Staff profile: Paul Flemons

Position title:
Acting Head, Science Services & Infrastructure
Section:
Collection Informatics
Phone:
+612 9320 6343
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Profile

Paul has a dual role, recently assuming the position of Head of the Science Services and Infrastructure (SSI) Branch whilst maintaining his role as Manager of Collection Informatics.

In his role as Head of the SSI Branch he is responsible for:

  • the Collection Informatics Branch which is responsible for all matters relating to the Collection Database Management System (EMu), and all internal and external clients requiring access to collection data.
  • the Australian Centre for Wildlife Genomics – Australia’ leading wildlife forensics lab
  • the Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station (LIRS) which is recognised as one of the best field stations in the world for tropical marine Research and is a world-leading supplier of on-reef facilities for coral reef research and education.
  • the Australian Museum Research Library which holds one of the finest natural history collections in Australia. Dating from 1836, the Library specialises in material relating to zoology, taxonomy, anthropology, earth sciences and museology.

Paul joined the Museum in 1998, establishing the Museum’s spatial analysis capacity and initially managing the GIS facilities and modelling the spatial distribution of biodiversity. As part of an Australian Museum team he provided input to the Forestry assessment process that saw invertebrates being used for the first time in the designing and specification of reserve systems in the eastern forests of NSW.

He has been instrumental in building the Museum’s reputation as a world leader in biodiversity informatics and has been a strong advocate for the Museum’s highly regarded work in building climate surfaces for exploring potential impacts of climate change on biodiversity.

Paul has a particular interest in developing innovative solutions to biodiversity informatics challenges, in particular web based applications for accessing and analysing biodiversity collection data. He is probably best known for his work in developing the DigiVol and Biodiversity Volunteer Portal projects. These two projects are recognised globally as innovative best practice volunteer based programs for digitising natural history collections. Together they form the basis of the Museums current drive to digitise its collections in an environment of scarce funding.

Before coming to the Australian Museum he worked for the NSW Department of Agriculture, monitoring cropping and clearing in western NSW using satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and for the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, researching methods for identifying native vegetation alteration using remote sensing, and applying GIS to conservation planning and natural resource management.

Qualifications

Paul has a Bachelor of Science in Botany and a Master of Science in Remote Sensing. He started his career measuring, monitoring and mapping cropping and clearing using remote sensing (eg aerial photography and satellite imagery). Working in western NSW for the Department of Agriculture and then managing Geographic Information Systems and projects at the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Awards

Paul was the recipient of the highly regarded Ebbe Nielsen Prize from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility in 2007 for his innovative work in biodiversity informatics.

Research Projects