Dr Lorna Hernandez Santin

Research Fellow

Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation
Sustainable Minerals Institute
+61 7 334 64046


Lorna joined SMI-CMLR in 2017. At the beginning of her career at SMI, she focused mostly on the project regarding the restoration of Ranger Uranium Mine. As her career has progressed and the demands of Ranger’s project have decreased, she started to become involved in a wider range of projects mostly dealing with different aspects of environmental monitoring through remote sensing. Funding for projects at SMI has been provided by the government at state and federal levels, as well as research institutes, mining companies, and consortiums between industry and research organisations (e.g. SartSat-CRC, CRC-TiME). She has also continued to build on and expand her PhD research through collaborations and short projects.

During her PhD in ecology (UQ; 2017), Lorna looked into the ecology of the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus) to assess potential aspects driving the range contraction of this endangered species. These aspects included top-down (predators) and bottom-up (habitat quality and prey availability) pressures, population dynamics of northern quolls –through live-trapping–, and interactions with other dasyurid species. This research was funded by ARC, scholarships awarded (CONACYT and UQ), grants (Holsworth, NESP), and in-kind funding (DPaW). Before graduating, Lorna held a research assistant position with the Quantitative Applied Spatial Ecology Group at QUT, where she worked with drone derived data over the course of three months.

Lorna obtained a B.Sc. in Biology (UDLAP in Puebla, Mexico; 2004), where she conducted a thesis (honours equivalent) looking at the spatial and temporal distribution of avifauna in urban areas. Then, while conducting her M.Sc. in Range and Wildlife Management (SRSU in Texas, USA; 2008), Lorna explored the home range and movement rates of jaguars (Panthera onca) in agricultural and protected areas of northern Paraguay and monitored mesocarnivores in Big Bend National Park (Texas). She also worked on projects monitoring avifauna as indicators of restoration success, monitoring home ranges of grey foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), tutored “GIS and Remote Sensing”, and started a role as research assistant that continued after graduation. The latter was to develop habitat suitability models for mountain lions (Puma concolor) and black bears (Ursus americanus).

Research Impacts

Lorna is an ecologist and spatial scientist who focuses on minimising human impacts on the environment and its species at different scales, mostly through GIS and remote sensing tools (e.g. data obtained from camera-trapping, telemetry, maps, drones, and/or satellites –among others).

Lorna’s research focus includes:

  • Restoration ecology and mine-rehabilitation with aim to obtain positive outcomes for biodiversity.
  • Measuring mine-rehabilitation success through remote sensing and fieldwork (including understanding the relationship between them) and improving current practices to achieve positive outcomes. For example:
  • Broader ecological and conservation aspects, often aiming to minimise anthropogenic impacts on the environment. This work has had a strong fauna focus, with an expertise in carnivores. Through this research, Lorna has explored habitat suitability, species distributions, habitat quality, resource availability, habitat use, population dynamics, movement rates, activity patters, communities, and species interactions of native and introduced species in varied ecosystem types (including urban areas) across the world.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


Book Chapter

  • Antonio Gonzalez-Oreja, Jose, Laura Barillas-Gomez, Ana, Bonache-Regidor, Carolina, Buzo-Franco, Daniela, Garcia-Guzman, Jeronimo and Hernandez-Santin, Lorna (2012). Does habitat heterogeneity affect bird community structure in urban parks?. Urban bird ecology and conservation. (pp. 1-14) edited by Christopher A. Lepczyk and Paige S. Warren. Berkeley, CA, United States: University of California Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs