CORAL WEEK: Amanda Clarke on Estuaries, Mangroves, Sea Grasses

Our next curator in our CORAL WEEK special is Amanda Clarke(@MarineManna), PhD candidate and “casual academic” at the University of Newcastle, New unnamedSouth Wales, Australia. Amanda started out as a chef and had ended up as a marine biologist. Located at the Central Coast campus, Amanda’s research centres around seagrass. Why does seagrass matter, you ask, isn’ it just food for manatees? It produces oxygen and improves water quality, as well as providing food and places for animals to hide. Amanda specifically stable isotope ratios and ecosystem health in sea grass meadows and estuaries.  She also examines the the influence of stormwater and wastewater effluent on stable isotope values following extreme weather events and also the spatial variability of seagrass stable isotopes on a temporal scale.

Amanda is also working on a restoration project involving the endangered seagrass Posidonia australis under a Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment.  Here’s Amanda’s story.


I always liked science at school, but I ended up a scientist via training as a chef. My university journey began after a NYE train ride home where I decided it was time to restart my education. I chose marine science because it allowed me to be flexible with young children, and living on an estuary I thought it would be good to know more about the natural environment.


I chose my current field because seagrass loss is a global problem that can offer local solutions based on the different requirements of each location. I love seeing a project come to life and I love seeing the variety of life that lives within the seagrass. I stay in marine science because I love the work and the potential that it has to offer me adventure!


I am currently working on a restoration project involving artificial seagrass and Posidonia Australis. I am also working on the influence of extreme weather events on the stable isotope ratios in seagrass within an urbanised estuary. Based on preliminary results for that project, further projects have been initiated and sewage system upgrades scheduled. I feel quite humbled that something I have done is making a difference.


The public should care about any research that has the potential to remediate the negative impacts caused by human development. After all, if we don’t save our seagrasses and estuaries, then where will fish spawn and grow? Our recreational and commercial fisheries will collapse, pollution will make the waters uninhabitable and there will be nothing left for our future generations to enjoy.


I am participating in GISHWHES for the first time this year. GISHWHES is the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. My team is The Lemon Cartel, and the hunt takes place in August. I’m also a fan of conventions and enjoy cosplay.


I enjoy creative writing and craft activities. I’m also working up the courage to do a live broadcast on periscope.


I enjoy creative writing and craft activities. I’m also working up the courage to do a live broadcast on periscope.


Ideal Day Off? A coffee date with Misha Collins followed by boating with friends. Chocolate and wine should also be included in no particular order.


Please welcome Amanda Clarke to Real Scientists!

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