Helene Marsh is Dean of Graduate Research Studies and Professor of Environmental Science at JCU. She is also a program leader in the Marine and Tropical Science Research Facility. The focus of her research has been dugong population ecology with an emphasis on life history, reproductive ecology, population dynamics, diet, distribution, abundance and movements.
Helene is committed to informing interdisciplinary solutions to conservation problems and has collaborated widely with colleagues in other disciplines including Anatomy, Anthropology, Botany, Biochemistry, Genetics, Geography, GIS, Law, Psychology, Sociology and Statistics.
The policy outcomes of her research include significant contributions to the science base for the Dugong Sanctuary established in Torres Strait; dugong management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, especially the Dugong Protected Areas and no-take areas to protect dugongs in various zoning plans; and the establishment of a Commonwealth Ministerial Taskforce to Investigate the Sustainability of Indigenous Hunting of Dugongs and Turtles. Her research has also provided the conceptual basis for the ‘Back on Track’ Program currently being conducted by the Queensland EPA.
The Pew Charitable Trust awarded Helene a Fellowship in Marine Conservation in 1998 and a Distinguished Service Award by the Society of Conservation Biology in 2008. Both awards were for her contributions to dugong research and conservaton. She has authored more than 200 scientific publications.
Helene's publications include more than 120 papers in professional journals, more than 30 chapters in refereed monographs/conference proceedings, more than 30 papers in conference/workshop proceedings, 24 technical reports and more than 20 popular articles. She also edited the proceedings of the first international dugong workshop and wrote the dugong sections of a book on Australian Marine Mammals which was published by Allen and Unwin in 1998. With two North American co-authors, she has a contract with Cambridge University Press to write a book tentatively titled ‘Ecology and Conservation of Sirenians: dugongs and manatees’.
Helene has been on the supervisory committees of 77 honours and research students who have completed their degrees and has supervised seven postdoctoral fellows. She is currently on the supervisory teams of 13 PhD and one Masters students and supervises one postdoctoral fellow.