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Developing future leaders in Tropical Marine Science

A partnership of


Launched in November 2020, AIMS@UWA is an alliance between UWA and AIMS to employ marine science academics jointly in areas where our goals and interests overlap, with a focus on tropical marine science. Research under this partnership emphasises applied science with impact, underpinned by fundamental environmental research. Projects will address the needs of a wide range of stakeholders having interests in the care and stewardship of tropical marine environment including industry, policy and decision makers, and local communities.


To produce an internationally recognised  cohort of emerging tropical marine researchers in Western Australia, directing their work towards the protection and sustainable protection and use of our marine heritage, by integrating fundamental and applied research and by leveraging the infrastructure and research strengths of both organisations.

The AIMS@UWA program will provide an unprecedented opportunity for students and researchers in Western Australia to work collaboratively and provide a platform for world-class training in marine science.

 Karen Miller,  Research Program Director at AIMS WA

AIMS is delighted to partner with UWA on this important program, which signals an on-going and enduring commitment to develop the best marine science talent in the world, focused on issues of relevance and value to Western Australia and the planet’s oceans.

Paul Hardisty,  AIMS CEO

Alliance Scholars

Meet the AIMS@UWA researchers

The current cohort of AIMS@UWA researchers includes 13 PhD Students alongside more senior researchers.
Dr Luke Thomas

Dr Luke Thomas

Science lead

Luke's research focuses on reef-building corals and combines genomic and transcriptomic tools with physiological and ecological data on projects related to gene flow, adaption, recovery and ecosystem monitoring.

Camille Grimaldi

Dr  Camille Grimaldi

Postdoctoral Researcher

Camille is a physical oceanographer working as an AIMS@UWA Post-doctoral Research Associate.
She recently completed her PhD looking at the oceanographic drivers of reef hydrodynamic, connectivity and thermodynamics of a coral reef atoll.  

Catarina Serra Goncalves

Dr  Catarina Serra-Gonçalves


Catarina's background is largely focused on uncovering the complexities of human impacts on ecosystems, mainly working with marine pollution and community-based conservation projects. For her PhD, she researched the effectiveness of mitigation strategies aimed to reduce marine debris in the environment (from local to national) by working closely with Australian communities and Tangaroa Blue Foundation.

Catarina is now a Post-doctoral Research Associate at UWA@AIMS, researching sources and sinks of marine debris in Western Australia.

James Kemp profile

Dr James Kemp


James is a systems engineer and data scientist working as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow with AIMS@UWA.

His work will explore machine learning using acoustic and video data from sites around Australia, with applications in in ecosystem research, remote sensing and species identification, and environmental health prediction.

For the latest from the AIMS@UWA Alliance, including new research, exciting projects and researcher profiles. 

PhD Students

  • Molly-Mae Baker

    Molly-Mae’s research focuses on elucidating the factors driving successful coral recruitment, a fundamental process underpinning coral reef resilience and recovery. She is using novel ecological modelling and field techniques, including photogrammetry, to improve our understanding of the abiotic, biotic, and ecological processes influencing fine-scale patterns of coral larval settlement and post-settlement survival.

  • Teresa Bednarek

    Teresa's project focuses on the effects of fish-coral interactions on coral physiology and ecology. She will include molecular techniques such as metabarcoding and transcriptomics to analyze how fish affect microbial signatures and gene expression profiles of reef-building corals.

  • Amy Carmignani

    Amy is conducting research as part of her PhD that will investigate how small, coral-dwelling fishes can enhance the nutritional status and resilience of their coral hosts.

    Find out more

  • Ben D'Antonio

    Ben’s research focuses on the movements and behavioural patterns of sharks along the coast of Australia using biologger tags to characterise fundamental aspects of fine scale behavioural patterns and link them to large scale migratory movements.

  • Shannon Duffy 

    Shannon is investigating the mechanisms of coral resilience along Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

    Find out more

  • Laurence Dugal

    Laurence's research explores the use of environmental DNA metabarcoding for characterizing tropical marine biodiversity across ecological scales. 

    Find out more

  • Alan Gojanovic

    Alan is examining the factors influencing survival during predator-prey interactions and develop new and innovative methods to reduce predation-related mortality.

  • Abinaya Meenakshisundaram
    Abinaya is a PhD candidate in conservation genetics, with a focus on studying whale sharks
  • Megan Meyers
    Megan is a PhD Candidate examining the movement patterns of whale sharks in West Papua, Indonesia.
  • Clelia Mula

    Clelia is interested in understanding what types of ecological interaction underpin the ecosystem functioning in tropical shallow water, considering the complexity of the seascape rather than single habitats.

  • Defne Sahin

    Defne’s research investigates the climate-mediated changes in the community structure of subtropical and temperate corals across Western Australia.

  • Declan Stick

    Declan's research interests are in coral genetics and understanding the mechanisms underpinning coral health, tolerance, and resilience.

  • Dean Tysdale

    Dean’s research takes a focus on fish populations within a reef restoration context. Using genomics and transcriptomics he is exploring the population structure and regional adaptive variation of reef fish within WA.

AIMS@UWA builds on our successful past collaborations. UWA looks forward to expanding our joint research and opportunities for research student training, to address research needs in our tropical marine areas

Tim Colmer,  Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor,  UWA

Want to make a difference to tropical marine science?

Over the next few months and years, we anticipate new co-funded, AIMS@UWA Postdoctoral research positions in subjects such as marine plastic mitigation, machine learning in tropical marine science, blue carbon, eDNA for ecological monitoring.

There will also be co-supervised PhD positions, with a strong focus on work integrated learning to prepare these students for future tropical marine leadership roles.

Interested to find out more?
Reach out to us at [email protected] or by calling +61 8 6488 8116.

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