Ralph Mac Nally

Centenary Professor

1979 …2019
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Personal profile


Professor Ralph Mac Nally is Australia’s principal expert and a globally significant leader in spatial ecology, making enduring contributions in the related themes of the ecology of whole catchments and geographic ecology. He unifies research in terrestrial, aquatic and transitional (floodplains and estuaries) ecosystems to bring understanding to how integrated catchments work ecologically. Mac Nally has contributed important new findings to the challenging problem of the concurrent management of carbon sequestration through landscape reforestation, water yields, and terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Professor Mac Nally has focused on south-eastern Australia, where he has provided keystone contributions to the understanding of the ecological dynamics of the nation’s most important catchment, the Murray-Darling Basin. His pioneering method for measuring forest health over vast areas is the standard adopted by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority to report on vegetation condition for the entire basin (> 1 million km2), which is updated annually. Mac Nally has linked that work with climate-change projections to estimate the viability of bird and frog species over the next 50 years. Mac Nally has internationally recognized leadership that has led to long-term, significant collaborations in geographic ecology, specifically in major research programs in western North America on birds and butterflies and in the dynamics of US west coast estuaries, with a United Kingdom–Brazil collaboration to understand and respond to the impacts of land-use change on the Amazonian terrestrial and aquatic biota, and with catchment dynamics in response to human pressures in Spanish landscapes.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Melbourne University

PhD, Melbourne University

External positions

Adjunct Professor, La Trobe University

1 Jan 2017 → …

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  • 1 Similar Profiles
bird Earth & Environmental Sciences
birds Agriculture & Biology
floodplains Agriculture & Biology
Victoria (Australia) Agriculture & Biology
habitat Earth & Environmental Sciences
floodplain forest Earth & Environmental Sciences
habitats Agriculture & Biology
floodplain Earth & Environmental Sciences

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Projects 2012 2019

Research Output 1979 2019

Beyond refuges: Identifying temporally dynamic havens to support ecological resistance and resilience to climatic disturbances

Selwood, K. E., Cunningham, S. C. & Mac Nally, R., May 2019, In : Biological Conservation. 233, p. 131-138 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Eucalyptus camaldulensis
forest stands
5 Citations (Scopus)

Biological interactions mediate context and species-specific sensitivities to salinity

Bray, J. P., Reich, J., Nichols, S. J., Kon Kam King, G., Mac Nally, R., Thompson, R., O’Reilly-Nugent, A. & Kefford, B. J., 21 Jan 2019, In : Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 374, 1764, p. 1-10 10 p., 20180020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

toxic substances

Congruence in riverine conditions and associations between native fish and several species of amphibians in a region prone to fish invasions

Maceda-Veiga, A., Mac Nally, R. & de Sostoa, A., Jun 2019, In : Hydrobiologia. 836, 1, p. 109-122 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Effect of detection heterogeneity in occupancy-detection models: An experimental test of time-to-first-detection methods

Medina-Romero, M., O'Reilly-Nugent, A., Davidson, A., Bray, J., Wandrag, E., Gruber, B., Lopez-Aldana, A., Palit, R., Reid, T., Adamack, A., Pietsch, R., Allen, C., Mac Nally, R. & Duncan, R. P., 3 May 2019, In : Ecography. p. 1-9 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

detection method
survey method

Effects of fish kills on fish consumers and other water-dependent fauna: Exploring the potential effect of mass mortality of carp in Australia

McGinness, H. M., Paton, A., Gawne, B., King, A. J., Kopf, R. K., Mac Nally, R. & McInerney, P. J., 24 May 2019, In : Marine and Freshwater Research. p. 1-14 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

fish kills
mass mortality