Damien Fordham

Dr Damien Fordham

Associate Prof/Reader

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


I am currently Associate Professor in Global Change Ecology at the University of Adelaide. I am also Associate Dean (International) in the Faculty of SET and lead the Environment Institute’s climate and biodiversity research theme. I am a member of the University of Copenhagen’s Globe Institute and its Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate.

I have worked in the fields of ecological and biodiversity conservation for over 15 years. Here I have brought international leadership and critical skills to the topic of global environmental change on natural systems. My research blends theory and application to better understand and manage biodiversity through deeper recognition of the processes that shape the distribution and dynamics of life on Earth. This often requires research approaches that are transdisciplinary, combining elements of ecology, climate change science, biogeography, evolutionary genetics and computer science.

The computational methods and frameworks that my group has developed for uncovering past responses of biodiversity to global environmental change has improved the way that simulation models are generated, interpreted, and used to protect threatened species and their habitats. Our research integrating demographic and biotic processes into ecological models transformed the way that species responses to climate change are forecast and used to inform conservation management and policy. The ecological modelling and climate software that we have developed is now used extensively world-wide for research and teaching purposes. We engage widely with diverse stakeholders, working often with government and not-for-profit organisations to apply our modelling approaches and expertise to environmental problems, including preventing further extinctions and guiding biodiversity markets.

I have led ARC fellowships (Super Science and Future Fellow), Discovery and Linkage Projects, and have been a partner investigator on competitive international grants (NSF-synergy, Villum Foundation etc.). I have supervised 20 students (current and completed), including 10 PhDs. I have mentored greater than 10 ARC Research Associates as primary supervisor. My staff and students have won prizes (Dean’s Commendations, DECRA) and secured jobs at prestigious academic institutions and in industry.

Ongoing grants

Lorenzen E, Fordham DA + 2 Authors Unravelling the resilience of Arctic marine mammals to future climate change using paleo-archives Villum Foundation $820 000 AUD (2021-2024)

Fordham DA, Austin J, Nogues-Bravo D, Rahbek, C, Lomolino M  Reconstructing mechanisms of range contraction to avert species extinctions. ARC DP $496 000 AUD (2017-)

Past Grants

Fordham DA,  Integrating models with molecular 'logbooks' to better forecast extinction risk from climate change ARC FT 2014 $702,000 (2014-).

Fordham DA, Cassey P, Brook BW, Mutze G. An integrated tool for informing pest management: Modelling range shifts for an invasive vertebrate in response to climate change ARC LP 2012 R2 $750 000 AUD (2012-).

Fordham DA Mitigating future biodiversity loss through better use of long term ecological proxies. Environment Institute, University of Adelaide 2018 $25,620 AUD (2018)

Gillanders BM, Donnellan SC, Fordham DA, Prowse T, Rowling K, Steer M. Giant Australian cuttlefish in South Australian waters. Fisheries Research and Development Corporation $367,000 (2014-2015)

Lacy R, Akçakaya HR, Brook B, Grajal A, Miller P, Fordham DA + 16 other authors. Using metamodels to enable transdisciplinary research for the study of dynamic biological systems under global change NSF RCN $500 000 USD (2012 – 2016).

Fisher D, Ritchie E, Webb J, Ward S, Oakwood M, Radford I, Tuft K, Burnett S, Heiniger J, Annette C, Williams D, Fordham D., Pollock K, Barker R, Morris K Understanding current mechanisms of extinction using population models for the northern quoll, Dasyurus hallucatus across tropical Australia $30 000 AUD (2013 – 2014).

Fordham and Brook. Range dynamics and demographics of spatially structured populations under global change. Australian Research Council Discovery Project $390 000 AUD (2010 -2013)

Brook, Fordham, Araújo and Foulkes. Planning for a transformed future: Modelling synergistic climate change and land use impacts on biodiversity. Australian Research Council Linkage Project $636 000 AUD (2009-2012)

International PhD Course: Modelling species distributions under climate change (University of Copenhagen)

ENV BIOL 2503 - Zoology II (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/course-outlines/104303/1/sem-1/)

ENV BIOL 3121 - Concepts in Ecology III (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/course-outlines/103104/1/sem-1/)

ENV BIOL 1002 - Ecological Issues I (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/course-outlines/008954/1/sem-2/)

ENV BIOL 3580 -  Conservation Biology III  (https://www.adelaide.edu.au/course-outlines/109065/1/sem-2/2020/)

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Using sediment and ancient DNA to bolster extinction prevention methodologies of threatened Australian mammals Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Thomas Robert Harvey
    2023 Principal Supervisor Establishing and mitigating climate impacts on Australia's freshwater granite rock-hole ecosystems. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Chih-Yun Liu
    2022 Co-Supervisor Trait-based Responses of Coral Reef Fish Communities to Global Warming and Habitat Loss Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Anthony Charles Markey
    2021 Principal Supervisor The Resilience of Arctic Marine Mammals to Future Climate Change Using Fossil Archives Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Mr Nicholas Freymueller
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - 2023 Principal Supervisor Revealing ecological processes of range dynamics through space and time Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Ms Julia Aaron Pilowsky
    2019 - 2022 Principal Supervisor Guiding biodiversity conservation by integrating ecological models, genes, and fossils Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Miss Elisabetta Canteri
    2015 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Response of Temperate Marine Food Webs to Climate Change and Ocean Acidification: Bridging the Gap between Experimental Manipulation and Complex Foodwebs Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Md. Hadayet Ullah
    2013 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Quantifying Biodiversity Patterns and Extinction Risk in Seasonal Wetland Plant Communities Master of Philosophy Master Part Time Dr David Charles Deane
    2010 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Population Genetics and Phylogeography of Antilopine Wallaroo Using Degraded DNA from Scats and Museum Specimens Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Jessica Jayne Wadley
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Predicting and Measuring the Impacts of Climate Change and Habitat Loss on Southeast Asian and Australian Birds Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr John Harris
  • Position: Associate Prof/Reader
  • Phone: 83136711
  • Email: damien.fordham@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 83134347
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Benham, floor G
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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