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SIMS Early Career Researchers


Dr Nina Schäfer 

Post-doctoral Research Associate



Dr Katherine Dafforn

University Affiliation  

Macquarie University



I completed my Bachelor of Science and Master of Science Degree’s at the Ruhr University Bochum (Germany), studying the effects of ocean acidification on fertilisation success and early growth of scleractinian corals (Bachelor), and the effect of predator and prey densities on inducible defences on the freshwater flea Daphnia (Master). I then moved to Australia, where I completed a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2019 at the University of New South Wales, investigating the drivers of diversity on intertidal rocky shores, with a focus on intertidal rock pools. 


Research at SIMS 

My research focusses on artificial habitats in urban environments, with a focus on informing eco-friendly marine infrastructure designs. Artificial structures provide substrate on which opportunistic non-indigenous species can settle and grow. These structures can also act as ‘stepping-stones’, facilitating the spread of non-indigenous species. I am interested in how artificial structures can be designed to minimise negative impacts such as the establishment of invasive species, whist promoting native diversity. In my research I am using existing literature, and a combination of small- and large-scale field experiments to provide guidance in the ecologically sustainable design of marine foreshore developments. 


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