Sue Oeding

PhD project title:  The influence of land use on freshwater ecosystems; implications for freshwater managers

Principal supervisor: Kathryn Taffs

Co-supervisor: Amanda Reichelt-Brushett

Research summary:

Sue completed her undergraduate studies at Southern Cross University. Sue received a 1st class Honours grade for her research assessing the suitability of diatoms as biological indicators of sub-tropical river ecosystem health. Sue is the successful recipient of an Australian Government Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship and her PhD research is investigating the health freshwater rivers including; the interactions between organisms at different trophic levels, ecosystem processes and the impact of land uses upon them. Her early work involved the development of a diatom index, the Richmond River Diatom Index (RRDI), used to infer river health in sub-tropical Australian rivers. The next phase of her research was focused on determining if patterns in diatom and macroinvertebrate diversity and community composition can be attributed to a specific/single land use and to consider the possible implications for management within a catchment. Current research involves exploring the use of stable isotopes to determine carbon pathways through food webs in different land uses. The research examines the carbon contribution of C3 and C4 plants, macrophytes and micro-algae as food sources for the freshwater shrimp, Paratya australiensis. Sue’s research has been applied to develop more effective management tools, reinforcing confidence in ecological assessment and monitoring programs and form stronger links between science and industry-based applications.


Best Poster - Research in Science, Engineering and Environment Conference 2015

Encouragement Award - Research in Science, Engineering and Environment Conference 2016


Oeding, S., & Taffs, K. H. (2015). Are diatoms a reliable and valuable bio-indicator to assess sub-tropical river ecosystem health? Hydrobiologia, 758(1), 151-169. doi:10.1007/s10750-015-2287-0

Oeding, S., & Taffs, K. H. (2017). Developing a regional diatom index for assessment and monitoring of freshwater streams in sub-tropical Australia. Ecological Indicators, 80, 135-146. doi:

Oeding, S., Taffs, K. H., Cox, B., Reichelt-Brushett, A., & Sullivan, C. (2018). The influence of land use in a highly modified catchment: Investigating the importance of scale in riverine health assessment. Journal of Environmental Management, 206, 1007-1019. doi:

Co-author of a Wetland education program - WetlandCare Australia (2013). Wetland Discovery: Field and Classroom Teaching Kit.  WetlandCare Australia  Authors: S. Oeding, S. Haigh, L. Hajenko, C. Price, and S. White.