Research student supervision

Academic staff in the School of Environment, Science and Engineering can provide supervision for postgraduate research studies in several discipline areas and topics - for Honours, Masters (MA) and Doctorate (PhD) awards.

The following is a list of areas of research specialisation in the School.

For more information about postgraduate research studies and the availability of supervisors, please contact:

T: + 61 2 6620 3650

SupervisorPotential Research Topics
Dr Kirsten Benkendorff
  • Marine molluscs and intertidal reef biodiversity
  • Invertebrate immunity and impacts of stress
  • Bioactive marine natural products
Professor Bill Boyd
  • Environmental management and planning
  • Higher education and teaching & learning
  • Socio-cultural perspectives on environmental management
  • Cultural heritage management
  • Quaternary geology including palynology
  • Geoarchaeology
Dr Daniel Bucher
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Subtropical reef ecology
  • Benthic invertebrates of sandy sediments
Dr Matheus C. Carvalho
  • Re-evaluation of global marine primary production
Dr Claudia Catterall
  • Ecology and management of plant species and vegetation communities
  • Conservation of threatened plant species and communities
  • Ecological restoration
Professor Les Christidis
  • Conservation and population genetics
  • Biodiversity and Landscape Connectivity
  • Evolutionary biogeography of the Australasian fauna
Dr Malcolm Clark
  • Engineering and Environmental Geochemistry
  • Acid Rock Drainage
  • Sediment water interactions
Dr Leigh Davison
  • On-site treatment of domestic waste and wastewater
  • Water quality improvement using subsurface flow constructed wetlands (reed beds)
  • Water quality improvement using sand filters
Dr Symon Dworjanyn
  • Aquaculture
  • Seaweed and invertebrate ecology
  • Chemical ecology
Dr Dirk Erler
  • Nitrogen cycling
  • Wastewater systems
  • Coral palaeoceanography
  • Using coral skeletons to understand oceanic biogeochemistry in the past
Professor Brad Eyre
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Nutrient budgets and water quality
  • Estuaries
Associate Professor Ross Goldingay
  • Conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife
  • Ecology and management of forest wildlife
  • Road impacts on wildlife and their mitigation
Dr Kevin Glencross
  • Evaluating the biodiversity value of mixed species restoration systems throughout the agricultural landscapes of the Northern Rivers - a reforestation project funded by the Commonwealth Clean Energy Futures/Emissions Reduction Fund. Funds are available for an eligible Honours candidate to assist with biodiversity monitoring and ecological assessment at sites, contact Dr Glencross.
Professor Peter Harrison
  • Reproduction in reef corals
  • Effects of bleaching and pollution stress on corals
  • Coral reef monitoring and management
Dr Brendan Kelaher
  • Sustainable use of marine biodiversity
  • Impact and restoration of marine environments
  • Marine conversation and management
  • Coastal carbon sequestration
Dr Neal Lake
  • Leadership and high performance teams
  • Bridge design, evaluation, monitoring and asset management
  • Civil engineering materials and alternative building materials
  • Use of augmented reality in engineering practice and education
  • Engineering education
Dr David Lloyd
  • Marine and Terrestrial Protected Area Management
  • Environmental Interpretation/Education
  • Community and Indigenous Consultation
  • Colombo Plan Scholarships are available for eligible Honours students for project work in Indonesia, contact Dr Lloyd.
Associate Professor Doland Nichols
  • Domestication of subtropical and tropical tree species
  • Tree regeneration in Border Ranges
  • Silviculture and forest health in subtropical eucalypt plantations
Dr Sumith Pathirana
  • Geographic information systems and remote sensing
  • Environmental hazard risk mapping
  • Climate change and vector borne diseases
Dr Steven Purcell
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Marine animal behaviour and ecology
  • Conservation biology of marine animals
Dr Amanda Reichelt-Brushett
  • Ecotoxicology
  • Trace Metals
  • Sediment and water quality
  • Assessment of mercury contamination in fish and shell fish from Buru Island, Indonesia, a site of artisanal gold mining
  • Effects of nickel and cobalt on the anemone Aiptaisa pulchella
  • Sediment toxicity assessment using the brittle star Aphipolis squamata
Professor Andrew Rose
  • Manipulation of iron bioavailability by marine cyanobacteria
  • What is the chemical form of iron when other ions are around?
  • Development of novel photolabile base compounds to study fast mineral formation reactions
  • Honours top-up scholarships through Southern Cross GeoScience are available for the above projects to eligible Honours candidates. The projects can also be tailored to fit the particular interests of the student, contact Professor Rose.
Dr Terry Rose
  • Phosphate behaviour in flooded soils - implications for phosphate acquisition by rice
  • How do different biochars influence phosphate availability in alkaline and acid soils?
  • Can we find wheat cultivars that use phosphorus more efficiently?
  • Phosphorus impacts on native plants: does tea tree buck the trend?
Associate Professor Isaac Santos
  • Groundwater geochemistry
  • Coal seam gas
  • Carbon cycle in aquatic environments
Associate Professor Stephan Schnierer
  • Indigenous and Local Fisheries
  • Traditional and Local Fisheries Knowledge
  • Indigenous people and Biodiversity
Dr Anna Scott
  • Cnidarian reproductive biology (sea anemones and corals)
  • Symbiosis - anemones, anemone fishes, zooxanthellae
  • Impacts of the marine ornamental aquarium trade, and the potential for captive breeding to help alleviate these problems
  • The evolution and expression of personality traits in anemone fish
  • Biology of commercially important cephalopods
Professor Scott Smith
  • Repair of civil infrastructure using advanced materials
  • Recycled construction materials development
  • Teaching and learning in engineering
Associate Professor Stephen Smith
  • Marine biodiversity
  • Human impacts and their management
  • The biology and ecology of marine molluscs
  • The ecology of subtropical reefs
Dr Debra Stokes
  • Mangrove ecology
  • Estuarine benthic ecology
  • Coastal geomorphology
Associate Professor Caroline Sullivan
  • Ecological and Environmental Economics
  • Ecosystem service valuation
  • Resource use by indigenous people
  • Climate adaptation
  • Water resources and their management
Dr Kathryn Taffs
  • Palaeoecology
  • Wetland ecosystems
  • Environmental history
Professor Jerry Vanclay
  • Modelling competition in mixed species stands
  • Plantations and water use
  • Incentives for sustainable private native forestry
Dr Michael Whelan
  • Geographic information systems and database management
  • Remote sensing
  • Agricultural software
Dr Lachlan Yee
  • Environmentally applied polymer chemistry, soil and marine
  • Antibacterial polymer surfaces
  • Environmentally sustainable and responsible chemistry
  • Remediation or mitigation of pollution in the environment, chemistry emphasis
  • Environmentally sustainable, responsible or biodegradable materials, emphasis on chemistry, ideally with polymers
  • Coral Tree - comparison of weed infested creek versus native vegetation
  • Black Taro (Xanthosma) comparison of growth rates, habitat values (e.g. for invertebrates) between Black Taro, edible Taro, Cunjevoi and native riparian vegetation; and control methods for Black Taro
  • Platypus surveys - Wilsons Creek and habitat quality assessments
  • Albert's Lyrebird - interpreting lyrebird song and dance routines
  • Threatened flora species - various topics such as growth rate comparisons and life cycles
  • Contact Associate Professor Anja Scheffers for more information
  • Recreational preferences in the Richmond River: implications for a healthy catchment; implications for a cycle-way development
  • Managing fish assemblages for water quality (2015)
  • Restoration outcomes at wetland sites in the Richmond River - measuring multiple benefits
  • Assessing the effect of riparian vegetation on gas transfer above sub-tropical rivers
  • Biodiversity payment potential from forestry sites in the Richmond River catchment
  • Contact Associate Professor Caroline Sullivan for more information