Ayesha Tulloch


I am a lesbian and I am a conservation scientist.//


I always wanted to work in nature – when I was little I read every book I could find about animals, and during my undergraduate degree I majored in ecology and volunteered at Sydney’s Taronga zoo. My journey in STEMM then meandered through a variety of careers while I struggled to figure out exactly who I was. I worked as a zookeeper in tropical Australia, a tour guide in the desert, a bakery manager in the Canadian Rockies, and an ecological restoration manager on the east coast of Australia. Throughout the journey I was looking for something I could bite into, that would make a real difference to the world.

I found that something in the form of a PhD at the University of Queensland, solving problems about how to monitor our efforts to recover threatened species and ecosystems. Since then I have focused on an area of conservation called decision science – yep, the science of decisions, which means I spend a lot more time in front of the computer than in the field. I like to create tools and metrics that governments and practitioners and local communities can use to help spend their limited funding in the most effective way to conserve biodiversity whilst ensuring they can still achieve other goals – like agricultural production, or maintaining social and cultural values.

I enjoy science communication and outreach, writing stories about Australia’s fascinating plants and animals for my niece, and volunteering my time to help guide policy towards more positive outcomes for the environment and for diversity and inclusion. I am on the Queensland committee for QueersInScience and I am the Vice President for Policy and Outreach for the Ecological Society of Australia. When I’m not working I am playing with my niece and/or my dog Chilli. I am very into music, SciFi and anything that involves being outdoors in nature (as long as it’s not too sporty – I’m terrible at sports!).