News

Seawall ecology to benefit from Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid



17 November 2014

PhD student Rebecca Morris is the 2014 recipient of the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid. This grant enabled Rebecca to present her research at the Ecological Society of Australia conference this year.

Rebecca Morris has recieved the 2014 Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid
Rebecca Morris has recieved the 2014 Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid

Man-made structures such as seawalls support less biodiversity than natural landscapes. To address this issue in Sydney, Rebecca is researching the usefulness of retrofitting seawalls with flowerpots. "Seawalls are designed to be homogeneous, lacking many important microhabitats such as crevices and rock pools," she explained. "The aim of my PhD research is to investigate how we can artificially incorporate these habitats into seawalls to increase biodiversity."

To do this, Rebecca has been attaching flowerpots to seawalls. "These retain water at low tide, mimicking rock pool habitat, and providing a new home for animals such as crabs, fish, marine snails and starfish as well as lots of species of algae and other invertebrates."

"I am very grateful to have received the Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid," she said. "It has given me the opportunity to meet researchers, communicate my work and generate ideas." Rebecca presented her research in ecological seawall engineering at the Ecological Society of Australia conference in Alice Springs. "This was a unique opportunity for me to network with leading urban ecologists working in terrestrial and marine ecosystems, giving me a more interdisciplinary perspective about my work."

The Dr Paris Goodsell Grant in Aid was set up in recognition of the late Dr Goodsell's contribution to ecological research in marine ecology and is announced to coincide with her birthday.

Rebecca said, "I have read some of Dr. Goodsell's papers which have influenced my own work, and I only hope that this grant will help me generate and communicate research that can do the same for someone else in the future."