Belinda Cant

Belinda has worked for 20 years as an ecologist in both terrestrial and freshwater systems covering wetlands, rivers, near-natural ecosystems, agro-ecosystems and peri-urban landscapes.  She has developed quantitative aquatic habitat classifications and typology for Victorian streams, and developed hydrological-indices models for Victorian streams as part of the ARC linkage project “Robust strategies for restoring aquatic and riparian biodiversity” with Jane Elith (University of Melbourne), and other researchers.

Belinda has developed species distribution models for many native fish speceis, and used those models in projects such as the prioritisation of the removal barriers to fish passage, assessing the vulnerability of fish species to fire, and in augmenting DSE’s NaturePrint.

Belinda has well developed skills in using remote sensed data and quantitative data analysis.  This includes using MODIS imagery to investigate hydrology of wetlands, and in the use of LIDAR data to investigate the structure of native vegetation in peri-urban areas subject to high fire risks.

She has undertaken quantitative analysis on the effects of fox baiting on small mammal populations, and the design and implementation of quantitative ecological evaluations of community conservation programs. Belinda has also developed the framework for a spatially explicit aquatic ecological database for the Murray Darling Basin Authority, including strategies for data-sharing and increasing alignment between the MDBA and state based research agencies. Other research topics have included: the effects of grazing on wetlands; the effects of flow variability on instream fauna; dispersal and settlement of macroinvertebrates in freshwater streams; platypus as an indicator of stream health.

Belinda is currently completing her PhD on the effects of salinity on the structure and function of wetlands.  This was part of a large NHT funded project on Wetlands Biodiversity and Salt, a $3 million multidisciplinary project.

Prior to work in ecology, Belinda was involved in the area of human rights and community development, working in the areas of health, education and employment with several management committees and policy development working groups at local, state and federal levels.