HBI Leadership

Professor Simon McKirdy, HBI Director

Professor Simon McKirdy has extensive experience spanning corporate leadership, research management, policy development and the management of biosecurity operations within the government and private sectors. He has international expertise in biosecurity and, in particular, plant biosecurity.

Dr. Simon McKirdy completed his PhD in Plant Pathology and the University of Western Australia and has since served in notable roles in biosecurity, including CEO of the Australian Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre (now known as the Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation) and Biosecurity Science and Risk Manager at Chevron Australia. Beyond his duties as Director of the Harry Butler Institute, Prof McKirdy also serves as Chairperson of the Western Australian Biosecurity Council and supervises several research students.

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Prof Ladislav (Laco) Mucina, Iluka Chair

Professor Ladislav Mucina serves as the Iluka Chair at the Harry Butler Institute. In this capacity, he offers his wealth of knowledge on biodiversity, conservation, and restoration to our research and activities. Prof Mucina also supervises research students and engages with education and outreach at the Institute and for the wider Murdoch University community.

Prof Mucina’s international education and career spans Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe and has been highlighted by over 400 scientific publications and 28 books. This record includes three volumes covering the vegetation of Austria, a definitive map and book of the vegetation of South Africa, and the creation of a syntaxonomic system for the European continent. He also serves as Associate and Chief Editor of the Journal of Vegetation Science and Applied Vegetation Science as well as in high-level positions on several councils and committees.

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Dr Peter Landman, Chevron Harry Butler Chair

Dr Peter Landman recently joined the Harry Butler Institute as the Chevron Harry Butler Chair in Biosecurity and Environment. He brings with him an extensive background in directing large-scale biosecurity programs in industry and the private sector. Prior to entering industry, Dr Landman completed a Bachelor and PhD in Agriculture and Ecology, respectively, from the University of Western Australia. His research interests centre around plant ecology and biosecurity, particularly eucalypts and arid environment specialists.


Professor Alan Lymbery, Director - Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems
Professor Trish Fleming, Director - Centre for Environment & Biodiversity
Professor Chad Hewitt, Director - Centre for One Health & Biosecurity

Prof Chad Hewitt brings a prolific background in academia, university leadership, and federal and international marine environmental management to his role as the Director of the Harry Butler Insitute’s Centre for One Health & Biosecurity. His academic credentials include positions as Pro Vice-Chancellor, Director, Head, and Dean at universities across Australia and New Zealand.

In his capacity as Leader of the Invasion Processes Group at CSIRO, Dr Chad Hewitt and his team developed biosecurity protocols now adopted by prominent agencies across the globe. His role as a Chief Technical Officer for New Zealand, saw him responsible for the management and implementation of the biosecurity system in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone. An internationally recognised expert in marine biosecurity, Prof Hewitt was the NZ Head of Delegation to the International Convention on the Management and Control of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments.

Professor Hewitt’s research interests focus on the role humans play in changing the natural world, particularly in marine systems, and how natural science can influence management and policy. His research has primarily focused on how humans have transferred species around the globe, the consequences of those movements in ecological and evolutionary contexts, and the ways that we can predict, prevent and/or mitigate the impacts of these novel species.

Professor Hewitt continues to provide advice to governments on biosecurity and quarantine frameworks in addition to his leadership duties and supervision of research students.

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Dr John Ruprecht, Director - Centre for Water, Energy, & Waste

Dr Ruprecht brings decades of high-level leadership experience from both private industry and regulatory bodies to his service as Director of the Centre for Water, Energy, and Waste. His recent positions have included extended tenures in directorial positions with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development of Western Australia, Department of Water of Western Australia, and Western Land & Water Consulting. It’s with his deep background and connections in Western Australia that the Centre for Water, Energy, and Waste is building on a sound scientific basis and a firm practical mission.

John Ruprecht, PhD began his involvement in water resources in Western Australia with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Master of Engineering Studies, specifically focussed on Hydrology and Water Resource Science, from the University of Western Australia. He then spent several years as an engineer and manager improving dams, flood management, and hydropower before completing a PhD at Murdoch University, again in Hydrology and Water Resource Science. His current research focusses on desalinisation and the hydrology of Western Australia’s wheatbelt.

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Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems

Associate Professor David Morgan, Deputy Director
Dr Fiona Valensini, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Stephen Beatty, Senior Research Fellow
Dr Mike van Keulen

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Centre for Climate Impacted Terrestrial Ecology

Professor Giles Hardy

Dr. Giles Hardy is a Professor in Plant Pathology at Murdoch University, Director of the Centre for Phytophthora Science and Management, Director of the State Centre of Excellence on Climate Change, Woodland and Forest Health, and a researcher at the Harry Butler Institute. Giles Hardy studied Plant Pathology at the University of Western Australia and graduated in 1989 with a PhD, continuing on to become faculty at Murdoch University in 1992. Since then Giles Hardy, PhD has developed an extensive curriculum vitae including significant involvement in community engagement, speaking at dozens of conferences, and serving the scientific community by sitting on the ARC College of Experts.

Prof Giles Hardy employs his research in plant pathology and related subjects to teach undergraduate classes and supervise several postgraduate students. Professor Giles Hardy is a dedicated professor at Murdoch University with prolific publications, including several books.

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Professor Treena Burgess

Treena Burgess, PhD is a Professor in Plant Sciences, the Interim Dean of Research for the College of Science Health Engineering and Education at Murdoch University, and a researcher at the Harry Butler Institute. At HBI, Professor Burgess researches the ecology, biology, and genetics of microorganisms in natural and maintained ecosystems. Dr Treena Burgess focuses on the biodiversity and biosecurity issues of these environments. Professor Treena Burgess completed her undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania in 1986, then continued on to Murdoch University where she earned a PhD in Biology, Forest Pathology and Mycology.

Dr Treena Burgess is active outside of Murdoch University as a senior editor for Australasia Plant Pathology since 2004. Professor Treena Burgess also served as an international expert on an EU project titled ‘Forthreats’ between 2006-2008, and another EU project as a Working Group deputy for the Pathway Evaluation and Pest Risk Management in Transport (PERMIT) between 2010-2014. Furthermore, Dr Treena Burgess is a credited author for IDphy, a website full of information on molecular and morphological identification of Phytophthora.

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Associate Professor Michael Calver

Michael Calver, PhD is an Associate Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Murdoch University. A passion for research led Mike to begin his career as a research scientist studying vertebrate pests after earning a PhD in 1985 on the subject of grasshopper ecology. With a Diploma of Education, Dip Ed, Dr. Michael Calver continued his career as a secondary school teacher and a subsequent Lecturer in Distance Education, neither of which satisfied his desire for entomological research. Thus, Mike Calver, PhD joined the Harry Butler Institute at Murdoch University.

As a self-described “frustrated entomologist”, Associate Professor Michael Calver accepted his current position in 1994 in hopes of continuing his preferred research of vertebrate pests. Though his area of research shifted toward larger vertebrates and predation, Michael Calver, PhD continues to contribute to an extensive portfolio of published works. In the past two decades Dr. Mike Calver has exceeded as an HBI researcher and an Associate Professor at Murdoch University.

Murdoch University Profile | The Conversation | ResearchGate

Associate Professor Belinda Robson

Dr Belinda Robson is an Associate Professor at Murdoch University and a researcher with the Harry Butler Institute. Dr Robson teaches environmental science classes at Murdoch University, her alma mater, and supervises honours students and PhD candidates. The research that Belinda Robson, PhD conducts at HBI focuses on the restoration of wetlands and rivers and climate change adaptation. Belinda Robson, PhD concurrently serves as Director and Chair of the Board of the Marine and Freshwater Research Laboratory, the Deputy Dean of the School of Environmental Science, and on the Joint Schools Committee on Sustainability Courses all at Murdoch University.

A respected contributor to her field, Associate Professor Belinda Robson has served as the Editor in Chief of Freshwater Biology, Wiley Ltd. since May 2018. Additionally, Belinda Robson, PhD serves as the Programme Chair for Sustainability Science, and as a board member for the Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research at the Institute for Social Sustainability, both in service to the University and advancement of society toward a more sustainable existence.

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Associate Professor Kris Warren

Dr Kristin Warren is an Associate Professor in Wildlife, Zoological and Conservation Medicine at Murdoch University and the Academic Chair of Postgraduate Studies in Conservation Medicine. Dr Kris Warren earned her veterinary qualification then went on to complete her PhD in the Netherlands in 2001 through molecular work on wild orangutans. Due to the notable success of her body of work, Dr Warren became a member of IUCN/SSC Re-introduction Specialist Group in 2001 and 2002.

Associate Professor Kris Warren is most referenced in association with the satellite devices that track Baudin’s cockatoos, but her research interests includes the broader spectrum of conservation medicine. With the HBI, Dr Kris Warren researches conservation medicine, a field she has been in for 25 years and is a contributor to many collaborative research projects. She puts high value on research while teaching classes on Wildlife Medicine and supervising several postgraduate students. In addition to her work at Murdoch University, Dr. Kris Warren is a frequent public speaker, having given 53 conference presentations and spoken at ten public events in the past decade and a half.

Murdoch University Profile | ResearchGate

Associate Professor Rachel Standish

Rachel Standish, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University in the department of Environmental and Conservation Sciences in the College of Science Health Engineering and Education. Dr Rachel Standish completed her doctorate of Ecology from Massey University in 2002 and went on to gain experience as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Western Australia before joining Murdoch University in 2015. Rachel Standish, PhD teaches ecology and advanced research methods as well as guest lectures on environmental restoration.

In association with the Harry Butler Institute, Dr Standish researches several subjects adjacent to ecology including community assembly, seedling recruitment, ecological thresholds, and resilience. Dr Standish provides abundant student opportunities in addition to her doctoral and masters supervisions. Moreover, Rachel Standish, PhD is a frequently published researcher and was acknowledged for her excellence in 2019 when she received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Research 2019 in the category of Outstanding Research Development.

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Dr Martin Anda, Academic Chair

Dr Martin Anda is the Academic Chair of Environmental Engineering at Murdoch University. Having pioneered the program, Martin Anda, PhD recruits undergraduates into the program and supervises graduate students with related research interests. Beyond his position as Academic Chair, Dr. Martin Anda is a senior lecturer for a handful of environmental engineering classes at Murdoch University. As an environmental engineer at the Harry Butler Institute, Dr. Anda’s research area includes sustainability matters surrounding water, energy, and construction of the built environment.

Martin Anda, PhD, emphasizes the alliance of academics and industry through more than supervising several doctoral candidates. At HBI, Dr. Martin Anda also leads a research group Environmental Engineering & Life Systems, or EELS; an acronym meant to highlight the lessons of natural phenomena and their innately sustainable approaches. With a grey water recycling system in his own garden, Dr. Martin Anda embodies environmental responsibility by living what he teaches.

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Dr Jane Chambers, Senior Lecturer

Jane Chambers, PhD is a committed Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University and an invaluable researcher at the Harry Butler Institute. A reputable contributor in the research areas of aquatic plant ecology, management, and restoration, Dr Jane Chambers’ research interests span the aquatic environments of wetlands, estuaries, and rivers with a focus on their ecosystem and interactions of aquatic plants within these environments.

Alongside her research with HBI, Dr. Jane Chambers has shown her dedication to aquatic ecology and environmental and conservation science through her six year term with the Swan River Trust and two years pioneering the Healthy Estuaries 2111 initiative. Additionally, Dr. Chambers created two proactive guides for communities to help themselves and their waterways. As a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University, Jane Chambers engages students through hands-on, pressing world issues, with a prerogative to leave the earth better than before through the meeting of research and action.

Murdoch University Profile | The Conversation | ResearchGate

Dr Halina Kobryn, Senior Lecturer

Dr Halina Kobryn is a Senior Lecturer in Geospatial Sciences, the Academic Chair of Postgraduate Courses in Environmental Science at Murdoch University, and a researcher of the Harry Butler Institute. Before Dr Kobryn earned her BSc from the University of Wroclaw in Geography, she earned a Post-Graduate Diploma in Surveying and Mapping from Curtin University and then a PhD in Environmental Science from Murdoch University in 2000. Halina Kobryn, PhD has been employed since 1999 at Murdoch University where she teaches GIS related and remote sensing application in marine and environmental science.

Dr Halina Kobryn uses her research in GIS, GPS, and remote sensing in her courses, but she also researches spatial analysis of natural and modified environments. Dr. Kobryn is able to provide her expertise across a myriad of disciplines in research, and does so in the supervision of student research projects. In addition to supervising several doctoral and masters candidates, Halina Kobryn, PhD is involved on several boards that require her expert knowledge.

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Dr Jatin Kala, Senior Lecturer

Jatin Kala, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University and an Australian Research Council DECRA fellow. At Murdoch University and the Harry Butler Institute, Dr Jatin Kala leads environmental science classes on atmospheric and earth systems science and supervises post-graduate research students. Since receiving his PhD from Murdoch University, Senior Lecturer Jatin Kala has remained a strong member of the academic community, researching climate science with a focus on how the atmosphere and land interact with each other.

In addition to his work as part of HBI, Dr. Jatin Kala is a preeminent public speaker. Since August 2015 he has spoken on a range of subjects at more than two dozen events. Jatin Kala, PhD further uses his expertise to fight for the greater good within and without the academic realm. Whether it is his with his involvement in a court case or as an editor for a peer-reviewed journal, Dr. Kala uses research to proactively inform the public of the Earth’s ever-changing climate.

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Dr Michael Hughes, Senior Lecturer

Michael Hughes, PhD is a Senior Lecturer at Murdoch University and a researcher with the Harry Butler Institute. In addition to a doctorate in Environmental Sociology, Dr. Michael Hughes has degrees from the Curtin University of Technology in Biology and Natural Resources Management. With this education, Dr. Hughes researches where policy, nature area visitors, and management of the environment intersect.

While Michael Hughes, PhD supervises several doctoral students with similar interests, the classes he teaches are focused on environmental management. Furthermore, Dr. Michael Hughes co-authored two books in 2015 on the topic of sustainability, and continues to contribute to the academic anthology on the subject through journals and current projects.

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Dr Peter Spencer, Lecturer

Dr Peter Spencer is a Lecturer (Level D) at Murdoch University, serves as the head of the Wildlife DNA Laboratory in the School of Veterinary & Life Sciences, and researches within the Harry Butler Institute. Peter Spencer, PhD earned his doctorate in Tropical Environmental Studies and Zoology from James Cook University in North Queensland where he previously studied Marine Biology and Tropical Zoology. After earning his degrees, Peter Spencer, PhD completed a year at the University of Göttingen before continuing on to a postdoc with the Marsupial Cooperative Research Centre at the Perth Zoo.

Peter Spencer, PhD teaches courses in molecular ecology, conservation biology and forensics and has been a guest lecturer at several universities on related subjects. Many doctoral and masters students have spent time in his lab where Dr. Peter Spencer currently researches native species and invasive pest vertebrates in the Wildlife Identification Laboratory to investigate population dynamics of conservation-dependent and pest species.Dr. Peter Spencer has also spoken publicly on several occasions and contributed to five popular documentaries, including working with the ABC Natural History Unit and the Discovery Channel.

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Dr Jill Shephard, Lecturer

After beginning her career as a teacher, Jill Shepard, PhD soon returned to Griffith University to earn her honours and PhD in Environmental Science. Dr Jill Shephard has since been a research fellow at Murdoch University and progressed to now holding a position as a Lecturer. She conducts classes in the field of environmental science, area management, and various levels of ecology.

Dr Jill Shepard’s research at the Harry Butler Institute focuses on movement ecology and the drivers of species spatial distributions at the Harry Butler Institute. Her research interests are in the areas of conservation and landscape genetics, and avian conservation and ecotoxicology. In addition to her own research, Dr Jill Shepard supervises a handful of doctoral students, both at Murdoch University and overseas. Dr Shepard’s goal of research and teaching places emphasis informing policy for industry and government.

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Dr Kate Bryant, Lecturer

Dr Kate Bryant is a lecturer in Animal Biology and Conservation at Murdoch University and is part of the staff at the School of Veterinary and Life Sciences within the Wildlife Biology and Conservation department. Kate Bryant, PhD began as an undergraduate student at Murdoch University, earning a BSc in Biological Sciences, an Honours in Conservation Biology, and finally her doctorate in Biological Sciences. In association with the Harry Butler Institute, Dr Bryant is currently researching various wildlife subjects in several projects based in Western Australia.

Kate Bryant, PhD teaches classes on the subjects of genetics and wildlife biology, and evolutionary biology at Murdoch University in tandem with her research at HBI. Furthermore, Dr Kate Bryant lends her expertise outside of the university to Pacific Conservation Biology, a journal focused on management of wildlife and conservation, by reviewing book submissions.


Centre for One Health & Biosecurity

Barbara Kachigunda, M.Sc.

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Centre for Water, Energy, & Waste

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