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Dr Birgita Hansen

Dr Birgita Hansen

Senior Research Fellow

Birgita brings to the CeRDI team extensive experience in ecology and environmental management, contributing to improving the management and dissemination of biodiversity knowledge. Her research interests lie in understanding the ecological response of birds to modification of their habitat, with a strong focus on migratory shorebird monitoring and conservation. She is currently leading the Food Agility CRC Better Data for Better Decisions Constellation, which aims to improve the management and sharing of agricultural data, and working toward adoption of FAIR data principles. Her past research has included studies into riparian restoration in agricultural landscapes and waterbird monitoring at local and continental scales. Birgita is a long-term member of the volunteer-run Victorian Wader Study Group and an executive committee member of the Australasian Wader Studies Group. She is a member of the IUCN Woodcock and Snipe Specialist Group and the BirdLife Australia Research and Conservation Committee. Birgita completed her PhD at Monash University in 2009 on conservation genetics of Leadbeater's possums.

Call: 03 5327 9952
Email: |


A commitment to improving the management of waterways, wetlands and estuaries for the conservation of birds is the motivation behind research being conducted by Dr Birgita Hansen. Birgita has a long-standing history of working with volunteers in shorebird conservation. She has many years' experience in the field of ornithology, specialising in wetland and waterbird conservation and management. Her research has made an important contribution to policy and planning in fields of conservation genetics, riparian restoration and waterbird conservation. She is currently leading projects in the agrifoods sector on digital adoption and improving on-farm decision making through better access to data and knowledge. She is also leading a collaborative project investigating the movement patterns and habitat use by Latham's Snipe. This study is part of a larger research programme she is developing aimed at improving the management of wetlands in western Victoria by working in close collaboration with community groups, private land owners and Natural Resource Management bodies.

Professional affiliations
  • IUCN Species Survival Commission
  • BirdLife Australia
  • International Wader Study Group
  • Australasian Wader Studies Group
  • Victorian Wader Study Group
Professional experience

Federation University, Mt. Helen, Victoria (previously University of Ballarat)

  • CRN Research Fellow (2012-2014)

Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI), Department of Sustainability and Environment (now Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Victoria

  • Waterbird and Estuarine Scientist (2009-2011)

School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria

  • Freshwater Ecology Research Associate, casual (2008-2010)
  • Molecular Ecology Research Assistant, casual (1999-2009)
Consulting and other research activities

In 2021, Birgita contributed to an expert review panel for the Coorong Infrastructure Investigations Project. In 2016, she lead a collaborative project with BirdLife Australia, the University of Queensland, the Arthur Rylah Institute (DELWP) and the AWSG to revise the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population estimates for 37 migratory shorebird species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.

Birgita is on the editorial board of Emu Austral Ornithology, Corella and Stilt (the shorebird journal of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway). She was the editor-in-chief of Stilt between 2011 and 2016. She is actively engaged in shorebird monitoring and conservation as both a volunteer and a professional.

Birgita also periodically provides expert advice and targeted field survey for waterbird, shorebird and other avian monitoring and research programs.

Teaching areas
  • Wildlife Ecology, Federation University
  • Field Survey and Assessment, Federation University
  • Wetlands and Water Resources, Federation University
  • Forest Assessment and Monitoring, Masters of Science, University of Melbourne
  • Masters of Design Innovation and Technology, RMIT
  • Book sections

    Hansen B., Ura, T., Tajiri, H., Dutson, G., & Garnett, S.T. (2020). Latham’s Snipe Gallinago hardwickii. In Action Plan for Australian Birds 2020. (Eds ST Garnett and GB Baker) CSIRO Publications, Melbourne.

    Hansen B, Clemens RS, Gallo-Cajiao E, Jackson MV, Kingsford RT, Maguire GS, Maurer G, Milton D, Rogers DI, Weller DR, Weston MA, Woehler EJ, Fuller, R.A. (2019) Shorebird monitoring in Australia: a successful long-term collaboration among citizen scientists, governments and researchers. In 'Monitoring threatened species and ecological communities'.Pp. 149-164. In: Legge, S., Lindenmayer, D. B., Robinson, N. M., Scheele, B.C., Southwell, D.M. & Wintle, B.A. (Eds). Monitoring threatened species and ecological communities. CSIRO publishing, Melbourne.

    Sunnucks P and Hansen B (2013) Guest Box 5. Null alleles and Bonferroni 'abuse': Treasure your exceptions (and so get it right for Leadbeater's possum). In 'Conservation and the genetics of populations'. (2nd edn) (Eds FW Allendorf, G Luikart, SN Aitken) pp. 93. (Wiley-Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ, USA)

  • Journal papers

    Hansen, B., & Bonney, P. (2022). Learning from successful long-term citizen science programs. Pacific Conservation Biology.

    Hansen B.D., Rogers D.I., Watkins D., Weller D.R., Clemens R.S., Newman M., Woehler E.J., Mundkur T., Fuller R.A. (2022) Generating population estimates for migratory wader species in the world’s largest flyway. Ibis doi: 10.1111/ibi.13042

    Joseph, L. Burbidge, A.H., Delhey, K., Hansen, B.D., Kleindorfer, S., Maurer, G. (2021) Emu’s First 120 Years: landmark papers of change in austral ornithology. Emu Austral Ornithology Virtual Special Issue Online 121, 284-291.

    Clemens, R., Rogers, D., Minton, C., Rogers, K., Hansen, B., Choi, C., & Fuller, R. (2021). Favourable inland wetland conditions increase apparent survival of migratory shorebirds in Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 1-12.

    Hansen, B., Szabo, J., Fuller, R., Clemens, R., Rogers, D., & Milton, D. (2021). Insights from long-term shorebird monitoring for tracking change in ecological character of Australasian Ramsar sites. Biological Conservation, 260, 109189.

    Bonney, P., Murphy, A., Hansen, B., & Baldwin, C. (2020). Citizen science in Australia’s waterways: investigating linkages with catchment decision-making. Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, 1-24. doi: 10.1080/14486563.2020.1741456

    Fuller, R.A., Jackson, M.V., Choi, C-Y., Clemens, R.S., Hansen, B., Steven R., Woodworth, B.K. (2020). Collect, connect, upscale: Towards coordinated large-scale monitoring of migratory shorebirds in the Asia-Pacific. Australian Zoologist.

    Hansen, B., Dahlhaus, P., Milne, R., MacLeod, A., & Pitfield, C. (2019). The Natural Resource Management Planning Portal: Perspectives for NRM Planning and Reporting. Society & Natural Resources, 1-11. doi: 10.1080/08941920.2018.1559383

    Hansen, B., Fraser, H.S., & Jones, C.S. (2019). Livestock grazing effects on riparian bird breeding behaviour in agricultural landscapes. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 270-271, 93-102. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2018.10.016

    Piggott, M.P., Hansen, B., Soderquist, T., Eldridge, M.D.B. & Taylor, A.C. (2018). Population monitoring of small and declining brush-tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) colonies at the extreme of their range using faecal DNA sampling. Australian Mammalogy, 40(1), 58-66. doi: 10.1071/AM16056

    Wilson, D., Hansen, B., Honan, J., & Chamberlain, R. (2017). 170 years of Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii arrivals in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory show no change in arrival date. Australian Field Ornithology, 34, 76-79. doi: 10.20938/afo34076079

    Alpers, D.L., Walker, F.M., Taylor, A.C., Sunnucks, P., Bellman, S., Hansen, B., & Sherwin, W.B. (2016). Evidence of subdivisions on evolutionary timescales in a large, declining marsupial distributed across a phylogeographic barrier. PLoS ONE, 11(10), e0162789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162789

    Clemens, R., Rogers, D.I., Hansen, B., Gosbell, K., Minton, C.D.T., Straw, P., Bamford, M., Woehler, E.J., Milton, D.A., Weston, M.A., Venables, B., Wellet, D., Hassell, C., Rutherford, B., Onton, K., Herrod, A., Studds, C.E., Choi, C.-Y., Dhanjal-Adams, K.L., Murray, N.J., Skilleter, G.A., & Fuller, R.A. (2016). Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 116(2), 119-135. doi: 10.1071/MU15056

    Greenslade, P., Florentine, S.K., Hansen, B., & Gell, P.A. (2016). Biases encountered in long-term monitoring studies of invertebrates and microflora: Australian examples of protocols, personnel, tools and site location. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 188(8), 491. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5478-x

    Szabo, J.K., Choi, C.-Y., Clemens, R.S., & Hansen, B. (2016). Conservation without borders-solutions to declines of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 116(2), 215-221. doi: 10.1071/MU15133

    Hale, R., Reich, P., Johnson, M., Hansen, B., Lake, P.S., Thomson, J.R., & MacNally, R. (2015). Bird responses to riparian management of degraded lowland streams in southeastern Australia. Restoration Ecology, 23(2), 104-112. doi: 10.1111/rec.12158

    Hansen, B., Menkhorst, P., Moloney, P., & Loyn, R.H. (2015). Long-term declines in multiple waterbird species in a tidal embayment, south-east Australia. Austral Ecology, 40(5), 515-527. doi: 10.1111/aec.12219

    Hansen, B., Reich, P., Cavagnaro, T., & Lake, P.S. (2015). Challenges in applying scientific evidence to width recommendations for riparian management in agricultural Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration, 16(1), 50-57. doi: 10.1111/emr.12149

    Hansen, B. (2011). A Brief Overview of Literature on Waders in Decline. Stilt 60, 6-8.

    Hansen, B. (2011). Unquenchable: America's water crisis and what to do about it. Book review. Biological Conservation 159, 659-660.

    Hansen, B., Harley, D.K.P., Lindenmayer, D.B., & Taylor, A.C. (2009). Population genetic analysis reveals a long‐term decline of a threatened endemic Australian marsupial. Molecular Ecology, 18(16), 3346-3362. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04269.x

    Hansen, B., Minton, C.D.T., Jessop, R., & Collins, P. (2009). Biometrics, sexing criteria, age-structure and moult of Sooty Oystercatchers in south-eastern and north-western Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 109(1), 25-33. doi: 10.1071/MU07045

    Hansen, B., & Taylor, A.C. (2008). Isolated remnant or recent introduction? Estimating the provenance of Yellingbo Leadbeater's possums by genetic analysis and bottleneck simulation. Molecular Ecology, 17(18), 4039-4052. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.03900.x

  • Conferences

    Conference publications

    Milne, R., Hansen, B. (2016) Engaging communities for prioritising natural resource management and biodiversity conservation actions (Conference Paper). CEUR Workshop Proceedings 1570, 36-40.

    Hansen, B., Minton, C.D.T., Harrison, A.E., & Jessop, R. (2014). Conservation assessment of the Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus . International Wader Studies, 20, 161-172.

    Taylor, I.R., Newman, M., Park, P., Hansen, B., Minton, C.D.T., Harrison, A., & Jessop, R. (2014). Conservation assessment of the Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris . International Wader Studies, 20, 116-128.

    Conference presentations

    Hansen, B., & Bonney, P. (2020). Conference presentation. Citizen Science: a tool for ecology, conservation and science communication. Ecological Society of Australia Conference. 30 November - 3 December 2020.

    Hansen B, Jones C, Fraser H. (2019). Livestock grazing effects on riparian woodland bird breeding. Australasian Ornithological Conference, Darwin. 3-5 July 2019.

    Hansen B, Honan J, Wilson D, Stewart D, Crossley A, Chamberlain R, Ura T, Takemae A, Tajiri H, Davey C, Gould L. (2019). An overview of movement and migration knowledge from the Latham’s Snipe Project. Australasian Ornithological Conference, Darwin. 3-5 July 2019.

    Hansen B, Gould L, Davey C, Honan J, Chamberlain R, Stewart D. (2018). The Latham’s Snipe national surveys. Australasian Shorebird Conference, Hobart. 27-28 October, 2018.

    Hansen B, Gooderham J, Garland I, Murphy D, Feely P, Sharman M, Bonney P, Dahlhaus P. (2018) National WaterbugBlitz: Citizens assessing Australian waterways. Australian Citizen Science Association Conference, Adelaide, Australia. 7-9 February 2018.

    Gooderham, J., Hansen, B., Garland, I., Sharman, M., Murphy, A., Limmer, S. (2018) Tactics for stretching a waterbug based monitoring program across a continent. 9th Australian Stream Management Conference, Hobart, Tasmania Aug 12th -15th, 2018

    Hansen, B., Rogers, D.I., Watkins, D., Weller, D.R., Clemens, R.S., Fuller, R. (2018) Revision of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population Estimates for 37 listed Migratory Shorebird Species. International Ornithological Congress, Vancouver, Canada Aug 20th - 26th 2018

    Hansen B, Wilson D, Honan J, Chamberlain R, Stewart D, Gould L (2017) Building an understanding of habitat use, movement and migration of Latham's Snipe. Australasian Ornithology Conference, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, 8-10 November 2017.

    Schultz N, Good M, Hansen B and Milne R (2016) Tree decline in the agricultural landscapes of South Australia. 11th Australasian Plant Conservation Conference. Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia, 14-18 November 2016.

    Hansen, B., Pitfield, C., MacLeod, A., Novak, C., Nilsson, K., Dahlhaus, P., & Thompson, H. (2016). South West Climate Change Portal: using internet knowledge sharing and novel visualisations to engage community with climate science. Climate Adaptation 2016, 5-7 July 2016, Adelaide.

    Hansen B, Feely P, Abeywickrema S, Plucinski P, Gillett H, MacLeod A (2016) EstuaryWatch and WaterWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision, and information sharing. Australian Society for Limnology Conference, 26-30 September 2016, Ballarat.

    Hansen B, Honan J and Stewart D (2015) What is the relative importance of urban wetlands for Latham's Snipe in south-west Victoria? Australasian Ornithological Conference. Adelaide, 25-29 November 2015.

    Thompson H, Dahlhaus P, Milne R, Hansen B and MacLeod A (2015) The NRM Planning Portal: matching regional and local priorities to identify partnership opportunities in catchment management. Australian Citizen Science Conference 2015: Maximising the Capacity of Citizen Science for Science and Society. Canberra, 23-24 July 2015.

    Hansen B, Jones C and Pearson H (2015) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? Goulburn Broken CMA Research Forum. Shepparton. 21 May 2015.

    Hansen B (2013) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? Australasian Ornithological Conference 2013. Unitec Institute of Technology, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand, 4-7 December 2013; and

    Hansen B (2013) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? EcoTas13. Aotea Centre, Auckland. 34-39 November 2013.

    Hansen B, Reich P and Lake PS (2013) Riparian zone widths, restoration objectives and catchment land use: management guidelines.Biodiversity Across Borders. Federation University, Mt Helen. June 2013.

  • Reports

    Hansen, B., Dahlhaus, P., Nicholson, C., MacLeod, A., Thompson, H., Ong, H. (2021). Decision Wizard Final Report. Food Agility CRC, Sydney

    Box P, Hansen B, Bradsworth N and Kostanski L (2018) An evaluation of proponent environmental data under the EPBC Act. CSIRO Land and Water.

    Hansen, B. (2018). Latham’s Snipe surveys of the proposed Yumbah Nyamat abalone farm, Dutton Way, Portland. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation, Federation University. 19p.

    Hansen, B., Fuller RA, Watkins D, Rogers DI, Clemens RS, Newman M, Woehler EJ and Weller DR (2016) Revision of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population Estimates for 37 listed Migratory Shorebird Species. Unpublished report for the Department of the Environment. BirdLife Australia, Melbourne.

    Schultz, N., Good M and Hansen B (2016) Final report on tree decline and death project. Submitted to the Coorong and Tatiara Local Action Plan. Federation University. 82p.

    Dahlhaus, P., Thompson H, Murphy A and Hansen B (2016) Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision and information sharing. Discussion paper. Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation. Federation University. 21p.

    Hansen, B., Wevill T, Hettihewa S and Gell P (2014) Narmbool Biodiversity and Carbon Project. Unpublished report for Sovereign Hill Museums Association. Federation University.

    Menkhorst P, Loyn RH, Liu C, Hansen B, McKay M and Dann P (2015) Trends in numbers of piscivorous birds in Western Port and West Corner Inlet, Victoria, 1987-2012. Unpublished client report to Melbourne Water. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Heidelberg, Victoria.

    Menkhorst P and Hansen B (2014) Investigating the utility of monitoring bird communities to inform the Victorian Index of Estuarine Condition. Unpublished client report to Victorian Office of Water. Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Heidelberg, Victoria.

  • Better Data for Better Decisions constellation
  • Decision Wizard
  • DELWP LitterWatch project
  • Yarra Catchment Atlas
  • The National WaterbugBlitz: citizens assessing Australian waterways
  • Assessment of the value of proponent data under the EPBC ACT (with CSIRO, ThinkPlace and Department of Energy and Environment)
  • A multi-scale investigation into habitat requirements and movement patterns of Latham's Snipe in south-eastern Australia ( )
  • Natural Resource Management Portal: Matching regional and local priorities to identify partnership opportunities in catchment management.
  • Tree decline in the Coorong and Tatiara, South Australia: Using citizen science to reveal patterns of tree decline in rural landscapes.
  • Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision and information sharing
  • Australian National Data Service Collections Enhancement Project
  • Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action climate reporting tool
  • Investigating the influence of riparian zone condition and management on woodland bird breeding in highly modified landscapes

Associate supervisor

Completed supervisions

  • Patrick Bonney (PhD Candidate, Federation University) - Linking community and waterway management through citizen science
  • Michelle Matthews (Honours) - APolicy implications of the Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement for shorebird hunting in Australia
  • Hamish McDonough (Honours) - Composition, distribution and relative volume of litter pollution in Port Phillip
  • Andrew Crossley (Honours) - What is the home range and habitat preference of Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) in south-west Victoria?
  • Josh Howard (Honours and 3rd Year student) - Influence of disturbance regimes on habitat suitability for ground dwelling fauna and birds in native grasslands
  • Rebecca Falk (3rd Year student) - The effects of human disturbance on waterbird communities in the Ballarat region
  • Margot Gallety (3rd Year student) - Insect communities of Grey Box Grassy Woodland in Longwood Plain
  • Daniel Sheehan (3rd Year student) - What is Latham's Snipe Preferred Habitat?: A GIS and Database Analysis With Ground 'Truthing'
  • Joel Ellis (3rd Year student) - Distribution and occurrence frequency of bird assemblages along a riparian-upslope gradient in open eucalypt forest
  • Jennifer Urias (3rd Year student) - The Importance of Three Freshwater Lakes to Waterbirds in the Ballarat Region
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