Tom Davis

Tom Davis 

PhD Candidate

Tom has undergraduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering (Auckland), and Applied Science (Murdoch). Tom completed the Master of Marine Science and Management course at SCU in 2013, and was awarded a MERC Scholarship to undertake a PhD in 2014.

Research Summary

Assessment of threats to marine biodiversity in Port-Stephens

Marine environments around the world are under increasing pressure from human impacts, with habitat loss, invasive marine species, climate change, nutrient flows, pollution, and extractive activities all impacting on marine communities. In New South Wales (NSW) the state government is currently implementing a new approach to managing the NSW marine estate, with threat and risk assessment underpinning the management strategy. Risk assessment requires an understanding of: the patterns of biodiversity in an area; how biodiversity changes over time; the processes that maintain biodiversity; and the threats to those processes.

The PhD research focuses on assessing threats to marine biodiversity in Port Stephens due to; the need for information to guide long-term management; the perceived threats to critical habitats within the estuary; and the high biodiversity reported within the Port Stephens estuary. There is an urgent requirement for the research findings from this project, to feed into the upcoming review of NSW marine park zoning.

Principal supervisor: Assoc. Prof Steve Smith (SCU)
Co-supervisors: Dr Brendan Kelaher (SCU), Dr David Harasti (NSW DPI)


Scott A, Harasti D, Davis T, Smith SDA (2014) Southernmost records of the host sea anemone, Stichodactyla haddoni, and associated commensal shrimps in a climate change hotspot. Marine Biodiversity (2014): 1-2.

Davis T, Harasti D, Smith SDA (2014) "Compensating for length biases in underwater visual census of fishes using stereo video measurements" Marine & Freshwater Research: In Press.