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Professor Emma Johnston

Professor Emma Johnston

Professor Emma Johnston is an Australian Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales and inaugural Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. 

Emma investigates human impacts in marine systems and her research is conducted in such diverse marine environments as Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and temperate estuarine habitats. She has combined the disciplines of ecology, ecotoxicology and invasion biology in an exciting research program that has expanded our fundamental understanding of coastal ecosystems and provided recommendations for management. 

Her work has met the highest standards of international research, as evidenced by keynote presentations, editorial positions with international journals and many peer-reviewed scientific publications. She has won awards for her teaching and public communication of science and regularly appears in national and state media discussing marine research. She contributes expert opinion to government agencies and consults with industry through the development and implementation of impact assessment programs.

Emma completed her doctorate at the University of Melbourne in 2002 before taking a lectureship position in the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She remains a faculty member at UNSW, and is now a Professor in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. 

In 2010 she was awarded an Australian Research Fellowship and took up a position as a Deputy Director of the Evolution and Ecology Research Centre. In 2012 she was awarded NSW Science and Engineering Award for Excellence in Biological Sciences and became the inaugural Director of the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Sciences (SIMS).  

Emma remains an active member of UNSW faculty and divides her time between UNSW and SIMS. She is a commercially trained research diver and continues to publish across many facets of marine science leading a large group of post-doctoral staff and students. 

Emma is a passionate advocate for science and for increasing the participation and recognition of women in science. She advocates as Vice-President of Science and Technology Australia (STA) and in 2014 she was awarded the inaugural Nancy Millis Medal of the Australian Academy of Science.

Emma’s passion for sharing the marvels of the marine world with a broader audience, has driven her investigations through three series of Coast Australia.