My research interests are related to understanding the interactions between genotype, phenotype and environment. I use genetic and ecological approaches to study the complex mechanisms driving the distribution and adaptation of organisms (e.g. examining patterns of connectivity, gene flow, plastic responses and signatures of local adaptation). My applied research interests are related to fisheries, aquaculture and conservation. I am interested in translating the results of the research to inform conservation and management decisions. 

Currently at the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture I am using genomic tools to investigate neutral and adaptive processes influencing the genetic structure and divergence patterns of a range of commercially important lobster species. I also apply genomic tools to tackle challenging issues and opportunities in fisheries and aquaculture.


We have two projects (PhD, Masters or honours) available in our group:

The impact of fisheries on genetic diversity and effective population sizes of lobsters (co-supervised with Jan Strugnell)

Overexploitation of marine species can result in population decline and have indirect effects on ecological processes such as larval dispersal and recruitment. Lobsters support valuable fisheries around the world but the potential impacts of fisheries exploitation on their genetic diversity are still not well understood. This project will employ high resolution genetic markers (SNPs - single nucleotide polymorphisms) to examine the genetic changes and historical effective population sizes of exploited populations of lobsters. Historical (1967 and 1991) and contemporary samples (2014 and 2015) from three species Jasus paulensisJ. lalandii and J. edwardsii are available for this project. This research will provide crucial information on the impact of fisheries in long term genetic diversity of lobsters, an important body of knowledge to inform management decisions. 

Population genomics of the South African West Coast rock lobster (co-supervised with Jan Strugnell)

The South African West Coast rock lobster (Jasus lalandii) supports valuable fisheries but catches have declined markedly since the 1950s. There is evidence that this resource is heavily depleted but knowledge about its population genetic structure is still limited. The availability of high resolution genomic resources has allowed and increase in power to define fisheries stocks and its adaptive characteristics. This project will evaluate genetic structure and connectivity of J. lalandii populations using both neutral and adaptive markers (SNPs - single nucleotide polymorphisms). Understanding neutral and adaptive differences among populations will provide critical information for stock delimitation and management efforts.


  • 2017 to present - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2015 to 2017 - Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Helsinki (Finland)
  • 2012 to 2015 - Research and Teaching Assistant, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
  • 2011 to 2015 - PhD, Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand)
  • 2009 to 2011 - MSc, Federal University of Parana (Brasil)
  • 2003 to 2008 - BSc, University of Aveiro (Portugal)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2014 - VUW PhD Submission Scholarship
  • 2014 - Kathleen Stewart Postgraduate Scholarship
  • 2011 to 2014 - Victoria Doctoral Scholarship
  • 2013 - VUW Faculty of Science Strategic Research Grant
  • 2012 to 2013 - Society for Conservation Biology Travel Award
  • 2012 to 2013 - Victoria University of Wellington Students Association Sponsorship
  • 2011 - CNPq – National Counsel of Technological and Scientific Development
  • 2009 to 2011 - CAPES – Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (MSc scholarship)
  • 2008 to 2009 - ERASMUS – Student Mobility for Placements

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Annual Competitive Round

Testing established methods of early prediction of genetic merit in abalone broodstock

Indicative Funding
$85,422 over 4 years
There is a need in the abalone industry to improve production animals. However, abalone are relatively slow growing animals and take several years to reach harvest size. This means that during the establishment of foundation broodstock populations it may be several years before the relative genetic merit of each of the broodstock can be determined and the first selection decisions made. Researchers at JCU have addressed this time-lag problem of obtaining accurate genetic estimated breeding values (gEBV) in other species. They have shown that broodstock gEBV can be estimated accurately from larvae as early as 18 days through the targeting of growth processes at the cellular level that predict genetic-determined long-term growth. This method is as yet untested in abalone, but if successful, has great potential in helping screen broodstock. This project will test the efficacy of this early prediction method in abalone. The impact of this early detection method would be to save costs by assisting in the selection of superior broodstock individuals which would produce faster growing offspring. Currently new broodstock animals are unevaluated with regard to their genetic merit.
Jan Strugnell, Dean Jerry, Jose Domingos and Catarina Silva (College of Science & Engineering)
Abalone; Genetics

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

  • Were Sub-Antactic Islands Glacial Refugia for Marine Taxa (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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