Frank, A. S. K., Fritz, S. A., McCallum, H., VanDerWal, J., Abbott, B., Legge, S., Letnic, M., Thomas, C. R., Fisher, A., Gordon, I. J., Woinarski, J. Z., Kutt, A. (2015). Congruence in the causes of contemporary rodent declines in northern and southern Australia. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0130626. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0130626.
Wardle, G.M, Greenville, A., Frank, A.S.K., Tischler, M., Emery, N. Dickman, C.R. (2015): Ecosystem risk assessment of Georgina gidgee woodlands in central Australia (Qld, NT, SA). Austral Ecology 40: 444-459. DOI: 10.1111/aec.12265
Ziembicki, M., Woinarski, J.C.Z. Webb, J.K., Vanderduys, E., Tuft, K., Smith, J., Ritchie, E. Reardon, T.B. Radford, I.J., Preece, N., Perry, J., Murphy, B., McGregor, H., Legge, S., Leahy, L., Lawes, M.J., Kanowski, J., Johnson, C..N.,James, A., Griffiths, T., Gillespie, G, Frank, A.S.K., Fisher, A., Burbidge, A.A. (2015). Stemming the tide: progress towards resolving the causes of decline and implementing management responses for the disappearing mammal fauna of northern Australia. Therya 6(1): 169-225. DOI: 10.12933/therya-15-236
Fisher, D.O., Johnson, C.N., Lawes, M.J., Fritz, S.A., McCallum, H., Blomberg, S.P., VanDerWal, J., Abbott, B., Frank, A., Legge, S., Letnic, M., Thomas, C.R., Fisher, A., Gordon, I.J., Kutt, A. (2015). Response to commentary by Woinarski (Critical-weight-range marsupials in northern Australia are declining: a commentary on Fisher et al. (2014) ‘The current decline of tropical marsupials in Australia: is history repeating?’). Global Ecology and Biogeography 24, 123-125. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12252
Frank, A.S.K., Johnson, C.N., Potts, J.M., Fisher, A., Lawes, M.J., Woinarski, C.Z., Tuft, K., Radford, I.J., Gordon, I.J., Collis, M.-A., Legge, S. (2014): Experimental evidence that feral cats cause local extirpation of small mammals in Australia’s tropical savannas. Journal of Applied Ecology 51(6), 1486-1493. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12323
Frank, A.S.K., Wardle, G.M., Dickman, C.R., Greenville, A.C. (2014). Habitat- and rainfall-dependent biodiversity responses to cattle removal in arid woodland-grassland environment. Ecological Applications 24(8), 2013-2028. DOI: 10.1890/13-2244.1
Fisher, D.O., Johnson, C.N., Lawes, M.J., Fritz, S.A., McCallum, H., Blomberg, S.P., VanDerWal, J., Abbott, B., Frank, A., Legge, S., Letnic, M., Thomas, C.R., Fisher, A., Gordon, I.J., Kutt, A. (2013) The current decline of tropical marsupials in Australia: is history repeating? Global Ecology and Biogeography 23, 181-190. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12088
Frank, A.S.K., Dickman, C.R, Wardle, G.M., Greenville, A. (2013). Interactions of grazing history, cattle removal and time since rain drive divergent responses by desert biota. PLoS ONE 8 (7): e68466. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068466
Frank, A.S.K., Dickman, C.R, Wardle, G.M. (2012). Habitat use and behaviour of cattle in a heterogeneous desert environment in central Australia. The Rangeland Journal 34, 319-328. DOI: 10.1071/RJ12032
Frank, A. & Soderquist, T. (2005): The importance of refuge habitat in the local conservation of stripe-faced dunnarts Sminthopsis macroura on arid rangelands. Australian Mammalogy 27: 75-79.
Frank, A. (2014). A Citizen Science Project on Hobart’s wildlife in backyards – How the public and scientists can work together to provide wildlife refuges in an urban area. 14 Sep: invited by the Tasmanian Field Naturalists, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; 19 Sep: invited by the School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; 24 Sep: invited by the Sustainability Centre, Mt Nelson, Tasmania, Hobart, Australia.
Frank, A. (2014). The impact of cats and dogs on backyard wildlife – a citizen science project. Invited by the Hobart City Council as part of the its Bush Adventure Winter Seminar Series. Seminar Room under Hobart Town Hall, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Frank, A. (2014): The Australian Mammal Conservation Challenge in the Presence of Introduced Predators – from Top End Cats to Hobart Backyard Pets. School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Australia, invited by Dr Christa Beckmann, Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Fellow, Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment, Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
Frank, A. (2014) Understanding cryptic factors and interactions better to improve conservation outcomes: lessons learned from studying the effects of Simpson Desert cattle and Top End cats. CSIRO and James Cook University Australian Tropical Sciences and Innovation Precinct, Townsville, Queensland. Invited by Dr Jeremy Vanderwal, Deputy Director eResearch Centre, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia.
Frank, A. (2012). Northern Australia’s current dramatic small mammal declines – can we stop the next wave of extinction? Northern Territory Field Naturalists monthly seminar, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
Frank, A. (2012). Are Australian mammal declines of concern to reptiles? Evolutionary Biology Colloquium of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Museum Alexander Koenig, Bonn, Germany.
Frank, A. (2011). From Desert Magic to Savannah Beauty – Different Environments, Similar Problems. School of Zoology, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
Frank, A. (2010): Ecological Impacts of Cattle Grazing on the Fauna of the Simpson Desert. Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS) Workshop for working group Alex Kutt “Vast Lands and variable data: systematic analysis to understand the patterns and processes of mammal declines”, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Frank, A. (2009). Where the Sands are Red, the Devils Thorny and Where Panthers aren’t What You Think. Royal Zoological Society Monthly Seminar Series at The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Frank, A. (2009). Effects of Cattle Grazing on Small Vertebrates in the Simpson Desert. Bush Heritage Symposium “Renaissance in the Desert” at The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Frank, A. (2008). Auswirkungen von Rinderbeweidung auf Kleinsäuger und Reptilien in der Simpson Wueste, Zentralaustralien. Zooschule des Heidelberger Zoos. [Translation: Effects of cattle grazing on small mammals and reptiles in the Simpson Desert, central Australia. Zoo school at the Zoo Heidelberg.] Heidelberg, Germany.
Conference and workshop presentations
Frank, A., Linstädter, A. (2016). Fast, Inexpensive, Non-destructive and Easy (FINE): towards FINE standard methods for assessing ecosystem functioning. 3rd Living Landscapes Limpopo Workshop, Wits Rural Facility, Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Dixon, K., Spate, A., Cawthen, L., Dorling, C., Frank, A. (2016). Bats of Tasmania – an overview. Poster presentation, 17th biennial Australasian Bat Society Conference, Hobart, TAS, Australia.
Frank, A. (2015). A nose for death: Integrating trophic and informational networks for conservation and management. Oral presentation, 45th annual conference of the European Ecological Federation and the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Göttingen, Germany.
Frank, A., Johnson, C., Fisher, A., Lawes, M., Legge, S., May, T., Page, E., Pavey, C., Radford, I., Woinarski, J. (2014). Repeated evidence: feral cats prohibit establishment of reintroduced small native mammals in northern Australia. Oral presentation. Australian Mammal Society Conference, Melbourne Zoo, Victoria, Australia.
Frank, A. (2014). Two approaches to Understanding Biodiversity Decline: Modelling and Experimentation Indicate Feral Cats are Implicated in the Current Small Mammal Declines in Northern Australia. Poster presentation. Predator-prey interactions Gordon Research Conference, Ventura, California.
Frank, A., Johnson, C., Legge, S., Fisher, A., Lawes, M., Radford, I., Pavey, C., Woinarski, J. (2012). The role of feral cats in small mammal declines in northern Australia: experimental evidence. Oral presentation, Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Fisher, D., Johnson, C., Lawes, M., Fritz, S., McCallum, H., VanDerWal, J., Abbott, B., Frank, A., Gordon, I., Blomberg, S., Legge, S., Letnic, M., Thomas, C., Fisher, A., Kutt, A. (2012). Catastrophic declines of tropical marsupials: is history repeating? Oral presentation, SCB Oceania Conference, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. [Note: I was invited to present the talk with permission of the first author who was unable to attend the conference.]
Frank, A., Johnson, C., Fisher, A., Legge, S., Lawes, M., Radford, I., Woinarski, J. (2012). Tackling the role of a cryptic predator’s role in the current dramatic tropical mammal declines. Poster presentation, Annual Meeting of the GTÖ, Erlangen, Germany.
Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C., Tischler, M. (2012). Do woodland patches in a grassland matrix act as potential refuge for small vertebrates in arid Australia? Oral presentation, Annual Meeting of the GTÖ, Erlangen, Germany.
Frank, A., Johnson, C., Fisher, A., Legge, S., Lawes, M., Collis, M.-A., Radford, I., Woinarski, J. (2011). Will reptiles experience the same declines as mammals in the Top End? Poster presentation, Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, Hobart, Tasmania.
Frank, A., Johnson, C., Legge, S., Fisher, A., Lawes, M., Collis, M.-A., Radford, I., Woinarski, J. (2011). Are cats causing northern Australian mammal declines? Tackling the challenge of monitoring a cryptic predator. Oral presentation, Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, Hobart, Tasmania.
Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2010). Habitat use and behaviour of cattle in a heterogeneous ‘patchy resources in matrix’ environment in arid Australia. Oral presentation, Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.
Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2009). Why we need to know where cattle go – planning wildlife refuges in Australia’s rangelands. Oral presentation, 10th International Congress of Ecology (INTECOL), Brisbane, Queensland.
Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2009). Effects of Cattle Grazing on Native Mammals in the Simpson Desert, Australia. Poster presentation, 10th International Mammalogical Congress (IMC), Mendoza, Argentina.
Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2008). Effects of cattle removal on kangaroos, camels and small mammals in different habitats in the Simpson Desert. Oral presentation, 34th Annual General Meeting of the Ecological Society of Australia, Sydney, New South Wales.
Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2008). Responses of small mammals and lizards to cattle grazing and cattle removal in arid Australia. Proceedings of the 15th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference 2008, Charters Towers, Queensland.
Frank, A., Wardle, G., Dickman, C. (2008). Effects of Cattle on Small Vertebrates in Different Habitats in the Simpson Desert, Australia. Oral presentation, joint meeting of the European Ecological Federation and the Ecological Society of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Leipzig, Germany.
Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2008). Horns of Dilemma – Where Do Cattle Forage in a Prickly Environment? Poster presentation, 35th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.
Frank, A., Dickman, C., Wardle, G. (2007). The Effects Of Cattle Grazing On Small Mammals And Reptiles In The Simpson Desert, Queensland. Oral presentation, 32nd Annual Conference of the Ecological Society of Australia, Perth, Western Australia.
Frank, A., Soderquist, T., Croft, D (2005). The importance of off-park conservation – how a small exclosure in grazed chenopod shrubland contributes to local conservation issues. Poster presentation; 35. Annual Conference of the GfÖ, Regensburg, Germany.
Frank, A., Croft, D., Böhme, W. (2003). The importance of Refuge-areas for Small Vertebrates in Grazed Habitat in the Australian Arid Zone. Poster presentation; 16. Annual Meeting of the GTÖ, Rostock, Germany.