Tess O'Brien
PhD Student

Tess O'Brien

Evolution and Ecology Research Centre
Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences

Tess is a statistician with a complicated academic history across many disciplines. Her first undergrad degree was in sociology and linguistics, after which she went to study statistics and got slightly distracted by mathematics along the way. Her honours was on the mathematics of quantum mechanics, and she is now doing a PhD with research in mathematical ecology, focusing on developing Bayesian methods for differential equation fitting.
Tess's interests are extremely broad. Outside of her PhD research in ecology she has preliminary work in the linguistics of mathematics, and occasionally does statistical consulting. She is an enthusiastic teacher specialising in statistics for the un-statistical and the right kind of professional paranoia about numbers.

Project: Tropical Tree Life Histories

Supervised by: Daniel Falster and David Warton

Project Description: Tess is developing a statistical method for parameterising growth functions for tropical trees based on repeat size measurement data. She uses hierarchical Bayesian methods incorporating a longitudinal structure and numerical integration directly into model fitting.

Contact Details


O’Brien, T. (2023). ‘Maths is a Language’, Australian Mathematical Society Gazette, 50:3, pp. 122-128.