John started his career in environmental science in 1999 with a BSc(Hons) at the University of Wollongong.His honours project examined the possible mechanisms for the success of Caulerpa taxifolia in NSW and involved surveying fish and invertebrates, and conducting feeding trials. This project encouraged an interest in invasive species ecology.
In 2004, he began his PhD. with the Australian Museum and UNE. The research examined the response of terrestrial invertebrates to riparian revegetation in the Hunter Valley, NSW. Since then, a lot of his professional experience has been on projects in this region. For example, in 2006, he was involved in a community participation project in the Upper Hunter, which aimed at developing methods that allowed just about anyone to be involved in surveying invertebrates. One of the most successful methods was one that used features of spider’s webs as an indicator for measuring the success of restoration.
John's postdoctoral work at the Australian Museum included a study on the ecology of a non-native bee in NSW,Halictus smaragdulus, examining its distribution, finding out whether it was having any effects on native species, and looking for clues on the history of the introduction. His professional work has also involved survey work in the remote Pilbara region of WA. The data from these surveys have been used to understand the impacts of humans on invertebrates, assessing environmental surrogacy as well as being used in the environmental approvals process for open-cut mining operations.
As a Research Fellow at UTS, John is working on the influence of climate variability on invertebrate community dynamics. John is always generating new questions from his work, and welcomes contact from students looking for projects.