Roberta Bencini

Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, University of New South Wales, Associate Professor

  • The University of Western Australia (M087), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


After completing a PhD on the physiology of lactation in sheep, I was appointed as an academic at The University of Western Australia in 1993. In 1995 I started developing new teaching programs in wildlife management and supervising postgraduate students with projects in wildlife conservation and management. It was one of these students, Dr Harriet Mills, who expressed an interest in a PhD project on the Dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis).
We started working together on the dibbler in 1997, when I became a member of the Dibbler Recovery Team and we were part of the expedition that collected the founders of a captive colony established at Perth Zoo. From this colony the Dibbler Recovery Team established a new population of dibblers on Escape Island, which considerably improved the conservation status of the species. My team investigated the island ecosystems inhabited by dibblers for over a decade,and this work culminated in the discovery that the availability of resources determines die-off in the males of this species.
The focus of my current research is on managing the negative effects of roads and other developments on wildlife.

Roles and responsibilities

My job involves teaching, research and service for The University of Western Australia.
I coordinate three postgraduate units and I supervise honours, Master and PhD students, mainly on wildlife research projects.
I also manage research grants and sit on committees and recovery teams for endangered and vulnerable species.

Future research

Methods to reduce the negative impacts of roads and development on wildlife.
Enhancing wildlife biodiversity in managed ecosystems.

Funding overview

My research on road ecology is mainly supported by Main Roads WA for projects on fauna crossing structures.
Thanks to their support I have been involved in the translocation and monitoring of western ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus occidentalis) during the construction of the Bunbury Outer Ring Road.
We also conducted projects on fauna along the Mandurah Entrance Road (now called Mandjoogoordap Drive), the Roe 7 Highway Extension, the Perth to Bunbury Highway (Forrest Highway) and, more recently, the Northlink Project.
I have also been involved in translocation projects of free range common brushtail possums (Thricosurus vulpecula)from the Perth Zoo Grounds to Whiteman Park, where we also studied the use of underpasses to connect two fenced reserves, and of black gloved wallabies (Macropus irma) from Jandakot Airport to Harry Waring Marsupial Reserve.
In the past I attracted grants from the Australian Research Council (ARC) for work on the dibbler (Parantechinus apicalis), on fertility control for wildlife management and for sheep milking research.
The Committee for the Advancement of University teaching (CAUT) and the Teaching and Learning Committee provided funds early in my career for the development of a computer simulated animal dissection (Animal Stack: a computer simulated animal dissection.

Previous positions

1995 - 2001 Lecturer, Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
1992 - 1994 Associate Lecturer, Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia.
1990 - 1991 MAF (Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries) Technology Research Fellow at Flock House Research Station, Bulls, New Zealand.

Current projects

Other research projects conducted by my postgraduate students include:
Wildlife management of overabundant populations of marsupials (possums, kangaroos, rock wallabies) thorugh fertility control.
Influence of road kills on wildlife and use of underpasses by fauna.
Ecology of the quokka (Setonix brachyurus).

Industrial relevance

Road kills are a problem for both animals and people.
The average reported damage to a car for hitting a kangaroo is about $3000.
Our work aims at reducing road kills by researching the efficacy of amelioration measures such as underpasses for terrestrial fauna and rope bridges for arboreal marsupials like the critically endangered western ringtail possum.

Teaching overview

I currently coordinate:
ANIM3306 Clean, Green and Ethical Animal Production;
SCIE4403 The conduct, ethics and communication of science.
I organise wildlife related field trips for the unit:
ENVT4461 Asssessing environmental quality
I also give lectures in:
GEOG3304 Environmental Change


Ecology and management of endangered marsupials and other threatened wildlife.
Methods of mitigating the negative effects of roads and other developments on wildlife, including underpasses and rope bridges. My major sponsor in this field has ben Main Roads Western Australia.
Management of orphaned and rehabilitated western ringtail possums, a species now classified as critically endangered.


English and Italian

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Conservation biology
  • Physiology of lactation


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