Professor Peter Gell

Professor Peter Gell
 Position Adjunct Associate Professor
 Org Unit Geography, Environment and Population
  • Biography/ Background

    While a tutor in Geography at Monash University Peter pioneered fine-resolution palynology in his M. Env. Science thesis work on the impact of settlement, fire and timber harvesting on the Delegate River catchment of East Gippsland. He moved to Université de Paris Sud to take up a Research Fellowship at the Laboratoire d'hydrologie et de Gèochimie Isotopique where he started work on developing a diatom-salinity transfer function from western Victorian lakes. The modern species-salinity relations were used to reconstruct Holocene climates from the Basin Lakes west of Colac while he was supported by an APA at Monash. He took up a lectureship at the University of Adelaide in 1995 where he supervised doctoral research projects on diatom-based stream biomonitoring, recent climate change, wetland water quality change in Brazil and south-eastern Australia, fire and vegetation change and optimising bird habitat in plantation agriculture in Sumatra. He has attracted ARC and AINSE research support on projects in water quality and sedimentation change in the River Torrens, wetland condition change in the Murray and Snowy Rivers, a retrospective assessment of the Ecological Character of The Coorong, century-scale climate change and towards innovative approaches to use diatoms to monitor stream condition in semiarid zones. He took up his post as Professor of Environmental Science, and Director of The Centre for Environmental Management, at the University of Ballarat in February 2008. There he directs his diatom biomonitoring business Diatoma and hosts a Land and Water Australia grant (2008-2011) on the drought history of western Victoria with colleagues at University of Adelaide, Monash University and the EPA. Peter is convener of OZPACS, a working group within the ARC funded Environmental Futures Network, examining human impact on Australian ecosystems over the last 500 years. He is also co-convener of LIMPACS, and its "Salinity, Climate and Salinisation" working group, a research theme within IGBP PAGES Focus IV that coordinates research on the impact of long term climate and catchment change on lakes and wetlands internationally. He has produced over 60 research publications and over 20 industry reports.
  • Qualifications

    Ph.D. Monash: The Development and Application of a Diatom Calibration Set for Lake Salinity, Western Victoria, Australia.

    M. Env. Sci. Monash: The Fire and Vegetation History of the Upper Delegate River Catchment, East Gippsland, Victoria, and its Implications for Forest Management.

    B.Sc. (Hons) Monash: Birds of Victorian mallee isolates - a biogeographic approach to nature reserve delineation.

  • Teaching Interests

    Postgraduate Supervision

    Palaeoperspectives to cyanobacterial blooms, Wallace Lake, Edenhope - Conferred 2000 (Deakin University)

    Vegetation history of the Fleurieu Peninsula using GIS, ethnohistory & palynology - conferred 2001 (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeoperspectives to cyanobacterial blooms, Lake Bullenmerri - conferred 2001 (Deakin University).

    Palaeolimnology of Lakes Alexandrina & Cullulleraine - conferred 2002 (Monash University).

    Birds in coffee agroforestry systems of West Lampung, Sumatra. Conferred 2006 (University of Adelaide)

    Diatom biomonitoring of mine impact wetlands in the Northern Territory - to be conferred 2008 (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeolimnological pursuit of recent climate change in south east Australia - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Salinity baselines of the Coorong using diatom palaeolimnology - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeolimnology of the Lower Murray River - Berri to the Border - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeolimnology of Murrumbidgee wetlands to drive restoration targets - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeolimnology of coastal plains wetlands, eastern Victoria - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeoeutrophication of urban lakes in Salvador, Brazil - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Diatom biomonitoring of southeast Australian streams - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Palaeosalinity of inland lakes of WA - continuing (University of Western Australia)

    Palaeoecological insights on the status of mangroves in St, Vincents Gulf - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Isotope analysis of River Murray wetland sediments- - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Water Quality histories of Lower Murray Wetlands- Masters, - continuing (University of Adelaide)

    Correlating weeds in paddocks with weeds in fodder - continuing (University of Ballarat)

  • Research Interests

    Short term palaeoecology to establish environmental baselines; Wetland and stream water quality biomonitoring; Climate Change, salinity and water as a natural resource; Birds as indicators of ecosystem health
  • Publications

    Bickford, S., Gell, P. & Hancock, G.J. (2008). Wetland and terrestrial vegetation change since European settlement on the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. The Holocene, 18: 425-436.

    Boggs, D.A., Gell, P., Eliot, I. & Knott, B. (2008). The distribution of modern diatom assemblages among small playas. Australian Journal of Botany, 56(2): 131-143.

    Fitzsimmons, K.E, Gell, P.A., Bickford, S., Barrows, T.T., Mooney, S.P., Denham, T.P. & OZPACS contributers. (2008). The OZPACS database: a resource for understanding recent impacts on Australian ecosystems. Quaternary Australasia, 24: 2-6.

    Gell, P. 2008. With the Benefit of Hindsight: The utility of palaeoecology in wetland condition assessment for restoration. In Batty, L. Ecology of Industrial Pollution: Remediation, Restoration and Preservation. BES Ecological Reviews.

    Tibby, J., Lane, M. & Gell, P.A. (2008). Local knowledge as a basis for environmental management: a cautionary tale from Lake Ainsworth, northern New South Wales. Environmental Conservation, 34: 334-341.

    Fluin, J., Tibby, J. & Gell, P. (in press). Testing the efficacy of electrical conductivity (EC) reconstructions from the lower Murray River (SE Australia): a comparison between measured and inferred EC. Journal of Paleolimnology.

    Tibby, J., Gell, P.A, Hancock, G., and Clark, M. (in press) Core correlation and sediment chronology from Kangaroo Creek Reservoir, South Australia: some lessons for reservoir palaeolimnology. Journal of Paleolimnology.

    Chessman, B., Newall, P., Gell, P. & Bate, N. (2007). Development of diatom-based tools for assessing stream water quality in south-eastern Australia: A new species-level biotic index. Hydrobiologia, 58(6): 542-557.

    Fluin, J., Gell, P., Haynes, D. & Tibby, J. (2007). Paleolimnological evidence for the independent evolution of neighbouring terminal lakes, the Murray Darling Basin, Australia. Hydrobiologia, 591: 117-134.

    Gell, P., Baldwin, D., Little, F. & Tibby, J. & Hancock, G. (2007). The impact of regulation and salinisation on floodplain lakes: the lower River Murray, Australia. Hydrobiologia, 591: 135-146.

    Gell, P., Fritz, S., Tibby, J. & Battarbee, R. (2007). LIMPACS - Human Impact on Lake Ecosystems: setting research priorities in the study of the impact of salinisation and climate change on lakes, 2005 - 2010. Hydrobiologia, 591: 99-101

    Gell, P., Jones, R. & MacGregor, A. (2007) The sensitivity of wetlands and water resources to climate and catchment change, south-eastern Australia. PAGES News, 15 (1): 13-15.

    Haynes, D., Gell, P., Tibby, J., Hancock, G. & Goonan, P. (2007). Against the tide: the freshening of naturally saline coastal lakes, south east South Australia. Hydrobiologia, 591: 165-183.

    Li, S., Gell, P. & Fritz, S. (2007) Salinity, climate change and salinization. PAGES News, 15 (1): 31.

    Tibby, J., Gell, P.A., Fluin, J. & Sluiter, I.R.K. (2007). Diatom-salinity relationships in wetlands: assessing the influence of salinity variability and site effects, with particular reference to the development of inference models. Hydrobiologia, 591: 207-218.

    Gell, P.A. (2007). River Murray wetlands: past and future. In Potter, E., Mackinnon, A., McKenzie, S. & McKay, J. (eds) Fresh Water: New Perspectives on Water in Australia. Academy of the Social Sciences of Australia, MUP: 21-30.

    Gell, P. Fluin, J., Tibby, J., Haynes, D., Khanum, S., Walsh, B., Hancock, G., Harrison, J. Zawecki, A. & Little, F. (2006). Changing Fluxes of Sediments and Salts as Recorded in lower River Murray wetlands, Australia. In Rowan, J., Duck, R. & Werrity, A. (Eds). Proceedings of the IAHS conference, Dundee, UK, July 2006. International Associated of Hydrological Sciences, 306: 416-424.

    Gell, P. & Little, F. (2006). Long Term Water Quality Changes in Murrumbidgee Floodplain Wetlands Revealed by Fossil Diatom Assemblages. In Taylor, I.R., Murray, P.A. & Taylor, S.G. (eds) Wetlands of the Murrumbidgee River catchment: Practical management in an altered environment. Presented at the Murrumbidgee Wetlands Forum, Leeton, November, 2006. Fivebough & Tuckerbil Wetlands trust: 43-65.

    Edwards, S., McKirdy, D., Bone, Y., Gell, P. & Gostin, V.A. (2006). Diatoms and ostracods as mid-Holocene paleoenvironmental indicators, North Stromatolite Lake, Coorong National Park, South Australia. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 54: 651-663.

    Gell, P., Mooney, S., Bickford, S. & Denham, T. (2006). Ozpacs: Recents impacts on Australian ecosystems. Quaternary Australasia 24(1): 10-11.

    Philibert, A., Gell, P. Newall, P., Chessman, B. & Bate, N. (2006). Development of diatom-based tools for assessing stream water quality in south eastern Australia: Assessment of environmental transfer functions. Hydrobiologia 572:103-114.

    Townsend, S.A. & Gell, P.A. (2005). Diatom assemblages on river substrates in tropical Australia: evidence for the similarity of epilithic and epidendric flora. Hydrobiologia 548: 101-115.

    Gell, P., Bulpin, S., Wallbrink, P., Bickford, S. & Hancock, G. (2005). Tareena Billabong - A palaeolimnological history of an everchanging wetland, Chowilla Floodplain, lower Murray-Darling Basin. Marine and Freshwater Research 56: 441-456.

    Bickford, S. & Gell, P. (2005). Human impact on Holocene environments: Vegetation History and Aboriginal wetland use as recorded in a microfossil profile from a wetland in the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia. The Holocene 15(1): 200-215.

    Gell, P., Tibby, J., Fluin, J., Leahy, P, Reid, M., Adamson, K., Bulpin, S., MacGregor, A., Wallbrink, P., Hancock, G. & Walsh, B. (2005). Accessing limnological change and variability using fossil diatom assemblages, south-east Australia. River Research and Applications 21: 257-269.

    MacGregor, A.J., Gell, P.A., Wallbrink, P.J. & Hancock, G. (2005). Natural and post-disturbance variability in water quality of the lower Snowy River floodplain, Eastern Victoria, Australia. River Research and Applications 21: 201-213.

    Sonneman, J., Sincock, A., Fluin, J., Reid, M., Newall, P., Tibby, J. & Gell, P.A. (2000). An Illustrated Guide to Common Stream Diatom Species from Temperate Australia. The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Identification Guide No. 33, 166pp.

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Entry last updated: Saturday, 24 Jan 2015

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