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Ms Caitlyn O’Dea

Overview of thesis

Coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are under immense pressure due to a wide range of human influences. Seagrasses provide critical coastal ecosystem and socioeconomic services, but there is substantial evidence indicating that they are declining at disturbing rates across the globe. They form the foundation of many aquatic food chains and in estuary ecosystems in particular, seagrasses are a main food source for an iconic WA species: the black swan. Herbivory plays a key role in influencing the community structure and ecological processes within many ecosystems, but climate change is predicted to have profound impacts upon theses ecosystems, and seagrasses are no exception. My research will investigate the combined effects of herbivory and temperature increases that are induced by climate change on the resilience of estuarine seagrass in Western Australia.

Project link: Plant-herbivore interactions in a changing climate and implications for seagrass recovery


  • Bachelor of Science (Environmental Management). Edith Cowan University 2016

Other Qualifications

  • Open Water Diver
  • Stress and Rescue Diver


Research Interests

  • Ecology and resilience
  • Marine ecology and ecosystem research
  • Climate change and extreme climatic events
  • Community engagement and science communication

Other work

  • Environmental Officer at the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (current)
  • Graduate Ecologist in the consulting industry (2019)
  • Intern at Endangered Primate Rescue Centre (2016)
  • English language Teacher at Thai Nguyen University of Agriculture and Forestry (2016)

Scholarships and Awards

  • Ernest Hodgkin Estuary Research Award - Best Presentation in the Area of Research Facilitating a Greater Understanding of Estuarine Processes and Management, at the 2019 Australian Marine Science Association Conference (2019)
  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment Grant, Ecological Society of Australia for Masters project (2019)
  • New Colombo Plan Mobility Program grant to Vietnam (2015)


Dr Kathryn McMahon
Professor Paul Lavery


Masters by Research Student
Ms Caitlyn O'Dea
Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research 
Mobile: 0416 167 181

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