I completed my PhD in Molecular & Restoration Genetics at the Adelaide University in 2013. Since completing my PhD, I have been a postdoc at Uppsala University, an ARC DECRA Fellow, and an Adelaide University Vice Chancellor’s Beacon Fellow until my appointment as Lecturer in Biology (Ecology/Organismal Biology) at Flinders University in 2019.
I am a scholar of ecosystem health, restoration ecology, and genomics. I work to integrate genomics, health and wellbeing research into restoration ecology. I lead an integrated team under two initiatives: the Frontiers of Restoration Ecology (FORE) group and the Healthy Urban Microbiome Initiative (HUMI).
HUMI seeks to understand and recreate the immune-boosting power of high quality, biodiverse green spaces in our cities to maximise human health and bring significant savings to health budgets, while delivering gains for biodiversity. At the recent UN Biodiversity Conference in Egypt (COP14; November 2018), I signed an MOU with the Secretariat of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), agreeing to work in partnership with the CBD on the linkages between biodiversity and health via the microbiome pathway.
The FORE group is improving restoration success in a rapidly-changing world. Initiatives developed through FORE are created for the benefit of the natural world and societies alike – they are innovative, collaborative and are based on cutting-edge science. Examples include pioneering the value proposition of genomics to restoration ecology, redefining the study of gene flow and mating systems of plants in fragmented landscapes, and on how mixing local seeds with those from non-local origins can lead to improved restoration outcomes under climate change.
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2013 PhD in Bioscience (Dean’s Commendation), Adelaide University, Australia
2008 MSc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
2006 BAppSci in Environmental Science & Zoology, James Cook University, Australia
2021 Research Mentorship Award, College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University
2019 Bradshaw Medal, International Society for Ecological Restoration
2018 Signed MOU with the UN Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity
2016 Outstanding Early Career Alumnus, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University
2015 Awarded Tall Poppy Science Award for Academic & Science Communication Excellence, Australian Institute of Policy & Science
2013 Science Excellence Award, PhD Research Excellence Life & Environmental Sciences, South Australian Government
2013 Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence, University of Adelaide
My main teaching area is restoration ecology - the study of repairing degraded ecosystems through human intervention.
This is a very topical subject, since the world has billions of hectares of degraded ecosystems and faces a biodiversity crisis. Furthermore, people's health is closely linked to the health of environments.
The UN has declared 2021 to 2030 as the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and the global community has set aspirational targets to restore 350 million hectares by 2030 under The Bonn Challenge. But, restoration ecology is a young discipline. The science of restoration is by no means settled and emerging technologies are pushing the boundaries of the very identity of what restoration is. Great debates and punctuated shifts in norms have resulted.
I like to teach about how to investigate why and how to restore today’s ecosystems and biodiversity. I hope to equip students with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to be the next generation of restoration ecologists; a cohort that will ultimately be responsible for turning the global environmental tide from decline and degradation to repair and restoration.
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