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Ms Ankje Frouws

Overview of thesis

This PhD project will examine genetic diversity and resilience of seagrass species in the Pilbara region and in the Ningaloo and the Shark Bay World Heritage sites of Western Australia. Seagrasses in these regions form critically important habitat, especially for herbivorous dugongs. Seagrasses are vulnerable to disturbance, yet there is a profound lack of information on how they change and the consequences for the marine life dependent upon them. This project forms part of a collaboration with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and Murdoch University, to assess seagrass habitat across these regions and its interaction with dugong foraging. The improved understanding of the resilience of seagrass habitat and its interaction with dugongs will underpin management of critical habitat and endangered fauna in Western Australia.


  • Bachelor Arts, major: Image and Writing. Gerrit Rietveld Art Academy, The Netherlands.
  • Bachelor Beta Gamma, major: Biology. University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
  • Erasmus Mundus Master: Marine Environment and Resources. University of the Basque Country, Spain.

Other Qualifications

  • Rescue Diver - 2017
  • Emergency First Response, O2 and CPR - 2017
  • Languages: Dutch, English, German (intermediate), French (elementary)


Research Interests

  • Seagrass resilience
  • Genetic diversity of seagrass
  • Macrobenthos in tropical seagrass meadows
  • Marine ecology
  • Community involvement in conservation
  • Marine resource management
  • Mangrove conservation
  • Carbon offset projects

Past Research employment history

  • 2016-2017 Research assistant at Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland
    • Macrobenthos in disturbed seagrass meadows in Kenya
    • Impact of El Niño associated flooding in coastal Kenya in cooperation with scientists from Exeter University
    • field/technical support for a community driven mangrove carbon offset project in Kenya

Other work

Past Teaching

  • 2016 - Teaching English to High School students, Netherlands
  • 2015-2017 - Educator, Kenyan High School and University students: Ecosystem services provided by mangroves and seagrasses
  • 2012 - Laboratory Technician: microbiology, cell biology and biochemistry, at the University of Amsterdam

Scholarships and Awards

  • This PhD has been made possible through generous funding from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) by contributing extensively to the costs of research and by providing an Industry Engagement Scholarship to cover living costs
  • This PhD also received a major contribution towards research costs through the McNamara family and an extension of research efforts towards the world heritage sites in Ningaloo/Shark Bay was made possible solely through the Keiran McNamara top up scholarship

Recent Publications

Conference Publications/ Presentations

  • 2016: Oral presentation - 1st Kenya Coastal Development Project Conference; Voi, Kenya: “Analysis of recovery of an experimentally harvested seagrass meadow in Gazi Bay, Kenya” Authors: Cadier, C., Frouws, A. M.
  • 2015: Oral presentation - Annual Science Meeting Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland; Glasgow, Scotland
  • 2015: Poster presentation - Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) 9th scientific symposium; Port Edward, South Africa


Dr Kathryn McMahon
Professor Paul Lavery


PhD Student
Ms Ankje Frouws
Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
School of Science
Mobile: 0423958867
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