Alex Paton


Tabby Tracker

I'm from: Tullah
Current Location: New Norfolk
Position: PhD Candidate, School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania
Field of research/work: Applied Ecology
YTS Years: 2021 2022 2023

Alex's Notable career moments

  • Until 2013.
    Was terrible at school, preferred to be outside in the bush.

  • Got a job at McDonald's.

  • Got a good biology teacher.

  • Went to university to study marine animals and plants.

  • Studied grasslands for a change, decided plants weren’t for me.

  • Lived in Canberra for three months working in wetlands catching birds.

  • Researched the spread of toxic algae in the oceans.

  • Decided to focus my research on ways to monitor land animals - this work led me to get paid to go to university.

  • Quit McDonalds.

  • Got a job watching eagles.

  • Decided to return to university to get paid to research feral cats.

  • Volunteered on a volcano in Vanuatu for a month.

  • I get to work outside in the bush.

About Alex Paton

I didn’t plan on becoming a detective, but through my skills in programming, access to a classified database, and with 1000 spy-cameras, I stumbled into tracking Tasmania’s most notorious criminals… Cats!

I spend my days hiking through wilderness, four-wheel driving through forests, skimming over oceans in speedboats, or hopping in light aircrafts and flying to far-away islands to explore some of Tasmania’s most remote environments and track down these tricky felines.

My job is to figure out where cats are in Tasmania and what we can do about them. This kind of work is called invasive species management. This involves studying animals or plants that have been brought to a place they otherwise wouldn’t be in thanks humans. Notorious invasive criminals include black rats, blackberries, and, of course, cats. Managing these species involves figuring out where they are, how bad they are for the environment, and what we can do to fix the problem.

Before cats, I researched an invasive fish species called carp, and whether a disease could be used to control their populations. I also worked harmful algal blooms in the ocean, investigating if it is getting harder to eat shellfish, studied how climate change influences grassland plants, and monitoring animals through their poop.

As you can see, there’s a lot of variety in what I do. That’s because for me, science is all about interesting problems, and those can come from anywhere!

Alex's Photo Gallery