Best known for his work in conservation biology, applied ecology and basic ecological theory (including population ecology), Professor Hugh Possingham is currently undertaking several roles including Vice-chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Chief Councillor for the Biodiversity Council and Chief Scientist at Accounting for Nature. Hugh is also an avid birdwatcher and sits on the Board of Directors for Birdlife Australia.
From 2016 to 2020, Hugh was Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy, followed by a period as Queensland Chief Scientist from 2020 to 2022. Prior to this he was Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, and the Australian government’s Threatened Species Recovery Hub, as well as being a university lecturer and professor. Hugh was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2005 and is a fellow of the Ecological Society of America and associate of the USA National Academy of Sciences.
Hugh is a co-developer of the Marxan software for systemic conservation planning, which has been used to plan terrestrial and marine protected area networks for five per cent of the Earth’s surface, including the Great Barrier Reef.
He is also a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists and has chaired the Australian Government’s committees on Biodiversity Hotspots and Biological Diversity, the Queensland Government’s Smart State Council and the Wilderness Society’s Wild Country Science Council.
Hugh received his bachelor’s degree with Honours from the University of Adelaide and completed his PhD at Oxford University with a focus on optimal foraging theory.