Professor and Director, Centre for Marine Futures
I am a marine ecologist by training, obtaining my PhD from McGill University in Canada. Having watched ocean health rapidly decline over the 35 years since my first SCUBA dive as an intrepid 15 year old, I focus my energies on improving ocean management by providing science that underpins policy and decision-making. The corollary of that is ensuring strong communication and outreach around both the science and the issues facing our oceans.
I lead the Centre for Marine Futures at the University of Western Australia (www.meeuwig.org) where we conduct research on the ecology of reef and open-ocean shark and fish assemblages. In particular, we are interested in how ocean wildlife is affected by fishing and how marine protected areas can halt and reverse declines in these animals. Key to my lab’s vision is a multidisciplinary approach to marine conservation centred on a diverse repertoire of field and analysis techniques, from video-based techniques, to acoustic and satellite tagging, trophic analyses, behavioural studies, and predictive modelling.
Our scope is international, with ongoing programs in Australia, and the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans more generally. At a time of declining government support for marine research, our work is largely funded philanthropically which aligns well with our approach to communication and outreach. Further, my commitment to outreach has been recognised by the West Australian newspaper that listed me as one of its “100 Most Influential West Australians” and as a Finalist for WA Science Ambassador of the Year.