My main research and teaching interests are in evolution, genomics and conservation biology. My work often uses fish populations as indicators of environmental and water quality, adaptive resilience, management practices and ecosystem health.
I was born and raised in Uruguaiana, a town in the Pampas grassland in Brazil. In 1986, I moved to the coast to study Biological Oceanography (BSc and Msc), ichthyology and population genetics at University of Rio Grande. In 1996, I moved to Sydney for a PhD in fish evolutionary genetics, awarded by Macquarie University in 2001.
I was then a Gaylord Donnelley Environmental Research Fellow at Yale University (2001-2003) working in projects in Amazonia and the Galápagos, before returning to Australia for a tenure position at Macquarie. I worked at Macquarie until 2009 as Associate Professor and head of the Molecular Ecology Lab and the Molecular Ecology Group for Marine Research (MEGMAR).
In 2009, I moved to Adelaide to establish the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU). To date, we have graduated 25 PhDs, 31 Honours students, and produced >250 refereed publications.
I aim to offer an intellectually rich and friendly environment to my lab members; this includes an annual 3-day lab retreat in a remote coastal beach.
My lab's alumni have secured academic and research positions in the six inhabited continents, including Australia, USA, Japan, Austria, South Africa and Brazil.
I held an ARC (Australian Research Council) Future Fellowship between 2014 and 2018, a research-only position to establish a long-term program on ecological genomics of fishes.
Between 2020 and 2023, I was the Research Section Lead of Ecology, Evolution and Environment, an interdisciplinary world-leading research communitiy of ~180 academics, postdocs and research students.
In March 2022, I was awarded a Matthew Flinders Professorship for my contributions to research performance and leadership.
Higher Academic Qualifications
Sabbatical and Postdoctoral Experience
Select Research Funding
> $10.3M as chief investigator (CI), includes 12 ARCs (9 as lead CI).
Research Section Lead - Ecology, Evolution and Environment (2020-2023, Flinders University)
Head of the Molecular Ecology Lab at Flinders University (MELFU)
Head of the Molecular Ecology Group for Marine Research (MEGMAR)
Conceived and implemented in 2011 the Annual Conference of Postgraduate Students (i.e. HDR students) in the School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University. Acted as conference chair and organizer between 2011 and 2013. This School-wide activity was implemented to assess the progress and enrich the research experience of the ~110 PhD students enrolled at that time within the School of Biological Sciences. Its popularity and success inspired the implementation of an Annual College of Science and Engineering HDR Conference, which includes PhD students from across our College. In 2020, the Annual College of Science and Engineering HDR Conference shifted to the level of Research Section. Currently, the organismal biology and envirronmental science students participate in the Annual HDR Conference of the Ecology, Evolution and Environment Research Section.
DVC-R Award for Best PhD Publication - FEB 2017
Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence - MAY 2017
Keynote and plenary speaker & conference chair: over 60 presentations at universities and research institutions in Australia, USA, Canada, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and New Zealand. I often chair sections and judge presentations in key scientific meetings, such as 'Evolution'.
Speaker to 30+ school, rural and coastal community groups about conservation of aquatic biodiversity, including Amazonia (Brazil), Merimbula, Byron Bay and Jervis Bay (NSW) and Port Lincoln (SA).
Headed the research and wrote the impact case study that represented the whole of biology (UoA 06) in 2018 as part of the Flinders University’s submission report for the ARC Engagement and Impact (EI), entitled ‘Conservation Management of Aquatic Resources’.
ARC Major Grants Expo: In 2011 I represented Flinders at the ARC Major Grants Expo held in the Parliament House, Canberra.
Conceived and coordinated the Annual Postgraduate Conference of the School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University. 2011-2013. This activity is now used across the College of Science and Engineering.
Flinders University mentor - Early Career Researcher Mentor Scheme