Like all conservation research, this work would not have been possible without a strong collaborative team. We were lucky to work with skilled and passionate project personnel and partners in Australia and Palau.

Research Team Leaders

 Dr Rob Davis is a conservation ecologist at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. From a childhood in Fiji to undertaking fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Rob has always had a passion for Pacific and it’s unique and threatened birds. His early research work was on fragments of remnant vegetation in the agricultural regions of Western Australia and this gave him an insight into the threats facing isolated island populations. Rob is a disturbance ecologist with a strong interest in invasive species and how birds respond to various forms of disturbance. He visited Palau in 2012 on sabbatical and was lucky enough to meet Dr Alan Olsen (dec.) and Milang Eberdong from the Belau National Museum. Rob became concerned at the great lack of knowledge on Palau Megapode ecology and the negative impact of storm surges on mounds that Dr Olsen had documented. This sparked a strong interest in discovering more about this iconic bird and a desire to inform management actions to recover the species. The research project represented the culmination of 3 years of hard work in pulling together personnel and partners to try and get the project to a launch phase.


Dr Rob Davis in Palau. Pic: Belinda Davis.

Dr David Blake is a lecturer at Edith Cowan University. He brings a specialist knowledge of spatial ecology, particularly the application of GIS and the use of technology in investigating animal dispersal. Dr Blake was also an advisor and supervisor of the lead field investigator.

David Blake_Bio1

Dr Davd Blake

Professor Rob Heinsohn at the Australian National university was an advisor on the project team. Prof. Heinsohn visited Palau in 2012 with Dr Davis to scope the project and brings a strong expertise in bird conservation from his work in the tropics of Australia and New Guinea with endangered cockatoos. He currently manages a number of projects focussing on threatened and critically endangered bird species in Australia.

Lead field investigator

Paul Radley bought a wealth of relevant ornithological conservation experience to the team. Paul has a Masters in avian ecology from the USA and was based in the Northern Marianas for nearly 8 years where he worked on the ecology and conservation of threatened Pacific birds including translocations and reintroductions. Paul moved to Australia in 2014 to take up the opportunity to research the Palau Megapode for his PhD project with Dr Rob Davis. Paul was the lead field investigator for the the  project.

Palau birding

Paul Radley (front) with Milang Eberdong (back) and Koror State Ranger. Pic: Belinda Davis

Collaborators and partners in Palau

Dr Alan Olsen was an ornithologist and curator of vertebrates at the Belau National Museum in Palau. He sadly passed away in 2018. Alan had lead most of the recent research on the Palau Megapode along with Milang (below), including surveys of the Rock Islands Southern Lagoon and examining the impacts of storm surge events on megapode mounds. Alan was an important on-ground advisor in Palau and is greatly missed.

Mr Milang Eberdong is a Palauan ornithologist working with Dr Olsen. He has a passion for megapodes, educating locals about Palauan birds and is a key advisor and co-ordinator of the on-ground logistics of this project.

Palau Conservation Society are the Birdlife partners for Palau, provide project support and will assist with capacity building and community education.

Koror State Government manage the World Heritage listed Rock Island Southern Lagoon. They are supporting the project with boat transport and working closely with the researchers .

Funding support

The project team gratefully acknowledge Rufford Small Grants, Club 300, the World Pheasant Association and Edith Cowan University for funding commitments towards this research.