Dr Debbie Bower

Lecturer in Ecosystem Rehabilitation - School of Environmental and Rural Science

Debbie Bower

Phone: +61 2424

Email: deborah.bower@une.edu.au

Twitter: @deborah_bower


Debbie Bower (B.Sc., Ph.D) is a Conservation Biologist and head of the Laboratory of Applied Zoology and Ecosystem Restoration (LAZER) in School of Environmental and Rural Science and UNE. Her research focuses on the management of invasive species and applied ecology of threatened taxa. This work incorporates experimental techniques to explore disturbances such as wetland weeds, salinisation and emerging infectious diseases. LAZER undertakes research in diverse aquatic systems including the wetlands of the Murray Darling Basin, savannas of north Queensland and, most recently, the rainforest streams of Papua New Guinea.


B.Sc.(Hons I), PhD in Applied Ecology


Superstars of STEM - Science and Technology Australia

Suzy Nethercott-Watson Scholarship - Peter Cullen Trust

Teaching Areas

Conservation biology, Ecosystem Rehabilitation, Australian vertebrate Fauna, Herpetology, Wildlife Management, Behavioural Ecology.

Units currently teaching:

EM351, EM551 Ecosystem Rehabilitation (Coordinator)

ECOL202, ECOL402, ECOL502 Aquatic Ecology (Coordinator)

RSNR302, RSNR402, RSNR502 Integrated Water Resource Management (Coordinator)

EM312, ECOL100, ECOL203, RSNR110 (Lecturer)

Primary Research Area/s

Ecology; Conservation Biology; Aquatic ; Conservation; Disease; Invasive species

Research Interests

Current grants:


Dr John Hunter, Dr Deborah Bower & Dr Manu Saunders, Dynamic Lagoons: building knowledge and public support to secure threatened Upland Wetlands, NSW Environmental Trust, Saving our Species Program

A/Prof Darren Ryder, Dr Sarah Mika, Dr Wing Tsoi, Dr Ivor Growns A/Prof Paul McDonald, Dr Steve Debus (ADJL), Mr Ben Vincent, Dr Deborah Bower, Dr Adrienne Burns, Monitoring, Evaluation and Research
Services for Gwydir River Selected Area and the Junction of the Warrego and Darling Rivers Selected Area, Australian Government Environmental Water Office

Dr Deborah Bower, Dr Sarah Mika, Dr Manu Saunders, Little Llangothlin monitoring, Glen Innes Natural Resources Advisory Committee

Research Supervision Experience


Donald McKnight – PhD Candidate – Life finds a way: The recovery of frog populations from a chytridiomycosis outbreak

Kyia Eveleigh – PhD Candidate – Effects of climate change on the ecophysiology of water skinks

Louise Streeting – MSc Candidate – Conservation strategies for the threatened Bell's Turtle

Melissa Hampton Smith – MSc Candidate – Cessation of Blast Fishing in Tanzania: An Analysis of Deterrence Measures and Outcomes

Kimberley Miller – MSc Candidate – The effectiveness of education in changing perceptions towards wildlife conservation

Annette Deppe – MSc Candidate – The effect of environmental water on the ecology of freshwater turtles

Abdur Razzaque Sarker – MSc Candidate – Acoustic analyses for long-term monitoring of remote frog populations


Sasha Greenspan – PhD completion - Thermal thresholds in the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis.


Campbell, Lachlan; Bower, Deborah S; Clulow, Simon; Stockwell, Michelle; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael;  2019 Interaction between temperature and sublethal infection with the amphibian chytrid fungus impacts a susceptible frog species Scientific reports 9 83
Agha, Mickey; Ennen, Joshua R; Bower, Deborah S; Nowakowski, A Justin; Sweat, Sarah C; Todd, Brian D;  2018 Salinity tolerances and use of saline environments by freshwater turtles: implications of sea level rise Biological Reviews 93 1634-1648
Bower, DS;  2018 Strategic conservation action for frogs Animal Conservation 21 106-107
Bower, Deborah S; Yasumiba, Kiyomi; Trumbo, Daryl R; Alford, Ross A; Schwarzkopf, Lin;  2018 Spinal arthritis in cane toads across the Australian landscape Scientific reports 8 12458
Bower, Deborah S; Brannelly, Laura A; McDonald, Cait A; Webb, Rebecca J; Greenspan, Sasha E; Vickers, Mathew; Gardner, Michael G; Greenlees, Matthew J;  2018 A review of the role of parasites in the ecology of reptiles and amphibians Austral Ecology  
Donald T McKnight, Roger Huerlimann, Deborah S Bower, Lin Schwarzkopf, Ross A Alford, Kyall R Zenger;  2018 Methods for normalizing microbiome data: An ecological perspective Methods in Ecology and Evolution  
Pollard, Carla J; Stockwell, Michelle P; Bower, Deborah S; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2017 Combining ex situ and in situ methods to improve water quality testing for the conservation of aquatic species Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 27 559-568
Pollard, Carla J; Stockwell, Michelle P; Bower, Deborah S; Garnham, James I; Pickett, Evan J; Darcovich, Kerry; O'meara, Jenny; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2017 Removal of an exotic fish influences amphibian breeding site selection The Journal of Wildlife Management 81 720-727
McKnight, Donald T; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A; Bower, Deborah S; Zenger, Kyall R;  2017 Effects of emerging infectious diseases on host population genetics: a review Conservation genetics 18 1235-1245
Bower, DS; Mengersen, K; Alford, RA; Schwarzkopf, L;  2017 Using a Bayesian network to clarify areas requiring research in a host–pathogen system Conservation biology 31 1373-1382
Greenspan, Sasha E; Bower, Deborah S; Webb, Rebecca J; Roznik, Elizabeth A; Stevenson, Lisa A; Berger, Lee; Marantelli, Gerry; Pike, David A; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A;  2017 Realistic heat pulses protect frogs from disease under simulated rainforest frog thermal regimes Functional ecology 31 2274-2286
Bower, Deborah S; Lips, Karen R; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Georges, Arthur; Clulow, Simon;  2017 Amphibians on the brink Science 357 454-455
Greenspan, Sasha E; Bower, Deborah S; Roznik, Elizabeth A; Pike, David A; Marantelli, Gerry; Alford, Ross A; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Scheffers, Brett R;  2017 Infection increases vulnerability to climate change via effects on host thermal tolerance Scientific reports 7 9349
Greenspan, Sasha E; Bower, Deborah S; Webb, Rebecca J; Berger, Lee; Rudd, Donna; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Alford, Ross A;  2017 White blood cell profiles in amphibians help to explain disease susceptibility following temperature shifts Developmental & Comparative Immunology 77 280-286
McKnight, Donald T; Alford, Ross A; Hoskin, Conrad J; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Greenspan, Sasha E; Zenger, Kyall R; Bower, Deborah S;  2017 Fighting an uphill battle: the recovery of frogs in Australia's Wet Tropics Ecology 98 3221-3223
Remon, Jonathan; Bower, Deborah S; Gaston, Troy F; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2016 Stable isotope analyses reveal predation on amphibians by a globally invasive fish (Gambusia holbrooki) Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 26 724-735
Bakar, Amalina Abu; Bower, Deborah S; Stockwell, Michelle P; Clulow, Simon; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2016 Susceptibility to disease varies with ontogeny and immunocompetence in a threatened amphibian Oecologia 181 997-1009
Stockwell, Michelle; Bower, Deborah; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael;  2016 The role of non-declining amphibian species as reservoirs for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis in an amphibian community Wildlife Research  
Stockwell, Michelle P; Garnham, James I; Bower, Deborah S; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2016 Low disease-causing threshold in a frog species susceptible to chytridiomycosis FEMS Microbiology Letters 363 
Bower, Deborah S; Scheltinga, David M; Clulow, Simon; Clulow, John; Franklin, Craig E; Georges, Arthur;  2016 Salinity tolerances of two Australian freshwater turtles, Chelodina expansa and Emydura macquarii (Testudinata: Chelidae) Conservation physiology 4 cow042
Bower, Deborah; Pickett, Evan; Garnham, James; Deboo, Matthew; McCurry, Matthew; Mengerink, Rianne; Mahony, Michael; Clulow, John;  2015 Diet of a threatened pond frog differs over a small spatial scale Endangered Species Research  
Garnham, James I; Stockwell, Michelle P; Pollard, Carla J; Pickett, Evan J; Bower, Deborah S; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2015 Winter microhabitat selection of a threatened pond amphibian in constructed urban wetlands Austral Ecology 40 816-826
Stockwell, Michelle P; Bower, Deborah S; Bainbridge, Loren; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2015 Island provides a pathogen refuge within climatically suitable area Biodiversity and conservation 24 2583-2592
Sanders, Madeleine R; Clulow, Simon; Bower, Deborah S; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2015 Predator presence and vegetation density affect capture rates and detectability of Litoria aurea tadpoles: wide-ranging implications for a common survey technique PLoS One 10 e0143733
Pickett, Evan John; Stockwell, Michelle Pirrie; Bower, Deborah Sheena; Pollard, Carla Jean; Garnham, James Ian; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael Joseph;  2014 Six‐year demographic study reveals threat of stochastic extinction for remnant populations of a threatened amphibian Austral Ecology 39 244-253
Bower, Deborah;  2014 Chelodina expansa Gray 1857 – Broad-Shelled Turtle, Giant Snake-Necked Turtle. In: Rhodin, A.G.J., Pritchard, P.C.H., van Dijk, P.P., Saumure, R.A., et al Conservation Biology of Freshwater Turtles and Tortoises: A Compilation Project of the IUCN/SSC Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group. Chelonian Research Monographs 5 pp. 071.1–071
Yeager, Alyse; Commito, John; Wilson, Andrew; Bower, Deborah; Schwarzkopf, Lin;  2014 Sex, light, and sound: location and combination of multiple attractants affect probability of cane toad (Rhinella marina) capture Journal of pest science 87 323-329
Bower, Deborah S; Pickett, Evan J; Stockwell, Michelle P; Pollard, Carla J; Garnham, James I; Sanders, Madeleine R; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2014 Evaluating monitoring methods to guide adaptive management of a threatened amphibian (L itoria aurea) Ecology and Evolution 4 1361-1368
Bower, Deborah S; Valentine, Leonie E; Grice, Anthony C; Hodgson, Lauren; Schwarzkopf, Lin;  2014 A trade-off in conservation: Weed management decreases the abundance of common reptile and frog species while restoring an invaded floodplain Biological conservation 179 123-128
Bower, Deborah S; Hodges, Kate M; Georges, Arthur;  2013 Salinity of incubation media influences embryonic development of a freshwater turtle Journal of Comparative Physiology B 183 235-241
Bower, Deborah S; Stockwell, Michelle P; Pollard, Carla J; Pickett, Evan J; Garnham, James I; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2013 Life stage specific variation in the occupancy of ponds by L itoria aurea, a threatened amphibian Austral Ecology 38 543-547
Pickett, Evan J; Stockwell, Michelle P; Bower, Deborah S; Garnham, James I; Pollard, Carla J; Clulow, John; Mahony, Michael J;  2013 Achieving no net loss in habitat offset of a threatened frog required high offset ratio and intensive monitoring Biological Conservation 157 156-162
Mahony, Michael J; Hamer, Andrew J; Pickett, Evan J; McKenzie, Daniel J; Stockwell, Michelle P; Garnham, James I; Keely, Claire C; Deboo, Matthew L; O'Meara, Jen; Pollard, Carla J;  2013 Identifying conservation and research priorities in the face of uncertainty: a review of the threatened bell frog complex in eastern Australia Herpetological Conservation and Biology 8 519-538
Bower, DS; Hutchinson, M; Georges, A;  2012 Movement and habitat use of Australia's largest snake‐necked turtle: implications for water management Journal of Zoology 287 76-80
Bower, Deborah; Death, Clare; Georges, Arthur;  2012 Ecological and physiological impacts of salinisation on freshwater turtles of the lower Murray River Wildlife Research  
Bower, Deborah S;  2012 Conservation biology of freshwater turtles in the lower Murray River of Australia   
Bower, Deborah;  2011 Green and Golden Bell Frog Research at the University of Newcastle FrogLog  26
Bower, D. S.;  2009 Response of a Ctenophorus fordi to temporary surface water in Billiat Conservation Park, South Australia Herpetofauana 39 1
Bower, Deborah S; Valentine, Leonie E; Grice, Anthony C; Schwarzkopf, Lin;  2006 Reducing weed biomass by burning and grazing can adversely affect frogs   
Bower, D.S., Trembath, D.F.;  2006 Stegonotus cucullatus range extension Herpetological Review 37 1
Indraswari, Karlina; Bower, Deborah S; Tucker, David; Schwarzkopf, Lin; Towsey, Michael; Roe, Paul;   Assessing the value of acoustic indices to distinguish species and quantify activity: A case study using frogs Freshwater Biology  
Richards, Stephen; Clulow, Simon; Bower, Deborah; Georges, Arthur;   .4. Herpetofauna of the Wau Creek proposed Wildlife Management Area, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea


Editor for Austral Ecology

Editor for the Australian Society of Herpetologists

Consultancy Interests

Reptile and amphibian ecology

Community and Advocacy Organisation Collaborations

Weekly column 'Nature Matters' for Fairfax Media

Member of the New England and North-West Science Hub

Further Information

Deputy Higher Degree of Researcher Coordinator