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Personal profile


Dr Katherine Dafforn is an environmental scientist recognised for her contributions to understanding and managing urban impacts in marine systems. She completed her PhD in 2010 and was formerly the Co-Director of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at the University of New South Wales. She joined Macquarie University in 2018 and is the current Deputy Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.

Katherine has developed sensitive monitoring tools that can be applied over large spatial scales and in a range of systems to measure aquatic health. She has also been engaged in the ecological design of marine foreshores and her experimental work has contributed to several urban renewal projects. The findings have provided policy tools for building foreshore infrastructure more sustainably.

Katherine is also enthusiastic about science communication. She has published in media outlets such as The Conversation and is an avid tweeter. She recently received a Young Tall Poppy Science Award for science excellence and community engagement.

External positions

Adjunct Senior Lecturer, The University of New South Wales

3 Apr 20183 Apr 2021

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Katherine Dafforn is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Sediments Chemical Compounds
Estuaries Chemical Compounds
infrastructure Earth & Environmental Sciences
pollutant Earth & Environmental Sciences
habitat Earth & Environmental Sciences
sediment Earth & Environmental Sciences
Impurities Chemical Compounds
sediments Agriculture & Biology

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2014 2024

A toolbox to underpin and enable tomorrow's marine biosecurity system

Floerl, O., Zaiko, A., Hopkins, G., Cahill, P., Pochon, X., Wood, S., Davidson, I., South, P., Vennell, R., Atalah, J., Newton, M., Smeaton, M., Gemmell, N., Stanton, J., Guen, M. J. L., Welsh, M., Yao, R., Treml, E., Dafforn, K., Badyal, J. P. & Chetham, J.


Project: Other

Environmental Trust NSW: Scaling up green seawall designs

Bishop, M., Strain, E. M. A., Dafforn, K., Lennon, D. P., Goad, A. & Steinberg, P.


Project: Research

Research Outputs 2008 2019

A decision framework for coastal infrastructure to optimize biotic resistance and resilience in a changing climate

Mayer-Pinto, M., Dafforn, K. A. & Johnston, E. L., Oct 2019, In : BioScience. 69, 10, p. 833-843 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

Climate Change
Human Activities

After decades of stressor research in urban estuarine ecosystems the focus is still on single stressors: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis

O'Brien, A. L., Dafforn, K. A., Chariton, A. A., Johnston, E. L. & Mayer-Pinto, M., 20 Sep 2019, In : Science of the Total Environment. 684, p. 753-764 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

urban ecosystem
estuarine ecosystem
Aquatic ecosystems

Contrasting distributions of bacteriophages and eukaryotic viruses from contaminated coastal sediments

Lachnit, T., Dafforn, K. A., Johnston, E. L. & Steinberg, P., Jun 2019, In : Environmental microbiology. 21, 6, p. 1929-1941 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

coastal sediment

Eco-engineering increases habitat availability and utilisation of seawalls by fish

Ushiama, S., Mayer-Pinto, M., Bugnot, A. B., Johnston, E. L. & Dafforn, K. A., Nov 2019, In : Ecological Engineering. 138, p. 403-411 9 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

habitat availability
Retaining walls

Fine-scale effects of boat moorings on soft sediment communities masked in large-scale comparisons

Macolino, A. C., Dafforn, K. A., Hedge, L. H., Poore, A. G. B. & Johnston, E. L., 12 Mar 2019, In : Frontiers in Marine Science. 6, p. 1-10 10 p., 101.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
scale effect

Activities 2013 2019

Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA) Annual Conference

Katherine Dafforn (Member of programme committee)
14 Mar 201910 Jul 2020

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

Australian Marine Science Association New South Wales (AMSA NSW) (External organisation)

Katherine Dafforn (Chair)
20 Nov 2018 → …

Activity: MembershipMembership of committee

PLoS ONE (Journal)

Katherine Dafforn (Editor)
3 Sep 2018 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

Frontiers in Marine Science (Journal)

Katherine Dafforn (Editor)
1 Feb 2018 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work

Science and Technology Australia (External organisation)

Katherine Dafforn (Member)
23 Nov 201721 Nov 2019

Activity: MembershipMembership of board