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Dr Sora Marin Estrella

Contact Information
Staff Member Details


Sora is a researcher in the School of Science working in the ECU-Dampier Salt Ltd. project. The main objective of the project is to understand shorebird use of man-made salt works and natural salt lakes and provide Dampier Salt Ltd. with scientific information to develop a biodiversity management plan for these systems.


  • 2013-present: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Edith Cowan University
  • 2009-2013: Adjunct Lecturer, University of Western Australia
  • 2009-2012: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
  • 2005-2007: Predoctoral Research Fellow. Cadiz University, Spain
  • 2001-2004: Predoctoral Research Fellow. Cadiz University, Spain

Professional Associations

  • American Ornithology Union
  • Spanish Ornithology Society
  • Cooper Ornithology Society
  • Waterbird Society
  • Wilson Ornithological Society
  • Association of Field Ornithologists
  • International Wader Study Group

Awards and Recognition

National and International Research Positions

  • 2013 – Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Edith Cowan University
  • 2009 – Postdoctoral Research Award, Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. University of Western Australia.

Research Areas and Interests

The central part of my research to date has largely focused on coastal ecology and biology, with special emphasis in animal ecology and trophic interactions on coastal habitats (intertidal and supratidal, temperate and tropical). Most of my research has been centred in shorebirds and soft bottom benthic invertebrate, how they interact with each other, with their environment and with human activities.

I have three main research areas:

  • Trophic ecology of coastal habitats – Description and identification of trophic relationships in coastal habitats is a fundamental key to understand the functioning of these complex ecosystems. Using stable isotopes analysis, diet studies, direct observations and field experiments, I have identified the food webs, primary producers and consumers that support intertidal predators such as shorebirds in tropical and temperate habitats.
  • Foraging ecology, feeding mechanisms and kinematics. Evolutionary ecology –In animal foraging ecology theory, small prey are consider unprofitable unless they are consume at high speed or in high numbers. Shorebirds present an array of feeding mechanisms (e.g. Surface Tension Transport and the use of distal rhynchokinesis) that diminish prey transport time, which in turn enhance small prey profitability as well as shorebirds’ foraging efficiency. These feeding mechanisms allow shorebirds to exploit habitats with distinct abiotic and biotic conditions and to overcome the physical constrains of the aquatic medium.
  • Biodiversity conservation and management plans of coastal wetlands – Coastal habitats are subjected to high anthropogenic pressure and they represent the most endangered ecosystems in the world. Therefore, understanding the effects that human activities have on these ecosystems is of primary importance. I studied the effects that resources exploitation (e.g. shell fishing) can have on shorebirds and their resources. More recently I have examined the effects that human disturbances such as eutrophication can have on coastal trophic interactions.


  • Doctor from the university of Cadiz, Spain, 2007.
  • BNachelor fo Marine Science, Spain, 1997.


Recent Research Grants

  • Data Analysis for the Vasse Wonnerup Wetlands,  Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (WA),  Tender,  2020 - 2021,  $34,222.
  • Dampier Salts sites and ponds and their importance for migratory and other shorebirds,  Dampier Salt Limited Perth Division,  Grant-Dampsalt,  2010 - 2015,  $394,997.
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