Marine and River Health experts

Murdoch University has a whole-of-ecosystem approach to protecting the health of our waterways. Our research expertise into aquatic life spans from seagrass through to fish and marine mammals, with specialists on every aspect from coral reef ecology to fishery management.

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Dr Jennifer Verduin

Dr Jennifer Verduin

Coastal oceanography; ecosystem dynamics; seagrass rehabilitation;

Dr Jennifer Verduin is an oceanographer with a broad range of interests including the impact of physical processes on biological and ecosystem dynamics including the effects of coastal hydrodynamics on benthic vegetation, particles and structures; the role of seagrass as a coastal engineering species. She also has a keen interest in using HF Radar in remote sensing of surface currents, coastal oceanography and numerical modelling of coastal ocean processes.

As well as her expertise in oceanography, Dr Verduin has research collaborations in a broad range of marine topics, including pollen and propagule release and movement within seagrass meadows and far field dispersion, the effect of the changing climate on the marine environment, stress behaviour of marine ecosystems in large-scale and experimental transplantation of seagrasses.

Dr Verduin is currently a Lecturer in Oceanography and Marine Pollution, and Environmental Science at Murdoch University as well as leader of the Seagrass rehabilitation group, which also operates out of Murdoch.

David Morgan

Associate Professor David Morgan

Freshwater fish ecology

David Morgan is a Senior Research Leader of the Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit. He is one of Western Australia's leading experts on freshwater fish ecology.

He has discovered new species of fish in Western Australia, while his research focuses on the impacts of introduced fishes in our waterways, safeguarding endangered species and researching the ecology of W.A.'s unique fishes.

His research has taken him to most rivers in the Kimberley, Pilbara and south-west. Information on his numerous publications and research projects can be found at

Joshua Smith

Dr Joshua Smith

Behaviour and habitat use of marine mammals in Australian waters

Joshua Smith is a postdoctoral researcher who works for the Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit.

His main interests focus on the social and acoustic behaviour as well as the habitat use of marine mammals. His recent research has focused on the acoustic monitoring of coastal dolphins and developing distribution models for humpback whales in the Great Barrier Reef to identify mating and calving areas. He is also developing a risk assessment model to tackle ship strikes to humpbacks in the same area.

His previous research focused on the function of song in humpback whales by looking at the social interactions of singing and non-singing whales during their southward migration off the east coast of Australia.
John Huisman

Dr John Huisman

Taxonomy of marine plants; invasive seaweeds

Dr John Huisman is a seaweed biologist specialising in the taxonomy and biodiversity of Australia's marine algae.

His present focus is the tropical marine flora and he has two major projects documenting the marine algae of North-West Australia and the Great Barrier Reef.

He also has interests in marine biosecurity and in the introduction, spread and ecological impacts of invasive seaweeds.

Dr Huisman is currently a Adjunct and holds a joint appointment with Murdoch University and the Western Australian Herbarium .

Mike Van Keulen

Dr Mike van Keulen

Marine ecology and biological hydrodynamics; coral reef ecology; seagrass ecology

Dr Mike van Keulen is a marine ecologist with a broad range of interests including seagrass ecology, coral reef ecology and biological hydrodynamics. He is an expert in hydrodynamics of seagrass ecosystems, seagrass restoration and physiology. He also has interests in ecology and interactions of coral reef organisms.

As well as his expertise in marine plants, Dr van Keulen has research collaborations in a broad range of tropical marine topics, including invertebrate and vertebrate biology and wildlife ecology.

Dr van Keulen is currently Senior Lecturer in Plant Sciences & Marine Biology at Murdoch University as well as Director of the Coral Bay Research Station, which also operates out of Murdoch.

Lars Bejder

Professor Lars Bejder

Cetaceans (Whale and dolphin conservation and behaviour)

Professor Bejder analyses and develops quantitative methods to evaluate complex animal social structures and evaluates the  impact of human activity (coastal development, tourism, habitat degradation) on cetaceans. He also researches fundamental biology and ecology, such as assessing the  abundance and habitat use of marine wildlife.

He works closely with wildlife management agencies to optimise the conservation- and management outcomes of his research. He has advised on human impacts on cetaceans to the US Marine Mammal Commission, the US National Marine Fisheries Service, the International Whaling Commission, the Australian Federal Government, the Western Australian Department of Environment and Conservation and the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
Stephen Beatty

Dr Stephen Beatty

Freshwater ecology, fish, crayfish

Dr Beatty’s major area of expertise is in freshwater ecology. He has worked extensively on freshwater fish and crayfish biology and ecology in south-western Australia.

Specific areas of research have included the ecological sustainability of surface and groundwater extraction projects, assessing and overcoming the impacts of river regulation, mitigating the impacts of the draining of water-supply reservoirs, and investigating and controlling the impacts of introduced aquatic organisms.

He also has expertise in population and reproductive biology of freshwater fish and crayfishes such as assessing the sustainability of inland recreational fisheries.

Dr Beatty is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research.

Professor Neil Loneragan - Image

Professor Neil Loneragan

Marine and Estuarine Ecosystems, Fish and Fisheries Science

Neil Loneragan is the Director of the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research and holds the inaugural Chair in Fisheries Science at Murdoch University.

In recent years Professor Loneragan has been researching ecosystem approaches to fisheries and cetacean populations, fisheries ecology and fisheries interactions with protected, threatened and endangered species.

Prior to joining Murdoch, Professor Loneragan spent nearly 15 years with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric research, investigating the linkages between coastal habitats, fisheries production (particularly penaeid prawns) and biodiversity and stock enhancement.

His research in Australia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea has provided the basis for major reviews of mangrove fishery linkages and stock enhancement, and major multi-disciplinary research projects in fisheries ecology and prawn stock enhancement.

He has published extensively in international journals and he has served on a variety of national and international committees for fisheries, marine ecosystems and stock enhancement.

To reach these experts for media enquiries, contact:

Joanne Manning
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 2474
Mobile: 0408 201 309
Pepita Smith
Media & Communications Advisor
Phone: 08 9360 1289
Mobile: 0417 171 551

For all other enquiries, please ring reception on 08 9360 6000.