Lab members

Chief Investigator: Dr. Eric A Treml.

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.

co-Chief Investigator: Dr Kay Critchell

Kay (a former postdoctoral fellow in the lab, 2019-2021) is a biophysical modeller, her research focuses on the physical processes that influence the distributions of organisms and pollutants in time and space. Kay’s PhD thesis explored and quantified the processes that effect the movement and accumulation of plastic pollution, including microplastics, in the coastal zone. Kay’s research into these processes improved our understanding of potential exposure of sensitive habitats and species to plastic pollution. Kay has since worked on projects around larval dispersal, and the impact of management decisions in the marine environment. Kay’s current work is focused on larval transport and conservation priorities for fisheries management. 

Simone Stevenson (2021-):

Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Simone is completing her PhD at Deakin University where she was testing the performance and effectiveness of global biodiversity indicators. As a research fellow, Simone is now leading the development of marine conservation and fisheries outcomes across various projects, as well as leading the development of marine biosecurity vessel network models to help manage marine pests in Australia and New Zealand. Simone has advanced expertise in analysing spatial and temporal dynamics across marine and terrestrial systems using R and ArcGIS. Simone is working across most projects in MSEaC.  

Jutta Beher (2018-):

PhD Student. Jutta investigates how decisions are made that guide conservation management actions: She uses a quantitative systematic literature review to assess differences and commonalities in the published literature, for example how different objectives, constraints and uncertainties are handled, and how trade-offs are approached.

Ben Knight

Ben Knight: (2018-)

PhD Student. Ben is a marine biophysical scientist with over 20 years of research and consulting experience in coastal systems in New Zealand and Europe. His primary area of expertise is the development and application of modelling and remote sensing tools to assist in finding sustainable resource use solutions for coastal marine systems. He commenced a PhD with Deakin in 2018 investigating coastal connectivity in New Zealand, with an emphasis on understanding and reducing the impacts of aquatic pathogen and diseases in coastal systems where aquaculture occurs.

Roberto Venegas (2020-)

PhD Student. Roberto is a marine biologist and oceanographer interested in multi-scale and multidisciplinary approaches to investigating the effects of anthropogenic climate change on marine species, ecosystems, fisheries, and conservation. During his career, he has led and collaborated on intertidal, subtidal, coastal, and pelagic in-situ, remote sensing, and ecological modeling efforts. Roberto has studied Eastern Boundary Ecosystems, frontal analysis, and linking fisheries information to atmospheric and oceanic variability. Roberto started his Ph.D. at Deakin University in 2020 and is researching the effects of human-caused climate change on larval persistence and marine species distribution through novel artificial intelligence approaches.

Kyle Hilliam (2021-)

PhD Student. Kyle’s plans for his dissertation are around understanding the risks posed by non-indigenous marine species to New Zealand’s sensitive marine habitats. In particular, his research will quantify risks of spreading through the marine transportation network, focusing on the role of recreational fisheries and aquaculture activities. HIs research plan, in collaboration with Cawthron, combines his expertise in invasive species ecology, numerical and quantitative approaches, and his experience working with local councils in biosecurity.

Julia Pavlovic (2021-)

Honours Student. Julia’s research for her honours is focused on solving local-scale marine conservation problems with network-based approaches.

Cal Faubel (2021-)

Honours Student. Cal’s Honours thesis is quantifying the network dynamics and biosecurity risks of recreational vessels on the spread of marine pests. He will also look at how specific life history traits impact spread and determine what effect climate change will have on future distributions.

Molly Hodgkinson (2022-)

Honours Student. Molly’s Honours thesis is in exploring the potential for the spread of marine pests across Australia’s ports and protected areas. Molly will be developing marine vessel traffic networks for all of Australia and quantifying risk and identifying management opportunities. Through field surveys, she may also explore local marina-level incursion risk.

Past Lab Members:

Jess Phipps:  (Honours student, 2020-2021) Jess’s thesis was on predicting future non-indigenous biosecurity risk from marine vessel traffic in New Zealand. She used network analysis and species distribution modelling methods. Jess worked closely with Cawthron Institute in New Zealand (Dr Oli Floerl and others). Her thesis research is now in peer-review. Jess now works for ESRI, Australia.

Dr Giorgia Cecino:  (PhD student, 2016-2021) Giorgia studied the factors driving the persistence of marine species across southeast Australia. Using spatial modelling and network-based approaches, she identified connectivity and habitat structure as key drivers in species’ persistence. Her work demonstrates the importance of employing spatially-explicit management approaches to better ensure sustainable fisheries into the future. Giorgia is now a senior scientist at Fathom Pacific in Melbourne.

Clare Grandison:  (PhD student, 2017-2021) Clare is a marine environmental scientist and spatial ecologist with the Defence Science and Technology Group. She was with MSEaC investigating the spatial and temporal distribution of bioluminescent dinoflagellates in Australian waters.

Dr Kelsey Roberts (PhD, 2019) Kelsey was exploring whether the rapid growth of marine protected areas in Australia has increased the capacity of the network to protect biodiversity from key threats.

Dr Francisca Samsing (PhD, 2018) Francisca was investigating the environmental transmission of sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis in marine ecosystems with intensive salmon aquaculture.

Dr Mauricio Romero Torres (PhD, 2017) 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.

Ms Trish Koh (MSc, 2017) Trish focused on larval dispersal and population connectivity of sea urchins in Port Phillip Bay, Victoria.

Ms Molly Fredle (MSc, 2017) Molly was modelling the spatial and temporal patterns of Blacklip abalone in Bass Strait.

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 at Massey University.

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 finished a postdoctoral research fellow position in Prof Pete Mumby’s Lab at the university of Queensland and is now at the University of Tasmania.

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.