A whole team of artists and scientists have collaborated to make BIOMES happen.
The processes of speciation take millions of years, for a lizard to lose its
legs, or a possum to take flight, for a plant to mimic a duck or a frog to
glitter like gold. But human time is speeding up the cycles of decline.
The Regent Honeyeater was once abundant but is now not only critically endangered but also functionally extinct. With 350 or less individuals in
the wild there are too few of them to play a significant role in the the
ecosystems they inhabit. So how do we define what is a threatened species? The Flying Duck Orchid is classified as being of ‘least concern’
but is it not also threatened in this world of rapid change? The mandala
rotates and loops endlessly, showing the appearance and disappearance
of species. Where will it stop?
Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia, Striped Legless Lizard Delma impar, Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis, White’s Seahorse Hippocampus whitei, Darling Hardyhead Craterocephalus amniculus, Green and Golden Bell Frog Litoria aurea, Giant Dragonfly Petalura gigantea, Flying Duck Orchid Caleana major, Pepper Pot fungi Myriostoma coliforme.
Rachel Klyve is a scientific illustrator and artist from Australia.
She works in both traditional and digital mediums in 2D and 3D.
Her work describes and celebrates biodiversity and highlights
the importance of art in the communication of science.
Threats to Biodiversity Infographics , Native Frog vs Cane Toad (Infographic and 3D sculptures) , Spotlight Wildlife (Animation) , Wetlands Mural'
Jemma Gillard is a scientific illustrator passionate about the natural world and being able to communicate with others through a visual medium. She enjoys experimenting with new techniques, and has an interest in exploring scientific illustration through both a traditional and digital practice. She is currently completing an Honours in Natural History at the University of Newcastle.
Threats to Biodiversity Infographics
One small action can make a difference, these infographics are
aimed at teaching the audience about four of the most common threats to our biodiversity. Each poster lists a threat, a species
affected by that threat, and one small action that you as a person
can do to help.
Native Frog vs Cane Toad (Infographic and 3D sculptures)
More than a third of reported cane toads actually turn out to be
native Australian frogs. The Pobblebonk is considered one of the
most commonly mistaken in NSW. These works aim to present these species to an audience and display their key differences clearly. Educating others to identify cane toads is incredibly important in helping to preserve and protect native frog populations.
Spotlight Wildlife (Animation)
Spotlight Wildlife is an animation that features a variety of Hunter Region wildlife in movement at night. Many of our native animals
are active in darkness, but we tend not to think of them this way. Watch as the spotlight reveals these creatures in action.
The Wetlands biodiversity mural is a project undertaken by Jemma Gillard, Rose Upton, Tallulah Cunningham, and Olivia Joy Unicomb. It is a colourful environment piece intended to highlight and display the biodiversity present in NSW and its local wetlands. It currently resides in the preschool of Waratah Public School, and is accompanied by a blackboard mural that allows others to add their own creativity to the original design.
'Coastal Estuary Field Sheets'
Art and Climate: How can the Natural History Artist disseminate scientific data on impacts of climate change on coastal estuarine ecosystems?
I am a Natural History Illustrator and a horticulturalist. My love and connection to nature, together with my concern for the future of our environment, has led me to explore the above question through research and creative practice. Research indicates that if carbon dioxide emissions are reduced and are no longer accumulating in the atmosphere, then climate change can largely be mitigated. Changing public perceptions, education and advocacy are needed in order to reach this goal and art may help convey this message.
This research focusses on the local estuarine environments on the Central Coast, NSW, Australia. It is estimated that two out of three Australians and four out of five people in NSW are likely to have significantly altered lifestyles due to the impacts of climate change on these areas.
These field sheets are worked up from my initial field research and will form part of a larger body of works, ‘an exhibition book’, that will detail the natural history of estuarine environments and projected climate change impacts.
(watercolour on paper)
'Orrery Arcana and Under the Surface: Throsby Creek'
Orrery Arcana is a system for real-time performance that includes custom software and a self-made hardware controller that is built on a planetary gear train. Sonic events and textures are controlled through gear rotations and embedded light, magnetic, and capacitive touch sensors, as well as NASA lunar data and tarot card correspondences.
Under the Surface: Throsby Creek
This soundscape is a collection of hydrophone recordings gathered from Throsby Creek Catchment in Newcastle, NSW, Australia. The recordings capture the omnipresent sound of snapping shrimp, as well as fish grunts and calls, aquatic insects, air bubbles, yabbies eating, floating leaf litter, diving birds, and curious mice scurrying across the hydrophone cables.
Nicole Carroll is a composer, performer, sound designer, and instrument designer and builder. Her work spans improvisation, installation, and fixed media performance. She builds custom performance systems that she performs under the alias “n0izmkr.” Her works have been performed internationally in the USA, Mexico, Wales, Germany, Greece, Australia, and China. She received a Ph.D. in Computer Music and Multimedia from Brown University in Providence, RI, and is currently Lecturer of Digital Composition at The University of Newcastle in Newcastle, Australia.
Hyperweb is a dual-solid crochet design. It is an evolution of the 3D web series, which saw an exploration of netted, cubic forms. The work appears as a large-scale, pop-up installations in public spaces. Though the form may be similar, the response to site is always unique.
Louisa Magrics is a musician, creative producer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist based in Newcastle, Australia. She is currently completing a PhD in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle. Her research explores rhythmic sequences and crochet forms through an experimental systems approach.
Winner of the 2015 Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize, Louisa has gone onto to exhibit work in major institutions such as The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art. Her site-responsive work Hyperweb was shown in the Royal Botanic Gardens as a part of Vivid Sydney’s 10th anniversary in 2018.
Pulling on threads of technological augmentation, electronic production techniques and digital materiality, Magrics’ interdisciplinary perspective leads to a dynamic re-imaging of traditional creative practice.
Lady Elliot Island and Azure Kingfisher
Nikki is a Fine Artist and Natural History Illustrator based in Newcastle, Australia. Passionate about illustrating the natural world from life, her field-based approach to creative practice has led her on a pursuit across the globe to capture and record the ecosystems most vulnerable to human-induced climate change. She hopes that her work will help tell the stories that linger at the edges of our understandings and inspire her audience to explore the remarkable world around them. With an interest in art-science collaboration, Nikki specialises in fine art paintings, scientific illustrations and visual storytelling.
or keep up to date with Nikki on her social media:
'The soft coral habitats of Port Stephens'
Kathirine is a PhD Candidate in the School of Creative Industries at the University of Newcastle. Her work is inspired by the ways in which art and science are mutually beneficial in their aims to both understand and communicate science. Kathirine primarily works with traditional mediums and strives to combine this work with emerging technologies.
(acrylic on board)
Harbingers of Rain
In a nation where native species are increasingly under threat of extinction and natural environments are being destroyed in the
name of development, understanding the importance of preserving biodiversity is critical if we are to slow the pace of destruction. Similarly, slowing down and engaging with nature is essential to
ensure our physical and mental well-being. This premise is central
to my art practice.
My artworks take time. I firstly spend time observing – birds, animals and their habitats. I spend time drawing to understand the form and character of each species, and what makes each of them unique. My preference for traditional painting techniques means the painting process also takes time – often months to produce a large work.
I strive to create artworks that represent what I see and experience,
in all its exquisite detail. A key element in many of my works is the power of the gaze – direct eye contact between the animal and the viewer. This non-verbal communication generates questions about
the animal’s viewpoint or experience of its existence. Viewers of my work are encouraged to learn more about the species, to reconnect with nature and to appreciate the ‘slow art’.
Ancient Guardian, Koala, Bed of Blossoms, lEastern Spinebill, Blue-banded bees on Dianella, Tropical Jewel, Cassowary, Tree frog
The natural world is incredible, and our unique Australian landscapes and biodiversity are a constant source of inspiration. As an environmental scientist, I want to record these curiosities in all their beautiful detail. As an artist, I want my illustrations to inspire and motivate people to be curious and to appreciate the beauty in our plants, wildlife, fungi. They all have a place in making this earth a healthy, fascinating place to be. With appreciation and awareness hopefully comes a desire to protect and conserve what is left.
'Landscapes of Fear', 'Wanted' posters, Lace Monitor, Octopus
Louise is a scientific and natural history illustrator and creator based in Newcastle NSW. She has a passion for creating interpretive content and engaging elements for educational museum display and illustrating the natural world. She is currently finishing off a degree in Natural History Illustration at the University of Newcastle. Louise has exhibited illustrations internationally and at local galleries and created interpretive content including a full interpretive space at the Hunter Wetlands Center. She has also created illustrations for Scientific textbook cover art for Wiley publishing and is currently working on some exciting projects about the megafauna of the central west with Geo-trails NSW, and the cultural heritage of various small towns.
In 2020 Louise won the Margaret Senior Prize for Wildlife Illustration.
For the Biomes exhibition she has worked with Hunter Local Land Services to create a series of ‘Wanted posters’ for invasive plant species and feral animals in an effort to raise awareness and encourage people to report sightings of these organisms. Louise also produced the Lace Monitor and Octopus paintings (acrylic on canvas).
In 2021 Louise created the 'Landscapes of Fear' , an artistic response to native animals existing within a constant and heightened state of stress and fear when living within our human dominated landscapes. The installation she created attempts to allow the viewer to experience what this might be like for the animals.
A trio of Southern Brown Bandicoots are alert to the sights and sounds of the surrounding environment. There is a mixture of sanctuary and fear, unpredictability and confusion in their urban world. The flickering lights represent the potential warmth and safety that urban environments can provide juxtaposed with the stress full and isolating nature of the human world. The mirrors create a sense of isolation and reflect the idea of disconnected islands of bushland. The sound, which is activated by motion sensors, are common sounds of our human world but serve in this artwork to exemplify the constant multisensory stresses felt by animals surviving in these landscapes. The rotating projected images of cats, bikes, foxs, dogs, airplanes and cars, swirl around the bandicoots reinforcing the sense of alertness and fear that these creatures must endure to survive the ‘landscapes of fear’.
Facebook: Louise Wills – Art and Illustration
'You are here'
You Are Here is an interactive digital mapping platform that uses
artistic and scientific models to visualise associations between our personal experience and global processes and systems. In this
prototype version one aspect of that connection is explored:
our breath. The work will ultimately serve as a curatorial platform
for diverse sources of artistic, scientific and cultural content across
many dimensions of human experience.
Andrew Styan is a media artist and PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. With a background as a metallurgist in the steel industry
and lifelong interests in science, his practice uses coding, visualisation and interactivity to create objects, videos and installations that reference natural processes and scientific principles. He is a Harold Schenberg Fellow, a University Medallist and a recipient of a European Commission STARTS prize.
Over the course of human history our success as a species has relied upon our intimate connection with the natural systems that surround
us. Our awareness of the global scale of that connection has not expanded as the world has globalised economically and culturally. Andrew is researching ways of sensitising us to that global scale.
Missing. Have you seen me?
Lila has produced the ‘MISSING: Have You Seen Me?’ posters with the Biodiversity and Conservation Division of the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment to raise awareness of threatened species in New South Wales in an eye-catching way! These posters will work to encourage people to report sightings of these species.
Lila Raymond is a third-year student at The University of Newcastle studying a Bachelor of Natural History Illustration. Interested in
Becoming a medical and anatomical illustrator, Lila has already completed work for veterinarians, The Department of Primary Industries, The Biodiversity and Conservation Division of the Department of Planning, Industry, and Environment, The Hunter Wetlands, and lecturers of The University of Newcastle. She has also exhibited her work at the Hunter Region Botanical Gardens, The Hunter Wetlands, Raymond Terrace Artspace and the Biomes exhibition.
Traditional illustrations of Australian bats adapted to interactive
Tallulah Cunningham grew up in Arid-zone Australia (with a few years
of childhood in Africa). She has a background in Wildlife management, zoology, botany, observational and imaginative illustration. She has completed a Batchelor of Natural History illustration with Class one honours and now holds a PhD in Natural History Illustration from the University of Newcastle.
While enthused about all forms of wildlife Tallulah has a especial
fondness for microbats and illustrating cryptobiological specimens.
She mainly works in watercolour, marker and digital media, but is
also fluent with graphite, acrylic and colour pencil and frequently
experiments with new media and techniques.
When not illustrating or researching her subjects Tallulah practices archery (on the ground and occasionally horseback) in the SCA (a medieval society), studies Japanese, illuminates awards based on manuscripts, spins wool, knits dog and human garb, practices
taekwondo, gardens, reads and what little time left over after that
is spent drinking tea and planning future projects. Tallulah has been a part of two Comic book Anthologies so far with
a third one in the works.
Managing the Green and Golden Bell Frog Habitat
This digitally rendered work is designed to demonstrate the various strategies that have been utilised to manage and conserve the habitat of the Green Golden Bell frog within an industrial area. It particularly focuses on the efforts that have been made within the Kooragang islands, including the construction of a frog fence and artificial refuge and breeding ponds, as well as replanting native vegetation and the removal of invasive plant species.
Artist Statement :
Nicole is a Student Scientific Illustrator, and is currently studying The Bachelor of Natural History and Illustration at Newcastle University. She is deeply fascinated by the natural world and incorporates this passion for nature when communicating graphic elements. Nicole illustrates her artworks with traditional mediums as well as rendering them digitally, however she is willing to explore different styles and methods in which to convey the visual narrative.
Nerita Taylor - Endangered Ecological Communities map
This poster was designed in collaboration with the Local Lands Service to enhance awareness of vegetation types and their distribution in the Lower Hunter region. It was designed to be used as a visual guide when selecting native plant species, to engage property owners in identifying the vegetation types in their area and promote planting of native plant species aligned with the local ecology. Encouraging property owners to successfully enhance native vegetation around them is a key step in providing and maintaining vital habitat for native animals and conserving endangered ecological communities. The seedling pictured in the lower left-hand corner symbolises our role in nurturing ecological communities. The leaves and buds of Eucalyptus parramattensis subsp. decadens, which grows in dry sclerophyll woodland areas, borders the map and is one of many identified vulnerable tree species in our region.
Nerita is completing studies in scientific illustration at the University of Newcastle and is now blending traditional and digital mediums to visually communicate ideas. She aims to facilitate a more in-depth understanding of the natural and scientific world and delights in making the invisible visible and finding ways to help others make sense of their world.
'Our Vibrant Vision'
The Hunter Central Coast & Development Corporation envisions the Hunter region to be transformed from its industrial background into a beautiful landscape that blends the enriched natural environment with sustainably built communities. It’s a vision of remediation, of growth, and of vibrancy, where the people of this region can thrive alongside the beautiful world we call home. Our Vibrant Vision is a digitally produced representation of this transformation, and aims to inspire hope within the people around the Newcastle region that a beneficial change for our land is possible, and it’s right around the corner.
'Human vs Machine'
The prototype 'Human vs Machine' explores our intertwined relationship
with communication technology and its potential to create data portraits.
By voluntarily immersing ourselves with emerging technologies that enter our life, we often miss reflecting on the trade-offs these newly introduced technologies may cause. The distribution of biometric data that can
facilitate machine learning procedures to create synthetic portraits, for example, is indicating that human ecology and computational technology are already merging into a territory that requires future exploration of it social and ecological impact. The simulated and abstract Portrait offers an investigation of our attitude towards a representation of a future self that is transformed through computational technology.
Ralph Kenke is a visual communication designer and media artist. His work
is focusing on information design and visual communication. His conceptual work is challenging traditional and visual communication design applications by merging technology and art in his practice.
Ralph’s work has been recognised with international awards such as the Digital Portraiture Award by the National Portrait Gallery, a Museums Australian Multimedia & Publication Award (MAPDA), two AGDA Awards (Australian Graphic Design Association) and the New York Type Directors Club Award.
He has established an international profile working with libraries, galleries and museums to create creative exposés, shown internationally at venues that include the Galerie Loire, Nantes; Cabrabria Central Library, Santander; Central de Diseno de Matedero, Madrid; Zgraf 12. Ralph is currently a PhD research scholar with an APA scholarship.
Mycology and Glow in the Dark Fungus
Maree is a natural history illustrator and a field mycologist who
lives in Australia. The inspiration for her art practice comes from the extraordinary shapes and colours of fungi and their relationship with
other organisms within the environment. Her art process begins in the field and ends in the herbarium. Maree finds the process of art making more exciting than the finished artwork however the finished artwork is
a reminder of the pleasure of the process.
Maree has a Research Higher Degree in Natural History Illustration
from the University of Newcastle (PHD) and a BA Library & Information Science with a major in Art History from Charles Sturt University Wagga Wagga NSW.
The artwork Tactile Potentials (2020) captures plant processes as bio-electrical activity, and visualises those signaletic movements as data. Tracing the bio-electrical impulses emanating from plants as sound and vision, we explore and express the limits of this unseen space. Live performances afford a thinking through of the normally invisible connections plants make with us, and use technology to transpose their inaudible frequencies to a range apprehended by the human ear.
'Hunt & Gather'
Black and white line work illustration executed digitally for thesis cover.
Reference images provided by Cassandra Bugir to create the composition.
The composition attempts to stir a visual connection to the changing story of predator prey relationships through literal representations and stylistic beauty.
Freelance illustrator and designer with a focus on book design and illustration for children and the natural world.
I have a degree in Natural History Illustration and a Diploma in Graphic Design.
I have produced informative signage illustration and design for archeological companies, nonfiction historical book illustration and design, botanical illustration, book design for catalogues, novels, biographies, epub and more.
Rewa Wright & Simon Howden
'Hunt & Gather'
I am a PhD candidate who studies the predator-prey dynamics between hominids and their environment. This work uses different disciplines such as archaeology, terrestrial ecology, zooarchaeology, biology, and human behavior to map out what hominids prefer(red) to hunt.
In relation to our footprint, this work shows what hominids have hunted prehistorically and what is our current trend. Neanderthals were found to have hunted the larger megafauna while anatomically modern humans and modern hunter-gatherer communities hunt anything they can find. This has consequences not only for biodiversity but also hominid cultures, globally.
'It's a frog's life?'
PhD candidate and frog-enthusiast investigating the impact of longwall coal mining on the ecology of Littlejohn’s tree frog. Our research team is also monitoring the recovery of Watson’s tree frog and its habitat in the aftermath of the 2019-2020 bushfires.
The work is in the form of a video that explores a day in the life of a field ecologist researching a threatened frog species.
'It's a frog's life?'
PhD Candidate studying population genetics of two threatened Australian frogs impacted by disease and habitat disturbances. Her work helps to identify what conservation actions are needed for these frog species.
This video shows what a typical day in the field looks like and various Australian frogs seen during our work. Without fieldwork we would not get the data needed to study human impacts on frog species.
Over 500 amphibian species worldwide have declined due to chytrid fungal disease that was accidentally spread worldwide by humans.
'Landscapes of Fear'
Loren Fardell is a PhD Candidate studying predator-prey ecology, under Prof. Dickman at The University of Sydney. Her research observes the cumulative fear and stress impacts that prey animals experience in response to increased predator and human activity in urban environments. To understand responses relative to the conditions of the habitat, a priority of this research is to use minimally-invasive to animal methods such as motion-sensor cameras and faecal analyses of hormones. Urban environments and the bushlands that surround them are valuable habitat for the survival of native animals, as in some cases they are the only or best habitat remaining in an area. It is, therefore, the aim of this research to help direct conservation management of urban environments to preserve wildlife biodiversity.
Loren grew up on the border of Blackbutt Reserve and spent many hours as a child exploring and connecting to nature, by tip-toeing through the many tracks and sitting silently in wonder. This early connection cemented an ambition to work with animals and conservation, which has taken her around Australia conducting and assisting to conduct research on: frogs, reptiles, coral and marine life, dingoes, freshwater crocodiles, small desert and bushland mammals, birds, red foxes, and cats.
The human population is growing more rapidly than ever before. Currently the global population is over 7 billion people, during the last 100 years alone the global population increased from 1.6 billion people to 6 billion people – that’s an increase three times greater than the entire history of human population growth. This increase in the human population is putting pressure on the environment in ways that are obvious – like land clearing, altering natural waterbodies, and carbon dioxide pollution from cars and industry, but also in ways that are less obvious – like altering the food-web and natural order of animals through providing alternative food and water sources, or through hunting or the removal of animals, or through introduced non-native plants and animals including our pets, or even through our presence alone. Some of this may be helpful but some may be very harmful and cause animals to be extra stressed. So, as the population continues to grow and put more pressure on the environment it is important that we each consider the pressure we may be putting on the environment directly around us in our backyards, at our sports fields, or in the bush that we walk, run, or ride through.
'The Waste Space'
Alana is a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle. Her current research focuses on the concept of flagship species and their role in supporting biodiversity conservation through social and economic outcomes. Alana is passionate about utilising multidisciplinary approaches and integrating the social sciences to solve broader conservation issues.
This work seeks to inspire collective action through informing participants how to correctly dispose of rubbish in the home, as well as educating participants in how they can reduce their overall environmental footprint through small changes to habits and consumer choices.
Dr Chloe Killen (Creative Practitioner)
Dr Chloe Killen is a communication and media scholar with a focus on creativity and cultural production. This scholarly research expertise informs her professional knowledge and practice. She is also a creative practitioner with three years of experience as a ceramic artist, and over ten years in the field of professional writing.
This work is the result of a collaboration between the research team and the Ourimbah/Norimbah Creek Community. Team members from the University of Newcastle, the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program, Darkinjung Aboriginal Land Council, and two independent artists held a workshop with the Ourimbah Creek community which included a site visit, a bush food inspired morning tea, and a collaborative art making activity. This communal workshop was designed to share knowledge and build community awareness and stewardship of two threatened species significant to the area: Syzygium paniculatum (Magenta Lilly Pilly) and Prostanthera askania (Tranquility Mintbush).
With biodiversity in rapid decline, encouraging community buy-in and stewardship of the ecosystem we all inhabit is an essential part of not only ensuring the survival of these species, but that of our own. This action research approach to environmental communication utilised Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation model to explore the complex system of the Ourimbah Creek Community. It is our intention to continue to work with the Ourimbah Creek residents and community to build this understanding of social-bio-ecological connection.
Killen, C., McIntyre, P., Foster, L., Ransom, L., Mulcahy, A., Williams, B., Duncan, K., Richards, E., Smith, K., Drabsch, B., Cassin, A., Chalmers, A., & Callen, A.
Edwina Richards is an internationally exhibited and award-winning photographer. She has worked in the Australian film and television industry, as Project Advocate and board member for Renew Newcastle, and within the Photographic departments at UNSW COFA and the University of Technology Sydney. Richards recently founded WH!P Collective (Women from the Hunter in Photography) as a collective of Hunter based professional photographers. While Richards’ practice often straddles both art and commercial worlds, she describes her approach broadly as ‘a documentary sensibility with an eye for the cinematic’.
Edwina Richards (Photographer)
Kevina-Jo Smith (Environmental Artist)
Kevina-Jo Smith is an internationally exhibited visual artist whose studio practice focuses on creating environmental awareness. She uses found objects and up-cycled consumer by-products to create intricate multi-media installations. Her work process serves as a tribute to the natural world and a ritual protecting against its destruction.
'Koalas on the coast'
Shelby Ryan is a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle researching koala populations on the east coast of New South Wales. Her research aims to optimise current monitoring technologies for rapid, landscape scale monitoring of koalas.
More than 85 percent of Australia’s population lives within 50km of the coast. Urban development into coastal regions is threatening localised extinction of many koala populations. In Port Stephens, the koala population is one of the last remaining strongholds for koalas in NSW. However, due to processes that fragment and degrade habitat, the koala is declining in a high-threat peri-urban landscape.
An analysis of a peninsula in Port Stephens revealed the extensive clearing of koala habitat for roads and urban development. This spatial analysis depicts the probability at the time of the study (2020) that a koala is using the habitat at any point in time.
This map depicts the probability during the study (2020) that a koala is using the habitat at any point in time. The lightest green represents a low probability (0.05), where koalas use the habitat so infrequently it is almost never used. The dark green represents areas with the highest probability (0.45), this depicts the areas most frequently used by koalas.
Areas that are most frequently used by koalas contain the essential feed trees. However, this remaining high-quality koala habitat frequently used by koalas is wedged between residential areas in small-isolated fragments. Each movement for koalas to find food resources or mates through human development exposes koalas to threats such as dog attacks and primarily vehicle collisions.
Without urgent mitigation it is predicted koalas will be extinct in NSW by 2050.