Ray Wills

I Started Out
s A Child

(Apologies to Bill Cosby)

I can't remember wanting to be anything other than an ecologist (not even a fireman) - admittedly as a little kid at Coolbinia Primary School I may not have known what an ecologist was - I just knew I wanted to find out all the neat things about the bush. When I went to secondary school at Scotch College, I did a range of subjects including Biology, Chemistry, English Literature, French, Geography, Indonesian, Maths I, and Physics.

I did my BSc, majoring in Zoology, Physical Geography and Botany, at The University of Western Australia, and followed up with Honours and Doctoral Research in the Department of Botany at UWA.

My honours research (in 1983) was an ecological study of a wood-rotting Basidiomycete that produces a fruiting body within several weeks of a fire. Research also examined aspects of the taxonomy, ontogeny, and genetics of the fungus.

My doctoral research (started in 1984) assessed the management requirements of the Beekeepers' Reserve, an area of diverse coastal shrubland between Jurien Bay and Dongara. In particular, this research required the identification of all flowering plants in the area and the assessment of flowering phenology and life strategies of those species. The study also examined the role climatic, edaphic and pyric factors play in determining the distribution and abundance of plant species. I completed my PhD in 1989.

While studying at UWA, I was a part-time demonstrator for five years teaching general botany to Botany students, and mycology to Botany and Soil Science students at the University. I also found part-time work in a wide range of aquatic pursuits (somewhat ironic given that my studies were most definitely on the terrestrial side of plant ecology), participating in a number of surveys assessing the fringing vegetation of wetlands and estuaries, examining nutrient cycling in wetlands, and monitoring sea-grass communities in near-shore marine habitats.

After that, I went to work for CALM...

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Created November 9, 1995

Last updated: June 26, 1997

This page has been visited times since 6 January 2006