Hugh Possingham is a conservation scientist recognized for bringing decision science tools to bear on applied problems in nature conservation. He is particularly known for his work in population modelling for management, designing systems of protected areas, and the best way to monitor and learn about ecosystems and species. Possingham was born and grew up in Adelaide, South Australia. He graduated from The University of Adelaide (BSc) and then Oxford University (DPhil, 1987) where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has held numerous advisory roles with various Australian state and federal governments, plus many non-government organizations. He is a professor of mathematics and ecology at The University of Queensland and will be the Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy from November 2016.

Research Interests

Hugh Possingham and his collaborators are interested in formulating and solving problems in nature conservation. They have developed software and tools to construct zoning plans for the land and the sea that seek to meet the needs of both nature and people. Their software is used in over 150 countries to design protected area systems. The group uses a variety of ideas from economics and applied mathematics to prioritize the allocation of funds or choose between broad strategies - such as restore or protect habitat. More recently they have become interested in the question of how much we should invest in monitoring and knowledge gain relative to taking more conservation action - value of information theory.

Membership Type

International Member

Election Year


Primary Section

Section 63: Environmental Sciences and Ecology

Secondary Section

Section 32: Applied Mathematical Sciences