I am the Deputy Team Leader of the Future Reefs Program, and the reef biogeochemistry Group Leader within the Climate Change Cluster at the University of Technology Sydney. I am an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Award Recipient (DECRA) & Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow. My research focuses on the physiology, ecology and biogeochemistry of coral reefs.
In 2020 I established the Coral Biogeochemistry group within the Future Reefs Team at UTS. In 2021 I was awarded the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher.
My research focuses on the physiology, ecology and biogeochemistry of coral reefs, with broad interests in:
- The coral elementome
- Coral physiology and ecology
- The impact of climate change on coral reef form and functioning
- Trophic interactions
- Super corals
- Coral calcification and skeletal properties
- Active reef management practices
- Symbiont functional diversity and its role in the stability of the coral symbiosis
- Naturally extreme coral environments, specifically mangrove habitats
Alongside my research I am passionate to champion the introduction and retention of women and girls in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. I hold an Honorary Position with the United Nations as part of the second class of Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals and am a National Geographic Explorer. In 2020 I was named an inaugural Australian Academy of Sciences STEM Women’s Gamechanger and made Time Magazines Next Generation Leaders list. I am passionate about communicating research to engage society to become part of the solutions required to ensure a perpetual Earth.
Diversity & Inclusion
As a scientist, educator, and mentor, I am committed to fostering a safe and inclusive workplace for all that values and includes people with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences.
I believe to solve the global challenges of today, we need representation in science that reflects what society looks like today. Research has highlighted that when people from diverse backgrounds have a seat at the table, research teams can be more productive, creative, and successful. I encourage collaborative research and believe in the value of teamwork.
I am committed to collaborate, recruit and support individuals from all backgrounds and to amplify voices that have been marginalised in our field. I will continuously strive to attain equity in research by promoting a respectful, inclusive, and collaborative work environment where individuals feel safe and free to openly share their different views, ideas, and experiences.
I believe in the importance of work life balance for happiness and health.
Self-education on implicit biases and belief systems
I completed my BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science and Chemistry at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, USA (2006). After this I returned to England to complete my MSc in Environmental Management and Business at Sheffield Hallam University (2011). During this time I completed several internships in Environmental Consultancy, and at the end of my MSc set up my own Environmental Consultancy Company: GAIA Environmental Services LTD. The company specialised in impact assessment and Environmental Management Plans.
In 2011 I was given the opportunity to travel to Little Cayman, Cayman Islands to work at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute. Here, I worked as the Lab Manager and in-house Researcher. I was awarded a Fellowship to undertake my PhD affiliated with the University of Essex, England. My PhD focused on the ecological and physiological response of corals to variations in seawater carbonate chemistry, specifically studying corals living in naturally ‘extreme’ coral environments (e.g. mangrove lagoons) (2015).
In 2016 I was awarded an Endeavour Research Fellowship by the Australian Department of Education and Training, to conduct the first-ever study investigating the physiological properties and symbiont communities of corals living in extreme mangrove habitats. After this Fellowship I was offered a Postdoctoral Research position with ARC Future Fellow Assoc. Prof. David Suggett in the Climate Change Cluster (C3), at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and his collaborator Assoc. Prof. Bill Leggat from James Cook University (JCU).
In 2017 I was named a National Geographic Explorer for my research endeavours looking into Super Corals of mangrove lagoons on the Great Barrier Reef.
In September 2018, I was announced as one of 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations. This Honorary position has seen me work with the United Nations to help catalyse the achievement of the SDG Goals. In 2018 I also co-founded the Coral Nurture Program, establishing the first multi-species coral nurseries in partnership with tour operators on the Great Barrier Reef.
In January 2019, I was awarded a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at UTS as well as an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) to research the use of elemental diagnostics in identifying coral tolerance to environmental change. I was named the Assistant Team Leader for the Future Reefs Team at UTS and was recognised by Rolex as an Associate Laureate for my efforts in coral reef research and conservation.
In 2021 I established the Coral Biogeochemistry group within the Future Reefs Team at UTS.
- PhD (2015), Marine Biology, University of Essex, England.
- MSc (2011), Environmental Management and Business, Sheffield Hallam University, England.
- BSc Hons. (2006), Environmental Science and Chemistry, Belmont Abbey College, USA.
- L’Oréal UNESCO Women in Science Fellowship (2020)
- Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA, 2019)
- UTS Chancellors Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2019)
- Endeavour Research Fellow, Australian Government Department of Education and Training, Australia (2016)
- Research Fellow, Central Caribbean Marine Institute, Cayman Islands (2012)