Capability and experience

Terrestrial Ecosystems is an environmental consultancy and wildlife research company that specialises in terrestrial vertebrate fauna. We work in collaboration with other industry specialists to provide flora and vegetation, and short-range endemic (SRE) invertebrate and subterranean fauna survey and management programs.

Terrestrial Ecosystems was established in 2002 on a strong research foundation that focuses on improving terrestrial fauna surveys for ecological impact assessments (EIA). Terrestrial Ecosystems prides itself on providing a high quality product at an affordable price and within agreed timeframes. The active partners are Dr Graham Thompson and Dr Scott Thompson. Both partners have a PhD (zoology and environmental science/management) and maintain the company’s strong commitment to continual improvement based on robust research and rigorous science.

Scott is the only Certified Environmental Practitioner (Ecology Specialist), with post-graduate tertiary qualification, as well as authorisation as a licenced pest management technician (LPMT) in Western Australia. He was the 2007 EIANZ young professional of the year and a 2017 40under40 award winner.

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Terrestrial Ecosystems has specific expertise in:

Terrestrial Ecosystems’ fauna assessments and fauna surveys are used to support EIAs, Native Vegetation Clearing Permit applications, referrals to the Commonwealth government under the EPBC Act (1999), monitoring impacts on fauna and developing effective fauna management plans.

A science-based approach

Terrestrial Ecosystems staff endeavour to apply the available published science to their planning and implementation of vertebrate fauna surveys and assessments. As a science focussed company, we publish in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, present at workshops and conferences and are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways to improve our own deliverables and those of the industry as a whole. We typically use science and industry best practice in planning, designing and implementing our daily operations.

To demonstrate our commitment to robust science and industry best practise we have contributed more than 30 peer-reviewed articles directly related to fauna surveys and assessments. These publications and research include work on threatened species detection and management, adequacy of fauna surveys, temporal and spatial variations in fauna assemblages, trapping techniques and improving the quality of fauna surveys for EIA. Most of our staff have contributed to the peer-reviewed literature, with Drs Graham and Scott Thompson having in-excess of 100 papers between them in peer-reviewed journals, plus a number of books and book chapters, and multiple conference and workshop presentations.

No other vertebrate fauna environmental consultancy in Western Australia has demonstrated a similar commitment to robust scientific design and publishing the outputs in the peer-reviewed literature.

Surveys and assessments

Terrestrial Ecosystems has undertaken detailed surveys in many parts of Western Australia for a variety of clients, so we have a strong track record of achievement in this area.

The EPA’s (2020) technical guidance for terrestrial vertebrate fauna surveys requires that consultants are able to demonstrate the reliability, veracity and effectiveness (i.e. the use of species accumulation curves) of their surveys. Terrestrial Ecosystems’ staff have published numerous papers in the peer-reviewed literature on these issues. We have a well-established methodology of data collection for detailed fauna surveys, which enables us to compare the trapped fauna at a particular project area with multiple other sites in Western Australia, so we are able indicate whether the species richness and abundance are low, average or high relative to other areas.

One of our research projects (Thompson et al. 2002, Thompson and Withers 2003b, a, Thompson et al. 2003, Thompson et al. 2007a) focused on the use and effectiveness of species accumulation curves to indicate how much survey effort was required to adequately describe the vertebrate fauna assemblage in a project area, how to use data published in reports to calculate species accumulation curves to determine the adequacy of previous surveys, and the most appropriate techniques for calculating species accumulation curves for WA fauna assemblages.

Terrestrial Ecosystems owns a diversity range of field trapping equipment which enables us to undertake large scale surveys in remote areas.

Fauna survey equipment

Terrestrial Ecosystems has a comprehensive range of fauna survey equipment (e.g. 4WD, field trailers, cage and aluminium box traps, pit-traps, motion sensitive cameras, ultra-sonic bat call detectors, etc) and is therefore capable of undertaking large scale fauna surveys, fauna relocation or fauna monitoring programs.


Terrestrial Ecosystems has two field equipped (e.g. GPS, UHF radio, fire extinguisher, bash plates, etc) quad bikes, one mine spec’d Yamaha Rhino ATV and two custom built trailers suitable for use behind the quad bikes or Rhino. These vehicles are mounted on trailers that are equipped for access into remote locations. These ‘go anywhere’ vehicles enable Terrestrial Ecosystems’ staff to access remote areas and to assess a diverse range of habitats that are typically inaccessible to 4WD vehicles or on foot. Terrestrial Ecosystems has two field equipped and mine spec’d 4WD vehicles and two custom designed and built field trailers.

Terrestrial Ecosystems’ staff have undertaken multiple fauna surveys and assessments in remote locations. Terrestrial Ecosystems are well equipped with satellite phones, tents, swags, off-road trailers and camping equipment, fuel and water storage to complete multiple weeks at a time in the field. Terrestrial Ecosystems safe work practices and protocols are also set up to adequately manage staff safety and project outcomes whilst in remote locations.


Terrestrial Ecosystems has all of its own trapping and animal detection equipment, including large and small cage traps, aluminium box traps, funnel traps and pit-traps. This enables us to mobilise for field surveys at short notice and know that the equipment will meet the requirements of the fauna survey. We regularly deploy our five ultrasonic (SM2BAT+) and two Anabat bat call detectors during fauna assessments.

Terrestrial Ecosystems has 100 Reconyx motion and infra-red sensitive cameras that can be used to detect the presence of rare and endangered species (e.g. Bilbies in a burrow, Northern Quoll on a rocky outcrop), feral cat activity at an active Malleefowl mound or for long-term monitoring of Malleefowl mound use, burrow use and feral cat and dog, or dingo activity. Terrestrial Ecosystems staff are experienced in setting these cameras and have developed an appreciation of their limitations and how to obtain the best results.


Fauna survey database

Terrestrial Ecosystems has the most comprehensive vertebrate fauna survey database of any of the WA consultants. This searchable database enables us to quickly provide a comprehensive matrix of the vertebrate fauna recorded in areas adjacent to a project area, thus providing high quality contextual information and a very good indication of the vertebrate fauna, including relative abundance, likely to be recorded in a project area.


Research and publications

The partners have in excess of 100 publications in journals, books, book chapters or conference proceedings. Topics include fauna surveys and assessments, EIA, ecology, physiology and morphology of reptiles, amphibians, fish and mammals.

In 2010, the partners published a book ‘Terrestrial Vertebrate Fauna Assessments for Ecological Impact Assessment’ which is freely available on our Fauna Book webpage.

Our business focus can be summed up as ‘a scientific approach to providing cost-effective, quality outcomes in a timely manner’.

Contact details

Address: 10 Houston Place, Mt Claremont WA 6010

Phone/fax: 08 9385 2398

ABN: 40921131346

Dr Scott Thompson: Mobile: 0407 385 239  Email:

Dr Graham Thompson: Mobile: 0438 491 227  Email:

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