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About the OI

Oceans Institute Community


About the UWA Oceans Institute

The UWA Oceans Institute brings together the University’s multidisciplinary research strengths across areas including oceanography, ecology, engineering, resource management and governance to address key ocean challenges.

We work with local, state and federal governments, industry and business, research institutions and the community to help generate solutions towards the sustainable use of ocean resources.


Meet the OI Team

Julian Partridge

Associate Professor Julian Partridge


Julian is a marine biologist with internationally recognised expertise in animal sensory systems and deep-sea biology. With over 30 years of research and teaching and administrative experience at world-leading universities in the UK and Australia, much of Julian’s work has linked engineering with biology.

Nicole Jones profile pic

Associate Professor Nicole Jones

Deputy Director

Nicole is a Physical Oceanographer who uses field observations and numerical modelling to study small-scale ocean dynamics including turbulent mixing, internal waves and ocean eddies. She has extensive fieldwork and cruise experience and a particular interest in the development of novel field-observation techniques.


Robert Pemberton

Business Support Manager (on Leave)

Robert has over a decade of experience in marine science and business development, having worked across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. He has worked on metocean projects for the oil and gas industry, offshore wind and tidal energy projects, port developments, and government coastal monitoring programmes.

Mr Chris Pestell

Chris Pestell

Business Support Manager (Acting)

Chris has worked in the higher education sector since 2014, having held positions in finance, research administration and most recently, as a Business Manager supporting Research Infrastructure Centres across UWA.

Cora Castens

Cora Castens

Executive Assistant

Cora is a professional EA with a diverse career at executive and senior management levels in corporate, government and higher education sectors for over 21 years, having worked across Australia.

vivienne white

Vivienne White

Communications Officer

Viv has a background in environmental biology and science communication, with a passion for sharing science in interesting ways to wide ranging audiences. She promotes engagement within the WA community and beyond to raise science awareness.

Josh Bonesso

Joshua Bonesso

Communications Support Officer

Josh is a multi-disciplinary Coral Reef Scientist who uses coral reef ecology, sedimentology and geomorphology to study the resilience and sensitivity of coral reefs and their islands to global climate change. He has extensive technical, field and laboratory experience, and is particularly interested in applying his research to the development and implementation of conservation management outcomes within marginal ecosystems.

External Advisory Board

Made up of senior representatives from major research institutions, industry and government, the Oceans Institute External Advisory Board provides independent, high-level advice on industry and policy needs, as well as trends in the Indian Ocean region, to guide our strategic planning.

Mr Jock Clough

Mr Jock Clough

Chair, UWA Oceans Institute Advisory Board

Jock has an extensive background in the engineering, finance and aquaculture industries. He is also an advisory board member at The Nature Conservancy (Australia), is on the advisory committee of the WA Maritime Museum and is a co-trustee of The Jock Clough Marine Foundation.

Dr Erica Smyth AC

Dr Erica Smyth AC

Non Executive Director MinEX CRC and Lions Eye Institute

Erica has 45 years of experience in the minerals and petroleum industries in Australia. For 3.5 years, until mid-2020, she was Chair of NOPSEMA and held a number of NED roles in both ASX-listed and research focused companies. She has, over the past 10 years, been a member of a number of Federal Government working parties and task forces. 

Dr Larry Madin

Dr Larry Madin

Senior Science Advisor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

An American marine biologist, Larry began researching plankton in the 1970s and was a pioneer of in situ methods, including open ocean SCUBA diving and the use of submersibles and remote vehicles. Larry has served on over 70 ocean expeditions across the globe. He was VP for research for 13 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. 

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professor Carmen Lawrence

Professor Emerita, School of Psychology, UWA

After training as a research psychologist, Carmen entered politics in 1986, serving at both state and federal levels for 21 years. After shifting to federal politics in 1994 she became Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. Carmen retired from politics in 2007.

Professor John Chandler

Nicole Jones

Deputy Director


Adjunct Professor Luke Smith

Adjunct Professor Luke Smith

Chief Environmental Scientist, Woodside Energy

Luke has worked on several major oil and gas developments both in Australia and internationally. He has over 20 years of experience in managing large marine research programs focused on understanding oil and gas-based environmental science and management and has authored two books.


Bright minds helping us solve
big problems

Experts working to solve the biggest ocean issues of our time
Sea Turtle
Sea Turtle
Looking for a Subject Matter Expert?
Contact us or search the UWA profile database to connect with our network of researchers, who are experts in their field. The OI network is always looking for consulting, research and partnership opportunities.
WA Fish and Reefs
WA Fish and Reefs
Are you a UWA Researcher?
Contact us to discuss opportunities to join the Oceans Institute research network.
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