Dr. Rebecca Harris

Dr. Rebecca Harris
Humboldt Research Fellow

Department of Conservation Biology
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Permoserstraße 15 I 04318 Leipzig, Germany
Tel.: +49 341 235 - 1643
Fax: +49 341 235 - 451270


Persönliche Bild

CV / Academic education

2004 - 2012 PhD thesis: The biophysical and behavioral strategies of thermoregulation in the wingless grasshopper – A model to test potential climate change impacts on insects (School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania).
1997 – 2000 Master of Science, Biology Research, Macquarie University. Thesis title: Cattle Grazing in Public Forests: The Response of Ground-dwelling Spider Assemblages
1998 Certificate in Scientific Photography, Sydney Institute of Technology
1988-1991 Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Biology), with Credit, The University of Technology, Sydney.

Professions / Work experience

2012 – present Climate Research Fellow, Antarctic Climate Ecosystem CRC, University of Tasmania, Australia
2000 – 2003 Research Assistant, Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research, the Australian Museum
1995-1997 Technical Officer, Arachnology section, the Australian Museum
1998-2000 Key Centre for Biodiversity and Bioresources, Macquarie University

Research interests

My principal research interests are in the areas of conservation biology and climate change impacts on natural and human systems. I integrate climate science with ecological research to contribute to landscape management decisions that are necessary to adapt to climate change impacts. I am working on methods to improve the application of climate science to ecological research and adaptation responses by incorporating the high frequency and seasonal information available in regional climate projections.

Recently my research has focused on the impact of climate variability and extreme events on natural ecosystems and the adaptability of species and humans to change. This research has been applied to emergency services (bushfire preparedness), agriculture (biosecurity, viticulture), conservation management and adaptation in the ski industry.

In 2016 I was awarded a Humboldt Research Fellowship which is supporting a research visit for one year at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, Leipzig. This work is focused on the interactions between ecosystem stability, extreme events and climate variability associated with large-scale climate drivers such as El Nino and North Atlantic Oscillation (NOA).


Harrison, P. A., Vaillancourt, R. E., Harris, R. M. B. and Potts, B. M. (2017) Integrating climate change and habitat fragmentation to identify candidate seed sources for ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology doi:10.1111/rec.12488

Harris, R.M.B.; Remenyi, T.; Williamson, G.; Bindoff, N.L.; Bowman, D (2016)  
Climate – vegetation – fire interactions and feedbacks: major barrier or trivial detail in projecting the future of the Earth system? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews. doi: 10.1002/wcc.428

Harris, R.M.B., Remenyi, T., Kriticos, D., Bindoff, N (2016) Unusual suspects in the usual places: A phylo-climatic framework to identify potential future invasive species. Biological Invasions 10.1007/s10530-016-1334-8

Porfirio, L.L.; Harris, R.; Stojanovic, D.; Webb, M.H.; Mackey, B. (2016) Direct and indirect effects of climate change over three trophic levels on an endangered migratory species. Emu - Austral Ornithology MU10.1071/MU15094

McDonald, J., McCormack, P., Harris, R.M.B., Lockwood, M. & Fleming, A. (2016) How can conservation objectives in legal frameworks better facilitate biodiversity adaptation under climate change? Ecology and Society 21(2):25. http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-08460-210225

Harris, R.M.B.; Carter, O.; Gilfedder, L.; Porfirio, L.L. ; Lee, G.; Bindoff, N. (2015) Noah’s Ark conservation will not preserve threatened ecological communities under climate change. PLOS ONE 10(4): e0124014. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0124014

Harris, R., McQuillan, P. and Lesley Hughes (2015) Behaviour has the potential to alleviate the impacts of climate change on small ectotherms. Journal of Thermal Biology 42 DOI: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2015.06.001

Lechner, A.M., Doerr, V., Harris, R.M.B., Doerr, E., Lefroy, T. (2015) A connectivity modelling framework for characterising dispersal behaviour at local and regional scales based on fine scale dispersal behaviour, graph theory and Circuitscape. Landscape and Urban Planning 141:11-23 DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2015.04.008

Raymond, C.M, Lechner, A.M., Lockwood, M., Harris, R.M.B., Carter, O., Gilfedder, L. (2015) Private land managers’ capacities to conserve threatened and novel ecosystems under climate change. Journal of Environmental Management DOI:10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.04.048

Lechner, AM and Harris, RMB and Doerr, V, Doerr, E; Drielsma, M and Lefroy, EC (2015) From static connectivity modelling to scenario-based planning at local and regional scales, Journal for Nature Conservation, 28 pp. 78-88. doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2015.09.003

Harris, R.M.B., Grose, M., Lee, G., Bindoff, N., Porfirio, L. and Fox-Hughes, P. (2014)
Climate Projections for Ecologists
WIREs Climate Change 5: 621-637 (doi: 10.1002/wcc.291)

Grose, M.R., Fox-Hughes, P., Harris, R.M.B., Bindoff, N.L. (2014) Changes to the drivers of fire weather with a warming climate – a case study of southeast Tasmania. Climatic Change 1-2: 255- 269 (doi 10.1007/s10584-014-1070-y)

Williamson, G. J, Prior L, Harris R, Grose M, Bowman D (2014) Predicting canopy cover change in Tasmanian eucalypt forests using dynamically downscaled regional climate projections. Regional Environmental Change (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-013-0577-5)

Gould, S.F., Beeton, N.J., Harris, R.M.B., Hutchinson, M.F., Lechner, A.M., Porfirio, L.L., Mackey, B.G. (2014) A tool for simulating and communicating uncertainty when modelling species distributions under future climates. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.1319

Porfirio L.L., R M.B. Harris, Sonia Hugh, Sue Gould, Greg Lee, Brendan Mackey, Nathan Bindoff (2014) Improving the application of Species Distribution Models for conservation planning and management under climate change. PLOS ONE DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0113749

Fox-Hughes, P., Harris, R.M.B., Lee G, Grose, M, and Bindoff, N (2014) Future fire danger climatology for Tasmania, Australia, using a dynamically downscaled regional climate model. International Journal of Wildland Fire 23, 309–321

Harris RMB, Porfirio LL, Hugh S, Lee G, Bindoff NL, Mackey B & Beeton NJ (2013) To Be Or Not to Be? Variable selection can change the projected fate of a threatened species under future climate, Ecological Management and Restoration.14 (3): 230-234 doi=10.1111/emr.12055&ArticleID=1177288

Harris, R.M., McQuillan, P. & Hughes, L. (2013) A test of the thermal melanism hypothesis in the wingless grasshopper Phaulacridium vittatum. Journal of Insect Science, 13:51. http://www.insectscience.org/13.51

Harris, R.M., McQuillan, P. & Hughes, L. (2013) Experimental manipulation of melanism demonstrates the plasticity of preferred temperature in an agricultural pest (Phaulacridium vittatum). PLOS ONE 8 (11): e80243.doi:10. 1371/journal.pone.0080243

Harris, R; McQuillan, P. & Hughes, L. (2012) Patterns in body size and melanism along a latitudinal cline in the wingless grasshopper, Phaulacridium vittatum. Journal of Biogeography 39(8): 1450-1461

Harris, R; Cassis, G; Auld, T. & Hutton, I. (2005) Floristics and structure of the mossy cloud forest of Mt Gower summit, Lord Howe Island. Pacific Conservation Biology 11: 246-256.

Harris, R.; York, A. & Beattie, A. (2003) Impacts of grazing and burning on spider assemblages in dry eucalypt forests of north-eastern New South Wales, Australia. Austral Ecology 28 (5): 526-538


Harris, R.M.B., Remenyi, T., P. Fox-Hughes, Peter Love, Bindoff, N.L. (2017) An assessment of the viability of prescribed burning as a management tool under a changing climate. A Report for the National Bushfire Mitigation – Tasmanian Grants Program (NBMP). Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Australia.

Remenyi T, Harris R, White C, Corney S, Jabour J, Kelty S, Norris K, Denny L, Julian R, Bindoff N, (2016) Projecting volunteer resource requirements under extreme climate futures: technical report. Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Tasmania.

Hancock, N., Harris, R., Broadhurst, L. and Hughes, L. (2016). Climate-ready revegetation. A guide for natural resource managers. Macquarie University, Sydney. Accessible from: http://anpc.asn.au/resources/climate_ready_revegetation

Harris, R.M.B., Remenyi, T. and Bindoff, N.L. (2016) The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Victorian Alpine Resorts. A Report to the Alpine Resorts Co-ordinating Council. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Australia.

Wallis, P.J., Turner, S.L., Harwood, A., Leith, P., Hamilton, L., Bosomworth, K., Harris, R. and Bridle, K. (2015) Southern Slopes Information Portal Report: Climate change adaptation information for NRM organisations in the Southern Slopes Cluster. Southern Slopes Climate Change Adaptation Research Partnership (SCARP), Hobart, Tasmania.

Leith, P., Harris, R.M.B., Bridle, K., Kemmerer, E., Baldwin, A. and Diddams, L. (2015). A Means-to-an-end: a process guide for participatory spatial prioritisation in Australian natural resource management. Southern Slopes Climate Change Adaptation Research Partnership (SCARP): University of Tasmania.

Fox-Hughes P, Harris RMB, Lee G, Jabour J, Grose MR, Remenyi TA & Bindoff NL (2015) Climate Futures for Tasmania future fire danger: the summary and the technical report, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, Hobart, Tasmania.

Cowan, T.; Forrest, S.; Guo, Y.; Harris, RM.; Huang, C.; Law, T.; Lewis, S.; Loughnan, M.; Wyrwoll, C. and Zhang, Y. “Group 1: temperature and extreme weather events”, Climate change challenges to health - Risks and opportunities. Recommendations from the 2014 Theo Murphy High Flyers Think Tank, Australian Academy of Science, Canberra, ACT, ISBN 978 0 85847. 414, pp. 6-9. (2015)