Researcher biography

Saltmarshes provide a range of ecosystem functions including providing nursery, feeding and reproductive habitats for a range of fauna, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration and coastal protection. However large areas have been lost and degraded and these important ecosystems are under further threat from climate change and sea level rise. Despite increasing efforts to restore saltmarshes globally, the benefits are not well understood, particularly in terms of ecosystem functions.

Shantala is a PhD candidate in the School of the Environment, supervised by Professors Jonathan Rhodes and Catherine Lovelock. Her project aims to investigate recovery of ecosystem functions in restored saltmarshes - globally through a structured review, and in Australian subtropical saltmarshes through field measurements at restoration sites of varying ages in a restoration chronosequence. The project also aims to investigate factors that may enhance restoration, including the potential effects of the underground microbiome on the survival and growth of Australian saltmarsh plants, and to identify opportunities and trade-offs involved in saltmarsh restoration in south-east Queensland.

Shantala is also a Research Assistant and Lab Manager for the McDonald-Madden Complex Environmental Decisions Group.