Research Masters Student
Tom Lawton completed a Bachelor of Science degree, with major in Agricultural and Conservation, at the University of the West of England (UK) before he moved to Australia in 2007. Tom has always had a passion for wildlife management and conservation, and was sponsored by Australia Zoo to fulfil the role of Crocodile Research Assistant and Keeper for 4 years. The Zoo gave Tom with great opportunities to assist Dr Hamish Campbell with crocodile telemetry and satellite tracking projects in the Cape York Peninsula between the years of 2007-2011, whilst also working on a number of other research projects. In 2011, Tom moved to Cairns to work for the Queensland Government, where he worked as a Senior Wildlife Ranger undertaking crocodile and cassowary management across North Queensland. Tom had a career change in 2014, and has since being working in the biosecurity sector. He is currently the Quarantine Officer and Detection Dog Handler on Groote Eylandt (Northern Territory).
Tom’s Masters Research is currently investigating the foraging ecology of the Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius) across fragmented landscapes in the wet tropics. The research used ingestible tags to record the movement of birds throughout the forest, and allowed Tom to assess and compare the foraging activity data, as well as the diet of birds in their natural environment, which include both rainforest and disturbed/fragmented areas. To date, Tom has successfully tracked 14 individual cassowaries and had 42 successful tag deployments during his data collection. Tom is currently writing up his findings for publication, and hopes that the results will help to understand how this iconic species utilises food resources and habitats across the wet tropics.