Our Researchers

As experts in the area of sustainable development, we enable industry to deliver maximum economic value to our community, whilst simultaneously safeguarding the environment.

Harry Butler Institute

A driven community of researchers

Our team draws on decades of academic and industry experience to deliver focused, translational research that addresses some of our most pressing environmental challenges.

Professor Simon McKirdy

Professor McKirdy is Pro Vice Chancellor of the Harry Butler Institute, with extensive experience in corporate leadership, research management, policy development and biosecurity operations within the government and private sectors. His career has included the roles of Quarantine Plant Pathologist for the State and Commonwealth governments, Program Manager at Plant Health Australia, eight years as CEO of the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, and Biosecurity Science and Risk Manager at Chevron Australia.

Professor Chad Hewitt

Professor Hewitt is an internationally recognised expert in biosecurity, with a focus on how humans have transferred species around the globe, the consequences of those movements in ecological and evolutionary contexts, and the ways that we can predict, prevent or mitigate the impacts of these novel species.

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Professor Alan Lymbery

Professor Lymbery’s research is principally in the field of disease ecology, addressing both conservation challenges facing native freshwater fishes and infectious disease threats to aquaculture species. Professor Lymbery’s work bridges parasitology, ecology and genetics to bring findings relevant to biodiversity conservation.

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Associate Professor John Ruprecht

Associate Professor Ruprecht brings decades of high-level leadership in water resources, agriculture and business development from both private industry and government. His work spans water management, irrigation, land and water development, sustainable agriculture, urban water management, hydrologic research, mine rehabilitation programs, and regional development.

Professor Trish Fleming

Professor Fleming is a wildlife biologist with a focus on conservation biology and welfare. Recognising that it is difficult to conserve animals that we know little about, her research is strongly practical and applied – increasing our knowledge of habitat selection or foods required by native species informs management decisions, while identifying ‘biological Achilles heels’ for invasive species can help control their populations.

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Professor Giles Hardy

Professor Hardy is an expert in forest pathology and natural ecosystems, in particular, how biotic and abiotic plant diseases impact on ecosystem function and health. His research covers remote sensing, eco-hydrology, entomology, molecular plant pathology, plant physiology and nutrition, fungal genetics, microbiology, soil health, restoration ecology and native fauna.

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Professor Neil Loneragan

Professor Loneragan leads the fish biology research node of the Centre, with a focus on population biology and ecology of fish and invertebrates, relationships between aquatic habitats and fisheries production and biodiversity, the trophic ecology of estuaries and marine systems, interactions of fisheries with the environment; methods for fisheries assessments, and stock enhancement of recreational and commercial fisheries.

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Associate Professor David Morgan

Associate Professor Morgan is the Deputy Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems. His research, which takes him throughout Western Australia, studies threatened fishes, alien fishes and their impacts to native fauna and the ecology of fish and how they use their habitats. His auspicious career has led to the discovery of new species and the documentation of the distribution of most inland Western Australian fishes.

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Dr Adrian Gleiss

Dr Gleiss’ research revolves around understanding how ecology and physiology drive the evolution of animals, including research into the movement ecology of marine megafauna. Dr Gleiss uses biologging tags to log migration patterns and movement behaviours, and his work on the freshwater sawfish in the Kimberley has brought worldwide attention to this globally threatened fish.

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Professor Lynnath Beckley

Professor Beckley’s research at Murdoch includes leading the Marine Science programme, lecturing in coastal and marine management, and research on marine resource use and biological oceanography of the Leeuwin Current. She was the recipient of the prestigious Australian Marine Sciences Association Jubilee Award in 2020 for her contribution to marine research in Western Australia, and in 2019 she led an international research team on the RV Investigator that contributed to the second International Indian Ocean Expedition.

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Dr Stephen Beatty

Dr Beatty’s research interests relate to the conservation of inland aquatic ecosystems. A particular field of interest is the biology and ecology of freshwater crayfishes and his work has included determining the biology and ecology of the Smooth Marron to aid in the sustainable management of its recreational fishery. Other areas of his research relate to south-western Australian freshwater fish communities, particularly with regard to the impacts of feral species, river regulation, surface and groundwater extraction and salinisation.

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Professor Treena Burgess

Professor Burgess leads research into the biology, ecology and genetics of beneficial and detrimental microorganisms in natural ecosystems, plantation forestry and horticulture, with a focus on biodiversity and biosecurity issues. Her recent research has focused on Phytophthora, where she has been instrumental in the recognition of 20 new species.

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Professor Wendell Ela

Professor Ela is inaugural Chair of Desalination and Water Treatment at Murdoch University and the Chief Scientific Officer of the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination Australia. His research focuses on desalination technology development and implementation, decentralized and off-grid water treatment systems and integrated water-renewable energy solutions for rural communities and agriculture.

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Dr Jonathon Whale

Dr Whale is the Academic Chair of Energy Studies at Murdoch with a background in the field of wind energy. He has been closely involved in the development and commercialisation of a range of wind turbines, with his current research aiming to improve the quality and reliability of small wind turbines.

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Associate Professor Navid Moheimani

Associate Professor Moheimani is a senior algae technical specialist who has over 18 years experience in wastewater treatment and biomass production from microalgae. He leads algae research and development and has experience in both conventional and unconventional biofuel production, and developing life cycle analysis for algae to biofuel production.

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Dr Aleksander Nikoloski

Dr Nikoloski is Academic Chair of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering with over twenty years teaching and research experience in the field of extractive metallurgy. He is strongly involved in professional practice through research, development and innovation projects funded by government and industry and has developed several metal extraction techniques used in industry today.

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Professor Kris Warren

Professor Warren has worked in the field of conservation medicine for more than 25 years and is currently Professor in Wildlife, Zoological and Conservation Medicine and Academic Chair of Postgraduate Studies in Conservation Medicine. She has worked as a veterinarian and researcher on orangutans and is leading research to better understand and secure the future of black cockatoos in Western Australia.

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Associate Professor Rachel Standish

Associate Professor Standish is a plant community ecologist who co-leads the Terrestrial Ecology Research Group. She lives and works in south-western Australia where she is passionate about the ecology of the local plant diversity hotspot and its conservation. Dr Standish was acknowledged for her excellence in 2019 when she received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research.

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Professor Yonglin Ren

Professor Ren is a leading expert in the post-harvest biosecurity of grains and other agricultural products. Professor Ren leads large teams of student, professional, and academic researchers in numerous projects integral to Australian biosecurity.

Dr Natalie Warburton

Dr Warburton’s research on the link between structure and function in animals provides important information on our unique wildlife, both living and extinct. As a leading expert on marsupial anatomy, her work utilises both quantitative and qualitative techniques that contributes to our understanding of animal ecology and biodiversity in changing environments through time.

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Learn more about our research

Our research programs ensure the continuation of Harry Butler’s outstanding environmental outcomes, based on excellence in both scientific research and industry practice.

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