My research focus is on marine ecology, with particular interests in seagrass ecology (including seagrass restoration) and coral reef ecology, the physiology of marine plants and corals and marine wildlife.
Research Interests -
Coral reef studies: I have several research projects at Ningaloo Reef, dealing with overall biodiversity, remote sensing and habitat mapping, seagrasses, benthic primary production, coral reproduction, coral reef metabolism and physiology, climate change impacts, interactions between corals, algae and grazers and manta ray biology and ecology. I am Director of Murdoch University’s Coral Bay Research Station;
Seagrass ecology: The distribution and community structure of local seagrass ecosystems; the role of physical factors in seagrass community structure; sediment dynamics in seagrass ecosystems; the role of seagrass epiphytes as indicators of eutrophication; the ecological and physiological functioning of tropical seagrass ecosystems;
Marine rehabilitation: Rehabilitation of seagrasses and processes influencing recruitment success of seedlings, both in Western Australia and elsewhere in Australia. Involved in large-scale and experimental transplantation of seagrasses on Success Bank and in Cockburn Sound, as part of the Seagrass Research and Rehabilitation Plan. Restoration of marine environments, including artificial reefs;
Physiology of algae and seagrasses: the role of water movement in photosynthesis and respiration of marine plants; the interaction of physical factors on seagrass and algal physiology, with a particular focus on global climate change and ocean acidification;
Marine wildlife: the distribution, ecology and behaviour of manta rays;
Biological hydrodynamics: the role of water motion in structuring marine communities; the effects of water motion on the physiology of marine plants; the effects of marine plant morphology on water flow around them; dye visualization studies of water flow over marine plants; the role of plant spacing on flow through seagrass meadows; water velocity profiles through seagrass communities; connectivity between marine ecosystems;
Improving communications between seagrass and mangrove researchers: List-owner of the international e-mail discussion lists: Seagrass_Forum and Mangrove;
Developing innovative teaching methods (see report from an assessment by the Teaching & Learning Centre of innovations in Plant Diversity – available electronically: http://wwwtlc1.murdoch.edu.au/eddesign/N265Eval.pdf).
I teach in the School of Veterinary & Life Sciences, contributing to the Marine Science course. My major focus is on marine ecology and the biology and ecology of marine plants. Most of my teaching is at second and third year undergraduate level.