I am an environmental scientist with 10+ years’ experience in fish and invertebrate habitat associations, habitat restoration and research into the effects of pollution and habitat modification on the performance and persistence of marine organisms. I have a well-established collaborative network with local and international colleagues and have conducted my research in Australia and abroad in many remote and challenging environments. I have a well-rounded set of technical and research skills. I am an experienced presenter with excellent written and oral communication skills and a strong publication record. I am a gifted educator with over 10 years’ teaching experience at university and secondary school levels. My teaching method is interactive and integrates new techniques and the latest scientific knowledge. My research interests lay primarily in marine eco-engineering, habitat restoration, marine population connectivity, effects of ocean sprawl on marine organisms (e.g. pollution, invasion hubs, ecological traps) and improvement of management strategies of those anthropogenic impacts.
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 PhD research was predominantly focussed on investigating the formation of ecological traps in the marine environment. In particular, I was 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.
My current Postdoctorate research at the Institute of Marine Research, Norway is focused on investigating causes of Norwegian Spring Spawning herring recruitment failure. My primary role is to examine maternal effects (reproductive behavior, inclusive of spawning site selection) on recruitment. I am also collaborating with the University of Melbourne, Australia on a project that uses microchemistry techniques to establish percent contribution of individual spawning grounds to the herring juvenile populations in the Barents sea and consequently identify spawning grounds with disproportion contribution (aka expected vs actual based on spawning population and known environmental conditions).