Amanda Lilleyman

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I am a PhD student studying migratory shorebird ecology in Darwin Harbour. The Northern Territory supports thousands of migratory shorebirds and has many sites listed as nationally and internationally significant. Most of the shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway face threats such as habitat destruction, hunting, disturbance and impacts from climate change. The conservation of shorebirds has never been more important than now. In this PhD I will examine the factors that constrain population size in migratory shorebirds in Darwin Harbour.

This PhD project is funded by the Northern Territory Government. 

I am a birdwatcher and have a particular interest in migratory shorebirds because of their interesting migration ecology, high abundance in the austral summer, and tricky identification. I have been involved in national Shorebirds 2020 surveys in NSW, WA and the NT and more recently in the Monitoring Yellow Sea Migrants in Australia (MYSMA) survey in Broome, WA. I also co-ordinate shorebird surveys in Darwin Harbour in my role as Team Leader at Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA).

I did my honours research on the behavioural responses of migratory shorebirds to natural and anthropogenic disturbances and found that shorebirds were more likely to take flight in small, single-species flocks and as the distance to the disturbance stimuli decreased. The other main finding was that ten alarm flights cost the shorebirds up to eight percent of their daily energy expenditure.


Prof. Michael Lawes (CDU)

Prof. Stephen Garnett (CDU)

Dr Danny Rogers (Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Victoria)


Bachelor of Science (Hons)

Professional Affiliations

  • Australasian Wader Studies Group
  • BirdLife Australia
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • Environs Kimberley
  • Friends of the Bush Stone-curlew
  • International Wader Studies Group
  • Northern Territory Field Naturalists Club 

Other Positions Held

  • Post-graduate Student Representative for the Faculty of EHSE, Research and Research Training Committee, CDU, 2013 - present
  • Co-opted committee member for the Australasian Wader Studies Group, 2014 - 2015
  • Committee member for the Australasian Shorebird Conference, 2014
  • Reviewer for the journal Biodiversity and Conservation, 2013
  • Club co-ordinator of Newcastle University Bird Observers Club (NUBOC), 2010 - 2011


  • Finalist, Career Kickstart Award, Northern Territory Young Achievers 2014
  • Semi-finalist, Environment Award, Northern Territory Young Achievers 2014
  • ANZ Trustees Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment 2013
Student Study Thesissort descending Project Status
Stephen Garnett Professor
Prof. Mike Lawes Professor

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