eric-treml-sm_150Chief Investigator: Dr. Eric A Treml (brief CV here) My research is focused primarily on the spatial ecology of marine systems, testing hypotheses regarding marine population connectivity and exploring the implications for marine biodiversity and conservation. I use field surveys, dynamic modelling, spatial analysis, graph theory and population genetic techniques. Although the core of my research is in the marine environment, I also enjoy studying terrestrial and aquatic systems.



Current PhD Students:

  • claireClare Grandison: Clare is a marine environmental scientist with more than 7 years experience in the maritime science and technology research sector. She has commenced a PhD in the MSEaC laboratory in 2017 investigating the spatial and temporal distribution of bioluminescent dinoflagellates in Australian waters and how this relates to local oceanographic, meteorological and environmental conditions. Her study will apply spatial analysis tools and integrate marine observational data sources with historical bioluminescence observational data. Clare is on linkedin.


  • giorgiaGiorgia Cecino My research interests are spatial analysis, marine conservation, populations and species distribution modelling.
    I am currently a PhD student at The University of Melbourne and I’m using population viability analysis to explore how fisheries management strategies affect the persistence of the species of the South-East of Australia.



  • kelseyKelsey Roberts Kelsey is a PhD candidate working on tracking the effectiveness of the Australian marine protected area network over time. Marine protected areas are regarded as the best strategy for marine biodiversity conservation. The Australian marine protected area network is one of the largest in the world, but is currently under review by the Australian government, highlighting the importance of building a better understanding of the current value of the network and how it performs. Kelsey’s research will explore whether the rapid growth of marine protected areas in Australia has increased the capacity of the network to protect biodiversity from key threats. Her interest in marine science developed while completing her Masers on sea turtle behaviour in Florida. She is interested in novel ways to protect ocean ecosystems from harmful anthropogenic impacts. She also works part time at Melbourne Sealife Aquarium, educating the public on the harmful effects of plastic pollution and how vending machines are more dangerous than sharks.


  • fran_samsingFrancisca Samsing  My thesis focuses on the environmental transmission and connectivity of sea lice in marine ecosystems. Large-scale epidemics are affecting important marine species. For the most widely produced marine fish, salmon, parasitic ‘sea lice’ are the most significant problem. These external parasites cause major environmental and economic impacts. Understanding its epidemiology is crucial for management of infestations. I am investigating the environmental transmission of sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis in marine ecosystems with intensive salmon aquaculture. For this, I integrate empirical and modelling methodologies to dissect the processes involved in parasite dispersal and use network analysis to quantify spatial and temporal patterns in connectivity and design strategies to mitigate parasite transmission. My project will build fundamental knowledge on lice epidemiology and will allow informed management actions to minimise lice infestations on both farmed and wild salmonid populations.


  • Din Matias (2015-present) Co-advisor with Dr Cynthia Riginos, University of Queensland. Din is using seascape genomics to explore the genetic patterns across the Philippines at both fine and broad spatiotemporal scales.


  • Mauricio Romero Torres (2010-present) Co-advisor with Prof Alberto Acosta, Universidad Javeriana, Colombia. Mauricio is exploring the causes and consequences of population connectivity for coral reefs in the eastern Tropical Pacific to determine the influence of contrasting life history traits, the importance of physical and biological drivers, and to identify key habitat stepping-stones and likely dispersal routes.


Current Master Students:

  • molly3Molly Fredle: Molly is in her Masters studying the ecology of Blacklip Abalone in Bass Strait. For part of her thesis, she is modelling the spatial and temporal patterns while exploring its population connectivity using network analysis. Molly is also analysing the spatial autocorrelation of the network and analysing the relationship between spatio-temporal and environmental variables on abalone density from survey data. Her research projects integrate empirical and modelling methods while using spatial and statistical tools. Blacklip abalone is an economically important species for fishery, and understanding its population connectivity and ecology can have major economic impacts.
  • trishTrish Koh: I completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and a Diploma of Languages (French) at the University of Melbourne in 2015. In 2016, I joined the MSEAC lab as a Master of Science student. My research project is focused on larval dispersal and population connectivity of sea urchins in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria. I am using laboratory experiments to quantify the swimming capacity of sea urchin larvae and using models to explore their dispersal pathways and networks in the Bay. Additionally, I aim to identify sea urchin hotspots and the main sources of their larvae. My research will highlight the importance of larval swimming on dispersal outcomes as well as shed light on how sea urchin barrens are maintained in Port Phillip Bay. In my spare time, I have a blog where I post about general science topics ranging from dark matter to my own little sea urchins.


Research Assistant:

  • juttaJutta Beher Jutta is a spatial ecologist and works as a research assistant in the Marine Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab. She has a weakness for maps, coding, and using applied science for maximising conservation outcomes and making smart decisions. She has worked for some years as a freelance biologist for different research institutions and organisations in Europe as well as for the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland. Currently, she is mainly processing spatial data for the simulation of the ecological connections in the marine environment through the dispersal of fish, crustacean or coral larvae, and providing this information to stakeholders that plan for conservation and sustainable fisheries. All publications are on and researchgate.

Past Lab Members:

  • Dr Rafael Magris (2012-2016) Co-advisor with Prof Bob Pressey, James Cook University. Rafael is quantifying the population connectivity of several coral reef species along the Brazilian coast to identify the role of local species, habitat quality, and climate change in conservation planning.
  • Dr Jude Keyse (PhD, 2016) Co-advisor with Dr Cynthia Riginos, University of Queensland. Jude is using advanced spatial statistical approaches to quantify the biological and physical factors influencing patterns of biodiversity across spatial and taxonomic scales. Jude’s work is primarily focused in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Dr Libby Liggins (PhD, 2014) Co-advisor with Dr Cynthia Riginos, University of Queensland. Libby takes a phylogeographic and population genetic approach to understanding gene flow among populations inhabiting the coral reefs of Indo-Pacific region. Libby is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Massey University (site)
  • Dr Nils Krück (PhD, 2013) Co-advisor with A/Prof Ian Tibbetts, University of Queensland. Nils has integrate genomics and spatial modelling to improve fisheries management in Queensland, Australia. He is now a postdoctoral research fellow in Prof Pete Mumby’s Lab at the university of Queensland.
  • Ms Anna Mirams (Honours, 2009) Co-advisor with Dr Cynthia Riginos, University of Queensland. Anna completed a project quantifying the genetic structure and the potential drivers of marine taxa across the Torres Strait.