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Developing future leaders in Tropical Marine Science

A partnership of


Launched in November 2020, AIMS@UWA is an alliance between UWA and AIMS to employ marine science academics jointly in areas where our goals and interests overlap, with a focus on tropical marine science. Research under this partnership emphasises applied science with impact, underpinned by fundamental environmental research. Projects will address the needs of a wide range of stakeholders having interests in the care and stewardship of tropical marine environment including industry, policy and decision makers, and local communities.



To produce an internationally recognised  cohort of emerging tropical marine researchers in Western Australia, directing their work towards the protection and sustainable protection and use of our marine heritage, by integrating fundamental and applied research and by leveraging the infrastructure and research strengths of both organisations.
The AIMS@UWA program will provide an unprecedented opportunity for students and researchers in Western Australia to work collaboratively and provide a platform for world-class training in marine science.

 Karen Miller, Research Program Director at AIMS WA

AIMS is delighted to partner with UWA on this important program, which signals an on-going and enduring commitment to develop the best marine science talent in the world, focused on issues of relevance and value to Western Australia and the planet’s oceans.

Paul Hardisty, AIMS CEO

Alliance Scholars

Meet the AIMS@UWA researchers

The current cohort of AIMS@UWA researchers includes 8 PhD Students alongside more senior researchers.
Dr Luke Thomas

Dr Luke Thomas

Science lead

Postdoctoral scholar Luke Thomas’ research focuses on reef-building corals and combines genomic and transcriptomic tools with physiological and ecological data on projects related to gene flow, adaption, recovery and ecosystem monitoring.

A research associate at the OI and AIMS, Luke has a background in population genetics and has worked on a variety of marine organisms, from sponges to fish. The ultimate goal of his postdoctoral research is to apply molecular techniques to help inform management on the quest to conserve our precious marine ecosystems.

Sharyn Hickey

Dr Sharyn Hickey


Sharyn Hickey’s postdoctoral research at UWA and AIMS involves applying remote sensing and spatial data to ecological studies in the shallow marine and intertidal environment. Her particular focus is on the spatial and temporal dynamics of these habitats and understanding what is driving change, how this affects ecosystem services, and how to apply innovative technology to manage and monitor these areas.


Sharyn’s research includes applying spatial analysis techniques to ecological studies, including mangrove dieback, blue carbon assessments, and anthropogenic impacts on seagrass and coral.

PhD Students

  • Laurence Dugal

    Laurence's research explores the use of environmental DNA metabarcoding for characterizing tropical marine biodiversity across ecological scales. 

    Find out more

  • Lucy Arrowsmith 

    Lucy's PhD focusses on Investigating the movement and behavioural patterns of whale sharks. 

    Find out more

  • Shannon Duffy 

    Shannon is investigating the mechanisms of coral resilience along Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia.

    Find out more

  • Abinaya Meenakshisundaram
    Abinaya is a PhD candidate in conservation genetics, with a focus on studying whale sharks
  • Megan Meyer
    Megan is a PhD Candidate examining the movement patterns of whale sharks in West Papua, Indonesia.
  • Ben D'Antonio
    Ben’s PhD research focuses on the movements and behavioural patterns of sharks along the coast of Western Australia. Ben utilises a combination of satellite and accelerometer tags to characterise fundamental aspects of fine scale behavioural patterns and link them to large scale migratory movements to better understand the foraging ecology and drivers of long-distance migrations of sharks.
  • Defne Sahin
    Defne’s research investigates the climate-mediated changes in the community structure of subtropical and temperate corals across Western Australia.

AIMS@UWA builds on our successful past collaborations. UWA looks forward to expanding our joint research and opportunities for research student training, to address research needs in our tropical marine areas

Tim Colmer, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, UWA

Want to make a difference to tropical marine science?

Over the next few months and years, we anticipate new co-funded, AIMS@UWA Postdoctoral research positions in subjects such as marine plastic mitigation, machine learning in tropical marine science, blue carbon, eDNA for ecological monitoring.

There will also be of co-supervised PhD positions, with a strong focus on work integrated learning to prepare these students for future tropical marine leadership roles.

Interested to find out more?
Reach out to us at or by calling +61 8 6488 8116.

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