Estuarine research unit

Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research

Dr Fiona Valesini


Fiona's recent research projects have encompassed a habitat classification system for estuaries, developing indicators of estuarine health, and studies of fish and invertebrate communities across WA estuaries.

Her interests include multivariate statistics and she has supervised numerous PhD theses.

Dr Chris Hallett

Chris's current research focuses on estuarine fish community ecology, the concept of ecological health, its monitoring and assessment, and the development of ecological indicators for aquatic ecosystem management. In addition, his broad research interests include approaches to managing and restoring estuaries, rivers and other ecosystems; studies of diet and trophic partitioning among fish, and the factors affecting the temporal and spatial distributions of species.


Dr James Tweedley

James completed his PhD on the relationships between faunal (fish and macroinvertebrate) assemblages and habitat types in Broke Inlet, a pristine estuary on the south coast of Western Australia.

He has recently completed a project to assess the effects of artificial oxygenation on the benthic macroinvertebrate communities of the Upper Swan River, and is currently conducting research on the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetland and Estuaries. Also, he is engaged on a restocking project to culture and release School prawns in the Swan Canning Estuary.


Dr Peter Coulson

Pete's work on the population biology of numerous marine and estuarine species has led to his recent supervision of a WAMSI-funded study of the fish fauna of the Peel-Harvey and Leschenault Estuaries, in conjunction with PhD student Lauren Veale. 

Pete is currently conducting research on the biology of several fish species and also on squid.

Lauren Veale


Lauren recently completed her PhD thesis, which focussed on the fish community ecology of the Leschenault Inlet and Peel-Harvey Estuary, and included the first comprehensive study of the biology of the Eight-lined trumpeter (Pelates octolineatus) in these systems.

Alan Cottingham



Alan’s PhD is focused on investigating temporal variations in the biological characteristics and recruitment of the estuarine Sparid Acanthopagrus butcheri (Black bream) in the Swan-Canning River and Blackwood River estuaries. His interests include stock assessment and mathematical modelling.

Amanda Buckland



Amanda's PhD focuses on the trophic ecology of estuarine systems in the southwest of WA, and incorporates her interests in estuarine ecology and fish biology.

Prof. Ian Potter

Research Professor Ian Potter is the former Director of the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research at Murdoch University. His diverse research interests and expertise encompass the publication of over 370 journal papers on a diversity of topics from lamprey biology to benthic macroinvertebrate community ecology. Ian is an ISI Highly Cited Scientist who has supervised over 40 PhD students, and he continues to play an active role in the supervision of students.