Personal details

Dr Catherine Leigh
Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Institute for Future Environments,
IFE Research Integration Theme,
IFE Intellisensing
Discipline *
Ecological Applications, Environmental Science and Management, Statistics
+61 7 3138 9817
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Identifiers and profiles
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PhD (Griffith University)

Professional memberships
and associations
  1. Secretary, Australian Freshwater Sciences Society (formerly Australian Society for Limnology)
  2. Editorial Board, Freshwater Biology

Community and Quantitative Ecology, Freshwater Ecology, Ecohydrology, Aquatic Invertebrates, Water Quality, Ecosystem Health, Global Change Ecology, Environmental Science and Management, Climate Change, Applied statistics

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Cath is a quantitative community ecologist, scientific communicator and teacher, with a research focus on rivers and reservoirs. Her work seeks to understand ecological responses to natural and human-induced changes in the environment by incorporating population- to ecosystem- level science with state-of-the-art, data-driven analytical approaches, and to find innovative solutions to real world environmental problems. She is currently working on projects to improve water quality monitoring and data-driven modelling for enhanced environmental protection. Her expertise is sought widely across state, national and international levels, spanning government, professional, industry and community organisations. Cath was a key participant in the international Intermittent River Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis project, the ACIAR Improving the Sustainability of Rice-shrimp Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam project, the Australian National Water Commission Low Flows project, and the AusAID River Health and Environmental Flows in China project. She is highly productive and an excellent communicator, having produced over 80 research outputs, including 30+ journal articles, 6 invited book chapters, online databases, and multiple conference proceedings and technical reports. She enjoys convening special sessions and workshops and delivering plenary and keynote presentations at national and international conferences and at public outreach events. Cath served as Guest Editor for the 2016 special issue of the journal Freshwater Biology on intermittent river ecology and management and joined the Editorial Board of Freshwater Biology in 2018. She is the Secretary of Australia’s peak professional body for freshwater scientists and managers, the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society (AFSS), and is the proud recipient of the 2017 AFSS Early Career Excellence Award.

This information has been contributed by Dr Catherine Leigh.


I led the Data Management and Analytical Skills module of the 2019 Honours course STB410 Advance Techniques in Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences in QUT’s School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences. This involved:

  • design and delivery of seminars and active learning activities
  • coordination with course conveyor and instructors
  • design and marking of assessment items.

I was Lecturer at Griffith University’s School of Environment 2016-2018, convening, lecturing and instructing on the following undergraduate courses:

  1. Applied Statistics
  2. Biological Systems
  3. Ecology
  4. Ecology and Conservation of Communities
  5. Emerging Issues in Aquatic Ecology
  6. Rivers and Catchments
  7. Science Capstone: Urban Streams (Supervised Research)
  8. Special Topics (Supervised Research)
  9. Urban Ecology and Biodiversity
  10. Zoology

I have supervised to completion First Class Honours (BSc) student Kurtis Nisbet (Griffith University) undertaking ecological research in addition to three Master students while resident post-doctoral researcher at Irstea, France. I currently mentor several Higher Degree Research candidates at QUT and ACEMS.

This information has been contributed by Dr Catherine Leigh.


My research delivers real world solutions to industry, government and third sectors for environmental, economic and social benefits.

Current partners and projects include:

  • Queensland Department of Environment and Science
  • Healthy Land and Water
  • Anomaly detection in streaming water-quality data
  • Use of water-quality surrogates for sediment and nutrient prediction
  • Uncertainty in pollutant loads prediction

Partners on prior projects include:

  • Seqwater
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
  • Department of Environment and Energy
  • Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)
  • AusAID
  • Australia China Environment Development Partnership
  • International WaterCentre
  • National Water Commission


This information has been contributed by Dr Catherine Leigh.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.


Awards and recognition

Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
Recipient of the 2017 Early Career Excellence Award for the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society, the peak professional body for Australia's freshwater scientists and managers
Editor of a Prestigious Work of Reference
Reference year
Editorial Board member of Q1 Journal Freshwater Biology
Editor of a Prestigious Work of Reference
Reference year
Freshwater Biology Special Issue "Intermittent River Ecology as a Maturing, Multi-Disciplinary Science: Challenges, Developments and Perspectives" (volume 61, issue 8)