Kate Helmstedt

twitterphotoI model ecological systems and apply mathematical optimisation techniques to improve the cost-efficiency of conservation actions. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Potts Research Group at University of California Berkeley, where I work on land use change in developing nations. My aim is to understand the economic mechanisms causing land-use change, and use that knowledge to help guide better decisions to reduce the negative effects on biodiversity. I also have continuing collaborations throughout Australia focussing on threatened and invasive species management.

I completed my PhD in mathematics and conservation ecology in 2015 at the University of Queensland, Australia with Hugh Possingham. My undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Science with first class honours) was in applied mathematics at UQ, where I became interested in applying mathematics to real-world conservation problems.  I now work on interesting and varied problems with other mathematicians, ecologists, government scientists, and conservation practitioners.

Follow me on twitter @katejhelms.

For more information, see my website and google scholar.

Contact me with questions, to chat, to collaborate, or for copies of my papers at katehelmstedt [at] berkeley.edu



Helmstedt KJ, Shaw J, Bode M, Terauds A, Robinson S, Springer K, Possingham HP.  Prioritizing eradication actions on islands: it’s not all or nothing.  In review.

McDonald, J., Helmstedt, K.J., Bode, M., McDonald-Madden, E., Coutts, S., Possingham, H.P. Maximizing biodiversity outcomes from payments with smart allocation method selection. In revision.

Southwell D, Rhodes J.R., McDonald-Madden E., Nicol, S., Helmstedt, K.J., McCarthy M. Abiotic and biotic interactions determine whether increased colonization is beneficial or detrimental to metapopulation management. In review.

Helmstedt, K.J. (2015) Adding and subtracting species: the mathematics of eradication and reintroduction for conservation (PhD thesis. Available here, open access)

Helmstedt KJ, Possingham HP, Brennan KEC, Rhodes JR, Bode M (2014).  Cost-efficient fenced exclosures for conservation: single large or two small?, Ecological Applications 24(7), 1780-1792 (doi: 10.1890/13-1579.1, available here)

Bode M., Brennan, K.E.C., Helmstedt K.J., Desmond A., Smia R., Algar D. (2013). Interior fences can reduce cost and uncertainty when eradicating invasive species from large islands, Methods in Ecology and Evolution 4(9), 819-827 (doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.12072, available here)

Helmstedt, K.J. (2010) Modelling Fractional Diffusion (BSc Mathematics first class honours thesis, available here)

In preparation

Helmstedt, K.J. and Potts, M.D. (in prep.) Towards no net biodiversity loss in Brazil with tradeable development rights.

Bellows, R., York, R., Thompson, A., Helmstedt, K.J., Potts, M.D. (in prep.) Damage and mortality patterns in young mixed conifer plantations following prescribed fires in the Sierra Nevada, California.

Buckley, Y.M., Lenda, M., Bennett, J., Coutts, S., Fisher, D., Han, Y., Helmstedt, K.J., Hock, K., van Rensberg, B., Shumway, N., Williams, E., Kark, S. (in prep.) From invasion lags to invasion debts.

Other publications

Helmstedt K.J. (2013). Are Two Fences Better Than One? Australasian Science MagazineJan/Feb 2013 issue (available here)

Helmstedt K.J., Bode M. (2012). Are Two Fences Better Than One? What do you do when you outgrow your cage?  Decision Point. Issue 64, October (available here)

Shaw J., Bode M., Helmstedt K.J. (2012) Island Arks. Decision Point.  Issue 59, April (available here)