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Professor Paul Lavery

Professor of Marine Ecology

Contact Information Telephone: (61 8) 6304 5687, Email:, Campus: Joondalup, Room: JO19.349
Staff Member Details
Telephone: (61 8)  6304 5687  
Campus: Joondalup  
Room: JO19.349  


Paul is the Professor of Marine Ecology in the School of Natural Sciences and Co-Principal of the Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research.

Current Teaching

  • Coastal and Marine Management
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Environmental Investigations and Monitoring


Paul Lavery has over 20 year’s experience working in applied marine science. He has worked in the Government sector in Australia and the USA and on some of the major marine restoration projects in Australia and overseas, including the Peel-Harvey Management Programme, the Boston Harbor Cleanup Programme and the Perth Coastal Waters Study. He was a contracted expert assisting in the development of the State’s first State Environmental Policy and has assisted in marine park planning through his involvement in several scientific reference groups.  He is currently a member of the working group revising the ANZECC Water Quality Guidelines (biological monitoring). He is a past Head of School and Associate Dean of Research and Higher Degrees.

  • 2008-2012: Associate Dean Research and Higher Degrees, Faculty of Computing, Health and Science, ECU
  • 2006-present: Professor of Marine Ecology, School of Natural Sciences, ECU
  • 2002-2006: Head of School of Natural Sciences
  • 2001-2002: Associate Professor in Environmental Management, Edith Cowan University
  • 1994-2001: Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Management, Edith Cowan University
  • 1993-1994: Marine Ecologist, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Boston, USA
  • 1992-1993: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, The University of Western Australia
  • 1990-1992: Environmental Officer, The Water Authority of Western Australia.
  • 1989-1990: Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Western Australia

Professional Associations

  • Australian Marine Sciences Association
  • Ecological Society of Australia
  • World Seagrass Association
  • International Association for Sediment-Water Science
  • IUCN Species Survival Commission – Seagrass Specialist Group
  • Director – Westcycle (Western Australia's peak body for the development of cycling)

Awards and Recognition

University and National Teaching Awards

  • 2015: Vice-Chancellor's Award for Engagement in Learning and Teaching

Research Areas and Interests

  • Marine ecology and management (with a focus on seagrass and estuarine ecosystems)
  • The role and lifecycle of wrack in marine ecosystems
  • Impacts of dredging on benthic marine ecosystems
  • The eco-physiology of seagrasses
  • Carbon capture and storage in seagrass ecosystems
  • The development of monitoring indicators and protocols for marine ecosystems
  • Eco-hydraulics – the role of wave s and water movement in structuring benthic marine ecosystems

Staff Qualifications

  • PhD, The University of Western Australia.
  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Western Australia.


Recent Research Grants

  • Pilot Malting Plant,  Department of Agriculture and Food WA,  Grant,  2010 - 2020,  $415,000.
  • Western Australian Marine Science Institute ( WAMSI ),  Unspecified Funding Source,  Unspecified - Multiple Funding sources,  2005 - 2017,  $2,485,221.
  • Assessing the capacity of seagrass sediments to sequester carbon dioxide and metal pollution: past, present and future scenarios,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Industry Collaboration Grant - 2014 (Round 2),  2014 - 2016,  $138,096.
  • A novel approach to assess pollution in coastal ecosystems,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher Grant - 2015,  2015 - 2016,  $24,700.
  • Protection of coastal ecosystems and marine resource management,  The Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education ,  CRN - Grant,  2011 - 2016,  $890,684.
  • Defining thresholds and indicators of Primary Producer response to dredging related pressures,  Western Australian Marine Science Institution,  Grant,  2013 - 2016,  $1,687,148.
  • Boat -based recreational boat fishing activity in Western Australia: a long term profile,  Department of Fisheries WA,  Grant,  2010 - 2015,  $2,407,195.
  • Scholarship (Singh)-WAMSI Reef-Seagrass Connectivity - Role of Wrack in Marine Foodwebs-Project 7,  Western Australian Marine Science Institution,  Scholarship,  2008 - 2015,  $78,000.
  • Coastal Carbon Biogeochemistry Cluster,  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,  Flagship Collaboration Research Fund,  2012 - 2015,  $772,000.
  • Effects of suspended sediment on filter feeders,  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,  CSIRO - Scholarship,  2012 - 2015,  $37,500.
  • Insights into carbon preservation in seagrass sediments: the microbial community structure and its role in carbon degradation and remineralisation,  ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited,  Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment,  2013 - 2014,  $5,000.
  • Characterising marine microbial diversity and function in key benthic habitats of Western Australia,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher Grant - 2013,  2013 - 2014,  $24,823.
  • Organic Carbon Preservation in Estuarine Seagrass Meadows of Western Australia,  Ernest Hodgkin Trust,  Scholarship,  2012 - 2014,  $5,031.
  • Improving capacity to predict impacts of dredging - modelling light and the response of seagrasses,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Industry Collaboration - Grant,  2011 - 2013,  $197,377.
  • Transport and the Importance of Seaweed Wrack - Project 6,  Western Australian Marine Science Institution,  Scholarship,  2008 - 2012,  $78,000.
  • Developing indicators of nutrient-enrichment impacts on nearshore coastal reefs,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Industry Collaboration - Grant,  2011 - 2012,  $110,073.
  • Carbon preservation in seagrass ecosystems - characterising Australia's Blue-Carbon reserves.,  Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering,  Grant,  2012,  $14,240.
  • Seagrass health survey (Becher Point to Fremantle Region),  Department of Environment WA,  Grant,  1998 - 2012,  $308,175.
  • Seagrass TIME - Trophic Cascades in Marine Ecosytems,  European Commission,  Marie-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship,  2008 - 2012,  $51,782.
  • The Role of Herbivory and Hydrodynamics in Ameliorating the Effects of Nutrient Enrichment in Marine Ecosystems ,  Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,  Flagship Collaboration Research Fund,  2009 - 2012,  $404,860.
  • Advanced Geochemical Facility for Climate and Environmental Change Research:A West Australian - Indian Ocean Focus,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Linkage (Infrastructure),  2010 - 2011,  $4,260,000.
  • Trophic Interaction and Ecosystem Modelling - WAMSI Node 4.3,  Western Australian Marine Science Institution,  Grant,  2007 - 2011,  $291,982.
  • Latitudinal Gradients in Tolerance to Multiple Stressors of a Temperate Seagrass,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Early Career Researcher - Grant,  2008 - 2010,  $24,966.
  • North West Dugong Population Movement and Habitat Use,  Department of Environment and Conservation WA,  Grant,  2007 - 2010,  $168,182.
  • Research Study into Seagrass Wrack Movement at Geographe Bay ,  University of Western Australia,  Grant,  2008 - 2010,  $415,000.
  • A High Resolution Isotope Facility for Low Cost Analysis of Water, Plant and Soil/Sediment Samples to Understand Environmental Change,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Linkage (Infrastructure),  2010,  $352,000.
  • The effects on seagrass loss on macroinvertebrate fauna Node 3.2,  Western Australian Marine Science Institution,  Scholarship,  2007 - 2010,  $18,000.
  • Impact of Dredging on Coral Communities,  Woodside Energy Ltd,  Grant,  2008 - 2009,  $118,220.
  • Trophic Implications of Seagrass Habitat Disturbance from Reduced Light,  ANZ Executors and Trustee Company Limited,  Grant,  2007 - 2009,  $5,000.
  • Ecophysiology of Benthic primary producers (Consequences of reduced light availability in seagrass meadows for fauna and fisheries,  Strategic Research Fund for the Marine Environment,  Grant,  2004 - 2008,  $808,478.
  • Dugong Research Proposal NW Cape - NT Border: Year 1,  Department of Conservation and Land Management,  Grant,  2007 - 2008,  $9,000.
  • Habitat Use by Black Swans in the Swan River Estuary,  Ernest Hodgkin Trust,  Scholarship,  2006 - 2007,  $2,182.
  • Evaluation of the return of ecological function in transplanted meadows,  Strategic Research Fund for the Marine Environment,  Grant,  2005 - 2006,  $47,769.
  • Morphological responses of seagrass meadows to light limitation and their application to environmental quality criteria.,  Strategic Research Fund for the Marine Environment,  Grant,  2001 - 2006,  $164,609.
  • Evaluating the influence of trophic connections between marine habitats on the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas.,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - Discovery,  2003 - 2006,  $246,214.
  • Habitat use and movement patterns of eastern Shark Bay dugongs.,  Australian Research Council,  Grant - SPIRT,  2001 - 2005,  $63,845.
  • Develop and optimize techniques for the rehabilitation of seagrasses,  Edith Cowan University,  Scholarship - Industry - ECU (I),  2001 - 2004,  $92,188.
  • Assessing the linkages between reef and seagrass habitats to determine appropriate sizes for marine management units.,  Edith Cowan University,  ECU Industry Collaboration - Grant,  2003 - 2004,  $53,455.
  • Optimising the design of constructed wetlands for stormwater quality management,  Water Corporation,  Grant,  2000 - 2002,  $10,000.
  • Seagrass Micropropagation Programme,  Cockburn Cement Ltd,  Grant,  2001 - 2002,  $71,402.

Recent Publications (within the last five years)

Journal Articles

  • Gartner, A., Lavery, P., Lozano-Montes, H., (2015), Trophic implications and faunal resilience following one-off and successive disturbances to an Amphibolis griffithii seagrass system. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 94(1-2), 131-143, London, United Kingdom, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.03.001.
  • Serrano Gras, O., Davis, G., Lavery, P., Duarte, CM., Martinez-Cortizas, A., Mateo, M., Masque, P., Arias-Ortiz, A., Jamaludin, M., Kendrick, GA., (2015), Reconstruction of centennial-scale fluxes of chemical elements in the Australian coastal environment using seagrass archives. Science of the Total Environment, 541(2016), 883-894, Amsterdam, Netherlands, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.09.017.
  • Mazarrasa, I., Marba, N., Lovelock, C., Serrano Gras, O., Lavery, P., Fourqurean, J., Kennedy, H., Mateo, M., Krause-Jensen, D., Steven, A., Duarte, C., (2015), Seagrass meadows as a globally significant carbonate reservoir. Biogeosciences, 12(16), 4993-5003, Goettingen, Germany, DOI: 10.5194/bg-12-4993-2015.
  • De Bettignies, T., Wernberg, T., Lavery, P., Vanderklift, MA., Gunson, JA., Symonds, G., Collier, N., (2015), Phenological decoupling of mortality from wave forcing in kelp beds. Ecology, 96(3), 850-861, Washington DC, United States, DOI: 10.1890/13-2365.1.
  • Kendrick, AJ., Rule, MJ., Lavery, P., Hyndes, G., (2015), Spatial and temporal patterns in the distribution of large bivalves in a permanently open temperate estuary: implications for management. Marine and Freshwater Research, 66(1), 41-49, Australia, DOI: 10.1071/MF13209.
  • Choney, G., McMahon, K., Lavery, P., Collier, N., (2014), Swan grazing on seagrass: abundance but not grazing pressure varies over an annual cycle in a temperate estuary. Marine and Freshwater Research, 65(8), 738?749, Australia, DOI: 10.1071/MF13126.
  • McMahon, K., Lavery, P., (2014), Canopy-scale modifications of the seagrass Amphibolis griffithii in response to and recovery from light reduction. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 455(June), 38-44 , Netherlands, DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2014.02.015.
  • Oldham, CE., McMahon, K., Brown, E., Bosserelle, C., Lavery, P., (2014), A preliminary exploration of the physical properties of seagrass wrack that affect its offshore transport, deposition and retention on a beach. Limnology and Oceanography: Fluids and Environment, 4(1), 120-135, DOI: 10.1215/21573689-2844703.
  • Serrano Gras, O., Lavery, P., Jamaludin, M., Mateo, M., (2014), Influence of water depth on the carbon sequestration capacity of seagrasses. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28(9), 950-961, DOI: 10.1002/2014GB004872.
  • Lavery, P., McMahon, K., Weyers, J., Boyce, M., Oldham, CE., (2013), Release of dissolved organic carbon from seagrass wrack and its implications for trophic connectivity. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 494(2013), 121-133, Ohne, Germany, DOI: 10.3354/meps10554.
  • Hyndes, G., Nagelkerken, I., McLeod, R., Connolly, R., Lavery, P., Vanderklift, M., (2013), Mechanisms and ecological role of carbon transfer within coastal seascapes. Bilogical Reviews, 89(1), 232-254, DOI: 10.1111/brv.12055.
  • De Bettignies, T., Wernberg, T., Lavery, P., Vanderklift, M., Mohring, M., (2013), Contrasting mechanisms of dislodgement and erosion contribute to production of kelp detritus. Limnology and Oceanography, 58(5), 1680-1688, DOI: 10.4319/lo.2013.58.5.1680.
  • Gartner, A., Tuya, F., Lavery, P., McMahon, K., (2013), Habitat preferences of macroinvertebrate fauna among seagrasses with varying structural forms. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 439(January 2013), 143-151, Amsterdam, Netherlands, DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2012.11.009.
  • McMahon, K., Collier, C., Lavery, P., (2013), Identifying robust bioindicators of light stress in seagrasses: A meta-analysis. Ecological Indicators, 30(1), 7-15, Netherlands, DOI:
  • Jamaludin, M., Serrano Gras, O., Lavery, P., (2013), Comparison of carbon stores by two morphologically different seagrasses. The Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 96(2013), 81-83, Australia.
  • Lavery, P., Mateo, M., Serrano Gras, O., Jamaludin, M., (2013), Variability in the carbon storage of seagrass habitats and its implications for global estimates of Blue Carbon ecosystem service. PLoS One, 8(9), Article number e73748, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073748.
  • Kendrick, GA., Waycott, M., Carruthers, TJ., Cambridge, ML., Hovey, R., Krauss, SL., Lavery, P., Les, DH., Lowe, RJ., Vidal, OM., Ooi, JL., Orth, RL., Rivers, DL., Ruiz-Montoya, L., Sinclair, EL., Statton, J., Van Dijk, JL., Verduin, JL., (2012), The central role of dispersal in the maintenance and persistence of seagrass populations. BioScience, 62(1), 56-65, DOI: 10.1525/bio.2012.62.1.10.
  • De Bettignies, T., Wernberg, T., Lavery, P., (2012), Size, not morphology, determines hydrodynamic performance of a kelp during peak flow. Marine Biology: international journal on life in oceans and coastal waters, 160(4), 843-851, Germany, DOI: 10.1007/s00227-012-2138-8.
  • Hyndes, G., Lavery, P., Doropoulos, C., (2012), Dual processes for cross-boundary subsidies: incorporation of nutrients from reef-derived kelp into a seagrass ecosystem. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 445(2012), 97-107, Germany, DOI: 10.3354/meps09367.
  • Mellbrand, K., Lavery, P., Hyndes, G., Hamback, PA., (2011), Linking Land and Sea: Different Pathways for Marine Subsidies. Ecosystems, 14(5), 732-744, New York, DOI: 10.1007/s10021-011-9442-x.
  • McMahon, K., Lavery, P., Mulligan, M., (2011), Recovery from the impact of light reduction on the seagrass Amphibolis griffithii, insights for dredging management. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 62(2), 270-283, DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2010.11.001.
  • Gartner, A., Lavery, P., McMahon, K., Brearley, A., Barwick, H., (2010), Light reductions drive macroinvertebrate changes in Amphibolis griffithii seagrass habitat. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 401(1), 87-100, Olendorf/Luhn, Germany, DOI: 10.3354/meps08367.
  • Collier, C., Prado, P., Lavery, P., (2010), Carbon and nitrogen translocation in response to shading of the seagrass Posidonia sinuosa. Aquatic Botany, 93(1), 47-54, Netherlands.
  • Svensson, CJ., Hyndes, G., Lavery, P., (2010), An efficient method for collecting large samples of live copepods free from detritus. Marine and Freshwater Research, 61(5), 621-624, Australia.

Research Student Supervision

Principal Supervisor

  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Sources And Supply Of Kelp Detritus: Quantifying Mechanisms Of Production.
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Trophic Implications Of Light Reductions For Amphibolis Griffithi Seagrass Communities
  • Master of Science (Environmental Management),  Effects Of Low-density Mussel-line Aquaculture On A Posidonia Sinuosa Seagrass Ecosystem.
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Carbon Storage And Preservation In Seagrass Meadows
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Seagrass Responses To Light Availability: A Mechanistic Approach.
  • Master of Science (Environmental Management),  Do Marine Resources Subsidise Island Ecosystems?
  • Master of Science (Environmental Management),  Marine Sponge Diversity And Distribution On Subtidal Limestone Reefs, Offmarmon Lagoon, Western Australia.
  • Master of Science (Environmental Management),  Seasonal Movement And Habitat Useage Of Eastern Shark Bay Dugongs.

Co-principal Supervisor

Associate Supervisor

  • Master of Science (Environmental Management),  The Impact Of Black Swan (cygnus Ataratus) Grazing On The Seagrass Halophila Ovalis In The Lower Swan River Estuary
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Dynamics Of Baseline Stable Isotopes Within A Temperature Coastal Ecosystem: Relationships And Projections Using Physical And Biogeochemical Factors
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  Restoration Of Ecological Functions In Transplanted Seagrass Meadows.
  • Doctor of Philosophy,  In Vitro Porpagation Of Some Western Australian Seagrasses
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