Damian began a Bachelor of Science (Chemistry) in 1993 before deciding to put his studies on hold and travel to India and Nepal. In 2001, he graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Parks, Recreation & Heritage) (Hons). Damian’s honours research looked at the distribution and abundance of reptiles in a threatened native grassland reserve, and was the catalyst for triggering his passion for reptile conservation. Later that year, Damian joined Professor Lindenmayer’s research group and was responsible for managing forest ecology research in the Victorian Central Highlands. This involved running Earthwatch camps and monitoring the endangered Leadbeater’s Possum. He was also responsible for setting up a new experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of retained habitat patches for forest fauna within logging coupes.
In 2002, Damian helped establish the South-west Slopes Restoration Study, a project designed to evaluate the interactive effects of tree plantings and native vegetation for biodiversity on farms, and in 2004, he helped establish the monitoring program in Booderee National Park, where he also commenced a research project on the spatial ecology of Diamond Pythons. In 2006, Damian began research on the ecology and conservation of rock outcrops in agricultural landscapes and completed his PhD on this topic in 2009.
Since 2007, his current role has been to manage long-term monitoring in the Greater Murray region. This project has been designed to compare biodiversity on farms under in different management regimes and evaluate the response of plants and animals to changes in woodland management over time. His broad interests involve communicating science to a wide audience and using information on reptiles to improve conservation on farms. Damian is the author of Reptiles of the NSW Murray catchment: A guide to their identification, ecology and management.