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The ABS Executive


Justin Welbergen

Justin has been President of the ABS since 2016. When he is not busy pursuing societal matters, he works as an Associate Professor at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. Here he leads the Lab of Animal Ecology, home to an international ensemble of students that work on charismatic species in remote parts of the world. He is also co-founder of 'BATsLAB', a recent initiative to create a much-needed academic destination for bat research in Australia. Earlier this century, Justin conducted his PhD (Cantab) on the social organization of Australian flying-foxes and has been fascinated with these weird and wonderful creatures ever since.


First Vice-President  

Monika Rhodes

Moni became First Vice-President in 2016. As an ecologist, she is particularly interested in bats, bat ecology and conservation, but has a soft spot for the white-striped free-tailed bat (Austronomus australis), her study species. She is actively involved in urban bat studies, including the supervision of PhD students. Moni works at the Queensland Environment Department as environmental officer.


Second Vice-President

Lindy Lumsden

Lindy has been on the executive of the ABS for longer than she can remember and continues to be passionate about the ABS and the conservation of bats more broadly.  She gets great satisfaction and enjoyment out of helping graduate research students and has co-supervised over 20 projects on bats.  She also loves talking to community groups about bats and changing attitudes and perceptions.  She is employed as a principal research scientist with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, at the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, undertaking and managing research projects on threatened species, including bats, to improve their management and conservation.



Michael Pennay

Michael started working with frogs and quolls before graduating to bats about 20 years ago, he has worked with many bat species in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Michael has degrees in history, applied science and environmental law. He served as President of the ABS from 2008-2012, and has continued to help with the extended executive since then.



Pia Lentini  

Pia is a Research Fellow in conservation ecology at the University of Melbourne. She works on all kinds of applied ecological questions and species, but generally does a terrible job of disguising the fact that the bats are her favourite. She acted as Conservation Officer, and then Secretary for the ABS before becoming Treasurer in 2018.


Membership Officer  

Damian Milne

Damian has been the ABS Membership secretary since 2004 and works for the N.T. Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Darwin, where his main roles includes data management, development assessment and the occasional bush jaunt. In 2006, Damian completed his PhD on ecological patterns of Top End microbat communities.




ABS Inquiries Officer

Susan Campbell

Better known amongst the Society for her role editing the Newsletter over the last decade, Susan has been fascinated with bats since completing honours and PhD projects on the little forest bat and large-footed myotis respectively in Victoria.  With Lindy as an inspirational mentor, Susan continued to contribute to the ABS whilst relocating to Western Australia to work as an invasive species research officer for the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development in Albany.


Conservation Officer

Eridani Mulder

Eridani is a Senior Wildlife Ecologist at the Australian Wildlife Conservancy.  Her remit includes long-term biodiversity monitoring of all faunal groups across properties in Qld and NT but it’s no secret that bats are her favourite mammals. Eridani hosted the 2014 ABS conference field trip at AWC’s Mt Zero-Taravale Wildlife Sanctuary near Paluma, QLD and regularly assists with microbat and flying-fox care for NQ Wildlife Care Townsville and at the Tolga Bat Hospital.


Newsletter Editor  

Martin Cohen

Martin is a wildlife biologist who runs his own wildlife education and interpretation consultancy – Wild about Australia – from his home in Cairns. Martin spends his time leading numerous expeditions, publishing a range of field guides, developing and writing interpretive signs, and leading students into the World Heritage tropical rainforest on his doorstep. Martin is also involved in flying fox management and conservation, which involves consulting and liaising with local government, wildlife care groups and the public in an attempt to convince all concerned how important and valuable these beautiful animals are, and to enhance and protect their populations. 


Bat Night Coordinator and Flying-Fox Expert Group Co-Chair  

Maree Kerr

Bat Night Coordinator and Flying-Fox Expert Group Co-Chair: Maree is a higher degree candidate at Griffith University studying the role of education in affecting attitudes toward flying-foxes. She is passionate about bat tourism and created the Australasian Bat Night program in 2012 to raise public awareness about bats, and is coordinating development of a national bat tourism trail. She is president of the newly formed Bats and Trees Society of Cairns, the main aim of which is to educate and engage the community with bats.


Flying-Fox Expert Group Co-Chair  

Jess Bracks  

Jess is a wildlife biologist passionate about ensuring a conservation focus while managing human/wildlife conflict, and is often invited to advise on policy for local, state and federal government. Jess played a key role in facilitating the 2017 and 2018 National Flying-fox Forums, and is working towards a consistent and strategic national approach to flying-fox management and conservation across Australia. She loves all wildlife, but bats (of all sizes!) are obviously the best.


Website Manager  

Leroy Gonsalves

Leroy has been managing the ABS website since 2016 and works as a biodiversity researcher in the Forest Science group of the NSW Department of Primary Industries.


Social Media Officer (Twitter)  

Nicola Hanrahan

Nicola is a PhD student at the ‘BatsLab’ at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University. While her focus at the ABS is human social communication on Twitter, her research focuses on bat chat, specifically, the acoustic communication of the ghost bat (Macroderma gigas).


Social Media Officer (Facebook)

Heidi Kolkert

Heidi is a consulting ecologist and PhD student with the Reid Biodiversity, Landscapes and Ecosystem Stewardship Lab and the Rader Community Ecology Lab at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW. Heidi is studying the pest control service provided by insectivorous bats in the intensive cotton growing region of eastern Australia. Heidi has been facebooking all of our ABS batty news since 2016.

The ABS Extended Executive