Room 554B, D26 Building
UNSW, Kensington 2052
Research & Current Projects
My research group investigate human disturbances in marine communities. We approach this research from both an ecological and ecotoxicological perspective using field experimentation wherever possible.
Transient Disturbance Events
This program investigates the potential for the timing, frequency and intensity of disturbance events to change the nature of their impact. Estimates of recovery times are made along with investigations of disturbance effects on competitive and trophic interactions.
Marine Biological Invasions
This program aims to determine the major drivers of marine bioinvasions. We investigate whether disturbance events facilitate the colonisation, persistence and spread of non-native species and how initial assemblage diversity modifies this response.
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.
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.
Research in the Media
ABC Catalyst - "Attack of the heavy metal invaders" 23rd October 2008
ABC Catalyst - "Toxic sediments" 3rd June 2010
Respect the Science campaign video for Science and Technology Australia
SIMS Sydney Harbour Research Program
Dr Katherine Dafforn
Room 624, Biological Sciences Building
Dr Graeme Clark
Room 624, Biological Science Building
Room 554A, Biological Science Building
Simone Birrer (PhD candidate)
Damon Bolton (PhD candidate) - Indirect effects of marine sanctuary zones (with Dr Coleman, Batemans’s Marine Park).
Sally Bracewell (PhD candidate)
Katelyn Edge (PhD candidate) – Do cellular biomarkers in the Sydney Rock Oyster reflect ecological impacts of contaminants within estuaries?
James Lavender (PhD candidate) – Marine bioinvasions in a changing climate (with Dr Dafforn, UNSW and Dr Bishop Macquarie University).
Jaz Lawes – Development of tools for health assessment of estuaries. (with Dr Graeme Clark, UNSW and Dr Sharon Hook, CSIRO).(Joint supervision with Associate Professor Alistair Poore)
Viv Sim (PhD candidate)
Melanie Sun (PhD candidate) - Developing ecogenomic signatures of ecosystem health from marine sediments (with Dr Brown, UNSW & Dr Chariton, CSIRO).
Ceiwen Pease (PhD candidate) – Chemical arms races: the use of pharmacology to explain diet choices and responses to contaminants in marine herbivores (with Associate Professor Poore, UNSW).
Shinjiro Ushiama (Masters candidate) – Productivity, diversity and predation in rocky reef invertebrate communities (with Professor Iain Suthers, UNSW)
Krystle Keller (PhD candidate) (Primary supervisor Professor Iain Suthers)
Andrew McKinley – (PhD 2012) Assessing and understanding ecological changes to fish communities in highly disturbed estuaries (with Dr Miskiewiecz & Dr Taylor, UNSW).
Luke Hedge – (PhD 2012) Propagule pressure and invasion success (with Dr Wayne O’Connor, DPI)
Carol Sukhn – (PhD 2011) Bioaccumulation of toxicants from complex effluents (with Imad Saoud, AUB).
Emma Birdsey - (PhD 2011) Habitat mediated changes to marine biodiversity (with A/P Poore, UNSW)
MSCI2001 Introductory Marine Science
BIOS3091 Marine and Aquatic Ecology
BIOS2031 Biology of Invertebrates
Clark GF, Johnston EL & Leung B (in press) Intrinsic time-dependence in the diversity-invasibility relationship. Ecology
Hill NA, Simpson SL & Johnston EL (in press) Beyond the bed: Effects of metal contamination on recruitment to bedded sediments and overlying substrata.Environmental Pollution
Durant H, Clark GF Dworjanyn SA Byrne M Johnston EL (in press) Seasonal variation in the effects of ocean warming and acidification on a native bryozoan. Marine Biology
McKenzie LA, Brooks R, Johnston EL (in press) A widespread contaminant enhances invasion success of a marine invader. Journal of Applied Ecology.
Dafforn KA, Glasby TM & Johnston EL (in press, 1/5/2012) Comparing the invasibility of experimental “reef” with field observations of natural reef and artificial structures. PloS ONE.
Hedge LH, WA O’Connor, Johnston EL (in press, 18/4/2012) The intrinsic parameters of invasive propagule pressure: arrival frequency, not size, increases invader colonisation. Ecosphere.
Dafforn KA, Simpson SL, Kelaher, BP, Komyakova V, Wong CK, Clark GF & Johnston EL. (in press 10/12/2011) The challenge of choosing environmental indicators of anthropogenic impacts in estuaries. Environmental Pollution.
Hedge LH& Johnston EL (in press 24/10/11) Propagule pressure determines recruitment from a commercial shipping pier. Biofouling
Sun MY, Dafforn KA, Brown MV & Johnston EL (in press 10/1/2012) Bacterial communities are sensitive indicators of contaminant stress. Marine Pollution Bulletin
Birdsey E, Johnston EL & Poore AGB. (in press 27/10/11) Diversity and cover of a sessile animal assemblage does not predict its associated mobile fauna. Marine Biology
Edge K, Johnston EL, Roach A & Ringwood A (in press 5/1/2012) Indicators of environmental stress: Cellular biomarkers and reproductive responses in the Sydney rock oyster (Saccostrea glomerata) Ecotoxicology
Gall ML, Poore AGB and Johnston EL (In press 10/12/2011) A biomonitor as a measure of ecologically-significant fraction of metals in an industrialised harbour.Journal of Environmental Monitoring
McKinley AC, Taylor MD and Johnston EL (in press – accepted 7/2/2012) Relationships between body burdens of trace metals and the relative size of small tooth flounder (Pseudorhombus jenynsii) Science of the Total Environment
McKenzie LA, Johnston EL & Brooks R (in press – accepted 14/2/12) Using clones and copper to resolve the genetic architecture of metal tolerance in a marine invader.Ecology and Evolution
Clark GF & Johnston EL (2011) Temporal change in the diversity-invasibility relationship in the presence of a disturbance regime. Ecology Letters 14: 52–57
Johnston EL, Marzinelli E, Wood C, Speranze D & Bishop JDD (2011) Bearing the burden of boat harbours: heavy contaminant and fouling loads in a native habitat-forming alga. Marine Pollution Bulletin 62:2137-2144
Johnston EL(2011) Tolerance to contaminants: Evidence from chronically-exposed populations of aquatic organisms. In: ‘Tolerance to Environmental Contaminants’ ed. by C. Amiard-Triquet, PS Rainbow, M Romeo. CRC Press. Boca Raton pp. 25-46.
McKinley AC, Miskiewiecz A, Taylor MD, Johnston EL (2011) Strong links between metal contamination, habitat modification and estuarine larval fish distributions.Environmental Pollution 159, 1499-1509
Hill NA, Johnston EL, King CK & Simpson S (2011) Physico-chemical changes in metal spiked sediments deployed in the field: Implications for the interpretation of in situ studies. Chemosphere 83: 400–408
McKinley AC, Taylor, MD, Miskiewiecz, A, Johnston EL (2011) High levels of sediment contamination have little influence on estuarine beach fish communities. PLoS ONE6(10): e26353
McKenzie LA, Brooks R & Johnston EL (2011) Heritable pollution tolerance in a marine invader. Environmental Research
Dafforn KA, Lewis, JA & Johnston EL (2011) Antifouling strategies: History and regulation, ecological impacts and mitigation. Marine Pollution Bulletin vol. 62, no. 3, pp. 453 - 465
Clark GF, Stark JS, Hill NA, Perrett LAJohnston EL (2011) Algal canopy as a proxy for the disturbance history of understorey communities in East Antarctica. Polar Biology34:781-790
McKinley AC, Coleman M, Knott N, Clark GF, Taylor MD, Ryan L &Johnston EL (2011) Putting marine sanctuaries into context: A comparison of estuary fish assemblages over multiple levels of protection and modification. Aquatic Conservation21(7): 636-648
McKinley A & Johnston EL (2010) Impacts of contaminant sources on marine fish abundance and species richness: A review and meta-analysis of evidence from the field. Marine Ecology Progress Series 420:175-191
Burton, GA & Johnston EL (2010) Assessing contaminated sediments in the context of multiple stressors. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 29:2625-2643
Roberts DA, Johnston EL & Knott NA (2010) Impacts of desalination plants on the marine environment: a critical review of published studies. Water Research 44:5117-5128
Pease C, Johnston EL & Poore AGB (2010) Genetic variability in tolerance to copper contamination in a herbivorous marine invertebrate. Aquatic Toxicology 99:10-16
Johnston EL & Roberts DA (2009) Contaminants reduce the richness and evenness of marine communities: A review and meta-analysis. Environmental Pollution 157:1745-1752
Piola RF, Dafforn KA & Johnston EL (2009) MINI-REVIEW: The influence of antifouling practices on marine invasions. Biofouling 25:633-644
Dafforn KA, Glasby TG & Johnston EL (2009) Links between estuarine condition and spatial distributions of marine invaders. Diversity and Distributions 15:807-827
Knott NA, Aulbury J, Brown T & Johnston EL (2009) Contemporary ecological threats from historical pollution sources: impacts of large-scale resuspension of contaminated sediments on sessile invertebrate recruitment.Journal of Applied Ecology 46:770-781
Piola RF & Johnston EL (2009) Comparing differential tolerance of native and non-indigenous marine species to metal pollution using novel assay techniques. Environmental Pollution 157:2853-2864
Kingsford RT, Watson JEM, Lundquist CJ, Venter O, Hughes L, Johnston EL, Atherton J, Gawel M, Keith DA, Mackey BG, Morley C, Possingham HP, Raynor B, Recher HF, Wilson KA (2009) Major conservation policy issues for biodiversity in Oceania.Conservation Biology 23:834-840
Hedge LA, Knott NA, Johnston EL (2009) Dredging related metal bioaccumulation in oysters. Marine Pollution Bulletin 58:832-840
Clark GF & Johnston EL (2009) Propagule pressure and disturbance interact to overcome biotic resistance of marine invertebrate communities. OIKOS 118:1679-1686
Dafforn KA, Johnston EL & Glasby TM (2009) Shallow moving structures promote marine invader dominance. Biofouling 28:277-287
Hill NA, King CK, Perrett L & Johnston EL, (2009) Contaminated suspended sediments toxic to an Antarctic filter feeder: aqueous and particulate phase effects. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 28:409-417.
Hyne RV, Sánchez-Bayo F, Bryan AD, Johnston EL & Mann RM. (2009) Fatty acid composition of the estuarine amphipod, Melita plumulosa (Zeidler): link between diet and fecundity. Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry 28:123-132
Roberts DA, Johnston EL and Poore AGB (2008) Biomonitors and the assessment of ecological impacts: Distribution of herbivorous epifauna in contaminated macroalgal beds. Environmental Pollution 156:489-503.
Johnston EL and Lee KM (2008) Brooding behaviour and reproductive success in two species of free-living simultaneous hermaphrodites. Marine Biology 155:555-561
Johnston EL, Piola R and Clark G (2008) The role of propagule pressure in marine invasions. In: 'Marine Bioinvasions: Ecology, Conservation, and Management Perspectives' ed. by G. Rilov and J. Crooks Springer-Verlag.
Piola R and Johnston EL (2008) Pollution reduces native diversity and increases invader dominance in marine hard-substrate communities. Diversity and Distributions 14:329-342
Dafforn KA, Glasby TM and Johnston EL (2008). Differential effects of tributyltin and copper anti-foulants on recruitment of non-indigenous species. Biofouling 24:23-33
Roberts DA, Mueller S, Johnston EL & Poore AGB (2008) Field and laboratory simulations of storm water pulses: Behavioural avoidance by marine epifauna. Environmental Pollution 152:153-162
Roberts DA, Johnston EL, Poore AGB (2008) Contamination of marine biogenic habitats and effects upon associated epifauna Marine Pollution Bulletin 56:1057-1065
Piola RF & Johnston EL (2008). The potential for translocation of marine species via small-scale disruptions to antifouling surfaces. Biofouling 24:145 -155
Johnston EL, Clark GF (2007) Recipient environment more important than community composition in determining the success of an experimental sponge transplant. Restoration Ecology15:638-651
Roberts DA, Poore AGB & Johnston EL (2007) MBACI sampling of an episodic disturbance: stormwater effects on algal epifauna. Marine Environmental Research 64:514-523
Johnston EL, Connell SD , Irving AD, Pile AJ & Gillanders BM (2007) Antarctic patterns of shallow subtidal habitat and inhabitants in Wilke's Land. Polar Biology 30:781-788
Lee KM, & Johnston EL (2007) Low levels of copper reduce the reproductive success of a mobile invertebrate predator. Marine Environmental Research 64:336-346
Hollows CF, Johnston EL & Marshall DJ (2007). Copper reduces fertilization success and exacerbates allee effects in the field. Marine Ecology Progress Series 333:51-60
Perrett LA, Johnston EL & Poore AGB (2006) Impact by association: direct and indirect effects of copper exposure on mobile invertebrate fauna. Marine Ecology Progress Series 326:195-205
Roberts DA, Poore AGB & Johnston EL (2006) Ecological consequences of copper contamination in macroalgae: effects on epifauna and associated herbivores. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 25:2470-2479
Lee KM, Beal AM & Johnston EL (2006) A new predatory flatworm (Platyhelminthes, Polycladida) from Botany Bay, New South Wales, Australia. Journal of Natural History 39:3987-3995
Piola RF, Johnston EL (2006) Differential resistance to extended copper exposure in four introduced bryozoans. Marine Ecology Progress Series 311:103-114
Piola RF, Johnston EL (2006) Differential tolerance to metals among populations of the introduced bryozoan Bugula neritina. Marine Biology 148:997-1010