Port Phillip Bay, Victoria, Australia

My interests predominantly lie in the area of marine fish ecology. I have been studying or working on various aspects of marine ecology for the last 12 years. I completed my Bachelor of Science (2004), Graduate Diploma of Research Methods (2005) and Masters of Science (2009) at James Cook University, Townsville. During both my GradDipResMeth and MSc my research was concentrated on investigating fish species specific habitat relationships. Later on I temporarily branched away from fish ecology and worked as a Research Assistant in a Subtidal Ecology and Ecotoxicology Laboratory at UNSW Sydney and later again I obtained a casual position as an Ecologist in CARDNO, Sydney. During my time in UNSW and CARDNO I actively participated in several projects that were investigating pollution effects on marine animal populations. My current PhD research is predominantly focussed on investigating the formation of ecological traps in the marine environment. In particular, I am investigating whether the introduction of artificial structures to the marine environment (e.g. artificial reefs) can cause the formation of “ecological traps” for fish populations and whether these effects may be design related. Man-made structures may provide seemingly suitable habitats for settlement, however they may not be accurate imitations of natural habitats and therefore may potentially result in lower fitness of individuals that preferentially settle to them. If animals preferentially choose to colonize such structures, this could result in an ecological trap. Although ecological traps are comparatively well documented in terrestrial systems their prevalence and importance for conservation and management of marine ecosystems is largely unknown.

Lizard Island, QLD, Australia