Sarsha profile 1


Location: School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia



My research interests are diverse, but are broadly centred on the ecology and conservation of Australian animals, mainly reptiles. I am particularly interested in understanding the disturbance ecology of species, including the threatening processes of their habitat and the impacts. I am also passionate about the positive application of research outcomes - using best science to inform management authorities on guidelines for species conservation.

Current Research

My current research focuses on better understanding the biology and ecology of an endangered lizard species, the Blue Mountains Water Skink (Eulamprus leuraensis), found only to inhabit a specific type of montane peat swamp in the Eastern highlands of NSW. A major aim of the project is to understand the impacts that alterations in fire regimes and groundwater hydrology have on the system, in order to better inform management authorities and assist in the conservation of the species.

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Past Research

Having grown up surrounded by national parks, I have always had a love of nature. This led me to embark on an undergraduate degree in Biological Science at UNSW. My honours year was in Neurobiology and focused on identifying and characterising potential endogenous regulators of neurogenesis in crustaceans as a model for Seasonal Affective Disorder (Hons1). I was employed in an Associate Lectureship Position at the University of Sydney, which was then extended to a visiting academic position at the University of Greifswald, Germany. My later work as a Research Assistant at Neuroscience Research Australia centred on the Molecular Genetics of Parkinson’s disease, through transfections of translocated genes into human neuronal cell lines, and resulted in a publication. As a field volunteer, I have been involved in conservation research projects on the Green and Golden Bell Frog, Broad-headed Snake, Little Penguin, and the Long-nosed Bandicoot.

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Academic Experience

Year Position
Consultant – Saving our Species conservation program, Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH)
2015 Reviewer – Research Article, Herpetology Journal
2012- Consultant – Blue Mountains Threatened Species Recovery Project, Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC)
2012- PhD Candidate, Ecology and Conservation Biology, Shine Lab, Biological Sciences, University of Sydney


# Publication
2. Gorissen, S., Mallinson, J., Greenlees, M. & Shine, R. (2015) The impact of fire regimes on populations of an endangered lizard in montane south-eastern Australia. Austral Ecology 40:170-177.
1. Elliott, D.A., Kim, W.S., Gorissen, S., Halliday, G.M. & Kwok, J.B.J. (2012) Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 and alternative splicing in Parkinson’s disease. Movement Disorders 27:1004–1011.
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Year Title
2015 Impacts of disturbance on an endangered reptile of Australian highland swamps (Poster). International Congress for Conservation Biology & European Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB-ECCB), France.
2015 Conserving the Blue Mountains Water Skink. Saving Our Species conservation program Forum, Office of the Environment and Heritage, NSW.
2015 Conserving the Blue Mountains Water Skink. Blue Mountains City Council, Bushcare Program, NSW.
2014 The impact of fire on populations of the endangered Blue Mountains Water Skink. Ecological Society of Australia (ESA) Conference, Alice Springs.
2014 The ecology of an endangered lizard in the highland swamps (Shine & Gorissen), Sandstone Swamps Research Forum, Sydney.
2014 Conserving the endangered fauna of highland swamps. Australian Society of Herpetologists (ASH) Conference, ACT.
2014 The impact of fire frequency and urbanisation on populations of an endangered montane lizard (Poster). Post-Graduate Showcase, USyd.
2013 Conserving the endangered fauna of highland swamps. International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) Conference, Canberra.
2012 Conserving the endangered fauna of highland swamps. Post-graduate introductory seminar, USyd.

Grants and Awards

Year Award
2015 Australian Wildlife Society (AWS/WPSA) – University Research Grant
2015 University of Sydney – Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Scholarship
2014 Ecological Society of Australia – Student Research Award
2014 Ecological Society of Australia – Student Travel Grant
2014 University of Sydney – Postgraduate Research Support Scheme Scholarship
2014 Australian Society of Herpetologists – Student Travel Grant
2013 Paddy Pallin Science Grant, Humane Society International (HSI) & Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales (RZS NSW) – Threatened Species Grant
2012 University of Sydney - Australian Postgraduate Award (APA)
2012 University of Sydney - Top-up Scholarship (Shine Lab)
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