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Earth and Environmental Science staff

Professor Eric Roberts

Head, Earth and Environmental Science

Eric Roberts is a clastic sedimentologist with research expertise in facies mapping and identification, sedimentary provenance, core logging, stratigraphy, U-Pb zircon geochronology, petroleum geology palaeontology and regional correlation.

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Professor Michael Bird

Isotope Geochemist

Michael worked in Canada, Singapore and Scotland prior to joining JCU in 2009 as an ARC Federation Fellow. His research interests include the terrestrial carbon cycle, biochar, geoarchaeology and environmental change in the tropics.

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Associate Professor Amy Diedrich

Senior Lecturer

Amy's research and teaching relate to the human dimensions of conservation, livelihoods, and natural resource management, with an emphasis on coastal and marine environments.

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Professor Paul Dirks

Associate Dean, Research

Dirks has an interest in geodynamics and the tectonic history of cratonic terrains and adjacent mobile belts, investigating their tectonic evolution and associated mineralization patterns. His research focuses on detailed geological mapping.

Dr Stephanie Duce

Spatial Scientist

Dr Duce uses geospatial technologies, such as remote sensing, to examine and understand patterns in the environment, particularly coral reefs, and the physical and social processes that drive them.

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Dr Yetta Gurtner

Human Geographer

Yetta is a social scientist interested in proactive planning, capacity assessments and an integrated approach to enhance resilience for more sustainable livelihoods (post-disaster and climate change scenarios).

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Dr Karen Joyce

Remote Sensing Scientist

Research interest is in creating, applying and automating remote sensing tools for environmental monitoring and management problems. Her approach is to optimise models for rapid quantitative information extraction and communication purposes.

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Associate Professor David King

Director, Centre for Disaster Studies

David King is an Associate Professor of Geography at JCU. He is Director of both the Centre for Disaster Studies, and the Centre for Tropical Urban and Regional Planning.

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Dr Jack Koci

Lecturer, Environmental Earth Science, JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas

Dr Koci is an earth and environmental scientist whose research primarily focusses on improving understanding of the causes, processes, impacts and management of soil erosion in tropical landscapes.

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Dr Espen Knutsen

Senior Curator, Palaeontology

I am the Senior Curator of Palaeontology at JCU and the Museum of Tropical Queensland in Townsville. I have a special interest in the diversity, evolution and ecology of Mesozoic reptiles, such as ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs and dinosaurs.

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Associate Professor Lisa Law


Lisa Law is interested in the politics of urban spaces in Southeast Asia and tropical Australia. Her research includes the meanings of public space, and the politics/governance of the tropical built environment.

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Dr Han She Lim


Han She researches the hydrological processes of tropical catchments, include stormwater remediation using low impact development techniques and flood hydrology.

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Dr Colin MacGregor

Senior Lecturer

Colin's research uses a variety of social science methodologies to deliver sustainable outcomes, particularly at local and regional levels and in natural resource dependent communities.

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Dr Brandon Mahan

Lecturer, Geochemistry

Brandon's research includes macro-structural geology, experimental petrology and planetary-cosmo chemistry. Currently he is applying these skills and experiences towards building and cultivating these research initiatives within JCU.

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Dr Helen McCoy-West

Lecturer, Igneous Petrology

Helen is an igneous petrologist and economic geologist with a research interest in the relationship between magmatism and ore deposit formation. Her research focuses on petrology, geochemistry, and geochronology.

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Associate Professor Paul Nelson

Soil Scientist

Paul's research focus is on understanding the processes determining soil condition, runoff water quality and greenhouse gas balance in tropical agricultural systems, and assessing ways of improving them.

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Dr Ioan Sanislav

Lecturer, Economic Geology

Sanislav's research interest is in structural geology and tectonics with a focus on field geology, structural controls on mineralized systems and the tectonic evolution of Proterozoic and Archean terranes.

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Associate Professor Scott Smithers


Scott's current research focuses on the geomorphology of coral reefs and reef islands, where I enjoy working on multi-disciplinary research projects with both theoretical and applied outcomes.

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Dr Zoe Wang

Lecturer, Development Studies

Zoe is a Lecturer in Environment and Development. She is an interdisciplinary expert on environmental governance, natural resource management and rural development. The geographical focus of her research has been Asia, including China, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. Her research is based on extensive fieldwork and her analysis often adopts political ecology approach.

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Melanie Finch

Lecturer, Geoscience

Melanie is a structural geologist and metamorphic petrologist focusing on metasomatism in ductile shear zones. Her current research focus is on the migration of ore-forming fluids in crustal shear zones and metasomatism and deformation in subduction channels.

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Research and Adjunct staff

Dr Jane Addison

Research Fellow

Dr Addison is a social-ecological systems scientist, and lecturer. Her current research interests include environmental/social and economic trade-offs in development and development futures.

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Dr Robin Beaman

Adjunct research fellow

Beaman uses ocean mapping science required to unlock the secrets of Australia's underwater landscape. Ocean mapping science can help reveal the geological origin of the seafloor and explain the distribution of seabed habitats.

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Dr Maree Corkeron


Corkeron's research interest is in deciphering basin systems and depositional environments to understand the interplay between extreme ancient climates, sedimentary depositional systems and microbial contribution to ancient environments.

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Dr Arianne Ford

Adjunct research associate

Arianne Ford focuses on the application of spatial statistics and computational techniques to mineral exploration targeting and resource classification.

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Dr Doug Goudie

Adjunct senior research fellow

Douglas' main research and consultancy arenas are sustainability planning; and disaster risk management - community preparedness and risk communication.

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Adjunct Emeritus Bob Henderson


Bob Henderson has over 40 years of experience working on Australian geology, with a focus on the regional geology of Queensland. His research interests span from tectonics, sedimentology and basin studies to invertebrate palaeontology.

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Dr Hannah Hilbert-Wolf

Adjunct research associate

Hilbert-Wolf's research focuses on reconstructing the tectonic and sedimentary history of the Rukwa Rift Basin, Tanzania. She is working on the geological context of important new hominid finds in the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa.

Dr Jan Marten Huizenga


Research interests include: fluid-rock interaction processes in the lower crust and in hydrothermal (mineralised) systems; thermodynamic modelling of carbon-oxygen-hydrogen systems and teaching techniques for improving student learning.

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Dr Neils Munksgaard

Senior research fellow

Mungsgaard develops portable instruments for field-based analysis of stable isotopes (H, C, O) in water, soil and other environmental samples. He has built world-first gadgets that help provide insights into global water and carbon cycling.

Dr Keith Noble

Agricultural Scientist, adjunct research fellow

Keith is a director of Terrain NRM and a PIA Registered Planner. He is interested in Northern Australia agriculture and improving regional community input into landscape management and governance.

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Dr Ryan Orr


Ryan Orr is a chemist and soil scientist. His research focuses on minimizing the impacts of Panama disease in North Queensland by managing soil abiotic characteristics, and the use of fertilisers for micronutrient control.

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Dr Cassandra Rowe

Research fellow

Rowe researches long-term environmental dynamics and human-environmental relationships within monsoonal regions, understanding vegetation composition, distribution and change with emphasis on tropical-savanna landscapes and island flora.

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Dr Mike Rubenach


Mike Rubenach is an igneous and metamorphic petrologist with expertise in field mapping, petrography, metamorphism of the Mount Isa Inlier, and the petrology of skarns.

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Professor Jeff Sayer


Jeff leads a team researching development patterns in tropical countries. Recent work has focused on landscape transitions provoked by infrastructure investments, particularly in Indonesia.

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Associate Professor Carl Spandler

Economic Geology Research Centre (EGRU)

Spandler uses petrology and geochemistry to research aspects of the evolution of the Earth’s crust and mantle, and the formation of metalliferous ore deposits. His areas of expertise include hydrothermal fluid geochemistry.

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Peter Whitehead


Peter Whitehead studies Cenozoic volcanology of Eastern Australia, in particular in relation to volcanic landforms and landscape evolution.