Professor Jane Elith is the 2020 recipient of the Ralph Slatyer Medal. Professor Elith is internationally recognised for her research on statistical modelling of species' distributions, which has become a tool widely used in both fundamental and applied ecology. This work resonates strongly with Ralph Slatyer's seminal work on environmental determinants of species' distributions.
Professor Jane Elith FAA is an ecologist in the School of Botany at the University of Melbourne. She graduated from the School of Agriculture and Forestry at the University of Melbourne in 1977. She specialises in ecological models that focus on spatial analysis and prediction of the habitat of plant and animal species. Following graduation, she was a research assistant and tutor for three years, and then spent the following 12 years raising her children. She returned to the University of Melbourne in 1992 and later commenced a part-time PhD in the School of Botany. She was awarded her PhD in 2002 on 'Predicting the distribution of plants'. Since then, she has been a research fellow in the School of Botany. She is currently an ARC Future Fellow and sits within the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Elith is known primarily for her work on statistical models and data, and has mostly focused on species distribution models. Professor Elith is interested in the methods used to model the distribution of species, and focuses on how they work, how to improve them for typical data types and applications, and how to deal with their uncertainties. She is particularly interested in understanding how models work and in finding technical solutions to improve their performance. She is also interested in and contributes to their use for practical applications.