Simon Gorta

Simon Gorta

PhD Student
Centre for Ecosystem Science
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

I commenced my PhD at UNSW in mid-2022, after graduating with a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Ecology) Honours (Class I, University Medal) from UNSW in 2019. I have broad research interests in many aspects of conservation biology, ecology, and animal behaviour, with a particular interest in birds, driven by a keen interest in birding. Especially seabirds. I have experience working with government and non-government stakeholders, have worked as a research assistant numerous research, management, and policy-related projects, and collaborate with researchers locally and internationally.

Project: Seabirds as indicators of environmental change in the South Pacific

Supervised by: Prof. Richard Kingsford (UNSW) and A/Prof. Rohan Clarke (Monash)

Project Description: My PhD research examines how seabirds interact with abiotic and environmental factors to inform how environmental change is occurring and affecting marine and island ecosystems. This involves a combination of fieldwork (monitoring and tracking of Sooty Terns on Norfolk Island) and exploration of short- and long-term citizen science datasets of seabird observations across the eastern seaboard of Australia. All research is being conducted with a number of key collaborators and stakeholders from government and non-government institutions and local communities.

Contact Details

Google Scholar profile:

Researchgate profile:

Mesaglio, T., Callaghan, C.T., Samonte, F., Gorta, S.B.Z. and Cornwell, W.K. 2023. Recognition and completeness: two key metrics for judging the utility of citizen science data. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 21: 167-174.

Gorta, S.B.Z., Callaghan, C.T., Pedler, R.D., Read, J.L., West, R.S. and Kingsford, R.T. 2023. Habitat associations of dryland avian communities during an extended dry period. Austral Ecology 48: 56-80.

Smith, M.S., Gorta, S.B.Z., Roberts, B. and Leggett, K.E. 2022. Recent observations of Plains-wanderers' Pedionomus torquatus' at Fowlers Gap Arid Zone Research Station, New South Wales. Australian Field Ornithology 39: 167-170.

Gorta, S.B.Z. Pedler, R.D., Kingsford, R.T. and Callaghan, C.T. 2021. Avifaunal use of an artificial waterpoint in the Strzelecki Desert during an extended dry period. Emu-Austral Ornithology 121: 354-359.

Fitzgerald, M., Gorta, S.B.Z., and Kooyman, R.M. 2021. A summer and winter’s tale: factors influencing avian community composition and species abundances in lowland subtropical floodplain forests in central eastern Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 28: 247-260.

Gorta, S.B.Z. 2021. Southern influx of the pantropical Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii into the Tasman Sea. Marine Ornithology 49: 145-150.

Gorta, S.B.Z., Alting, B. and Claridge, A. 2020. Apparent piebald variants in quolls (Dasyurus): examples of three recent cases in the spotted-tailed quoll Dasyurus maculatus. Australian Mammalogy 43: 373-377.

Gorta, S.B.Z. 2020. Eye see you. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 18: 438.

Gorta, S.B.Z. 2020. What goes around comes around: complex competitive interactions between two widespread southern African mesopredators. Canid Biology & Conservation 22: 8-10.

Gorta, S.B., Smith, J.A., Everett, J.D., Kingsford, R.T., Cornwell, W.K., Suthers, I.M., Epstein, H., McGovern, R., McLachlan, G., Roderick, M., Smith, L., Williams, D. and Callaghan, C.T. 2019. Pelagic citizen science data reveal declines of seabirds off south-eastern Australia. Biological Conservation 235: 226-235.

Jagdish, A., …Gorta, S.B.Z, … Moles, A.T. 2019. From dangerous branches to urban banyan: Facilitating aerial root growth of Ficus rubiginosa. PLoS One 14: e0226845.