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Professor Emma Johnston is Dean of Science at UNSW Sydney. She is a leading authority in marine ecology and a former Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at UNSW.
Professor Johnston has an exceptional research career. She is head of the Applied Marine and Estuarine Ecology Lab at UNSW, and has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program. She was the inaugural director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science.
She leads a large and friendly research group that includes postdocs, research assistants and students at all levels (PhD, Masters, Honours and undergraduates). They approach their research from both an ecological and ecotoxicological perspective using field experimentation wherever possible.
Major Research Themes
Estuaries are widely considered the most impacted of all marine habitats, and more than half of Australian estuaries are disturbed by anthropogenic activities to some degree. Most are subject to combinations of stressors from industry, agriculture, urbanisation and coastal development. This program aims to identify processes and interactions that drive impacts in an effort to develop targeted and effective management strategies to conserve biodiversity in these systems
Antarctic Marine Communities
Antarctica is no longer considered a pristine environment and the impact of human activity is likely to increase in coming years. This project compares the vulnerability of Antarctic assemblages to those of other regions and provides information on the responses of individuals, populations and communities to environmental stressors.
Marine Biological Invasions
This program aims to determine the major drivers of marine bioinvasions. We investigate whether disturbance facilitates the colonisation, persistence or spread of non-native species and how biological diversity modifies this response.