MSEL Alumni

 EleanorDr Eleanor Aurellado

Having completed her PhD in 2016 on the effect of predators and microhabitat availability on the behaviour of juvenile parrotfishes at UQ, Eleanor has returned as a assistant professor at the University of the Philippines, Los Banos.

Dr Jimena Samper-Villareal


Jimena’s recently completed her PhD researching the spatial and temporal variability of carbon content in seagrass habitats and interacting factors in Moreton Bay, Australia. She is currently a researcher and lecturer at the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the Universidad de Costa Rica.


Dr Chico BirrellChico

Completing his PhD in 2016, Chico works as a coral reef ecology consultant and continues to to operate as a specialised nature guide on Indo-pacific reefs, mangroves and coastal habitats of the Kimberley.


Alyssa MarshellDr Alyssa Marshell

Alyssa research focused on the grazing impact of common surgeonfish on algal dynamics of the Great Barrier Reef. She completed her PhD in 2014 and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher with MSEL. Later Alyssa was the receipient of a Endeavour Award that allowed her to continue to work with MSEL and the Palau International Coral Reef Center. She is now an assistant professor at Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.

Dr Christopher Doropouloswebpage image

After completing his PhD in 2014 Chris worked as a postdoc with MSEL. Chris works as a Postdoctoral Fellow in CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere flagship. His current project aims to understand how biophysical interactions influence early recovery trajectories of disturbed coral reefs in north-west Western Australia.

Dr Renata Ferrari

After finishing her PhD at MSEL exploring ecological processes influencing alternate states in coral reefs, Renata moved to Sydney for a postdoctoral position at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney. Among her current research projects, Renata studies the application of computer vision to marine ecology and conservation (lAustralian Centre for Field Robotics).


Dr Ellen Hussain

Ellen specialised in the underwater elements of South Pacific, travelling to remote island nations such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands. Dr Hussain is a professional SCUBA diver with a background in marine biology and works for the BBC, filming underwater in exotic locations.


Dr Shay O’Farrell

Shay left MSEL to work at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland as program manager of ‘Landuse 2050 & Healthy Oceans’. As such, he works closely with the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab. He now works as a Post-doc with Jim Sanchirico at UC Davis. His email is


Dr Manuel González-Rivero

Manuel is a post-doctoral researcher at the Coral Reef Ecosystems lab at the University of Queensland looking at the effects of climate change on coral reef associated invertebrates.


Dr Iliana ChollettIliana Chollett

Iliana left MSEL in 2014 to work at the Smithsonian Institution as a Research Fellow, working on issues around marine spatial planning and marine resource use. You can reach her at

photo_sonia_LOFDr Sonia Bejarano

After completing her PhD Sonia worked as a postdoctoral reseacher with MSEL after being awarded a  research fellowship by the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. In 2015 she acquired a postdoctoral position at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology in Bremen, Germany.

Harborne profile pictureDr Alastair Harborne

Alastair completed his PhD whilst MSEL was at the University of Exeter, UK.  Upon completion he became a NERC Independent Research Fellow which he maintained on MSEL’s move to Australia. He was then awarded an Australia Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award. In 2016 he moved to Florida International University and created the Tropical Fish Ecology Lab.


John Hedley, PhD. John now works as a scientific consultant in coral reef remote sensing and radiative transfer modelling.

Emma Kennedy, PhD. Emma’s work was on carbonate budgets of Caribbean coral reefs. She is a postdoctoral researcher at GriffithUniversity, Australia.

Stephen Box, PhD. Steve set up the Utila Centre for Marine Ecology in Honduras and was a partner in the FORCE project. He now works for Smithsonian Institution in Fort Pierce.

Nicola Foster, PhD. Nicola went on to work for TIDE in Belize and now works as a researcher at the University of Plymouth.

Clare Muller, PhD, Impact of mangroves on larval reef fish.

Hendrik Renken, PhD. Henk now works for a Dutch consultancy investigating ship groundings.


Previous research associates and post-docs:

Dr. Chris Brown was a UQ postdoctoral fellow at the Global Change Insitute who developed a quantitative tool for marine spatial planning that incorporates fishery dynamics. Presently he is an ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award recipient working at Griffith University.

Dr Iakovos Matsikis

Dr Helen Edwards

Mr Ian Edwards (Elliott)

Dr Karen Brady

Dr Kamilla Zychaluk