Dr Catherine Leigh

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Adjunct Senior Lecturer, Institute for Future Environments

Cath is a quantitative community ecologist, scientific communicator and teacher, with a research focus on rivers and reservoirs. Her work seeks to understand ecological responses to natural and human-induced changes in the environment by incorporating population- to ecosystem- level science with state-of-the-art, data-driven analytical approaches, and to find innovative solutions to real world environmental problems. She is currently working on projects to improve water quality monitoring and data-driven modelling for enhanced environmental protection. Her expertise is sought widely across state, national and international levels, spanning government, professional, industry and community organisations. Cath was a key participant in the international Intermittent River Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis project, the ACIAR Improving the Sustainability of Rice-shrimp Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam project, the Australian National Water Commission Low Flows project, and the AusAID River Health and Environmental Flows in China project. She is highly productive and an excellent communicator, having produced over 80 research outputs, including 30+ journal articles, 6 invited book chapters, online databases, and multiple conference proceedings and technical reports. She enjoys convening special sessions and workshops and delivering plenary and keynote presentations at national and international conferences and at public outreach events. Cath served as Guest Editor for the 2016 special issue of the journal Freshwater Biology on intermittent river ecology and management and joined the Editorial Board of Freshwater Biology in 2018. She is the Secretary of Australia’s peak professional body for freshwater scientists and managers, the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society (AFSS), and is the proud recipient of the 2017 AFSS Early Career Excellence Award.

My research delivers real world solutions to industry, government and third sectors for environmental, economic and social benefits.

Current partners and projects include:

  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • Healthy Land and Water
  • Anomaly detection in streaming water-quality data
  • Use of water-quality surrogates for sediment and nutrient prediction
  • Uncertainty in pollutant loads prediction

Partners on prior projects include:

  • Seqwater
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
  • Department of Environment and Energy
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • AusAID
  • Australia China Environment Development Partnership
  • International WaterCentre
  • National Water Commission