Section: Overview
Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching
Career

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Conservation Biology and Ecology
  • Behavioural Ecology
  • Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge
  • Wildlife Ecology
  • Threatened species management

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Roan Plotz

Roan is currently a Lecturer with the College of Engineering and Science. 

He is an expert in the design, application and analysis of multi- and inter-disciplinary research programs, built over 15 years' experience as an ecologist working with indigenous communities and on critically endangered species. Roan has led an international research and development program with the Bureau of Meteorology, seeking to improve community resilience by interfacing traditional knowledge with contemporary forecasts across the Pacific.

Roan completed his PhD in Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington, after applied field research on the conservation, behaviour and ecology of the critically endangered black rhino in South Africa. Other experience includes field research on NZ fur seals on Kangaroo Island in South Australia and teaching science in high schools.

Roan publishes in leading journals, and believes that greater collaboration between disciplines is central to solving some of our greatest environmental challenges. Because of this, his research interests are wide-ranging, transdisciplinary and topical.

Qualifications

  • PhD in Ecology and Biodiversity, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, 2014
  • GradDipEd, Monash University, Australia, 2004
  • BSc (ConsBiolEcol)(Hons), La Trobe University, Australia, 2003

Key publications

Year Citation
2017 Plotz, R. (171020). Mobilizing local and indigenous knowledge in the Pacific United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
2017 Plotz, R. (171020). Mobilizing local and indigenous knowledge in the Pacific United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation.
2017 Plotz, R., & Chambers, L. E. (170209). Learning through experience: a program perspective on community engagement in the Pacific Islands Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Year Citation
2019 Chambers, L., Lui, S., Plotz, R., Hiriasia, D., Malsale, P., Pulehetoa-Mitiepo, R., Natapei, M., Sanau, N., Waiwai, M., & Tahani, L. (190101). Traditional or contemporary weather and climate forecasts: reaching Pacific communities. Regional Environmental Change,

doi: 10.1007/s10113-019-01487-7

2018 Malsale, P., Sanau, N., Tofaeono, T. I., Kavisi, Z., Willy, A., Mitiepo, R., Lui, S., Chambers, L. E., & Plotz, R. (181201). Protocols and partnerships for engaging pacific island communities in the collection and use of traditional climate knowledge. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 99(12), (2471-2489).

doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-17-0163.1

2018 Hayward, M. W., Ripple, W. J., Kerley, G. IH., Landman, M., Plotz, R. D., & Garnett, S. T. (180101). Neocolonial Conservation: Is Moving Rhinos to Australia Conservation or Intellectual Property Loss. Conservation Letters, 11(1),

doi: 10.1111/conl.12354

2017 Chambers, L. E., Plotz, R. D., Dossis, T., Hiriasia, D. H., Malsale, P., Martin, D. J., Mitiepo, R., Tahera, K., & Tofaeono, T. I. (170701). A database for traditional knowledge of weather and climate in the Pacific. Meteorological Applications, 24(3), (491-502).

doi: 10.1002/met.1648

2017 Plotz, R. D., Grecian, W. J., Kerley, G. IH., & Linklater, W. L. (170401). Too close and too far: Quantifying black rhino displacement and location error during research. African Journal of Wildlife Research, 47(1), (47-58).

doi: 10.3957/056.047.0047

2017 Plotz, R. D., Chambers, L. E., & Finn, C. K. (170101). The best of both worlds: A decision-making framework for combining traditional and contemporary forecast systems. Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, 56(8), (2377-2392).

doi: 10.1175/JAMC-D-17-0012.1

2016 Hayward, M. W. (160601). Conservation: Don't bank African rhinos in Australia.. Nature, 534(7608),

doi: 10.1038/534475b

Research funding for the past 5 years

Funding details for this researcher are currently unavailable.

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Key academic roles

Dates Role Department / Organisation
Mar 2018 - Feb 2019
Lecturer in Environmental Science
Victoria University
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Mar 2018 -
Feb 2019
Lecturer in Environmental Science
Victoria University

Key industry, community & government roles

Dates Role Department/Organisation
Jan 2016 - Mar 2018
Lead Scientist, Traditional Weather and Climate Knowledge
Bureau of Meteorology
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Jan 2016 - Mar 2018
Lead Scientist, Traditional Weather and Climate Knowledge
Bureau of Meteorology

Awards

Year Award
2013

Best presentation and poster - Greenhouse The Science of Climate Change Conference - Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC and Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research

Professional memberships

  • Cultural officer and Institution representative, Society of Conservation Biology - Greater Melbourne Chapter

Media appearances

23rd June 2016

Plan to fly rhinos to Australia comes under fire

Nature | NEWS: An ambitious project to relocate rhinos from South Africa to Australia has been accused by some conservation researchers of being a waste of money. The Australian Rhino Project charity, headquartered in Sydney, has attracted huge publicity for its plans to move 80 rhinos to Australia “to establish an insurance population and ensure the survival of the species”. It raised more than Aus$800,000 (US$600,000) in the year to September 2015, and hopes to start by flying out six rhinos later in 2016. The charity says that eventually, rhinos from the Australian herd could be sent back to Africa to re-establish wild populations there, when poaching — which is devastating rhino populations in Africa — becomes less of a threat. But in a letter published in Nature this week, four researchers warn that the project “is diverting funds and public interest away from the actions necessary to conserve the animals”. The million-dollar cost of moving 80 animals would be better put towards poaching prevention, the researchers say.

11th September 2014

Scientists look to ancient knowledge for seasonal forecasts

Epoch Times Newspaper: An Australian scientist is working to collate ancient methods of weather prediction in the Pacific, saying that the study could help improve contemporary forecasting tools, record important cultural knowledge that might otherwise be lost, and help bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern science. Roan Plotz, who is a traditional ecological knowledge scientist at the Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne, is working with Pacific meteorological services to collate traditional weather and climate knowledge, verifying the information and using it to make seasonal forecasts more useful to Pacific Island communities. “What we are trying to do is to be able to integrate the two systems in terms of the indigenous knowledge or traditional knowledge with an actual scientific statistical forecast. We need to understand how relevant or how true that is.”

04th March 2014

From PhD research on African Rhino to Traditional Climate Knowledge work in the South Pacific

Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology Website: Ancient wisdom can be put to practical use when combined with modern weather forecasting tools, according to Victoria University of Wellington PhD candidate Roan Plotz. Roan, now a traditional ecological knowledge scientist for the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific (COSPPac), is working with Pacific meteorological services on collating traditional weather and climate knowledge, verifying the information and using it to make seasonal forecasts more useful to Pacific Island communities.

19th February 2019

Scientists look to ancient wisdom to help predict weather

RADIO NZ International: A scientist in Australia is examining ancient methods of weather prediction in the Pacific, saying that data could help improve contemporary forecasting tools. Roan Plotz, who is a traditional knowledge scientist at the bureau of meterology in Melbourne, says traditional methods include observing animals, plants and atmospheric conditions. Dr Plotz says his work is just one component of a larger project aiming to help strengthen the forecasting capabilities of the Pacific met services. Dr Plotz talked to Amelia Langford about trying to bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern science.

29th November 2013

Roan Plotz is roaming with rhinos

Australian Geographic Website: AG sponsored researcher tracks critically endangered black rhinos through the hub of Africa’s rhino heartland.

01st December 2011

The Rhino Man of iMfolozi

Country Life Magazine South Africa: Article covering Roan Plotz's field research on black rhino in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa.

10th July 2009

Black and White Survival

Wild Magazine, South Africa: Article covering Roan Plotz's field research on black rhino in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa.

19th February 2009

On location with the Black Rhino

Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria NEWS: Zoo staff walked with Roan Plotz in the field on black rhino.

19th February 2008

Roan Plotz - Black Rhinoceros Research Project

South African Broadcast Channel 2 - Nature program: Followed Roan Plotz in field to track black rhino.

01st October 2009

Walking with Rhinos

Australian Weekend Newspaper: IF you see a black rhino charging you, don't run. Try to get behind a tree. This is not the kind of advice one hears everyday. I am in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, sweltering in 40C heat, while listening to Roan Plotz talk about a particularly endangered black rhino subspecies, Diceros bicornis minor.

19th February 2009

Hunter Hunted: Rhino Rampage - National Geographic Wild Channel

National Geographic Channel: Roan Plotz expert rhino behaviourist talking with field rangers and scientists about a rhino attack.