Professor Carolyn Hogg with a Tasmanian Devil

Introducing Professor Carolyn Hogg

18 March 2024
We hear from SEI's new Deputy Director External Engagement, Professor Carolyn Hogg, about her work in conservation management and her plans to enhance opportunities at SEI.

Can you share a bit about your background and previous experiences?

I am a conservation biologist who has worked at the interface of research and conservation management for the past 30 years. I specialise in threatened species and using new innovative technologies to improve our understanding of their biology and our ability to manage them in the landscape.

From using whale blow to understand hormones and microbiome in whales in the late 1990s/early 2000s, to foraging ecology of Antarctic seals, and now to using genomics to improve our management actions for Australia’s threatened species. I am best known for my work on using genomics to inform management actions for Tasmanian devils and now koalas.

What motivated you to join the Sydney Environment Institute as the Deputy Director of External Engagement?

SEI sits at the intersection of the social sciences, environmental humanities, and science. We need to enhance engagement between these academic research areas and society to ensure that the public, government, corporations, and not-for-profit organisations are using the latest research findings to inform their actions and decisions.

As Deputy Director of External Engagement, what do you hope to achieve during your tenure?

To enhance and highlight all academic research areas involved in SEI, both within the University and externally. To develop pathways for our external partners to find answers to their challenging questions in an efficient and effective manner, by making connections across the University and across sectors.

What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for SEI in terms of external engagement?

In my mind, there are no challenges for SEI, only opportunities. We need to bring together experts in their fields and harness their skills to improve the way in which society deals with the intersection of the dual biodiversity and climate crises. We need to develop creative ways to engage with different sectors and University academics, harnessing their skills and expertise to address these crises without placing undue pressure on a system already under stress.

What role do you think SEI can play in driving positive change in environmental challenges like the climate and biodiversity crises?

The current environmental challenges that we face will not be solved by one person, or one field of research. These crises came about because of multiple disciplines striving to advance their fields through the industrial revolutions, and so can only be solved by multiple disciplines striving for a cross-discipline, cross-cultural approach to solutions. As a multi-disciplinary environment institute, SEI is well placed to facilitate this research and conversations, both within the University and externally.

Are there any specific projects or initiatives you're particularly passionate about spearheading at SEI?

I am currently spearheading the ‘Biodiversity Challenge’ project, a collaborative project with the University of Sydney’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Aeronautical Engineering, and GeoSciences, in addition to EcoDNA (University of Canberra) and Amazon Web Services.

We are using a range of remote sensing technologies (cameras, acoustic loggers, eDNA, drones and veg surveys) with cloud-based AI/ML to determine the logistics and data manipulation required to measure biodiversity at scale. We will need scalable tools in the future to generate the baseline data required to inform the burgeoning Nature Positive market. Our pilot project is being undertaken on the University of Sydney L’lara farm in 2024.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

My interests outside work are anything to do with being outside, whether it is watching my kids play sport, taking the dogs for a bushwalk, or lying in the hammock on the back deck in the sunshine reading a good book! 

Header image: Supplied by Professor Carolyn Hogg

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