Associate Professor Ricky Spencer

Associate Professor Ricky Spencer

ACA - Biology, Zoology, Environmental Science,
Natural Science (SoSH)

Associate Professor in Ecology,
Natural Science (SoSH)

Associate Professor in Ecology,
Natural Science (SoSH)

Biography

  • Dr Ricky Spencer is The head of WildLab and  Senior Lecturer of Zoology at UWS. (Facebook:Wildlab)
  • Ricky is a member of the School of Science and Health, as well as a member of the Hawkesbury Institute.  
  • Prior to beginning at UWS, Ricky was a Senior Research Scientist for a Pestat within the Invasive Animals CRC, conducting research and development as part of a $3.18 million project to develop new vertebrate pest control methodologies, specifically using PAPP\
  • Ricky completed his PhD in 2001 was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Qld (Fire Ecology on Fraser Island); Iowa State University (Temperature dependent Sex Determination in turtles (TSD) and his PhD research investigated the impact of foxes on freshwater turtle populations of the Murray River.
  • Ricky has spent 15 years actively working on vertebrate pests and major current projects include an ARC Linkage Project on the 'Turtle Crisis' in the Murray River, as well as evaluating optimal fox management strategies for managing nest predation on turtles and water birds.
  • Ricky is also the manager of TurtleSAT and WomSAT, two community mapping Citizen Science projects. (Facebook: TurtleSAT)
  • Ricky strives for active engagement with communities and management agencies to ensure best practice research is integrated to its full potential.

PLEASE CHECK THE WildLab HOME PAGE FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Spencer.

Qualifications

  • PhD University of Sydney
  • BSc University of Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • TurtleSAT Manager (2014 - 2014)
  • WildLab Manager (1910)

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Natural Science (SoSH)
  • Natural Science (SoSH)
  • Natural Science (SoSH)

Contact

Email: R.Spencer@westernsydney.edu.au
Phone: (02) 4570 1962
Mobile:
Location: M15.G.70
Hawkesbury
Website:

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Teaching

Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300878 Animal Behaviour, 2014
  • 300914 Field Project 2, 2014
  • 300913 Field Project 1, 2014
  • 300909 Biological Adaptation to Climate Change, 2014

Publications

Chapters in Books

  • Claridge, A., Spencer, R., Wilton, A., Jenkins, D., Dall, D. and Lapidge, S. (2014), 'When is a dingo not a dingo? : hybridisation with domestic dogs', Carnivores of Australia: Past, Present and Future, CSIRO 9780643103108.
  • Loudon, F. and Spencer, R. (2012), 'Applying theories of life history and ageing to predict the adaptive response of Murray River turtles to climate change and habitat modification', Wildlife and Climate Change : towards Robust Conservation Strategies for Australian Fauna, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 9780980327250.

Journal Articles

  • Skelton, C., Cook, A., West, P., Spencer, R. and Old, J. (2019), 'Building an army of wombat warriors : developing and sustaining a citizen science project', Australian Mammalogy, vol 41, no 2 , pp 186 - 195.
  • Doherty, T., Driscoll, D., Nimmo, D., Ritchie, E. and Spencer, R. (2019), 'Conservation or politics? : Australia's target to kill 2 million cats', Conservation Letters, vol 12, no 4 .
  • Van Dyke, J., Spencer, R., Thompson, M., Chessman, B., Howard, K. and Georges, A. (2019), 'Conservation implications of turtle declines in Australia's Murray River system', Scientific Reports, vol 9 .
  • Spencer, R., Van Dyke, J., Petrov, K., Ferronato, B., McDougall, F., Austin, M., Keitel, C. and Georges, A. (2018), 'Profiling a possible rapid extinction event in a long-lived species', Biological Conservation, vol 221 , pp 190 - 197.
  • Petrov, K., Stricker, H., Van Dyke, J., Stockfeld, G., West, P. and Spencer, R. (2018), 'Nesting habitat of the broad-shelled turtle (Chelodina expansa)', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 66, no 1 , pp 4 - 14.
  • Petrov, K., Lewis, J., Malkiewicz, N., Van Dyke, J. and Spencer, R. (2018), 'Food abundance and diet variation in freshwater turtles from the mid-Murray River, Australia', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 66, no 1 , pp 67 - 76.
  • McGlashan, J., Thompson, M., Janzen, F. and Spencer, R. (2018), 'Environmentally induced phenotypic plasticity explains hatching synchrony in the freshwater turtle Chrysemys picta', Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology, vol 329, no 6-7 , pp 362 - 372.
  • Santori, C., Spencer, R., Van Dyke, J. and Thompson, M. (2018), 'Road mortality of the eastern long-necked turtle (Chelodina longicollis) along the Murray River, Australia : an assessment using citizen science', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 66, no 1 , pp 41 - 49.
  • Georges, A., Spencer, R., Kilian, A., Welsh, M. and Zhang, X. (2018), 'Assault from all sides : hybridization and introgression threaten the already critically endangered Myuchelys georgesi (Chelonia: Chelidae)', Endangered Species Research, vol 37 , pp 239 - 247.
  • Rhodin, A., Stanford, C., Dijk, P., Eisemberg, C., Luiselli, L., Mittermeier, R., Hudson, R., Horne, B., Goode, E., Kuchling, G., Walde, A., Baard, E., Berry, K., Bertolero, A., Blanck, T., Bour, R., Buhlmann, K., Cayot, L., Spencer, R. and et al, .. (2018), 'Global conservation status of turtles and tortoises (Order Testudines)', Chelonian Conservation and Biology, vol 17, no 2 , pp 135 - 161.
  • Van Dyke, J., Ferronato, B. and Spencer, R. (2018), 'Current conservation status of Australian freshwater turtles', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 66, no 1 , pp 1 - 3.
  • Spencer, R. (2018), 'How much long-term data are required to effectively manage a wide-spread freshwater turtle?', Australian Zoologist, vol 39, no 4 , pp 568 - 575.
  • McGlashan, J., Thompson, M., Van Dyke, J. and Spencer, R. (2017), 'Thyroid hormones reduce incubation period without developmental or metabolic costs in Murray River short-necked turtles (Emydura macquarii)', Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, vol 90, no 1 , pp 34 - 46.
  • Spencer, R., Van Dyke, J. and Thompson, M. (2017), 'Critically evaluating best management practices for preventing freshwater turtle extinctions', Conservation Biology, vol 31, no 6 , pp 1340 - 1349.
  • Dormer, J., Old, J., Van Dyke, J. and Spencer, R. (2016), 'Incubation temperature affects development order of morphological features and staging criteria in turtle embryos', Journal of Zoology, vol 299, no 4 , pp 284 - 294.
  • Spencer, R., Van Dyke, J. and Thompson, M. (2016), 'The ethological trap : functional and numerical responses of highly efficient invasive predators driving prey extinctions', Ecological Applications, vol 26, no 7 , pp 1969 - 1983.
  • McGlashan, J., Loudon, F., Thompson, M. and Spencer, R. (2015), 'Hatching behavior of eastern long-necked turtles (Chelodina longicollis) : the influence of asynchronous environments on embryonic heart rate and phenotype', Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, vol 188 , pp 58 - 64.
  • Old, J., Spencer, R. and Wolfenden, J. (2014), 'The Common Myna (Sturnus tristis) in urban, rural and semi-rural areas in Greater Sydney and its surrounds', Emu, vol 114, no 3 , pp 241 - 248.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2014), 'A novel hypothesis for the adaptive maintenance of environmental sex determination in a turtle', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 281, no 1789 .
  • Spencer, R., Georges, A., Lim, D., Welsh, M. and Reid, A. (2014), 'The risk of inter-specific competition in Australian short-necked turtles', Ecological Research, vol 29, no 4 , pp 767 - 777.
  • Loudon, F., Spencer, R., Strassmeyer, A. and Harland, K. (2013), 'Metabolic circadian rhythms in embryonic turtles', Integrative & Comparative Biology, vol 53, no 1 , pp 175 - 182.
  • Blamires, S. and Spencer, R. (2013), 'Influence of habitat and predation on population dynamics of the freshwater turtle Myuchelys georgesi', Herpetologica, vol 69, no 1 , pp 46 - 57.
  • McGlashan, J., Spencer, R. and Old, J. (2012), 'Embryonic communication in the nest : metabolic responses of reptilian embryos to developmental rates of siblings', Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 279, no 1734 , pp 1709 - 1715.
  • Spencer, R. (2012), 'Embryonic heart rate and hatching behavior of a solitary nesting turtle', Journal of Zoology, vol 287, no 3 , pp 169 - 174.
  • Old, J. and Spencer, R. (2011), 'Development of online learning activities to enhance student knowledge of animal behaviour prior to engaging in live animal handling practical sessions', Open Journal of Animal Sciences, vol 1, no 2 , pp 65 - 76.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2011), 'Hatching Behavior in Turtles', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 51, no 1 , pp 100 - 110.
  • Pascoe, J., Mulley, R., Spencer, R. and Chapple, R. (2011), 'Diet analysis of mammals, raptors and reptiles in a complex predator assemblage in the Blue Mountains, eastern Australia', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 59, no 5 , pp 295 - 301.
  • Georges, A., Spencer, R., Welsh, M., Shaffer, H., Walsh, R. and Zhang, X. (2011), 'Application of the precautionary principle to taxa of uncertain status : the case of the Bellinger River turtle', Endangered Species Research, vol 14, no 2 , pp 127 - 134.
  • Colbert, P., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Mechanism and cost of synchronous hatching', Functional Ecology, vol 24, no 1 , pp 112 - 121.
  • Schwanz, L., Spencer, R., Bowden, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Climate and predation dominate juvenile and adult recruitment in a turtle with temperature-dependent sex determination', Ecology, vol 91, no 10 , pp 3016 - 3026.
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2010), 'Demographic consequences of adaptive growth and the ramifications for conservation of long-lived organisms', Biological Conservation, vol 143, no 9 , pp 1951 - 1959.
  • Schwanz, L., Bowden, R., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2009), 'Nesting ecology and offspring recruitment in a long-lived turtle: Ecological Archives E090-119', Ecology, vol 90, no 6 , pp 1709 - 1709.
  • Spencer, R. and Baxter, G. (2006), 'Effects of fire on the structure and composition of open eucalypt forests', Austral Ecology, vol 31, no 5 , pp 638 - 646.
  • Spencer, R., Janzen, F. and Thompson, M. (2006), 'Counterintuitive density-dependent growth in a long-lived vertebrate after removal of nest predators', Ecology, vol 87, no 12 , pp 3109 - 3118.
  • Spencer, R. and Thompson, M. (2005), 'Experimental analysis of the impact of foxes on freshwater turtle populations', Conservation Biology, vol 19, no 3 , pp 845 - 854.
  • Fuller, S., Bull, C., Murray, K. and Spencer, R. (2005), 'Clustering of related individuals in a population of the Australian lizard, Egernia frerei.', Molecular Ecology, vol 14 , pp 1207 - 1213.
  • Spencer, R., Cavanough, V., Baxter, J. and Kennedy, M. (2005), 'Adult free zones in small mammal populations: Response of Australian native rodents to reduced cover', Austral Ecology, vol 30, no 8 , pp 868 - 876.
  • Blamires, S., Spencer, R., King, P. and Thompson, M. (2005), 'Population parameters and life-table analysis of two coexisting freshwater turtles: Are the Bellinger River turtle populations threatened?', Wildlife Research, vol 32, no 4 , pp 339 - 347.
  • Bowen, K., Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2005), 'A comparative study of environmental factors that affect nesting in Australian and North American freshwater turtles', Journal of Zoology, vol 267, no 4 , pp 397 - 404.
  • Spencer, R. and Thompson, M. (2003), 'The significance of predation in nest site selection of turtles: An experimental consideration of macro- and microhabitat preferences', Oikos, vol 102, no 3 , pp 592 - 600.
  • Kennedy, M., Spencer, R. and Baxter, G. (2003), 'Using small mammals to test ecological processes driving population and community processes after fire in a nutrient poor environment', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 , pp 843 - 843.
  • Spencer, R. and Clark, W. (2003), 'Testing a theoretical model of nest site selection in turtles and water birds.', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 .
  • Spencer, R. and Janzen, F. (2003), 'Ecology and evolution of TSD in turtles: the value of long-term research and the effects of climate change', Integrative and Comparative Biology, vol 43, no 6 .
  • Spencer, R. (2002), 'Experimentally testing nest site selection: Fitness trade-offs and predation risk in turtles', Ecology, vol 83, no 8 , pp 2136 - 2144.
  • Spencer, R. (2002), 'Growth patterns of two widely distributed freshwater turtles and a comparison of common methods used to estimate age', Australian Journal of Zoology, vol 50, no 5 , pp 477 - 490.
  • Spencer, R., Thompson, M. and Banks, P. (2001), 'Hatch or wait? A dilemma in reptilian incubation', Oikos, vol 93, no 3 , pp 401 - 406.

PLEASE view the WildLab Web page for up to date details

This information has been contributed by Associate Professor Spencer.

Current Projects

Title: Extinction of turtles in the River Murray: consequences and solutions
Funder:
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
  • Save Lake Bonney Group Inc
  • Department of Environment and Primary Industries
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
  • Australian Research Council (ACRG)
  • Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife
  • Winton Wetlands Committee of Management Incorporated
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2014-11-19 - 2019-12-31
ID: P00021890
Title: Collaborative Research, Teaching and Engagement with Professor Fred Janzen and Iowa State University
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers:
Years: 2011-11-09 -
ID: P00020505
Title: Wianamatta Regional Park Emu PhD Study
Funder:
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2015-03-13 - 2020-06-30
ID: P00022671

Previous Projects

Title: WomSAT
Funder:
  • Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa
Western Researchers:
Years: 2014-09-01 - 2017-03-31
ID: P00022424
Title: UWS Research into ecology of freshwater turtles in the Murray River
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
  • Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2014-02-25 - 2015-09-28
ID: P00021790
Title: Contract 2012053 - Freshwater turtle monitoring in the Gunbower Lagoons [via The Arthur Rylah Institute - Dept of Sustainability and Environment VIC]
Funder:
  • North Central Catchment Management Authority
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2012-12-03 - 2014-12-31
ID: P00021349
Title: Assessing the impact of foxes on ground nesting shorebirds using new technologies
Funder:
  • Gosford City Council
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Years: 2009-06-23 - 2011-06-22
ID: P00016663
Title: Developing Innovative Cost-Saving Fox Control Technologies at the Western Treatment Plant
Funder:
  • Melbourne Water Corporation
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2009-11-02 - 2011-12-30
ID: P00017668
Title: New Technology for Management of Fox Impacts on Agriculture [via Pestat Pty Ltd]
Funder:
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (non ACRG)
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2009-12-05 - 2011-12-30
ID: P00017670
Title: Eco-Toxicogenomics to Save the Dingo
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2008-12-18 - 2010-12-28
ID: P00016496
Title: Wolgan Valley Biodiversity
Funder:
  • Emirates Hotels (Australia) Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Years: 2008-09-09 - 2014-12-31
ID: P00016359
Title: Assessing distribution, abundance and habitat preferences of feral Indian Mynas in an urban landscape
Funder:
  • Blacktown City Council
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and Julie Old
Years: 2008-11-27 - 2016-09-30
ID: P00016468
Title: The recovery of the imperilled Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, Myuchelys georgesi
Funder:
  • The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2016-03-01 - 2019-07-30
ID: P00023518
Title: Bellinger Turtle project. Stage 1 and contract extensions
Funder:
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2015-06-10 - 2017-10-12
ID: P00024430
Title: Taxonomy of the Bellinger River Emydura
Funder:
  • NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2008-07-04 - 2012-10-31
ID: P00016220
Title: Immunoecology of Manorina honeyeaters: effects of landscape, range size, and extinction risk
Funder:
  • University of Western Sydney
Western Researchers: Brianne Addison and Ricky Spencer
Years: 2012-10-24 - 2013-11-24
ID: P00021104
Title: WildLab: Ontogenetic Changes in Digestive Physiology of Juvenile Turtles
Funder:
  • Fish Fuel Co Pty Ltd
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer
Years: 2015-01-07 - 2015-08-31
ID: P00022520
Title: Identification of key sites for protection and habitat enhancement for the endangered Bush Stone-curlew
Funder:
  • Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Authority
Western Researchers: Julie Old, Ricky Spencer and Jack Wolfenden
Years: 2010-03-31 - 2011-08-31
ID: P00018055
Title: Assessing the distribution and impact of Indian Mynas in Wollongong LGA
Funder:
  • Wollongong City Council
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and Julie Old
Years: 2011-11-14 - 2016-06-30
ID: P00020639

Supervision

Associate Professor Spencer is available to be a principal supervisor for doctoral projects

Current Supervision

Thesis Title: Life History Evolution of Long and Short Lived Organisms.
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: The Physiology and Behaviour of Reptillian Eggs: Sychronous Hatching and The Evolution of Endothermy
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Identification of Key Sites and Habitat Preferences of the Endangered Bush Stone-curlew in the Hunter-Central Rivers Catchment Management Area
Field of Research:
Thesis Title: Success of Social Behaviour of the Bush Rat (Rattus Fucipes) After Translocation
Field of Research:

Previous Supervision

Thesis Title: Apex Predators in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area
Field of Research: Natural And Physical Sciences
Thesis Title: Ecology of free-living cats in peri-urban habitats: Population demographics, social organisation, space use and competition
Field of Research: Other Natural And Physical Sciences
Thesis Title: Influence of Temperature on the Life History of Turtles: An Exploration of the Embryonic and Maternal Adaptions to Incubation Temperature
Field of Research: Biological Sciences
Thesis Title: Synchronous Hatching in Freshwater Turtles: Metabolic and Endocrine Physiological Mechanisms
Field of Research: Zoology; Ecology And Evolution; Biochemistry And Cell Biology; Other Natural And Physical Sciences

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