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Personal profile


I am a coastal ecologist with over 15 years of experience researching temperate ecosystems of Australia and the USA. My team's research addresses how these ecosystems operate and respond to change. Our research has investigated a wide range of environmental problems, including shellfish disease, coastal erosion, nutrient enrichment, invasive species, and marine urban sprawl. Our present research has a particular focus on the development and evaluation of engineering interventions that create habitat and conserve native biodiversity in degraded seascapes. I co-lead the green engineering working group of the World Harbour Project and the Living Seawalls Program. I am working closely with the NSW oyster industry to assess how the industry’s selective breeding programs may be harnessed for the purposes of rehabilitating Australia’s lost shellfish reefs, of which <1% remain. I am also assessing how mesh produced using starch waste from potatoes may be used as a substrate for oyster reef rehabilitation. Oysters are critically important in fisheries production, maintenance of clean water and shoreline stablisation and the successful restoration of Australia’s oyster reefs has the potential to greatly enhance the ecological and economic value of our coasts.

Recent research awards and honours 

  • 2022 Winner (for Living Seawalls), Biodiversity Award, Banksia Foundation National Awards
  • 2022 Top Innovator (for Living Seawalls), World Economic Forum’s BiodioverCities UpLink Challenge
  • 2021 Winner (for Living Seawalls), Biodiversity Award, NSW Sustainability Awards, Banksia Foundation
  • 2021 Finalist (1 of 3 internationally in Revive our Oceans Category; Living Seawalls), Earthshot Prize
  • 2021 Selection, NSW Research Impact Showcase, ‘Protecting the NSW Oyster Industry’
  • 2020 Faculty of Science and Engineering award for Excellence in Innovative Research Partnership
  • 2019 Faculty of Science and Engineering Parental Leave Fellowship
  • 2017 Macquarie University Jim Piper Award for Research Leadership
  • 2013 Finalist (1 of 3 nationally), Eureka Prizes, Emerging Research Leader Category
  • 2013 Finalist (1 of 3), Macquarie Research Awards, Research Partnership and Commercialisation Category
  • 2012 Brian Robinson Fellowship, Banksia Environmental Foundation
  • 2011 NSW Young Tall Poppy Award
  • 2010 NSW Scientist of the Year (Category: Environment, Water and Climate Change Sciences)


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