Dr Burrows has been Director of TropWATER for five years. He specialises in freshwater, estuarine and coastal aquatic ecosystems and catchment management and has 22 years research experience in the tropics. Most of his professional life has been spent studying freshwater and estuarine ecosystems with particular emphasis on applied aspects of their management in relation to development pressures. This has involved extensive work with industry, community and government from grassroots to policy level.

His current work examines the ecology of wetlands, water quality, biological control of weeds, the ecology of fish and invertebrates, grazing management in riparian ecosystems, wetland management in cropping catchments, planning for water resource developments, fisheries management, and catchment planning and management. He has recently focused on developing the coastal ecosystems side of TropWATER, especially mangrove, seagrass and estuarine habitats

Research Disciplines

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 74+ research outputs authored by Prof Damien Burrows from 1996 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Reef & Rainforest Research Centre - Consultancy

NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Leader

Indicative Funding
$962,500 over 7 years
The project will provide support to Dr Damien burrows in his role as Leader of the NESP program's Tropical Water Quality Hub. Includes providing leadership for the Hub, chairing the Hub's Science Advisory Committee and working collaboratively with the HUB's various stakeholders. The Hub's program will fund research which will contribute to maintaining and improving coastal and marine water quality particularly focused on the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and other tropical waters, including: Coastal management (including rivers and streams) and risk abatement for environmental impacts on tropical water quality from infrastructure, agriculture, extreme events and biosecurity threats. Management, monitoring and reporting for coastal species including status, trends and threatening processes. Practical delivery of tropical water quality trials.
Damien Burrows (TropWATER)
NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub; Coastal Management; Threatened Coastal Species; Tropical Water Quality; Agricultural Runoff; Great Barrier Reef

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) - Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

Mangrove Dieback in the Gulf of Carpentaria

Indicative Funding
$200,000 over 3 years
Landsat and on-ground analysis showed that 7,400 hectares of mangrove forest along a 1,000km long front of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria coastline (from Karumba in the east to Limmen River in the west) suffered dieback over a relatively short and synchronous time period around November 2015. This is the largest event of natural dieback of mangroves ever recorded in the world. This project will provide a survey, description and analysis of the extent and patterns of the dieback across its range. The assessment will include mangrove assessment and monitoring methods, as well as providing recommendations for recovery, potential intervention, future monitoring and further studies.
Norman Duke, Damien Burrows and Jock Mackenzie (TropWATER)
Mangrove; Climate Change; Dieback; Sea Level; Gulf of Carpentaria; El Nino

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) - Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

The Northern Australia eDNA Program - Revolutionising Aquatic Monitoring and Field Surveys in Tropical Waters

Indicative Funding
$570,000 over 3 years
All organisms shed DNA into their environment. This is termed environment DNA (eDNA). Capture and analysis of eDNA (in soil or water samples) is a highly efficient and sensitive method to detect the presence of a wide range of species without actually requiring physical capture, or sighting of the organisms themselves. eDNA field sampling can involve as little as collecting water samples and
Damien Burrows, Jan Strugnell, Roger Huerlimann, Richard C Edmunds and Dean Jerry (TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
eDNA; Threatened Species; Northern Australia; exotic pest species; aquatic monitoring; Genetics

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) - Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

Defining metrics of success for feral animal management in northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$140,400 over 3 years (administered by CSIRO)
Feral animals cause significant damage to aquatic ecosystems across northern Australia, affecting biodiversity, ecosystem function and Indigenous cultural values. Funding for feral animal control often focuses on a particular species, ignoring the iterative and cumulative impact of the feral animals. This project will determine the impact of feral animals (pigs, horses, cattle) across aquatic ecosystems in the context of regional and local feral animal control, local aspirations and government priorities. The project will work closely with the Aak Puul Gnangtam and Kalan Aboriginal Development Groups as they continue implementing feral animal abatement strategies across the Archer River catchment.
Justin Perry, Pethie Lyons, Catherine Robinson, Eric Vanderduys, Dan Metcalfe, Nathan Waltham, Damien Burrows, J Marshal and Jason Schaffer (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, TropWATER, QLD Department of Science and Information Technology and Innovation)
Feral Animals; Wetlands; Water Quality; system repair; Freshwater Turtles

Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Mangrove Watch in Easterna Normanby Basin with Kalpowar Land Trust

Indicative Funding
$220,035 over 5 years
Mangrove Watch boat and aerial surveys will be conducted in Princess Charlotte Bay with local indigenous rangers to assess existing values, threats, future issues with climate change and restoration and protection options for tidal wetland habitat in Princess Charlotte Bay. This project aims to enhance biodiversity values, increase ecosystem service provision, including carbon sequestration and improve habitat connectivity within princess Charlotte Bay and the Normanby River.
Damien Burrows in collaboration with Norman Duke and Jock Mackenzie (TropWATER)
Mangroves; Saltmarsh; Indigenous Knowledge; Estuary; Restoration; Monitoring

Terrain Natural Resource Management - Contract Research

Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project Synthesis Report

Indicative Funding
Extensive science has been conducted in the catchments of the wet tropics region with the aim of improving water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. This project aims to compile and synthesise this information for the Johnstone and Tully Catchments. The synthesis will utilize and integrate extensive existing biophysical, land management practice, social and economic data with the aim of generating new and increased understanding of the current status and options for the future. It will be used in conjunction with feasibility studies to inform decision making around the best location and mix of on-ground actions to reduce nutrient and pesticide loads.
Damien Burrows, Stephen Lewis and Allan Dale (TropWATER and Cairns Institute)
Wet Tropics; Water Quality; Cane Farming; Great Barrier Reef; Agriculture

WetlandCare Australia - Contract Research

Barratta Creek Biodiversity Fund

Indicative Funding
$135,000 over 3 years
Barratta Creek is one of the better condition creeks remaining on the Burdekin floodplain but its health is declining, due to the pressures of surrounding development and invasive weeks. This project will study the benefits to the health of the creek of controlling aquatic weeds that infest the system and improving water quality through the establishment of artificial wetlands to treat runoff from cane farms.
Jon Brodie and Damien Burrows in collaboration with Nathan Waltham and J De Bose (TropWATER)
Barratta Creek

Fisheries NSW - Contract Research

eDNA Surveillance of Invasive Pest Fish - Tilapia

Indicative Funding
$34,300 over 2 years
This project will use eDNA technology developed by JCU to monitor new infestations of Tilapia in Southern Queensland and Northern NSW waterways.
Damien Burrows and Heather Robson in collaboration with Dean Jerry (TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
Invasive Species; eDNA; Tilapia; Environmental Monitoring

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.

  • Monitoring tropical freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Assessing The Ecological Effects Of River Regulation And Anthropengic Disturbance On Bimodally Respiring Freshwater Turtles In The Fitzroy And Burdekin River Catchments In Tropical Northeastern Australia. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.


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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