Dr Christine Schlesinger

Christine Schlesinger is an ecologist  specialising in desert environments and with an emphasis on the ecology and conservation of vertebrate animals. After graduating from her BSc(Hons) at Sydney University she took up an appointment at CSIRO in Canberra where she got her first taste of working in arid environments on a project based in the mallee-spinifex country of western New South Wales. In what was to become an enduring connection with desert country she moved to Alice Springs in 1992 to begin her doctoral studies on the effects of cattle grazing on lizard communities, enrolled as a distance student with CDU and based at the CSIRO lab in Alice. She also completed a tertiary teaching degree during this time. Two decades (and two children) later she is still fascinated with arid environments and still doesn't want to leave central Australia.  

Her current research is focussed on the impacts of invasive plants on ecological communities, especially reptiles and frogs. She is particularly interested in how climatic variability in arid Australia determines local strategies conservation and land managament, both on and off reserves and in how Indigenous people can have better opportunities for involvement in land management.

Christine lectures in ecology and environmental science in the School of Environment in a mix of online and field based units, and is the Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Environmental Science. She began working for CDU in 2005, just after the Alice Springs campus of the University became a reality.

Christine is the NT representative on the Board of the Ecological Society of Australia.

Year Type Citation
2013 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A., White, S. & Muldoon, S. Spatial pattern and severity of fire in areas with and without buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) and effects on native vegetation in central Australia. Austral Ecology Early View, (2013).
2012 Journal Article Barbour, W. & Schlesinger, C. A. Who's the boss? Post-colonialism, ecological research and conservation management on Australian Indigenous lands. Ecological Management and Restoration 13, (2012).
2011 Conference Paper Schlesinger, C. A. Research and land management in central Australia – responsiveness, flexibility and patience. Ecological Society of Australia 2011 Annual Conference, 21-25th November 2011 (2011).
2010 Book Chapter Schlesinger, C. A. & Gerritsen, R. North Australian Political Economy: Issues and Agendas (Charles Darwin University Press, 2010).
2010 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A., Christian, K. A., James, C. D. & Morton, S. R. Seven lizard species and a blind snake: activity, body condition and growth of desert herpetofauna in relation to rainfall. Australian Journal of Zoology 58, (2010).
2010 Conference Paper Barbour, W. & Schlesinger, C. A. Black hands on the steering wheel. Ecological Society of Australia 2010 Annual Conference 6-10th December 2010 (2010).
2009 Conference Paper Schlesinger, C. A. & Muldoon, S. Impacts of controlling buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) on native fauna in desert Australia. Society for Ecological Restoration International World Conference on Ecological Restoration23-27 August 2009 (2009).
2007 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A. Does vegetation cover affect the rate of capture of ground active lizards in pitfall traps?. Wildlife Research 34, 369-375 (2007).
1997 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A., Noble, J. C. & Weir, T. Fire studies in mallee (Eucalyptus spp.) communities of western New South Wales: Reptile and beetle populations in sites of differing fire history. Rangeland Journal 19, 109-205 (1997).
1994 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A. & Shine, R. Choosing a rock: Perspectives of a bush-rock collector and a saxicolous lizard. Biological Conservation 67, 49-56 (1994).
1994 Journal Article Schlesinger, C. A. & Shine, R. Selection of diurnal retreat sites by the nocturnal gekkonid lizard, Oedura lesueurii. Herpetologica 50, 156-163 (1994).

Current students:

Bruce Pascoe (PhD): Community Ecology of the avifauna of tall shrublands in arid Australia Supervisors: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU), Dr Chris Pavey (CSIRO), Dr Keith McGuinness (CDU)

Rachel O’Leary (Masters): Environmental, social and economic benefits and costs of delivering a recycling service in Alice Springs Supervisors: Prof Rolf Gerritsen (CDU), Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU)

Sarah Bonney (Honours): Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) and ants: effects on species assemblages and seed dispersal. Supervisors: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU), Prof Alan Andersen (CSIRO)

Recent completions:

Jane Walker (PhD): The culture of conservation: Valuing Aboriginal land management in arid Australian Protected areas
Supervisors: Prof Rolf Gerritsen (SSPR, CDU), Dr Christine Schlesinger (SELS, CDU), Dr Jocelyn Davies (CSIRO/Desert Knowledge CRC) (2011)

Dianne Bell (Honours): Temporal Patterns of Terrestrial Beetle Assemblages in Central Australia: The Influence of Climate
Supervisors: Dr Christine Schlesinger (SELS, CDU), Dr Chris Palmer (NRETAS) (2011)

Lauren Young (Honours): The effects of the invasive grass, Cenchrus ciliaris (buffel grass) on the habitat use and behaviour of birds in semi-arid Australia (2011)

Matt Gillis (Masters of Tropical Environmental Management): Bird species of Mulga (Acacia aneura): Diversity and abundance within a conservation reserve (2009)
Supervisor: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU), Dr Richard Noske (CDU), Dr Penny Wurm (CDU)

Megan Ford (Honours): Foraging behaviour and burrow use of the endangered skink Egernia slateri (2009)
Supervisors: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU), Dr Chris Pavey (NRETAS

Amelia Graham (Masters of Tropical Environmental Management): Analysis of wild harvest, enrichment and horticultural approaches to the production of bush foods (2008)
Supervisors: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU), Prof Stephen Garnett (CDU), Dr Tony Cunningham (CDU), Dr Penny Wurm (CDU)

Heidi Groffen (Masters of Captive Vertebrate Management, Charles Sturt University): Does weed management on land for wildlife properties in Alice Springs affect biodiversity? Working toward a self-assessment approach to encourage good management (2008)
Supervisor: Dr Christine Schlesinger (CDU)

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