Deakin Marine Research and Innovation Centre
Deakin University, Burwood campus
221 Burwood Hwy, VIC 3125
Melissa is an environmental research scientist and Research Fellow at Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab. Her current research focuses on nature-based carbon sequestration through blue carbon restoration. Her work entails translating science into on-ground action to help restore coastal wetland ecosystems across Australia. Melissa’s past research has focussed on the impacts of climate change on marine environments including investigating the state of ocean acidification in a Newfoundland fjord and assessments of a brackish lake system and key environmental drivers of algal autecology. Melissa has proven fieldwork and laboratory expertise, having worked in marine, coastal, and estuarine ecosystems, where she has undertaken research involving:
• Assessments of coastal ecosystems including greenhouse gas emissions, collection of soil cores, and quadrat vegetation surveys
• Oceanographic survey techniques in remote locations (Arctic and Atlantic Ocean)
• Analysis of water and soil samples for inorganic and organic carbon
• Running phytoplankton laboratory experiments manipulating temperature, salinity, and nutrients
• Analysis of phytoplankton from brackish lake systems via Focal Plane Array FTIR spectroscopy
Since joining BCL in 2019, Melissa has led major research programs and initiatives involving industry and government partners including the Victorian Coastal Wetland Restoration Program, where she has been working alongside over 15 partners including, academia, government, industry, Traditional Owner groups and community groups, to deliver the restoration and protection of coastal wetland ecosystems throughout Victoria. She uses the power of citizen scientists to support baseline data collection and the ongoing monitoring of environmental outcomes across restoration sites.
Melissa is also leading the delivery of ‘Building the Blue Carbon Business Case: Cost-benefit analysis of coastal wetland restoration’ and ‘estimating the scale of opportunity for fencing coastal wetlands in Victoria’ in an effort to further upscale restoration efforts in Victoria and across Australia more broadly. Outcomes from these projects will review scalable mechanisms to encourage long-term protection of coastal wetland ecosystems as a means to combat climate change and deliver ecosystem services to surrounding coastal communities. These projects aim to provide practitioners with specialist resources to support the implementation of on-ground restoration action.
Internationally, Melissa has provided technical advisory, developing blue carbon capacity in Seychelles including ‘Roadmap to Blue Carbon opportunities in the Seychelles’ and is leading the ‘Blue carbon assessment for Mahe Plateau Mangrove Ecosystem’. She is also leading a project in the Maldives working with Six Senses Laamu to develop blue carbon opportunities for small-scale restoration projects.
Selected publications and reports
StoryMaps developed by Melissa