I head the Coastal Research Group at the School of Earth Atmosphere and Environment
Our principal research interest is in understanding how marine and coastal vegetated habitats function and how they are impacted by natural disturbance, anthropogenic impacts, and climate change. The insights gained from our research provide important guidance for the effective management of these habitats into the future.
Coastal habitats will play a vital role in mitigating the effects of sea level rise, through increasing sediment accretion rates and thus surface elevation. In Australia, saltmarshes, mangroves and coral reefs are the primary coastal habitat and are widely distributed along the Australian coastline. Both geological evidence from the Holocene, when sea levels rose quickly and significantly, and models of contemporary sea level rise suggest that coral reefs and vegetated foreshores are able to keep pace with sea level rise when sediment supply is sufficient (including the production of biogenic sediment sources), thus protecting inland habitats from inundation. coral reefs and vegetated foreshores are also very effective at attenuating wave energy during storm surges and are important carbon stores. These habitats are vital for a plethora of species, including dramatically declining migratory shore bird populations.
Our research group has a range of underwater sensors, current meters, plankton and vegetation sampling equipment, UAVs and a range of airborne sensors. We have access to boating and diving equipment at Monash, and access to the school’s extensive field work and sample analysis facilities and 4WD vehicles. We also have a well equipped molecular lab for environmental DNA studies and a lab for coral, vegetation, sediment and water analyses.