Debbie Bower

- School of Environmental and Rural Science

Debbie Bower

Phone: +61 2424


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

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)

Research Interests

Selected Competitive Grants:

Research Supervision Experience

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

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


Selected Recent Publications:

Bower, D. S. (2018) Commentary: Strategic conservation action for frogs. Animal Conservation 21: 106-107

Agha, M., Ennen, J.R., Bower, D. S., Nowakowski, J.A., Sweat, S.C, Todd, B.D., (2018) Salinity tolerances and use of saline environments by freshwater turtles: implications of sea level rise. Biological Reviews. Early view

Greenspan, S., Bower, D. S., Webb, R. J., Berger, L., Rudd, D., Schwarzkopf, L., Alford. R. A., (2017) White blood cell profiles in amphibians help to explain disease susceptibility following temperature shifts. Developmental and Comparative Immunology 77, 280-286.

McKnight, D., Alford, R. A., Hoskin, C., Schwarzkopf, L., Greenspan, S., Zenger, K., Bower, D.S. (2017) Fighting an uphill battle: The recovery of frogs in Australia’s Wet Tropics. Ecology. 98:3221-3223

Bower, D. S., Lips, K., Schwarzkopf, L., Georges, A., Clulow, S. (2017). Amphibians on the brink: Pre-emptive policies can protect amphibians from devastating fungal diseases. Science 357:454-455

Greenspan, S., Bower, D.S., Roznik, L., Marantelli, G., Pike, D., Schwarzkopf, L., Alford, R., Scheffers, B. (2017) Infection increases vulnerability to climate change via effects on host thermal tolerance. Scientific Reports 7 (1), 9349

Greenspan, S., Bower, D.S., Webb, R., Roznik, E., Stevenson, L., Berger, L., Marantelli, G., Pike, D., Schwarzkopf, L., Alford, R (2017) Realistic heat pulses protect frogs from disease under simulated rainforest frog thermal regimes. Functional Ecology (2017)

Bower, D. S., Mengersen, K., Alford, R.A., Schwarzkopf, L. (2017) Using a Bayesian Network to clarify areas requiring research in a host-pathogen system. Conservation Biology 31:1373–1382.

McKnight, D., Schwarzkopf, L., Alford, R.A., Bower, D. S. Zenger, K.R (2017) Effects of emerging infectious diseases on host population genetics: a review. Conservation Genetics 18(6), 1235-1245

Pollard, C. Stockwell, M. P., Pickett E. J., Garnham, J.I., Bower, D. S., Clulow, J., Mahony, M.J., (2017) Removal of an exotic fish influences breeding site selection by a threatened amphibian. Journal of Wildlife Management. Journal of Wildlife Management 81 (4), 720-727

Pollard C. J., Stockwell, M.P, Bower, D. S., Clulow, J., Mahony, M.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 (2), 559-568

Bower, D. S, Clulow, S.,, Richards, S., Amepou, Y. and Georges, A. 2017. Frogs of Wau Creek. Rokrok bilong Hanwara Wau. Poster prepared for public circulation.


Associate Editor for Austral Ecology

Editor for the Australian Society of Herpetologists

Consultancy Interests

Reptile and amphibian ecology