Nic Hills

Nic HillsEmail:
Location: Room 325, A08 – Heydon-Laurence Building, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia

Thesis title: Predator-prey interactions in the Simpson Desert, Australia.

Predators can depress populations of their prey but often have subtle and surprisingly positive effects on the broader communities to which they belong. I am interested in investigating complex predator-prey interactions and vertebrate diversity in the Simpson Desert, Queensland. Primarily, my project seeks to disentangle the complex effects of two dominant predators – the introduced red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and native sand goanna (Varanus gouldii) – on small prey in the Simpson Desert, and identify their different roles in depleting and enhancing the rich small mammal and lizard faunas that characterize the inland regions. Specifically, I am interested in exploring the dietary preferences of dingoes (Canis lupus dingo), red foxes, cats (Felis catus) and goannas and the habitat use and population dynamics of four different species of goannas.


Nicole Hills, Grant C. Hose, Andrew J. Cantlay and Brad R. Murray. 2008. Cave invertebrate assemblages differ between native and exotic leaf litter. Austral Ecology 33, 271-277.

Brad R. Murray, Chris R. Dickman, Tessa Robson, Adele Haythornthwaite and Nicole Hills. 2007. Effects of exotic plants in native vegetation on species richness and abundance of mammals and birds: a review. Pp 216-221 in the Pest or Guest: the Zoology of Overabundance. Edited by Daniel Lunney, Peggy Eby, Pat Hutchings and Shelly Burgin. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman, NSW, Australia.