I’m the Director of the Biodiversity Science Section at Parks Australia, Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE). This section incorporates the Australian Biological Resources Study and associated Bush Blitz species discovery program, the National Seed Bank, Parks Science and Knowledge Management team, Biodiversity Informatics team, and Parks Australia’s long term partnership with CSIRO in the Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research including the Australian National Herbarium.
I’m not a taxonomist but I have had a long and varied career in plants and marine and terrestrial ecology, which led me into the public service some 12 years ago. I began my working
life as a horticulturist, and after further landscape qualifications and 2 years as the Landscape Architect’s assistant at Kiama council, I established and ran a landscape architecture partnership specializing in the restoration of native vegetation in industrial
and suburban developments for about 10 years in the Illawarra region. A desire to know more about the science behind environmental rehabilitation led me (part time) into a BSc (Honours) focused on vegetation biogeography, ecology and spatial science at the
University of Wollongong, and environmental consultancy work. I completed a PhD on seagrasses at UoW in 2004 combining plant physiology and ecology with hyperspectral remote sensing while continuing with consulting work, lecturing and research contracts to
pay the bills.
I joined the Australian Government (then) Department of the Environment and Heritage in December 2004 and have been in Canberra ever since. I have broad experience in executive level government roles, including applying scientific and spatial data to environmental management, policy and program development, marine bioregional planning, and strategic information, including 6 years leading Geoscience Australia’s science data stewardship, information management and eResearch initiatives. I have a passion for both terrestrial and marine biodiversity and ecology, and for online, open access to science data and information.