Dr Katherine Dafforn



Marine Ecology

University of New South Wales



Marine urbanisation is accelerating due to the expansion of coastal cities and efforts to protect assets from threats such as storm surges. Seawalls, breakwaters and boating infrastructure such as marinas are becoming increasingly conspicuous in the marine environment, and we are finding more novel ways to build into the sea, such as entire artificial islands built in Dubai and the underwater hotels proposed for Fiji and the Great Barrier Reef.

Since urban seascapes are still a relatively new phenomenon, we can learn from the pitfalls of urban land-based developments. Dr Dafforn’s research combines ecological ideas with engineering designs to produce innovative strategies for reducing the impacts of coastal concrete jungles. Her research has highlighted important ecological consequences of this development including provision of habitat for invasive species.

As a member of the Port Kembla Harbour Environmental Group, Katherine regularly presents at their community-based meetings on topics ranging from monitoring environmental impacts to restoration and remediation.  She has also delivered public seminars hosted by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, the Northside Forum and the Willoughby Environmental Protection Association. Her research on ecological impacts of artificial structures has been featured in national newspapers (SMH) and on blogs (SHRP and GreenRoom Sydney).