Field of expertise: Freshwater science, quantitative ecology and ecological applications
Position: Senior Research Fellow
What are you working on at the moment?
As a freshwater scientist and quantitative applied ecologist, I get to work on some of the key environmental challenges of our time. Right now I’m working with government and not-for-profit organisations in collaboration with fellow scientists and statisticians to innovate how environments like rivers are managed and monitored. By doing this, we can better protect biodiversity and ensure water quality is maintained today and well into the future.
Why is your work important?
Fresh water is a vital natural resource, particularly in Australia, the driest inhabited continent on Earth. Rivers supply almost all of the fresh water we use in Australia. They are home to a huge diversity of life, including many plants and animals that play vital roles in keeping waters clean and rivers healthy. Yet freshwater biodiversity and quality are among the world’s most threatened natural assets. My research provides the science needed to understand rivers as ecosystems and the threats they face. I also find innovative solutions for river management to better protect the environment today and for future generations.
What excites or inspires you about your field?
We have technologies now to help solve challenges in ways we couldn’t before. We are finding out more and more every day about biodiversity, water quality and river ecosystems, and how our interactions with the environment affect them. There is so much still to learn and do!
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that future generations will know, experience and enjoy healthy, biodiverse rivers, and that I will be in a position to keep working in this exciting and rewarding field of research and education for years to come.
Find out more about Catherine Leigh
Follow Catherine on Twitter: @CLeigh_rivers