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Dr Stephen Woodcock


Stephen joined UTS in 2010 as a Lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences. Prior to this, he was a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow and also worked in private sector consultancy/analysis in London. In addition, he is now an Associate Member of the Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3) at UTS.

His primary research interests lie in the application of mathematical models to describe biological and ecological systems. The main motivation behind his work is a drive to develop readily implemented solutions and models for pressing real-world problems in the biological and environmental sciences. As such, he works primarily in multidisciplinary teams alongside marine biologists, microbial ecologists and environmental engineers.

His research projects have covered a vast range of applications from improving the design and efficiency of wastewater treatment systems to understanding and modelling the growth of biofilms on riverbeds. Current research topics include modelling the biogeography around the Great Barrier Reef, calibrating and interpreting data from marine fluorescence meters and examining the effect of habitat loss upon fish behaviour in marine parks.

Stephen is a keen and committed teacher and has co-ordinated and taught subjects from the first year undergraduate level through to Honours. He has supervised research students at both the Honours and PhD level. Additional to his main duties at UTS, he is a frequent and enthusiastic contributor to High School outreach programs and widening participation schemes.

Stephen holds a PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of Glasgow (2007) and a MMath in Mathematics from the University of Oxford (2003).


Memberships/Committee Roles:

ANZIAM (Australian and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Engineering Mathematics Group Committee member

Senior Lecturer, School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences
Associate Member, Plant Functional Biology & Climate Change
MMath(Oxon), Ph D
+61 2 9514 7602

Lecturing and Co-Ordination:

35101: Introduction to Linear Dynamical Systems

35363: Stochastic Models

Mathematical Ecology and Biology (Honours reading subject)

Teaching and Learning Roles:

Program Director for School of Mathematical Sciences Honours students (BMathFin(Hons) and BSc(Hons)

Chair of School of Mathematical Sciences Honours Subcommittee

Program Director for BSc undergraduate students (Mathematical Sciences Foundation Stream)

Member of School of Mathematical Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee

Teaching and Learning Grants:

Slipping Between the Cracks? Maximising the Effectiveness of Prerequisite Paths (Vice-Chancellor's Learning and Teaching Small Grant 2013, in conjunction with Stephen Bush)

Journal articles

Woodcock, S., Manojlovic, B., Baird, M.E. & Ralph, P.J. 2015, 'A POISSON-PARETO MODEL OF CHLOROPHYLL-A FLUORESCENCE SIGNALS IN MARINE ENVIRONMENTS', ANZIAM JOURNAL, vol. 56, no. 4, pp. 373-380.
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Woodcock, S. & Bush, S. 2014, 'Slipping between the cracks? Maximising the effectiveness of prerequisite paths in UTS Maths degrees', Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics (ANZIAM) Journal, vol. 55, pp. C297-C314.
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Woodcock, S., Besemer, K., Battin, T.J., Curtis, T.P. & Sloan, W.T. 2013, 'Modelling the effects of dispersal mechanisms and hydrodynamic regimes upon the structure of microbial communities within fluvial biofilms', Environmental Microbiology, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 1216-1225.
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The spatial distribution of microbial taxa is determined primarily by physical and chemical environments and by dispersal. In a homogeneous landscape with limited dispersal, the similarity in abundance of taxa in samples declines with separation distance. We present a one-dimensional model for the spatial autocorrelation in abundances arising from immigration from some remote community and dispersal between environmentally similar landscape patches. Spatial correlation in taxa abundances were calculated from biofilms from the beds of two flumes which differed only in their bedform profiles; one flat and the other a periodic sawtooth shape. The hydraulic regime is approximately uniform over the flat bed, whereas the sawtooth induces fast flow over the peaks and recirculation in the troughs. On the flat bed, the correlation decline between samples was reproduced by a model using one biologically reasonable parameter. A decline was apparent in the other flume; however, a better fit was achieved when dispersal was not assumed constant everywhere. However, analysis of finer-resolution data for the heterogeneous flume suggested even this model did not adequately capture the community's complexity. We conclude that hydrodynamics are a strong driver of taxa-abundance patterns in stream biofilms. However, local adaptability must also be considered to build up a complete mechanistic model. © 2012 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Woodcock, S., van der Gast, C.J., Bell, T., Lunn, M., Curtis, T.P., Head, I.M. & Sloan, W.T. 2007, 'Neutral assembly of bacterial communities', FEMS MICROBIOLOGY ECOLOGY, vol. 62, no. 2, pp. 171-180.
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Sloan, W.T., Woodcock, S., Lunn, M., Head, I.M. & Curtis, T.P. 2007, 'Modeling taxa-abundance distributions in microbial communities using environmental sequence data', MICROBIAL ECOLOGY, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 443-455.
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Sloan, W.T., Lunn, M., Woodcock, S., Head, I.M., Nee, S. & Curtis, T.P. 2006, 'Quantifying the roles of immigration and chance in shaping prokaryote community structure', ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 732-740.
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Woodcock, S., Curtis, T.P., Head, I.M., Lunn, M. & Sloan, W.T. 2006, 'Taxa-area relationships for microbes: the unsampled and the unseen', ECOLOGY LETTERS, vol. 9, no. 7, pp. 805-812.
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Curtis, T.P., Head, I.M., Lunn, M., Woodcock, S., Schloss, P.D. & Sloan, W.T. 2006, 'What is the extent of prokaryotic diversity?', PHILOSOPHICAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, vol. 361, no. 1475, pp. 2023-2037.
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Woodcock, S. 2015, 'Socceroos have a host-nation advantage in the Asian Cup'.
Woodcock, S. 2015, 'The maths of congestion: springs, strings and traffic jams'.
Woodcock, S. 2015, 'The legacy of John Nash and his equilibrium theory'.
Woodcock, S. 2015, 'NRL grand final: Who has the edge as Broncos face Cowboys?', The Conversation.
Woodcock, S. 2014, 'Number crunching the odds on the NRL Grand Final', The Conversation.
Woodcock, S. 2014, 'Jarryd Hayne's code-shift and the 'unscrupulous diner' in NRL'.
Woodcock, S. 2014, 'Do historical trends in Melbourne Cup champions point to a winner?'.


Woodcock, S.M. & Cheung, B. Decision Technology Ltd 2010, Consumer decisions, information and understanding - A behavioural economics perspective, pp. 1-63, London.
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