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Claudia Trave

Claudia Trave

PhD Candidate

College of Science and Engineering, and TropWATER
James Cook University
Townsville QLD 4811, Australia

Office: ATSIP Building 145, Room 26
Phone: +61  7 4781 6771

Scientific Illustration:



Claudia transfered to Australia in 2013 to work as a researcher at the Estuarine and Coastal Wetland Ecosystems Research Group (College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University) and TropWATER under the tutelage of Prof. Marcus Sheaves. The focus of her research was the evaluation of impacts of antrhopogenic activities on coastal wetlands (in particular saltmarshes) and local fauna distribution and interactions. Other tasks included tutoring, assisting in lectures and working as a graphic illustrator for publications, presentation and ongoing projects. After being awarded the JCU IPRS in 2014, Claudia commenced her PhD in coastal ecology and management focusing on the configuration and utility of natural and artificial habitat features  in tropical estuaries exposed to antrhopogenic development, to provide data for the improvement of management of estuaries as productive ecosystems that contribute to important ecological and human services. 

Former education/experience:
2011 - Master of Science in Tropical Marine Biology from the University of Stockholm(Sweden) focusing on anthropogenic impact on coastal ecosystems and sustainable management.
2010 - Researcher at the Bimini Biologicical Field Station (Bahamas) focusing on the impact of the construction of a turistic complex on the local intertidal ecosystems and nursery grounds.
2008 - Bachelor in Biological Scineces from the University of Milan (Italy).
2005 - Worked as volunteer in a cetacean expedition in the Mediterranean Sea with the MARES institute.

Research interests

My main research interest is the improvement of current management, conservation and restoration frameworks of coastal and estuarine ecosystems exposed to human development through the integration of scientific and ecological knowledge on such systems throughout the development process (before, during and after).
I have experience working with several aquatic environments and their human interactions/impacts. My research targets are predominantly coastal wetland and estuarine ecosystems, but I have worked also on reefs, sandy and rocky shores.

PhD Project

Project Title: Habitat configuration and utility of tropical estuaries exposed to different extents of human development

Project Overview: This project aims to improve the management and conservation of tropical estuarine ecosystems subjected to human development by providing essential information on the configuration, function and dynamics of the local aquatic habitats, both natural and modified.

Many tropical estuaries exist as highly modified seascapes, comprising a mosaic of natural vegetation (mangroves, saltmarsh) and hard engineering structures, but surprisingly little research has examined explicitly how these altered seascapes function and contribute to coastal productivity. 

  This project examines the configuration and utility of natural and artificial habitat features  
that exist in tropical estuaries adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef. In doing so, this research
  is expected to provide invaluable data to
identify critical components of natural and
  modified tropical estuaries that are necessary for their conservation and/or restoration in  
  face of continuous human development.


Principal Advisor: Dr. Waltham Nathan 

Co-Advisor: Prof. Marcus Sheaves

Other Projects 

Impact of Vehicle Tracks on A Saltmarsh Ecosystem: Evaluation of Dietary Differences in the Local Crustacean Population and Possible Food Web Alterations Through Isotopic Analysis.


Trave, C., & Waltham, N. (2016). Protect or repair: Insight into shoreline habitat complexity in Australia’s most urbanized tropical estuary. Ecological Engineering (In Review).

Trave, C., Brunnschweiler, J., Sheaves, M., Diedrich, A., and Barnett, A. (2016). Are we killing them with kindness? Insight into current management and lessons learnt from sustainable marine wildlife tourism. Biological Conservation (In Review).

Trave, C., & Sheaves, M. (2014). Ecotone analysis: assessing the impact of vehicle transit on saltmarsh crab population and ecosystem. SpringerPlus, 3(1), 655.

Trave, C., & Sheaves, M. (2014). Bimini Islands: a characterization of the two major nursery areas; status and perspectives. SpringerPlus, 3(1), 270.

Scientific Illustration and Graphic Design

Graphic imagery is an essential component of scientific communication, and its role is becoming more and more prominent with time. Graphical abstracts, in-text images, illustrations, posters, presentations as the basic tools for every researcher to efficiently present their work to peers and outside audience. The creation of such image requires a combination of understanding of the scientific message conveyed through the paper and knowledge of graphic techniques / visual communication. I use my skills in graphic imagery and scientific illustration, alongside my scientific background and knowledge, for the preparation of graphical abstracts required for publication, or any other images related to current scientific research.

Awards, Prizes and Grants

2015-2019  JCU International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (IPRS)

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