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Personal profile

Personal profile

Jess is an Early Career Researcher and lecturer in ecology in the School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterniary Sciences. Jess is also an academic researcher in the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre.

Jess was awarded her PhD in 2016 from the University of Technology Sydney which explored Natural Populations of Microbial Communities on Coral Reefs. 

Jess conducted novel in-situ experiments on the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea to understand the behavioural mechanisms underpinning relationships between microbes and reef organisms such as corals and sponges. Her work also tracked and quantified changes among potential pathogenic microbes during coral bleaching events under simulated future climate change scenarios.

Jess now extends her previous experience using eDNA in the marine environment to freshwater and estuarine ecosystems with a continued focus on climate change and exploring the impact extreme weather events can have on the ecology of aquatic systems. Her recent research also focuses on developing molecular tools to detect the beautiful and charismatic Australian endemic, yet endangered freshwater turtle - the Manning River Helmeted Turtle (Myuchelys purvisi)

Before commencing at CSU, Jess previously worked as a microbiologist in industry, a research officer in government, and as an independent research consultant & grant writer by First Nation's Elders in her local community.

Jess is a member of the Environmental & Social Justice Research Group (Faculty of Arts & Education). As an interdisciplinary researcher, Jess’ skills and expertise have the potential to be more powerful as a collective than they are separately and she looks forward to contributing to future work where these skills and expertise align.

Jess is a mother of two boys and enjoys raising them among a biodiversity hotspot on Dunghutti Country on the mid north coast of NSW. 



Research Interests

  • Marine science: microbial ecology & molecular biology
  • Environmental science and ecology
  • Socio-economic research: modelling of industry sectors, regions and communities
  • Community consultation & engagement
  • Working alongside Indigenous communities to develop community-led engagement strategies, including program design, development and delivery

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Exploring the Function and Behaviour of Natural Populations of Coral Reef Microbes, University of Technology Sydney


Award Date: 06 Apr 2016

Environmental Science, Honours (First Class), Coral-bacteria associations-determining the role of Chemotaxis, University of Technology Sydney


Award Date: 11 May 2011

Marine Biology, Bachelor of Science, University of Technology Sydney


Award Date: 08 Apr 2010

External positions

Academic researcher, Marine Bioproducts CRC

2021 → …


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