Dr David Lee - tropical ecologist, conservation scientist, explorer

David Lee, IWB

Tropical ecologist, conservation scientist, explorer and USW lecturer Dr David Lee is passionate about avian ecology and conservation, ecological survey methods, impacts of habitat alteration on wildlife in tropical forests, and tropical forest restoration approaches. He has led forest-based research projects in Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Pakistan and Peru. David is the award leader for the International Wildlife Biology degree and teaches on all Biology degrees at USW.

Begin at the beginning
My Mum started me on the path as a young scientist, taking me along to RSPB bird watching events and exploring together the woods and fields around my home. Naturally, I was captivated by the David Attenborough television series of the time, although the naturalists and broadcasters Terry Nutkins and Tony Soper provided me with the inspiration to look more closely at what was around me on a day-to-day basis.

Who wouldn't love this job?!
It's true. My career has taken me to some truly fantastic places throughout the world, including the lowland tropical forests of Peru, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the montane reaches of southwest China and northern Pakistan.

Once in a lifetime experiences
From an ornithological perspective, having both a male Palawan Peacock-pheasant and a Falcated Wren-babbler in the same view through my binoculars was a great moment, especially considering the hot, sweaty hike that preceded it! And crouched in the forest undergrowth watching a female Malayan Sun Bear and her cub foraging in Sumatra was a truly remarkable experience.

Students are always surprised to learn...
...that I have worked in a number of countries and in various roles, from ecological and conservation research to non-governmental organisations. The fact I can speak some Malaysian surprised some of the students on our recent Tropical Ecology field course!