Our Team

We engage a diverse range of leaders, helping us gain an understanding of our past and plan for our future.

Environment Institute Management Committee

Director, Environment Institute

Professor Bob (Robert) Hill
Interests include palaeobotany, plant systematics, plant ecophysiology and the application of research from these areas to interpreting changes that have occurred to the Australian flora through evolutionary time.

Research profile

Deputy Director, Environment Institute

Professor Bronwyn Gillanders
Research focuses on aquatic waters (freshwater, estuarine and marine) with a strong focus on fish and cephalopods, and environmental issues.

Research profile

Professor Seth Westra

Professor Seth Westra
Research aims to develop scientifically defensible solutions to a range of practical water resources problems in Australian and internationally. Impacts of climate change and variability on developing flood estimation methods, improving rainfall/runoff models.

Research profile

Professor Sarah Wheeler

Professor Sarah Wheeler
Research areas of interest include irrigated farming, climate change, organic farming, water markets, water scarcity, crime and gambling.

Research Profile

Environment Institute researchers

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  • Adelaide Business School

    Professor Jodie Conduit
    Head of the Marketing Discipline, Adelaide Business School

    Research interests lie in understanding how to engage consumers in interactions with organisations, and each other, that enable them to work together to achieve meaningful and relevant outcomes, particularly in contexts for social inclusion and environmental sustainability.

  • Adelaide Law School

    Professor Paul Babie

    Research focus includes private law theory including the consequences of globalisation, especially finance and anthropogenic climate change. The legal theory and religious legal systems.

    Dr Kerryn Brent
    Research interest includes geo-engineering governance, international and environmental law.

    Dr Peter Burdon

    Research uses interdisciplinary materials from sociology, political science, economics, philosophy, history and environmental studies. Peter is a recognised leader in environmental theory and interested in earth jurisprudence, political theory and legal education.

  • Faculty of the Professions

    Associate Professor Patrick O'Connor

    Current focus on the use of markets for efficient decision making for environmental restoration and conservation investment.  

    Professor Sarah Wheeler
    Associate Director, Research with the Centre for Global Food and Resources 

    Research areas of interest include irrigated farming, climate change, organic farming, water markets, water scarcity, crime and gambling.

    Professor Mike Young
    Research Chair in Environmental and Water Policy 

    Research interests include agriculture, ecological economics and natural resources law, environmental science and management. Also includes environmental sciences, freshwater ecology, natural resource management, natural resource management and water resource management.

  • School of Agriculture, Food and Wine

    Professor Timothy Cavagnaro
    Deputy Head of School (Learning and Teaching) 


    Research interest lies with soil ecology. Focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and in particular soil carbon sequestration, leading fundamental research in systems as diverse as native vegetation, through rural and urban agricultural settings, to mangroves and tidal marshes. Known internationally for work on mycorrhizal associations (symbioses between soil fungi and ~80% of terrestrial plant species) and the wider soil microbiome.

    Dr Katja Hogendoorn

    Research interests include behavioural ecology and evolution of native bees, in particular related to mating, social and foraging behaviour. Contributing to taxonomy and phylogeography of native bees. Enhancing the environment for crop pollinating bees, development of native bees as greenhouse pollinators, the use of bees as vectors of biological control agents, and the conservation of native bees.

  • School of Animal & Veterinary Science

    Dr Wayne Boardman

    Research focus on conservation of endangered species, emerging wildlife diseases, wildlife disease ecology, health and diseases of Australian native wildlife and wildlife anaesthesia.

    Charles Caraguel

    Dr Charles Caraguel

    Research interest includes improve understanding, establish evidence, and develop more effective health risk identification and management in the aquaculture industry using epidemiology of infectious and non-infectious diseases.

    Dr Anne-Lise Chaber

    A conservationist and wildlife veterinarian with interests that lie in wildlife conservation, anthropogenically driven diseases and the link between ecosystem, human and animal health (One Health).

    Dr Natasha Speight

    A lecturer and registered veterinarian her current research focuses on the biology, health and diseases of South Australian populations of koalas, particularly oxalate nephrosis.

  • School of Architecture and Built Environment

    Professor Veronica Soebarto

    Research interests span from age-friendly built environment, environmental performance assessments of buildings, building performance simulation, building monitoring, human thermal comfort, to the social dimension of sustainable design.

  • School of Biological Sciences

    Associate Professor Lee Arnold

    Research focuses on reconstructing archaeological, palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental histories using luminescence dating techniques, with a particular emphasis on single-grain optically stimulated (OSL) dating applications and advancements.

    Professor Andrew Austin
    Director, Australian Centre for Evolutionary Biology and Biodiversity

    Biology, systematics and molecular phylogenetics of parasitic wasps, the evolution of host-parasitoid interactions, and the biodiversity and phylogeography of groundwater arthropods.

    Associate Professor Jeremy Austin
    Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA

    Evolutionary biologist working in the fields of ancient DNA, molecular ecology, conservation genetics and forensic biology. 

    Dr Simon Baxter

    Focus on identifying mutations that cause insecticide resistance, determining their fitness costs, measuring genetic diversity after selection for resistance.

     

    Emeritus Professor Bill Breed 

    Research interest is in the fertilisation of Australian rodents and marsupials, together with the morphology and evolution of sperm, eggs and egg coats. 

    Professor Justin Brookes
    Director, Water Research Centre

    Critical assessment of water quality for human and environmental health. Determination of the ecological outcomes from environmental flows.

    Associate Professor Phill Cassey
    Director, Applied Conservation Science Centre

    Critical analytical and applied techniques to the study of applied ecology, wildlife conservation, and biosecurity risk management.

    Professor Sean Connell

    Explore new perspectives and opportunities, including how carbon emissions provide a triple trophic boost to marine ecosystems, the adaptability and adjustability of ecosystems to climate change.

    Professor Stephen Donnellan

    Research focuses on the evolution and biogeography of the Australasian fauna. Use a range of molecular genetic methods to examine issues in the population genetics, phylogeography and phylogenetic relationships of vertebrates and selected invertebrate groups.

    Professor Robert Fitzpatrick

    Focus on the interface of soil science (pedology), regolith science, mineralogy, biogeochemistry, forensic science, mineral exploration and climate change. 

     

    Professor Damien Fordham

    Research interests are diverse and include global change biology, biogeography, climate science, quantitative ecology and conservation biology.

    Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido

    Palaeoecological analyses of the oldest complex marine communities, represented by the Ediacaran and Cambrian fossils of South Australia.

     

    Professor Bronwyn Gillanders
    Deputy Director, Environment Institute
    Deputy Dean Research, Faculty of Science    
    Director of Marine Biology Program

    Aquatic waters (freshwater, estuarine and marine) with a strong focus on ecology of fish and cephalopods, and environmental issues. Bronwyn is president of the Council of World Fisheries Societies. 

    Professor Frank Grutzner

    Research aims to understand how different animal genomes evolved, how they are organised and how this effects their function. 

     

    Professor Bob Hill
    Director, Environment Institute 

    Botanical research in the areas of palaeobotany, plant systematics, plant ecophysiology. The application of research from these areas helps to interpret changes that have occurred to the Australian flora through evolutionary time.

    Dr Kathryn Hill

    Research interest includes plant ecophysiology; the relationship between plant anatomy and function and plant environment. Ecophysiology works on plants form anywhere, growing at any time. Using data to create paleo-climate proxies which is valuable for modelling species survival with future climate change projections.

    Professor Sandra Hodge
    Director, Australian Bioactive Compounds Centre

    Research focuses on the identification and therapeutic targeting of failed clearance of apoptotic cells and bacteria in the airway, and its pro-inflammatory consequences, in severe, treatment refractory chronic lung diseases including COPD/emphysema, neutrophilic asthma, childhood bronchiectasis and chronic lung transplant rejection.

    Associate Professor Bastien Llamas

    Interests include investigating a range of genetic and epigenetic mechanisms and host-microbiome interactions that facilitate human adaptation to diverse environmental and cultural stressors. Combine a range of advanced new analytical methods to integrate past and present indigenous genetic diversity from human populations around the world into a new pan-human reference genome.

    Professor Megan Lewis

    Professor Megan Lewis

    Earth observation using remote sensing (from satellites, aircraft, lab & field instruments, and now drones) to document, analyse and monitor landscape composition and variation in space and time.

    Professor Andy Lowe
    Director, Food Innovation Theme

    Understanding the adaptive capacity and resilience of species is key to developing management strategies for ecosystems that face fragmentation and climate change.

    Dr Dominic McAfee

    Marine Ecologist working on the restoration of Australia's lost oyster reefs. Taking a socio-ecological approach to restoring lost habitat to help society and nature adapt with climate change. 

    Dr Luke Mosley

    Research focus is to understand and help solve complex environmental issues across multi-disciplinary boundaries (soil, water, ecology, human impacts). Current research is directed to understanding the effects of climate change arising from increasing droughts, reduced river flows, and sea level rise.

    Professor Ivan Nagelkerken

    Marine biology and climate change effects on marine ecosystems; estuarine, seagrass, mangrove fish ecology.

    Associate Professor Bertram Ostendorf

    Specialise in GIS, spatial simulation modelling, and spatial decision support. Understanding causes of spatial heterogeneity of the environment at different spatial and temporal scales and how we can use this knowledge to increase economic production and integrity of our environment.

    Dr Jasmin Packer

    Research aims to design innovative solutions, linking world-leading science with on-ground management, to better protect South Australia’s threatened communities and species. An independent Research Fellow who's known for her commitment to think global - act local.

    Dr Kate Sanders

    Research focuses primarily on trait evolution and speciation in squamate reptiles, and the evolution of sensory systems in the transition to aquatic habitats in snakes. The research has a substantial fieldwork component focused primarily in Indonesia and Western Australia, which has led to the discovery of new species, and generated ecological and distributional data that have contributed to conservation assessments.

    Dr Ramesh Raja Segaran

    Research interest includes use of unmanned aerial vehicles (uav/drones/RPAS) for environmental management and precision agriculture. Spatially explicit decision support systems, landscape and urban-natural ecological interactions and design.

    Dr Emma Sherratt

    An evolutionary biologist focused on developing and applying comparative methods and morphometric tools to studying phenotypic trait evolution, primarily with reptiles, amphibians, mammals, beetles and molluscs.

    Dr Vicki Thomson

    Dr Vicki Thomson

    Research focus on how Australasian animals adapt to a changing environment - from different inter-species interactions, climates to genetic diversity.

    Dr Yassine Souilmi

    Research includes data-mining the Online Ancient Genome Repository (OAGR)—a comprehensive centralised database containing all known ancient DNA specimens, genomes, and associated metadata. Effort to improve ancient DNA bioinformatic analyses and applying novel technological methods to address outstanding evolutionary questions. 

    Dr Andrew Thornhill

    Research includes large-scale molecular phylogenetic analyses of plants, across a broad botanical and geographical range. Pioneer of spatial phylogenetics "big data" field.

    Professor Michelle Waycott
    Chief Botanist, State Herbarium of SA

    Native plant population studies supporting decision making including reproductive strategies, connectivity and survivorship in coastal, marine and arid adapted plants.

    Professor Philip Weinstein
    Director, Australian Bioactive Compounds Centre

    The relationship between biodiversity and human health (infectious/chronic disease). Examples include mosquitoes, water quality and environmental microbiomes.

    Dr Laura Weyrich

    Research aims to reconstruct the human microbiome in the past using ancient DNA techniques. Actively reconstructing oral microbial communities from ancient humans on six continents over the past 20,000 years.

  • School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials

    Dr Abel Santos

    Research includes structural engineering of nanoporous materials by electrochemical approaches, nanophotonics, optical sensing and biosensing. Smart drug delivery from nanocarriers and surface coatings for biomedical applications. Microfluidic lab-on-a-chip systems for all-in-one sensing applications.

  • School of Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering

    Professor Michael Goodsite
    Head of School for Civil, Environmental and Mining Engineering (CEME)
    Head (ad interim) the Australian School of Petroleum (ASP) 
    Director of Commercialisation at the University of Adelaide Faculty of ECMS.

    Research interests include climate adaptation, green building and planning and as a former military officer, operational efficiency/“green defense”. Expert evaluator/assessor for national and international research programmes.

    Professor Volker Hessel 
    ECMS Deputy Dean - Research

    Research includes analysis of a pharmaceutical flow chemistry reaction. Coiled Micro-flow inverter for selective extraction of metal ions from mimicked asteroid ore. Immobilized lipase-catalyzed synthesis of biodiesel in a microreactor using recycled grease trap waste as a feedstock. Food waste valorisation of Southern Australian crops and food chain by flow chemistry, considering real-world Australian supply chains.

    Professor Holger Maier

    Focus on developing improved techniques for the sustainable management of infrastructure (with a particular focus on water, energy and the water-energy nexus) and natural resources (with a particular focus on water resources and natural hazards) in an uncertain environment.

    Professor Seth Westra
    Associate Dean of Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences

    Research aim is to develop scientifically defensible solutions to a range of practical water resources problems. Focus on quantifying the impacts of climate change and variability on Australian and international water resources, developing flood estimation methods, improving hydrological (rainfall-runoff) models.

  • School of Humanities

    Professor Garrett Cullity

    Research focus on moral philosophy including practical reasons and rationality, "moral reasons" and their content, value and fittingness, beneficence and aid, cooperation and public goods.

  • School of Mathematical Sciences

    Dr Thomas Prowse

    A mathematical ecologist with a particular focus on population biology and epidemiology for wildlife populations. Specifically using stochastic modelling to address applied ecological questions in the fields of wildlife management, fisheries, conservation biology, invasion ecology and disease ecology. 

  • School of Physical Sciences

    Professor Allan Collins

    Data-focussed geologist whose research focusses on applying a wide range of earth science specialisations to address tectonic questions. His research involves a combination of geochronology/thermochronology with geochemistry and structural geology. 

    Professor Christian Doonan 
    Director of the Centre for Advanced Nanomaterials

    Focus on the synthesis of novel classes of porous materials, including molecular porous materials, and new examples of more established materials, such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Interested in applications of these materials in a number of areas including storage and release, molecular separations and catalysis.

    Dr Juraj Farkas

    Research focuses on biogeochemistry and non-traditional isotopes, and their application to solve problems relevant to earth system sciences and environmental studies.

    Dr Francesca McInerney

    Research focuses on reading isotopic signatures from the rock record to understand the influence of past climate change on ancient ecosystems. How plant communities and terrestrial biogeochemical cycles reacted to periods of global warming in the geologic past as a potential analogue to future climate change impacts.

    Dr Liz Reed

    Research interests include vertebrate taphonomy and site history, Quaternary palaeoclimate and biodiversity records from caves and refining megafauna extinction records.

    Professor Nigel Spooner                    

    Focus of research is measurement of radiation dose in natural and artificial materials within the environment. Key technological developments pioneered include the development of the world’s most sensitive radiogenic luminescence imaging technology, a novel class of radiation-sensitive optical fibres and single grain analysis technology.

    Professor Christopher Sumby

    Focus on the synthesis of novel classes of porous materials, including molecular porous materials, and new examples of more established materials, such as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Interested in applications of these materials in a number of areas including storage and release, molecular separations and catalysis.

    Dr Jonathan Tyler

    Research interest in past climates and the use of chemical tracers in sediments to develop understanding of past climate changes. Most work conducted with lake sediments, but branching out to work with marine and cave deposits.

  • School of Psychology

    Professor Anna Chur-Hansen
    Head of School, Psycology

    Research interests are broadly around food and eating; sex and relationships; physical pain; and death and dying. Companion animals and their impact on human health (psychological, social and physical).

    Dr Mark Kohler

    Research broadly focuses on cognitive and behavioural development and psychophysiology. Specific expertise in the areas of child sleep and cognition, sleep disorders, and memory, as well as interest in the interaction of child health, lifestyle factors and well-being.

    Dr Rachael Roberts
    Interim Head of School

    Research and teaching in the areas of child, adolescent and peri-natal clinical, health and neuropsychology, including issues of stigma and chronic illness. Of particular interest are psychological aspects of acquired brain injury and craniofacial conditions.

    Dr Carolyn Semmler

    Research focuses on understanding how individuals who are proficient in unfamiliar face matching achieve high levels of performance and how technology might be used to enhance proficiency.

    Professor Deborah Turnbull
    Chair in Psycology

    Research interest include maternity services, cancer prevention and screening, mental health. Deborah is an active teacher, researcher and combines these roles with senior administration activities at the University

  • School of Public Health

    Professor Peng Bi

    Contributes to the fields of environmental epidemiology, ecosystem health and infectious disease epidemiology. Wide research experience in identifying and managing environmental health problems, including the impact of climate change on population health. 

    Dr Sharyn Gaskin

    Research program explores the pathways and impacts of environmental and occupational hazards on human health and society, and leads to the development of effective interventions to control and prevent exposure to hazards. 

    Professor Dino Pisaniello
    Director, OEH Laboratory

    Wide interest in occupational and environmental health, which includes exposure and risk assessment and control, intervention research and education.

    Dr Leigh Thredgold

    Research leverages his background in analytical chemistry to explore the pathways and impacts of environmental and occupational hazards on human health and society, and leads to the development of effective interventions to control and prevent exposure to hazards. 

    Dr Len Turczynowicz

    Research seeks to improve exposure assessment to protect public health through evidence-based approaches. Specialties include public health toxicology, human health risk assessment, vapour intrusion and air quality assessment and hazardous substances regulation

  • School of Social Sciences

    Dr Douglas Bardsley

    A social geographer and agricultural scientist with a focus on environmental and agricultural risk management, links between conservation and development, whilst educating for sustainable development. Developing adaptation options in response to climate change.

    Dr Georgina Drew

    Research fields of environmental anthropology and the critical anthropology of development. Particularly interest in struggles over resource use and management in South Asia and in the Himalaya more broadly.

    Associate Professor Melissa Nursery-Bray

    Focus on how to engage communities to be part of environmental decision making, particularly in the context of climate change and biodiversity protection. Worked with Indigenous, ports, local government and fishing communities on a range of projects to help environmental sustainability.

    Associate Professor Yan Tan

    Field of population and environmental studies, with a focus on migration. Research explores the interplay of environmental, demographic, socio-economic and institutional factors in climate (environmental) change, population mobility, and adaptation. 

    Associate Professor John Tibby
    Director, Sprigg Geobiology Centre

    Understanding past climatic and environmental variability and change by examining indicators laid down in lake sediments. Using diatoms - a type of aquatic algae - to assess stream ”health”.

  • Sciences adjunct

    Professor David Chittleborough

    Research focus on various aspects of soil and environmental science - processes of non-point source pollution, specifically the impact of soil processes and soil management on water quality; the reafforestation of wet-tropics landscapes, the biogenesis of soils and the restoration of arid soilscapes following open-cut mining. 

    Professor Steven Cooper (Adjunct)

    Research interest includes Phylogeography of Australian fauna: the biogeographic history of organisms and factors that influence speciation. Molecular systematics and evolutionary origins of Australian arid zone fauna. 

    Dr Michelle Lim

    Research occurs at the intersection between biodiversity conservation and sustainable livelihoods. Particular interests include environment policy, environmental and natural resources law, environmental science and management.

    Dr Nengye Liu

    Current research centres on China's role in global ocean governance, with particular focus on the Polar Regions. Also Law of the Sea, international environmental law, polar law, Chinese law and European union law.

    Dr Nastaran Mazloumi

    Focus is on the design and conduct of research projects in fisheries, aquatic physiology, biology and related fields, applying quantitative methods in developing and managing commonwealth fisheries. An interest in fish physiology, biology and is conducting range of research about the biology of harvested fish species and their life history.

    Professor Tom Wigley

    A climate scientist, who is a major contributer to climate, carbon cycle modeling and to climate data analysis. He is "one of the world's foremost experts on climate change and one of the most highly cited scientists in the discipline."

Advisory board

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  • Board members

    Elaine Bensted 
    Chief Executive, Zoos SA

    Ms Bensted has held senior roles state, local government and private finance sector. She has an MBA and Masters in Public Policy and Management and qualifications in accounting and finance. Active board member of many high-achieving stakeholders.

    Sandy Carruthers 
    Group Director, Science and Information at Department of Environment Water (DEW)

    With formal qualifications in environmental management, Ms Carruthers is the Chief Information Officer for DEW. In addition she is a member of the South Australia Koala Management Steering Committee and has been appointed to the public sector director position on the International Koala Centre of Excellence Board; Arid Recovery and the Goyder Institute for Water Research.

    Professor Chris Daniels

    Professor Chris Daniels 
    Director, Cleland Wildlife Park, Department for Environment and Water

    Professor Daniels is an adjunct professor of Biology in the School of Pharmacy & Medical Sciences at UniSA. He is focused on conserving wildlife and connecting people with nature. He Daniels was Prof. of Urban Ecology at UniSA, Director of the Barbara Hardy Institute at UniSA and the presiding member of the Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges NRM Board.

    Dr Susannah Eliott 
    CEO, Australian Science Media Centre

    Dr Eliott has a PhD in cell biology from Macquarie University, a Graduate Diploma in Journalism and more than 18 years of practical experience in science communication. She moved to Sweden as Communications Director for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and to Adelaide to help establish the Australian Science Media Centre. She's chaired the Expert Working Group on Science and the Media for the Federal Government.

    Professor Bronwyn Gillanders
    Deputy Director, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide

    Professor Gillanders is the Deputy Dean Research, Faculty of Science at the University, she's an Associate Head Research and ARC Future Fellow. She chairs Marine Innovations Southern Australia (MISA) Steering Committee, Naracoorte Caves National Park and World Heritage Area Research Subgroup and president of the World Council of Fisheries Societies. 

    Professor Bob Hill
    Director, Environment Institute, University of Adelaide

    Professor Hill held the position of Executive Dean for 11 years, chaired The University of Adelaide Academic Board, was a Professor & ARC Senior Research Fellow, Director of Science SA Museum and has 125 refereed journal papers, 35 book chapters, several symposium papers and edited or co-edited four books.

    Professor Richard Hillis
    Director, Office DV&VP(R) University of Adelaide 

    Professor Hillis is a non-executive of AuScope with a PhD in Geology, he spent 18 years at the University of Adelaide (1992-2010) where he was Mawson Professor of Geology, State of South Australia Chair of Petroleum Geology and Head of the Australian School of Petroleum. He was CEO of the Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre and was voted South Australian Scientist of the Year in 2018.

    Professor Hugh Possingham NAS FAA
    Chair 
    Head, The Possingham Lab, University of Queensland

    Professor Hugh Possingham is a world-leading conservationist biologist, alumnus and has held a number of leading roles including Chief Scientist of The Nature Conservancy and is an ARC Laureate Fellow.

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