Staff profile: Dr Mick Ashcroft
- Position title:
- Spatial Analyst
- Collection Informatics
- Natural Science Collections
- Research & Collections
- +612 9320 6475
- Contact Mick Ashcroft using the form below
I started my working life as a software designer in the telecommunications industry, but after eight years I decided to change career. After two years doing a Masters of Environmental Science, and three years doing a PhD in spatial ecology, I came to the museum in early 2007. Whilst working here I put the finishing touches on my PhD in my spare time, and was awarded the degree in 2009.
My work at the museum involves using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and various statistical software packages to produce maps, analyse spatial data, model species distributions, and help out with various projects around the museum. I even get to contriubte to exhibitions occasionally.
Major projects I've contributed to include:
- An analysis of invertebrate distributions in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
- The search for an exotic bee (Halictus smaragdulus) that was first discovered in Australia in 2004
- The development of an online tool that allows the public to see where fauna have been observed and to model their distribution (See the BioMaps tool)
The largest project I am currently involved in is collecting fine-scale climate data from a range of environments in the Hunter and Macquarie valleys in NSW. With the help of an Environmental Trust grant from the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, and a subsequent ARC linkage grant, we have deployed 260 weather stations between Gosford, Forster, Jenolan Caves and the Macquarie Marshes and are collecting hourly temperature and humidity data. We will produce fine-scale climate grids for the region that will allow us to better understand species-environment relationships, identify refugia, and improve predictions of how biodiversity may be affected by climate variability.
See my publications
I also have the following in-press publications:
Ashcroft, M.B., Gollan, J.R., Warton, D.I. and Ramp, D. (2012) A novel approach to quantify and locate potential microrefugia using topoclimate, climate stability, and isolation from the matrix. Global Change Biology, in press.
Ashcroft, M.B. and Gollan, J.R. (2012) Fine-resolution (25 m) topoclimatic grids of near-surface (5 cm) extreme temperatures and humidities across various habitats in a large (200 km by 300 km) and diverse region. International Journal of Climatology, in press.
Ashcroft, M.B. and Major, R.E. (2012) Importance of matrix permeability and quantity of core habitat for persistence of a threatened saltmarsh bird. Austral Ecology, in press.
PhD. University of Wollongong. 2009. Thesis titled "The spatial variation of environmental factors on the Illawarra Escarpment and their influence on vegetation patterns"
MEnvSci. University of Wollongong. 2003.
BMath/BE (Elec.) University of Wollongong. 1993.
- Environmental Trust grant (2011) John Gollan, Mick Ashcroft, Daniel Ramp - The role of vegetaion structure in dampening climate extremes. $80K.
- ARC linkage grant LP100200080 (2010) Daniel Ramp, David Warton, Kim Jenkins, Mick Ashcroft, John Gollan, Patrick Driver - Innovative approaches to identifying regional responses of biodiversity to climate change. $561K including ARC and partner cash contributions.
- Environmental Trust grant (2009) John Gollan and Mick Ashcroft - Piloting Fine-Scale Climate Data Collection in the Hunter Valley. $10K
- W. V. Scott Charitable Trust grant (2008) John Gollan, Mick Ashcroft & Michael Batley - Ecology of a recently discovered exotic bee in Australia. $80K.
- University of Wollongong conference travel grant (2006)
- Ecological Society of Australia conference travel grant (2005)
Ecological Society of Australia
International Biogeography Society
International Society of Biometeorology
- Web based modeling of biodiversity distribution in terrestrial environments for conservation planning
- Temporal and distributional patterns of terrestrial arthropods in the Pilbara region of Western Australia
- Fine-scale climate data collection in the Hunter Valley
- Ecology of a recently discovered exotic bee in Australia