David Paton AM // Director
David Paton AM is a respected ecologist at the University of Adelaide with a passion for conservation and restoration and a strong commitment to long-term studies that help understand and manage the natural environment for future generations. He completed a B.Sc. (Hons) at the University of Adelaide and a Ph.D. at Monash University. His work on the Coorong and declining woodland birds is well known. He frequently provides informed comment on wildlife and environmental issues to politicians, the general public and the media. He was the recipient of the SA Great Award for the Environment (1999) and the Premier’s Science Excellence Award for Excellence in Research for Public Good Outcomes (2006); he received a National Carrick Citation for environmental education (2006); and was appointed a Member in the General Division of the Order of Australia for service to conservation, education and the environment (2008). In addition to being on the Board of Directors for Bio·R, he co-founded and was an initial Director for Arid Recovery, a non-profit organisation that aims to restore arid ecosystems in Australia.
Dave Taylor // Director
Dave Taylor completed a Bachelor of Natural Resources with honours at the University of New England and has a Ph.D. from the Australian National University (ANU) on fire and management of threatened plant species on Kangaroo Island. He has worked on wildlife management projects in New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Antarctica and South Australia. In 2002, he moved to Kangaroo Island and began working for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to recover some of Kangaroo Island’s rarest plants. From 2015 to 2019, he was a fire manager for the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. He has specialised skills in threatened species conservation, fire management and habitat re-instatement and is passionate about management actions on a scale that makes a real difference.
Jack May // Director
Jack May is a graduate from Stanford University, with a career in international real estate development and finance. He is committed to sustainable development and repairing natural ecosystems. While on a biking trip in South Australia about 20 years ago, he and his wife explored and fell in love with Kangaroo Island, so much so that they purchased Cygnet Park Sanctuary. After many long evenings of trying to figure out how to become farmers on a small island off the coast of South Australia (that was only a short 17-hour flight from their home in Sonoma County, California!), they agreed to begin studying potential breakthroughs in conservation techniques at Cygnet Park Sanctuary, led by David Paton and David Taylor. Jack is hopeful that in creating innovations new to this field, it will contribute to creating long-term sustainable change.
Fiona Paton // Executive Officer
With tertiary qualifications in environmental engineering and ecology, including a Ph.D. in Water Resources Management and 20 years' experience in ecological research programs across South Australia, Fiona is committed to conserving the environmental assets of our state for future generations to enjoy. In guiding Bio·R’s team she draws on her leadership experience as a previous Director of the charity Wilderness in Nepal and co-founder and Director of the not-for-profit Coorong Future Initiative. Apart from overseeing Bio·R’s daily operations and logistics, she has a great interest in the practical application of Bio·R’s ecological research and enjoys being in the field, actively participating in recreating habitat.
Tom Hunt // Senior Ecologist
Tom brings expertise and enthusiasm to his role as Bio·R’s Senior Ecologist, with First-class honours in ecology and 15 years' experience across many ecological research and conservation projects in South Australia, including threatened mallee birds, Kangaroo Island bushfire recovery and the Coorong. He is currently completing his Ph.D. at The University of Adelaide on the impacts of floodplain degradation on woodland bird communities. Tom also combines his passion for wildlife and conservation with his love for photography, continually educating and inspiring those around him (follow @moth_nut on social media). Tom has been involved with Bio·R since its inception, shaping its direction by providing sound scientific advice and overseeing our content curation.
Tristan Avella-O'Brien // Community Engagement Officer
With a diverse background in various fields of study and work, Tristan brings a unique perspective to the 'people' side of Bio·R's mission. His passion for connection - with the natural world, with our communities and with ourselves - has seen him complete a First-class Honours in Environmental Biology, direct outdoor education centres and undertake a Masters of Social Work with training in somatic psychotherapy, which he is still completing. He organises community-related activities with Bio·R and is often seen amongst groups of volunteers at our planting festivals, sharing a yarn, hands deep in the soil. Tristan sees Bio·R's wider community as central to our ethos and has been a key contributor to planting and community activities since 2011.