Dr Luis Mata

Luis is a Research Fellow with the People, Nature, Place Research Program at RMIT University.

Luis is an ecologist with a keen interest in insects, conservation science, urban biodiversity, quantitative methods, citizen science and nature photography. He works as part of the Clean Air and Urban Landscapes Hub (CAUL) of the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program, where he co-leads a research project that aims to understand, quantify and qualify the multiple social, cultural and ecological benefits of urban greening actions using multidisciplinary methods in a ‘Network of Integrated Study Sites’.

As part of CAUL, he is particularly interested in exploring how to bring nature back into cities, and in developing decision-making protocols to evaluate which species would be best suited to bring back. He is also keen to raise awareness of the importance of beneficial insects in urban environments. To this purpose, he is exploring the idea of ‘Pollinator Observatories’, in which plant-insect pollinator interactions are recorded by both academic and citizen scientists. Luis is also involved in developing a photo-preference survey to identify charismatic animal species though an online ‘Public Elicitation’ platform.

Luis is the lead researcher of The Little Things that Run The City and Our City’s Little Gems,  where he and his colleagues are studying plant-insect interactions and insect-habitat associations across the City of Melbourne. The projects seek to communicate the value of urban nature, as exemplified by our recently published children’s book ‘The Little Things that Run the City – 30 amazing insect that live in Melbourne‘.

Luis enjoys discovering and learning from nature through photography, and is convinced that capturing aesthetically pleasing images of living beings is probably one of the best ways to bring art and science together. Since 2008, he has been posting photos to his Flick Photostream. More information on Luis’s past and current research can be found on his research blog.

Related Content


Network of Integrated Study Sites

This project aims to establish a network of integrated urban greening study sites to understand, quantify and qualify the multiple benefits of urban greening, including for biodiversity outcomes and for human health and wellbeing.

The Little Things that Run the City

How do Melbourne’s green spaces support insect biodiversity and promote ecosystem health?

News & Blog

What’s your favourite animal? Researchers want to know

As part of efforts to bring back nature into our cities, researchers are asking people across the globe about their favourite animals to determine which creature is ahead of the pack.

Insects and the city: Conserving the little things that run our city

All species in this planet are delicately interlinked to each other in a beautifully complex network of ecological interactions. In cities, insects are key components of urban ecological networks and are greatly impacted by human activities.

Getting smarter about city lights is good for us and nature too

A network of street lighting links these “islands of illumination”. The effects of this can, in some large cities, result in “sky glow” that interferes with star visibility at distances of more than 300 kilometres.

Researchers on journey to new discoveries with $2.3m ARC grants

Researchers from RMIT received funding to deliver innovative, impact-associated research from the latest round of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Projects scheme.

Citizen scientists blitz Melbourne’s public spaces

Ecological gems have been uncovered in Melbourne’s parks during a campaign that involved “citizen scientists” capturing and recording the city’s biodiversity.

Pop-up parks provide more than a patch of grass

Temporary pop-up parks and green spaces have long been considered the playthings of the inner-city hipster.