Professor Peter Fairweather

College of Science and Engineering

Research expertise

As a marine ecologist & environmental biologist, doing a variety of research in a range of aquatic ecosystems, much of it to answer applied questions, using the best quantitative aproaches to cover both community and ecocsystem ecology

Research expertise

As a marine ecologist & environmental biologist, doing a variety of research in a range of aquatic ecosystems, much of it to answer applied questions, using the best quantitative aproaches to cover both community and ecocsystem ecology

GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, South Australia

I have worked at Flinders, Deakin, Macquarie and Sydney Universities as well as the CSIRO over the past 38 years. Trained primarily at the Univeristy of Sydney, my extensive on-the-job training in the environmental field has come from working alongside colleagues at those institutions, plus private industry, all tiers of government, plus NGOs and community groups. As a quantitative ecologist specialising in the field assessment of ecological variation using well-designed sampling, manipulative experiments and modelling, I strive to seek out the true nature of aquatic ecosystems and human impacts thereupon. I have always sought to engender, in both my students and colleagues, intellectual rigour coupled with a sense of wonder. I believe that sound environmental management of our waters must be based on an understanding of how such ecosystems work. This, in turn, can be achieved by co-operation among scientists from a variety of disciplines and the involvement of stakeholders within the wider public. I have had many roles advising all levels of government, private enterprise, and the non-government sector about better environmental decision-making, including via long-term secondments.

Qualifications

PhD: Interactions between predators and prey, and the structure of rocky intertidal communities (University of Sydney)

BSc (Hons First Class): Prey preferences of the whelk Morula marginalba (University of Sydney)

Honours, awards and grants

AWA Environment & Community Award (2009)
Part secondment to state Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources (2008-2012, 0.2 to 0.8 fractions

Key responsibilities

Professor of Marine Biology
Member of the Ecology & Evolution research theme, Natural Sciences teaching program, and Marine Sciences research consortium within the College
Honours Co-ordinator for biology within the Natural Sciences teahcing program of the College

Research expertise
Ecological applications
Ecology
Environmental science and management
Oceanography
Research interests

My current projects reflect long-standing research interests in: studies of food webs in a variety of coastal marine and estuarine ecosystems, especially whether upwelling can affect intertidal ecosystems; interactions between living and dead organisms; the influence of groundwater under, or other water sources upon, nearshore coastal ecosystems; scaling issues and patchiness of biological community structure; how human impacts act as disturbances; and ecological monitoring via the use of bioindicators of ecosystem health.

Some of my other, more general interests include ecological processes in aquatic ecosystems, proper design and analysis of environmental research, realistic modelling of ecosystems, philosophy, sociology and history of science (especially ecology/biology), the place of ecology in conservation biology, and environmental philosophy and public education.

Teaching interests

All aspects of marine biology but especially field-based investigations

Ecology & environmental studies (from pure to applied)

Supervision of Honours and postgraduate research students

Topic coordinator
BIOL7730 Scientific Methods & Data Presentation
BIOL7700D Honours biology research project
BIOL7700E Honours biology research project
Topic lecturer
BIOL1301 Introduction to Marine Biology
BIOL3701 Conservation biology & restoration ecology
BIOD3701 Human impacts & biodiversity
Supervisory interests
Aquatic conservation
Assessment design
Beaches
Biostatistics
Community ecology
Conservation, aquatic animals
Ecocystem ecology
Ecological applications
Ecological experiments
Ecology
Ecosystem dynamics
Ecosystem health
Ecosystem modelling
Environmental impact assessment
Environmental science and management
Experimental design and data analysis
Freshwater
Groundwater dependent ecosystems
Intertidal reefs, human impact
Marine biodiversity assessment, intertidal rocky reefs
Marine ecology
Marine environmental protection
Surfzone-beach-dune interactions
Sustainability of aquatic systems
Higher degree by research supervision
Current
Principal supervisor: marine ecology & biology (2)
Completion
Principal supervisor: marine ecology & biology (23)
Associate supervisor: marine ecology & biology (3)
Publications
Expert for media contact
Animals
Ecology
Marine Science
National Parks
Pollution
Salinity
Statistics
Water Resources
Aquatic Conservation
Benthos
Ecological Experiments
Ecosystem Dynamics
Ecosystem Management
Ecosystem Modelling
Environmental Impact Assessment
Experimental Design and Data Analysis
Food Webs
Marine Biology
Marine Ecology
Marine Park Planning
Sustainability of Aquatic Systems
Water Issues
Available for contact via
Or contact the media team
+61 8 82012092
0427 398 713
Researcher
Media expert
Media expertise
  • Animals
  • Ecology
  • Marine Science
  • National Parks
  • Pollution
  • Salinity
  • Statistics
  • Water Resources
Interests
  • Aquatic Conservation
  • Benthos
  • Ecological Experiments
  • Ecosystem Dynamics
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Ecosystem Modelling
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Experimental Design and Data Analysis
  • Food Webs
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Ecology
  • Marine Park Planning
  • Sustainability of Aquatic Systems
  • Water Issues

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