People - Team Profiles

Morgan O'Connell

Morgan O'Connell
Director
Bachelor of Science

Founder of Biologic, Morgan has undertaken over 120 field surveys throughout Western Australia and Queensland. From this vast amount of field work, Morgan has developed knowledge of most plant, reptile, avian, amphibian and mammal species in the Pilbara bioregion. His professional value lies in the combination of knowledge on fauna ecology and the State and Federal approvals process. He understands the importance of deliverables with purpose, i.e. reports that meet the end product requirements.

Morgan has specialist experience with threatened fauna in the Pilbara region, having undertaken numerous surveys for Pilbara leaf-nosed bat, Ghost bat, Northern Quoll, Mulgara and Pilbara Olive Python. This includes undertaking a regional survey to map available Ghost Bat roosting habitat in the Hamersley Ranges. In the last few years, Morgan has managed some of the most intensive fauna surveys in Western Australia. He is currently managing most of the vertebrate fauna surveys associated with the largest and fastest expansion effort in the Pilbara region for the world’s largest miner.

Morgan also oversees all the safety management procedures for Biologic. Morgan has developed comprehensive Health, Safety and Environment Management Systems and Safe Work Procedures for all work undertaken by Biologic. Morgan and the Biologic team have an impeccable safety record, and all staff have extensive experience in remote areas and have worked for the majority of mining clients in Western Australia.


Brad Durrant

Brad Durrant
Principal Zoologist / Manager Invertebrate Zoology
Bachelor of Science; Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management

Brad has over 15 years experience working with marine and terrestrial invertebrates. Prior to joining Biologic in 2011, Brad was employed with the Department of Environment and Conservation (formerly CALM), the Western Australian Museum and the Northern Territory Museum.

Brad has spent much of the last 12 years working on ground-dwelling invertebrates on some of the largest biological surveys undertaken in the country, in the Wheatbelt and Pilbara regions. Brad also has experience with surveying salt lake invertebrates, Short-range Endemic (SRE) fauna and threatened trapdoor spiders in the Wheatbelt, Midwest and Pilbara regions, and taxonomic experience with spiders, ants and scorpions. He has written and co-authored papers on these three groups in the Pilbara region.

For three years Brad has been providing specialized scientific advice on SRE fauna, threatened invertebrates and subterranean fauna to the Office of the Environmental Protection Authority (OEPA), DEC (Environmental Management Branch, Native Vegetation Conservation Branch, Threatened Species and Communities Branch and Regional Services), local government, environmental consultancies, and resource and development companies. During this time Brad has provided advice and guidance on more than 50 projects, ranging from Shire road realignments to some of the largest, and most controversial, resource projects in the state, including Chevron’s Gorgon project, Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Mesa A and the Kimberley LNG Hub.

This experience places Brad in the best possible position to direct and advise clients about how to best meet regulatory requirements, identify potential issues and how to pro-actively address these issues for SRE fauna, subterranean fauna and threatened invertebrates.


Thomas Rasmussen

Thomas Rasmussen
Senior Zoologist
Studying part-time towards a Bachelor of Science

Thomas joined the Herpetological Society as a young child and has been undertaking fauna trapping surveys ever since. He has over seven years experience in environmental consulting and during this time he has undertaken more than 20 level 2 trapping surveys in the Pilbara alone.

Thomas has excellent reptile and mammal identification skills and has mastered the analysis of ANABAT recordings using ANALOOK. He has particular interest in remote sensing and monitoring using acoustic recording devices, cameras and video cameras. He is currently working on camera modifications that should provide many additional benefits to clients attempting long-term monitoring of conservation significant fauna. Thomas also volunteers his survey skill for organizations such as WWF.
Dr Ruchira Somaweera

Dr Ruchira Somaweera
Senior Zoologist
PhD

Ruchira has extensive experience in undertaking fauna surveys in Australia, Sri Lanka and south-east Asia. He has a particular interest in herpetology having undertaken reptile and amphibian research in many countries (particularly Australia and Sri Lanka) giving him an excellent understanding of reptile taxonomy and ecology. Ruchira has published two reptile field guides in Sri Lanka, and has numerous publications in international journals. His experience with reptiles has led him to sit on an advisory panel for the IUCN on Boa and Python groups.

Ruchira recently completed his PhD on freshwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory and Kimberleys under the direction of Professor Rick Shine at the University of Sydney. Since joining Biologic in early 2012 he has undertaken a number of surveys in the Pilbara, including a survey for the threatened Airlie Island Skink along the Pilbara coast.


Dr Drew Gardner

Dr Drew Gardner
Senior Zoologist
PhD

Drew has over 20 years of field experience with desert ecology and has published numerous scientific papers, conference proceedings, book chapters and popular articles on the ecology and wildlife of Oman and the UAE. He has recently joined Biologic, having emigrated to Western Australia in early 2012.

Drew's main areas of interest include ecological survey for environmental impact assessment (over 100 such surveys conducted), biodiversity conservation, herpetology (especially geckos), desert and mountain woodland ecology, and cave fauna. He has wide experience in conducting reptile and small mammal surveys (including bats) and habitat mapping, in addition to archaeological surveys, paleontological surveys, and film and digital photography. He is currently completing a handbook and atlas of the reptiles and amphibians of south-east Arabia, and has completed a survey of south-east Arabian bats calls to aid bat identification during surveys.

Drew's research includes the evolutionary ecology of day geckos in the Seychelles, juniper woodlands in Oman, petrels in Mauritius, herpetofauna in Oman and the United Arab Emirates and troglofauna in Oman. Prior to joining Biologic, Drew was employed as an associate professor at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi teaching biology and environmental science, during which time he chaired the Department of Natural Sciences and Public Health at Zayed University and the Emirates Natural History Group in Abu Dhabi, the country's oldest environmental NGO. Prior to this he was employed as a researcher/ lecturer at the Sultan Qaboos University in Oman, the University of Central Lancashire (UK), University College in London, and the Royal Scottish Museum.

During Drew's time in the UAE and Oman, he also concurrently consulted to a number of large environmental consulting firms in the Arabian peninsula, providing specialist experience on native fauna. He has prepared over 100 consultant reports during this time for companies such as Dames & Moore (now URS), URS, MWH Global and Dome International.

His experience and research in arid zone ecology will be a great asset to the company and its clients.


Brad Maryan
Photo: Brian Bush
Brad Maryan
Senior Zoologist/ Herpetologist

Brad has published over 47 papers on reptile distribution, behaviour, ecology, reproduction and threatening processes in journals such as Herpetofauna, WA Naturalist and Monitor. He has also co-authored many important identification books with his publications sitting in most consultants’ libraries. His most significant co- authored field guides are:
  • A field guide to the Reptiles and Frogs of the Perth Region;
  • Reptiles of the Southwest – In the Bush; and
  • Snakes & Snake-like Reptiles of the WA Pilbara & Goldfields.
Brad is an enthusiastic and highly motivated member of Australia’s natural history community. He has taken on many roles within the Western Australia’s Naturalist Club and the Western Australian Society of Amateur Herpetologists Inc. Prior to joining Biologic, Brad worked at the West Australian Museum for 11 years where he undertook systematic audits of the entire frog and reptile collection, in addition to ongoing collection management, loan requests, public liaison and enquiry responses, frozen tissue maintenance and data input, editing of museum publications and photographic input and taxonomic project assistance. Brad also provided, through the West Australian Museum, specimen identification confirmation and specialist advice on taxonomy to environmental consultants.

Brad has particular interest in the Lerista genus having discovered new species belonging to this genus and contributing to many descriptions of new species. He has extensive experience with conservation significant Lerista such as L. nevinae and L. eupoda.