John Tracey

Research interests

  • Pest ecology and management
  • Population dynamics and management of vertebrate pests
  • Wildlife abundance estimation


John Tracey has for the last 20 years managed a wide range of invasive species management and research programs. Since 2010 he held management positions in the NSW Department of Primary Industries providing policy and management direction for pest and weeds management in NSW and Australia. In 2013, he returned to research as leader of the Vertebrate Pest and Weeds Research Units for the Department. John's research career is focussed on improving scientific based decision making for sustainable agriculture and the adaptive management of wildlife populations. His projects have explored the dynamics, ecology, impacts and management of invasive species and exotic and endemic diseases, with an emphasis on pest management, pest birds, wildlife survey and avian influenza.


  • B.App.Sc. (Natural Systems and Wildlife Management) Hons – University of Queensland 1996
  • M. App. Sc. (Resource Management) – University of Canberra 2004
  • PhD (Environment) – University of York 2012

Current projects

John is the current Research Director of the Invasive Animal Cooperative Research Centre, which is Australia's largest integrated invasive animal research program. The focus of the research program is to develop smarter tools to prevent and detect new invasions, to strengthen integrated management strategies of carp and other pest fish, and improve scientific-based decisions for the management of major pests including foxes, wild dogs, feral pigs, rats and mice, cane toads, feral cats and rabbits. Improving the way we engage communities in pest management is a major part of the program, which is achieved by: understanding and influencing policies and social drivers in pest animal control; encouraging cooperation, and overcoming economic and social barriers. Project information at

Recent publications

Guay, P.-J., Taysom, A., Robinson, R. & Tracey, J. P. (2014) Hybridisation between Mallards and native dabbling ducks: causes, consequences and management. Pacific Conservation Biology, 19-20, 1–9.

Tracey, J. P. (2012) Ecology, impacts and management of pest birds. PhD Thesis. University of York, UK.

Hansbro, P. M., Warner, S., Tracey, J. P., Arzey, K. E., Selleck, P., O'Riley, K., Beckett, E. L., Bunn, C., Kirkland, P. D., Vijaykrishna, D., Olsen, B. & Hurt, A. C. (2010) Surveillance and analysis of avian influenza viruses, Australia. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 16, 1896–1904.

Tracey, J. P. (2010) Risk based surveillance of avian influenza in Australia's wild birds. Wildlife Research, 37, 134–144.

Tracey, J. P. & Saunders, G. R. (2010) A technique to estimate bird damage to wine grapes. Crop Protection, 29, 435–439.

Guay, P.-J. & Tracey, J. P. (2009) Feral Mallards – A risk for hybridisation with wild Pacific Black Ducks in Australia? Victorian Naturalist, 126, 87–91.

Haynes, L., Arzey, E., Bell, C., Buchanan, N., Burgess, G., Cronan, V., Dickason, C., Field, H., Gibbs, S., Hansbro, P. M., Hollingsworth, T., Hurt, A. C., Kirkland, P., McCracken, H., O'Connor, J., Tracey, J. P., Wallner, J., Warner, S., Woods, R. & Bunn, C. (2009) Australian surveillance for avian influenza viruses in wild birds (July 2005 to June 2007). Australian Veterinary Journal, 87, 266–272.

Fleming, P. J. S. & Tracey, J. P. (2008) Aerial surveys of wildlife: theory and applications. Preface to special issue. Wildlife Research, 35, iii–iv.

Fleming, P. J. S. & Tracey, J. P. (2008) Some human, aircraft and animal factors affecting aerial surveys: how to enumerate animals from the air. Wildlife Research, 35, 258–267.

McCallum, H., Roshier, D., Tracey, J. P., Joseph, L. & Heinsohn, R. (2008) Will Wallace's line save Australia from Avian Influenza? Ecology and Society, 13, 41–56.

Melville, G. J., Tracey, J. P., Fleming, P. J. S. & Lukins, B. S. (2008) Aerial surveys of multiple species: Distance and mark-resight estimators. Wildlife Research, 35, 310–319.

Tracey, J. P., Fleming, P. J. S. & Melville, G. J. (2008) Accuracy of some aerial survey estimators: contrasts with known numbers. Wildlife Research, 35, 377–342.

Tracey, J. P., Lukins, B. S. & Haselden, C. (2008) Hybridisation between mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and grey duck (A. superciliosa) on Lord Howe Island and management options. Notornis, 55, 1–7.

Tracey, J. P., Bomford, M., Hart, Q., Saunders, G. & Sinclair, R. (2007) Managing Bird Damage to Fruit and Other Horticultural Crops. Bureau of Rural Sciences, Canberra.

Tracey, J. P. & Fleming, P. J. S. (2007) Behavioural responses of feral goats (Capra hircus) to helicopters. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 108, 114–128.

Tracey, J. P., Fleming, P. J. S. & Melville, G. J. (2005) Does variable probability of detection compromise the use of indices in aerial surveys of medium-sized mammals? Wildlife Research, 32, 245–252.

Tracey, J. P. (2004) Assessing estimators of feral goat (Capra hircus) abundance. Master of Applied Science thesis. University of Canberra, Canberra.

Tracey, J. P., Woods, R., Roshier, D., West, P. & Saunders, G. R. (2004) The role of wild birds in the transmission of avian influenza for Australia: an ecological perspective. Emu, 104, 109–124.

Professional associations and activities

  • Invasive Animals CRC
  • Australasian Wildlife Management Society

Fields of research

  • 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
  • 070205 Animal Protection (Pests and Pathogens)
  • 050211 Wildlife and Habitat Management
  • 070308 Crop and Pasture Protection (Pests, Diseases and Weeds)

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Wildlife management
  • Pest animal research and management
  • Aerial surveys of wildlife

Contact details