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We AMBL

and so can you...

AMBL is a research lab at the University of Queensland.

Work with amazing colleagues in the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Science and the School of Earth and Environmental Science setting the global conservation planning agenda and directly engaging managers, policy makers and industry.

See the Opportunities page for answers re: how to work with us.

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Daniel Dunn

Director

Daniel Dunn leads AMBL. He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland and the director of the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. His research focuses on applying ecological and biogeographical theory to develop applied solutions to natural resource management and conservation problems in the ocean across a range of scales.  He is the former co-chair of the Biology and Ecosystems Panel of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), sits on the Convention on Migratory Species' Scientific Council Working Group on Connectivity, the Scientific Committee of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI), and IUCN Specialist Groups.  He has directly informed policy development by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Seabed Authority and negotiations for a new treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

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Diego F. Bezerra

PhD Student

Diego is an interdisciplinary marine ecologist interested in understanding the ecological mechanisms that drive ecosystem health. He foremost focuses on delivering scientific information to improve marine protected areas' conservation outcomes. He is currently investigating elasmobranch migratory connectivity across reefs, and multispecies network models in conservation planning. He is also researching elasmobranch movement using network analysis as a tool to estimate population structures. Finally, his project aims to provide a baseline for shark migratory movement in Australia, strengthening understanding of connectivity within and beyond national jurisdictions.  

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Harris Heng Wei-Khang

PhD Student

Harris Heng completed his Master of Philosophy in Marine Science at Universiti Malaya, Malaysia in 2021. His research focused on identifying the spatial structure of seagrass and dugong feeding trails in Johor, Malaysia and evaluating the factors that influence dugong feeding preferences. Harris then worked for two years as a research assistant at Academia Sinica, Taiwan, where he studied the population and community ecology of coral reef organisms. For his PhD, Harris aims to understand the role of seagrass connectivity on the population structure of megaherbivores, by applying biophysical modelling and eDNA analysis, and to use this knowledge to develop an optimised protected area design to enhance the conservation planning for seagrasses and megaherbivores in the Gulf of Thailand.

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Lily Bentley

Postdoctoral Researcher

Lily is a movement ecologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Applied Marine Biogeography Lab. She is interested in how and where highly mobile predators travel, what their journeys can teach us about their evolutionary histories, and how to translate research findings into effective conservation policies. In AMBL, she is working on using animal tracking data and network models to understand migratory connectivity in the oceans. She received her BSc (Hons) from the University of Queensland, studying the thermal physiology and behaviour of wild saltwater crocodiles. In her PhD, at the University of Cambridge, she investigated the foraging ecology of albatrosses and petrels across the Southern Ocean.

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Kristine Buenafe

PhD Student

Kristine, better known as Tin, is a quantitative marine ecologist from the Philippines. Although most of her colleagues in her undergraduate degree chose to go into medicine, she took the road less travelled — a path in research... and while most of her colleagues in marine science studied coastal ecosystems, she was more interested in the high seas. Tin has a Master’s degree in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems (TROPIMUNDO), an Eramus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree program, where she finished first in her batch (Plus Grande Distinction). Tin has developed methods used by conservation practitioners to transition to more climate-smart spatial planning approaches. She’s done this by prioritising protection on climate refugia. In her PhD research, Tin wishes to continue her work on climate change and spatial planning by taking it a step further and developing ways of designing more connected, climate-smart protected area networks.

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Jaime Restrepo

PhD Student

Jaime Restrepo completed his masters in Wildlife Management and Conservation at National University of Costa Rica in 2016. He developed his thesis on habitat evaluation and density estimations of critically endangered great green macaws in north-east Costa Rica. Since then he has focused his work on the research and conservation of sea turtles populations in the Caribbean. Jaime will be working on green sea turtle connectivity in the Caribbean, based on satellite telemetry and stable isotopes analysis, he is looking to identify primary migration routes and foraging grounds for the largest green turtle nesting population in the region.

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Dina Nisthar

Research Associate

Dina Nisthar is research associate with AMBL supporting the work of Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MICO) system. She has a masters degree in Biodiversity and Conservation and 6 years work experience on research projects studying animal behaviour, conservation issues and propagating conservation education in the biodiversity hot-spots of India. The realization of the big gap that exists between research outcomes and practical application of information for conservation problem-solving has shifted her focus to explore ways to bridge this gap. She is keen to translate existing research publications into usable tools for decision makers and stakeholders. She wants to engage in building bridges between the scientific community and the rest of society to disseminate scientific information to derive actionable conservation outcomes.

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Aharon Fleury

PhD Student

Aharon Fleury completed his Master of Science Biology (Fisheries) program at University of Victoria, Canada in 2016 where he evaluated the reproductive ecology of hagfish off the coast of Vancouver Island. He has since worked five years as an environmental consultant performing ecological and human health risk assessments and modelling the movement of contaminants to humans, plants, and animals via biotic transport pathways. The aim of Aharon’s PhD research is to develop and apply a framework, built on an individual-based model, for environmental impact assessments of marine species that explicitly incorporates connectivity across a migratory cycle and facilitates decision-making by incorporating stakeholder values.  

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Affiliated Researchers

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Guillermo Ortuño Crespo

Affiliated Research Scientist

Guillermo Ortuño Crespo is a post-dotcoral scholar at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Through his research he seeks to better understand the spatiotemporal patterns of distribution of highly mobile elasmobranch and teleost species in international waters. More specifically, he is interested in commercially exploited pelagic species and the primary bycatch species that are caught in those fisheries.  His research focuses on spatial modelling and management, bridging the knowledge gap between the distribution of migratory species and spatial management in the open-ocean. He is actively engaged in informing international fisheries management, the negotiations over a new treaty for biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

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Alums

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Mercedes McLean

PhD Student

Mercedes McLean completed the Master of Conservation Science program at UQ, where her research focused on advancing conservation decision-making practice using Indigenous knowledge and scientific data to inform Marine Protected Area designation within Southern Resident Killer Whale critical habitat. Mercedes current research is a collaboration with Ocean Networks Canada, an initiative of the University of Victoria, and coastal Indigenous Communities in British Columbia. The aim of this research is to advance global ocean policy by developing a novel approach and methodology for using Indigenous knowledge to inform the understanding of migratory species and connectivity in the marine environment.

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Ella-Maree Watkins

Honours Student

Ella-Maree Watkins graduated from the Wildlife Science program at UQ in 2019.  She is pursuing an honours degree with AMBL looking at seabird migratory connectivity.  Her research will combine a systematic literature review with movement modelling to support the development of actionable knowledge as part of the Migratory Connectivity in the Ocean (MiCO) System. Ella is looking to advance her career in conservation, with particular consideration for public education and the practical application of theory.

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Katrina Marchant

Honours Student & Research Assistant

Katrina Marchant completed her Honours in Coastal and Ocean Sciences Program in 2021. Her research focuses on the targeting and bycatch of school shark within the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery (SESSF). The research aims to identify patterns of fishing behaviour and practices that effect proportions of school shark catch and discards within this fishery. By analysing discard data of this species, Katrina intends to generate valuable insight into the fishing practices that increase their catch risk with the goal of improving fisheries management strategies and conservation of this endangered species. 

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Lily Muller

Masters Student

Lily Muller graduated from  Victoria University of Wellington and is currently employed at the Marshall Island Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA) as a Vessel Day Scheme officer. Lily won an Australia Award scholarship and is pursuing a Masters of Environmental Management at UQ. Her research project is focused on understanding the impact of climate change on the migration/ distribution of tuna species across the western and central Pacific Ocean and the economic implications of those changes for the Marshall Islands.

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