About

Dr Zoe Bainbridge is a research fellow at the Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER), with over 15 years of experience dedicated to the field of reef water quality science.  Zoe is currently hosted by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science’s Soil, Catchment and Riverine Processes unit, where she is working on a number of collaborative projects with the Queensland Government and CSIRO.

Zoe’s research has focused on identifying catchment sources of sediment, characterising this sediment and advancing the understanding of its transport and dynamics in the tropics. With a focus on bridging the connection between catchment and marine environments, this knowledge is pivotal in identifying the most impactful sediment to manage and preserve aquatic ecosystems.

Most recently, this research included a multiple lines of evidence approach to identify catchment sediment hotspots, utilising community-based water quality monitoring, sediment source tracing and catchment modelling. This research significantly contributes to and informs Australian and Queensland Government remediation investment programs to improve water quality.

Throughout her career, Zoe has played an active role in engaging with regional Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups and regionally focused water quality programs. She understands the importance of effective engagement across scientists, landholders, management agencies and industry to achieve positive water quality outcomes. Through these interactions, Zoe seeks to enhance community awareness and understanding of water quality issues across the Great Barrier Reef catchment and lagoon, fostering a sense of collective responsibility for its protection.

Interests
Research
  • Sediment transport processes across the catchment to reef continuum
  • Sediment characterisation and source tracing
  • Community water quality monitoring
  • Synthesising and communicating catchment water quality science
  • Great Barrier Reef water quality
Experience
  • 2020 to present - Research Fellow, James Cook University (Hosted by QLD Gov. Department of Environment & Science)
  • 2016 to 2020 - Advance Queensland Research Fellowship, James Cook University (Hosted by QLD Gov. Department of Environment & Science)
  • 2015 to 2016 - Scientist, Department of Water, Government of Western Australia (Perth, WA)
  • 2011 to 2014 - Doctoral Candidate, James Cook University (Townsville and Perth)
  • 2004 to 2010 - Research Officer, James Cook University (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Honours
Awards
  • 2016 - University Medal - Excellence for a doctoral research thesis
  • 2016 - Clarivate Analytics Women in Research Citation Awards (Environmental science & management category)
Fellowships
  • 2020 to 2022 - CSIRO-JCU Catchment Water Quality Science Partnership
  • 2016 to 2020 - Advance Queensland Research Fellowship (Queensland Government)
Other
  • 2021 to 2023 - Technical Advisory Group - Water quality component of the Reef Trust Partnership (Great Barrier Reef Foundation)
  • 2018 to 2020 - Sediment Working Group - Australian and Queensland Government's Paddock to Reef Program
Publications

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
Book Chapters
  • Lewis S, McCloskey G, Bainbridge Z, Davis A, Bartley R and Turner R (2024) Sediment and nutrient flux from land. In: Oceanographic Processes of Coral Reefs: Physical and Biological Links in the Great Barrier Reef. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 126-142
Conference Papers
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 56+ research outputs authored by Dr Zoe Bainbridge from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Contract Research

Alluvial Gully Remediation in the Upper Burdekin Catchment

Indicative Funding
$702,175 over 4 years (administered by QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries)
Summary
In catchments draining to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, northeast Queensland, Australia, excess sediment derived from gully erosion is contributing to poor coastal water quality. Remediating and preventing further degradation of these landscapes is a major focus of investment toward improving coastal water quality. This project will monitor and evaluate the effect of several alluvial gully remediation measures on improving water quality in the Upper Burdekin catchment. The project will provide valuable new data, knowledge and understanding of the effectiveness of these remediation approaches for landholders interested in protecting and enhancing forage productivity, and for the organisations investing in activities to reduce sediment and nutrient loads delivered to the Great Barrier Reef.
Investigators
Jack Koci, Scott Smithers, Zoe Bainbridge, Stephen Lewis and Luke Buono (College of Science & Engineering and TropWater)
Keywords
Soil erosion; Environmental management; Water quality; Great Barrier Reef; Savanna; Runoff

Queensland Government - Contract Research

DES - JCU GBRCLMP Collaborative Agreement

Indicative Funding
$189,970 over 1 year
Summary
Collaborate and support the Water Quality and Investigations? GBR Catchments Loads Monitoring Program under a regionally based science partnership.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge and Aaron Davis (TropWater)
Keywords
Great Barrier Reef; Water Quality; Sensor Networks; River Monitoring

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

QRMF_DES

Indicative Funding
$172,494 over 1 year
Summary
Identify, review and synthesise existing prioritisation tools and update the WetlandInfo assessment toolbox with information on existing prioritisation tools.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge (TropWater)
Keywords
Sediment prioritisation; Great Barrier Reef; Catchment management; Rehabilitation; Queensland aquatic ecosystems

CSIRO - Contract Research

CSIRO - Reef Trust Technical Support (2023061315)

Indicative Funding
$13,820 over 1 year
Summary
The Landscape Repair Program is designed to build on the outcomes of the Reef Trust Phase IV investment, focusing on reduction of sediments through remediation of streambank and gully erosion. JCU-TropWATER will provide technical support and review during the initial program design phase.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge and Rebecca Bartley (TropWater and Research Division)
Keywords
Catchment remediation; Great Barrier Reef; Sediment erosion; Marine ecological impacts; Catchment sediment processes; Sediment runoff

C2O Consulting - Contract Research

2022 Scientific Consensus Statement / Review of Water Quality Targets Projects

Indicative Funding
$249,000 over 2 years
Summary
Project Part A: Lead authors selected to deliver synthesis of evidence for assigned questions forming the 2022 Scientific Consensus Statement Project Part C: Review of the GBR end of catchment water quality (sediment and nutrient) targets.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge in collaboration with Stephen Lewis, Aaron Davis, Len McKenzie, Catherine Collier, Nathan Waltham, Maxine Newlands, Richard Pearson and Shelley Templeman (TropWater, College of Arts and Society & Education)
Keywords
Great Barrier Reef; Water Quality; Sediments; Nutrients; Environmental Management; Environmental Policy

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Contract Research

Review of water quality monitoring and evaluation for DIN-focused projects.

Indicative Funding
$544,619 over 2 years
Summary
Our team will coordinate and provide technical support across all the Reef Trust Partnership (RTP) dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and pesticide projects that involve water quality (WQ) monitoring managed by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The purpose of the work is to ensure that the overall approach - including project design, equipment selection, sampling methods and analysis - is fit-for purpose and (to the extent appropriate) consistent across projects and programs. We will also ensure that project findings are communicated effectively and consistently.
Investigators
Stephen Lewis, Cassandra James, Zoe Bainbridge, Molly McShane and Aaron Davis (TropWater)
Keywords
Dissolved inorganic nitrogen; Pesticides; Monitoring; Communication; Water Quality

NQ Dry Tropics - Contract Research

LDC Community Water Quality Monitoring Program (LME#17-004).

Indicative Funding
$133,143 over 6 years
Summary
The objective of the Burdekin MIP is to work closely with groups in one or two focus areas, with the Bowen-Broken-Bogie(BBB) catchments, to trial a range of regionally tailored coordinated actions that reduce sediment and nutrient loads. Throughout this Major Integrated Project, progress in achieving land management practice changes, economic benefits for landholders and pollutant load reductions will be closely monitored an results will inform adaptive management. This project is to develop a community water quality monitoring program for the BBB catchments.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge in collaboration with Stephen Lewis (TropWater)
Keywords
Monitoring; Great Barrier Reef; Burdekin; Water Quality; Suspended Sediment; Landholders Driving Change

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

CYWP Annan Sediment Tracing

Indicative Funding
$30,000 over 1 year (administered by Cape York Water Partnership Inc)
Summary
Prepare, analyse and report on Annan Catchment tributary water samples for geochemistry and grain size, to assess the sources of sediment to Walker Bay.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge and Stephen Lewis (TropWater)
Keywords
Sediments; Sediment tracing; Cape York; Flood; Catchment to reef

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

Great Barrier Reef catchments historical water quality data compilation.

Indicative Funding
$236,600 over 1 year
Summary
Compilation of extensive historical water quality data into a single database to be made available to all researchers, modellers and end users working in the GBR catchment area, with the data to be presented in a form consistent with that currently in use by existing WQ monitoring frameworks and databases (for example the Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Monitoring Program).
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge, Stephen Lewis and Cassandra James (TropWater)
Keywords
Sediments; Catchment to reef; Water Quality; Great Barrier Reef; Land Use; Monitoring

CSIRO - Contract Research

CSIRO - JCU Partnership - Catchment Water Quality Science (2019030726)

Indicative Funding
$300,000 over 4 years
Summary
The CSIRO Land and Water Business Unit is seeking to engage several JCU staff to support research undertaken within the Catchment Processes Research Group. These collaborative positions will synthesise and build on the Group's scientific output within the Great Barrier Reef land management and water quality research domain. It will also strengthen out collective ability to connect land management changes (CSIRO focus) with marine impact (JCU focus).
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge and Stephen Lewis (TropWater)
Keywords
Sediment Tracing; Great Barrier Reef; Burdekin; Marine ecological impacts; Catchment sediment processes; Sediment runoff

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

Characterising Mary River flood sediment deposited in Hervey Bay.

Indicative Funding
$20,000
Summary
Analysis of recently deposited sediments in seagrass meadows offshore from the Mary River.
Investigators
Zoe Bainbridge in collaboration with Stephen Lewis (TropWater)
Keywords
Sediments; Flood; Seagrass health; Catchment to reef

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environment Science Program (NESP) - Total Water Quality (TWQ)

Reducing End-of-Catchment Fine Sediment Loads and Ecosystem Impacts

Indicative Funding
$23,910 over 1 year
Summary
A wide range of NESP TWQ Hub projects have focused on the source, transport, fate and impact of sediments on estuarine, coastal and reef ecosystems. These projects have responded to the Reef 2050 Plan water quality targets and Water Quality Improvement Plan aiming to reduce the loss of sediments from catchments to the marine environment. To better manage sediment losses and prioritise remedial actions, it is important to be able to understand and contextualise all of the issues that are involved in this sediment story, from managing catchment sources to defining which types of sediment cause the most harm in the marine environment. The synthesis report will include a list of gully prioritisation tools and sampling methods for detecting sediment and bioavailable nutrients. This project will provide a narrative and synthesis to bring all these threads together. Synthesis of this new knowledge will provide advice on practical on-ground actions for land and sea managers, policy implications and identify remaining gaps for future research and management investments.
Investigators
Johanna Johnson, Stephen Lewis, Zoe Bainbridge, Catherine Collier, Rebecca Bartley, Andrew Brooks, Barbara Robson and Katharina Fabricius in collaboration with Rachael Smith, Alexandra Garzon-Garcia, Joanne Burton and Jane Waterhouse (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, TropWater, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Griffith University, Australian Institute of Marine Science, QLD Department of Environment and Science, C20 - Coasts, Climate and Oceans)
Keywords
Sediment; Catchment; Great Barrier Reef; Ecosystem; gully
Data

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

Collaboration

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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