For 18 years I worked on monitoring programs and impact assessments in marine environments with the Melbourne-based environmental consultancy Marine Science & Ecology. During this time, I became interested in the use of power analysis to better focus classical hypothesis testing on effects of interest. In 1995, I returned to university to devote more time to these particular forms of number crunching, using data collected during my previous life as a consultant.
After completing my PhD in late 2001, I moved to what became the Australian Centre of Excellence for Risk Analysis (ACERA). Here, I split my time between teaching environmental science subjects, and collaborating with external organiszations on various research projects. An ARC-funded project with Parks Victoria (2005-2007) developed a ecological risk assessment tailored to the needs of the extensive system of 24 marine national parks and marine sanctuaries declared only three years earlier. Information from that project was used to inform the management plans of Parks Victoria. It also directly stimulated other research projects: i) monitoring the effects of a Parks Victoria management program to deal with the effects of trampling by park visitors on intertidal assemblages, ii) evaluating the effectivness of an existing Parks Victoria seagrass monitoring protocol, and iii) development of an optimal surveillance program in MPAs for non-indigenous marine species already present in Victorian waters (see Current projects).
As you may have guessed by now, there are three major threads to my research:
- marine ecology – particularly benthic ecology where the sessile or sedentary nature of many species makes them particularly susceptible to localised man-made disturbances
- quantitative methods – particularly those used to address ecological questions
- environmental management – specifically, detecting impacts and monitoring the effectiveness of management actions taken to reduce those impacts