Shane Richards

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Shane A. Richards

Senior Lecturer

Room 454, Physics, Sandy Bay Campus

+61 3 6226 7153 (phone)

Dr Shane A. Richards is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Natural Sciences. His research is the areas of statistical ecology and mathematical biology. He teaches statistics, population ecology, behavioural ecology, and evolutionary ecology at UTAS.


Before joining the University of Tasmania, Shane was a senior lecturer at Durham University, UK, in the School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2005-2015). From 2015-2018 Shane worked as a research scientist at CSIRO (Oceans & Atmosphere), Hobart. Shane has also held research positions at the University of Adelaide, University of Sydney, Duke University, University of Amsterdam, University of Calgary, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, US.

Career summary


DegreeThesis titleUniversityCountryDate of award
PhDMathematical models of zooplankton dispersalUniversity of AdelaideAustralia1996


Statistics, behavioural ecology, ecology, population ecology, conservation biology, evolutionary ecology, pollination ecology

Teaching expertise

Shane teaches upper level statistics units and has over 10 years of experience teaching quantitative methods to biology students.

Teaching responsibility

View more on Dr Shane Richards in WARP

Research Themes

Shane’s research spans a number of disciplines within the School of Natural Sciences: statistics, mathematics, zoology, and plant sciences. Shane has published a number of influential papers on best practice when using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) as a metric when selecting among alternative statistical models. He has worked on optimal foraging theory and the implications for species coexistence. He has also worked with international research groups studying human-wildlife interactions involving elephants and primates. Shane has incorporated decision-theory into biological models in order to produce sound decision-making tools for conservation biology (e.g. wildfire management, and population persistence). Ongoing collaborations with pollination ecologists (e.g. Prof. Lawrence Harder, University of Calgary; Prof. John Pannell, University of Lausanne) have led to publications that quantify pollen dispersal by insects and wind, and implications for plant fitness and selection on flowering traits. Recent research with Dr Scott Carver (University of Tasmania) involves analysing field data on the dispersal of sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) in bare-nosed wombats (Vombatus ursinus) and developing models to support disease management in the field. Shane is always keen to collaborate on projects involving the development and testing of mathematical/statistical models, in order to better understand complex biological systems.

Fields of Research

  • Plant Developmental and Reproductive Biology (060703)
  • Animal Behaviour (060801)
  • Population Ecology (060207)
  • Behavioural Ecology (060201)
  • Applied Statistics (010401)
  • Stochastic Analysis and Modelling (010406)
  • Social and Cultural Geography (160403)
  • Evolutionary Impacts of Climate Change (060306)
  • Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)
  • Cell and Nuclear Division (060402)
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Environmental Knowledge (050201)
  • Animal Physiology - Cell (060602)
  • Ecological Applications (050199)
  • Ecosystem Function (050102)
  • Structural Biology (incl. Macromolecular Modelling) (060112)
  • Veterinary Epidemiology (070704)
  • Biological Mathematics (010202)

Research Objectives

  • Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences (970106)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Mathematical Sciences (970101)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments (960503)
  • Fisheries - Recreational (830201)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences (970111)
  • Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change (960305)
  • Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society (970116)
  • Control of Animal Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Forest and Woodlands Environments (960404)
  • Animal Welfare (839901)
  • Environmental Management Systems (960604)
  • Coastal and Estuarine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960802)


Total publications


Journal Article

(19 outputs)
2019Martin AM, Richards SA, Fraser TA, Polkinghorne A, Burridge CP, et al., 'Population‐scale treatment informs solutions for control of environmentally transmitted wildlife disease', Journal of Applied Ecology pp. 1-13. ISSN 0021-8901 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.13467 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Martin AM; Fraser TA; Burridge CP; Carver S


2019van Putten I, Boschetti F, Ling S, Richards SA, 'Perceptions of system-identity and regime shift for marine ecosystems', ICES Journal of Marine Science Article fsz058. ISSN 1054-3139 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/icesjms/fsz058 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: van Putten I; Ling S


2019Tuck GN, Richards SA, 'Risk equivalence as an alternative to balancing mean value when trading draft selections and players in major sporting leagues', PLoS ONE, 14, (5) Article e0217151. ISSN 1932-6203 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0217151 [eCite] [Details]


2018Audzijonyte A, Richards SA, 'The energetic cost of reproduction and its effect on optimal life-history strategies', American Naturalist, 192, (4) pp. 1-13. ISSN 1537-5323 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1086/698655 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1

Co-authors: Audzijonyte A


2018Scheijen CPJ, Richards SA, Smit J, Jones T, Nowak K, 'Efficacy of beehive fences as barriers to African elephants: a case study in Tanzania', Oryx pp. 1-8. ISSN 0030-6053 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1017/S0030605317001727 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2018van Putten IE, Plaganyi EE, Booth K, Cvitanovic C, Kelly R, et al., 'A framework for incorporating sense of place into the management of marine systems', Ecology and Society, 23, (4) Article 4. ISSN 1708-3087 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5751/ES-10504-230404 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 4

Co-authors: van Putten IE; Plaganyi EE; Booth K; Cvitanovic C; Kelly R


2017Labouche A-M, Richards SA, Pannell JR, 'Effects of pollination intensity on offspring number and quality in a wind-pollinated herb', Journal of Ecology, 105, (1) pp. 197-208. ISSN 0022-0477 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12659 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 4


2017Nowak K, Wimberger K, Richards SA, Hill RA, le Roux A, 'Samango monkeys (Cercopithecus albogularis labiatus) manage risk in a highly seasonal, human-modified landscape in Amathole Mountains, South Africa', International Journal of Primatology, 38, (2) pp. 194-206. ISSN 0164-0291 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s10764-016-9913-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1


2016Harder LD, Aizen MA, Richards SA, 'The population ecology of male gametophytes: the link between pollination and seed production', Ecology Letters, 19, (5) pp. 497-509. ISSN 1461-0248 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/ele.12596 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 8


2016Harder LD, Aizen MA, Richards SA, Joseph MA, Busch JW, 'Diverse ecological relations of male gametophyte populations in stylar environments', American Journal of Botany, 103, (3) pp. 484-497. ISSN 0002-9122 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1500269 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 13


2016Nowak K, Richards SA, le Roux A, Hill RA, 'Influence of live-capture on risk perceptions of habituated samango monkeys', Journal of Mammalogy, 97, (5) pp. 1461-1468. ISSN 0022-2372 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/jmammal/gyw083 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2016Setchell JM, Richards SA, Abbott KM, Knapp LA, 'Mate-guarding by male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) is associated with female MHC genotype', Behavioral Ecology, 27, (6) pp. 1756-1766. ISSN 1045-2249 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arw106 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1


2016Virk B, Jia J, Maynard CA, Raimundo A, Lefebvre J, et al., 'Folate acts in E. coli to accelerate C. elegans aging independently of bacterial biosynthesis', Cell Reports, 14, (7) pp. 1611-1620. ISSN 2211-1247 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.01.051 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 26Web of Science - 25


2015Hindle BJ, Kerr CL, Richards SA, Willis SG, 'Topographical variation reduces phenological mismatch between a butterfly and its nectar source', Journal of Insect Conservation, 19 pp. 227-236. ISSN 1366-638X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s10841-014-9713-x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8


2015Markiewicz E, Barnard S, Haines J, Coster M, van Geel O, et al., 'Nonlinear ionizing radiation-induced changes in eye lens cell proliferation, cyclin D1 expression and lens shape', Open Biology, 5 Article 150011. ISSN 2046-2441 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1098/rsob.150011 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 16


2015Townsend PD, Rodgers TL, Glover LC, Korhonen HJ, Richards SA, et al., 'The role of protein-ligand contacts in allosteric regulation of the Escherichia coli catabolite activator protein', Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290, (36) pp. 22225-22235. ISSN 0021-9258 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M115.669267 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 9


2014Devenish-Nelson ES, Richards SA, Harris S, Soulsbury C, Stephens PA, 'Demonstrating frequency-dependent transmission of sarcoptic mange in red foxes', Biology Letters, 10, (10) Article 20140524. ISSN 1744-9561 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0524 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 9


2014Lawson CR, Hodgson JA, Wilson RJ, Richards SA, 'Prevalence, thresholds and the performance of presence-absence models', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 5, (1) pp. 54-64. ISSN 2041-210X (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/2041-210X.12123 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 54Web of Science - 49


2014Nowak K, le Roux A, Richards SA, Scheijen CPJ, Hill RA, 'Human observers impact habituated samango monkeys' perceived landscape of fear', Behavioral Ecology, 25, (5) pp. 1199-1204. ISSN 1045-2249 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1093/beheco/aru110 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 24Web of Science - 23


Chapter in Book

(1 outputs)
2015Richards SA, 'Likelihood and model selection', Ecological Statistics: Contemporary theory and application, Oxford University Press, GA Fox, S Negrete-Yankelevich, VJ Sosa (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 58-80. ISBN 9780199672547 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199672547.003.0004 [eCite] [Details]


Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Outcome mapping and developing adaptation pathways for the Northwest Shelf Flatback Turtle Conservation Program (2019)$10,000
Develop a simple deterministic, discrete-time population model for Natator depressus, which will be incorporated into a management-decision model. Optimal decisions will be determined by applying stochastic dynamic programming to a stochastic version of the population model.
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation ($10,000)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Richards S
Expert Working Group on Benchmarks for Ecosystem Assessment under EBFM (2017 - 2019)$940,446
To support the implementation of practical ecosystem-based fisheries management, including: (1) the determination of reliable indicators of ecosystem structure and function; (2) robustness of the methods across levels of data availability; (3) appropriate reference points; and (4) the inclusion of these indicators in existing fisheries management regimes. This will cover support for both the theoretical underpinnings but also empirical application via engagement with local managers and modelling experts at case study locations.
Lenfest Ocean Program ($940,446)
Administered By
CSIRO-Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation
Research Team
Fulton E; Sainsbury K; Smith D; Blanchard JL; Richards S; Van Putten IE; Bulman C; Hayes D; Thomas L; Berkhout JJ
2017 - 2019

Research Supervision




PhDLife in the Fast Lane: Macroecology of cephalopods in a changing climate2017
PhDThe forgotten krill: The biology and ecological function of Thysanoessa macrura in the Southern Ocean ecosystem2017