Category Archives: Faces

Freshwater fish ecology network.


Kate Burndred

A childhood where my Barbie dream holiday pool became an engineered ‘wetland’ to house bugs I collected from the pool filter… well, maybe I hoarded them in there and then harvested them…?

Lazing the days away camped on the Murray, trying to rehabilitate undersized bycatch in little slackwater microcosms… all the while the voice of David Attenborough narrating my playtime.

Fast forward to uni where I was singled out by the late and great Keith Walker – he genuinely re-ignited my curiosity for all things freshwater. He was an incredible mentor, providing consistent support, thought provoking guidance… and an endless string of classic tips for day-to-day ‘scholarly success’. I stuck with him, and ended up with honours in freshwater fish ecology.

I ran away OS for a while, and then scored a job back home with MDFRC. I worked at the local pub as well… so maybe my employment was a strategic choice…

The MDFRC crew further inspired my fascination for native fish, particularly, the teeny tinyness of larvae. More importantly, they taught me that fieldwork could be fun beyond uni, sometimes dangerously so!

Alas, after growing up, studying and working alongside the MDB for what felt like an eternity my spirit was waning. The millennium drought was dire: the darling was dry, the old cod were carking it, an old bloke cradled his gun whilst discussing the generational impacts of poor water management decisions… aaaand I bailed.

I wanted to see if the tropical grass was greener… what was this clear, flowing water that people spoke of? Where fish could frolic freely?! So I landed myself a sweet job as an Aquatic Ecologist in sunny Mackay. Ten years and tens of thousands of kilometres of fieldwork later, the novelty of studying cool stuff in clear, flowing coastal catchments has yet to wear off.

BUT my love for native fish in the bush country still reigns. That’s where my heart is. One day I hope to be out there teaching folk that little fish aren’t just baby big ones, and trying to spark a reason for them to care.

Garry Ogston

Garry Ogston

Garry Ogston has completed his Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours and currently works as an Environmental Advisor (Zoologist) within the Perth metropolitan area and in the Pilbara. For his achievements during his undergraduate degree, Garry was presented with the Student Medal by the Royal Society of Western Australia. His interest in freshwater management and ecology was peaked during his degree when performing tasks such as testing for pollutants entering the Canning River through drainage systems. Following on from his Honours research Garry is now hoping to pursue a PhD focusing on using environmental flows to buffer the impacts of climate change on freshwater fishes of south-western Australia.


Dale McNeil

Dr Dale McNeil (Picture by David Thorpe) thought he was going to be a footballer and that didn’t pan out.  Then he got keen on a girl who was doing Zoology so he enrolled too. Then he developed an acute fear of having to leave university which lead him to undertake a drawn out nine year post-graduate epic during which he ruined his liver, lost his hearing playing too much rock’n’roll and grew his hair really big.  Now, he has gotten fat, had children, cut his hair and settled down with the Murray Local Land Services in Deniliquin, NSW where he is the Strategic Planner. In between all of this he looked into fish quite a bit. He wishes he could talk all day about swamp yabbies and play banjo with people.  Maybe you do to?



DanielStoessel and Bluenose_codLowResn

Daniel Stoessel

I grew up in rural NSW, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, camping and fishing along the northern tributary rivers of the Murray-Darling Basin. My interest in fish ecology was triggered by this close association with the river, and in particular by my maternal grandfather, a keen fisherman himself, who would often relay stories of the decline in the health of rivers and native freshwater fish he had witnessed over his life. This triggered a life-time interest in fish ecology, and a desire to play some small part in conserving and improving the status of native fish species for the next generation.  Starting as a technical assistant in 1999 for the then Victorian Natural Resources and Environment, I now work as a Scientist (Fish Ecologist) for the Arthur Rylah Institute in Victoria.

[email protected]


Rob Rolls

Rob became interested in the river ecosystems by observing patterns in movement and dynamics of Galaxias populations in an ephemeral creek during seasonal droughts in Tasmania. Twenty+ years later, he dabbles around studying effects of flow regime alteration, environmental flows, habitat fragmentation, and climate change on freshwater communities. Rob is an unremarkable angler, and as a consequence, now specialises in chasing records for smallest fish (as opposed to large) which has proven to be successful.

Mark Lintermans

Mark Lintermans (Linto)

Mark Lintermans was born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, back when God was a boy. He hasn’t always been a fisho, starting out with a burning desire to be a naturalist and inspired by pioneers of Australian natural history like Harry Butler. He spent his childhood snorkelling in Westernport Bay chasing leatherjackets with a home-made spear (a broom handle, a 4 inch nail, and a strip of car tubing for propulsion), but didn’t do a lot of damage. After enrolling in a BSc at Monash Uni he met Sam Lake, missed out on an honours slot with him, and instead did an honours thesis on the dietary ecology of the brushtailed possum (after a brief flirtation with a project on nipple number in Antechinus). He moved to Canberra in 1982 and decided that working in streams in the middle of summer was pretty cool (literally) and so fish was it. Linto did a Masters on the ecology of the newly-described Two-spined blackfish (it took 10 years), and loves the fish of the high country, particularly Maccas and blackfish. He now works at the Institute for Applied Ecology at the Uni of Canberra. Linto has an undying love of the early music of AC\DC (only the Bon Scott era), the Collingwood Magpies, and collects rusty axes and other pioneer tools.

chris Keogh cod

Chris Keogh

I’m an outdoors lover who is particularly fond of what some anglers up here in Cairns might call the ‘Darkside’: Freshwater Fish. I grew up just south of Canberra on a property and then made the unplanned journey up to Cairns three years ago to study Zoology and Ecology at JCU, with the intention of focusing on freshwater ecology. I travel home regularly to Canberra where I visit my rock, my driving force for my studies, my motivation, the iconic and inarguably greatest species of all time, the Murray cod.

Once in Cairns, a passion and love for the mountain dwelling, perennial stream species Jungle Perch developed. My interest in the species through both, fishing and science got me asking questions about these truly amazing perennial ecosystems and the movement of fish within them. I hope to now pursue a career studying these ecosystems and have input into the conservation of Northern freshwater species.

[email protected]

James Donaldson Marlin_crop

James Donaldson

I grew up fishing for and snorkelling with Bass in Sydney’s best keep secret and one of the most picturesque rivers in NSW, the Colo River (don’t tell your jet ski mates about it!). I also spent plenty of time mucking around with Euastacus in the creek at the back of our house in the Blue Mountains. The next logical step in pursuing these passions as far as I could figure was to head to UNSW to study landscape architecture. However, after a gap year I figured that didn’t make much sense and I went to Canberra to study Science.

Following my honours research on cling gobies in the Wet Tropics, I have been lucky enough to have had a job up here in the tropics for the last couple of years with the editor of the Lair. Unbelievably I have found myself up here working on those cool tropical freshwater species in Allen’s field guide that I dreamt about as a kid.




Braeden Wade Lampard

Braeden Wade Lampard

I was born and bred in Mildura Victoria so from an early age I spent all my time down on the Murray with my family and friends, either fishing, skiing, or generally doing a whole lot of nothing. Since growing up nothing has changed, I’m still doing the same things with the same people and loving it. So with this love and passion I always knew I wanted to explore and learn more about the big picture of the Murray-Darling Basin, and has led to studying via a diploma in conservation and land management at the local Tafe. This provided an opportunity for me to gain employment at the Murray Darling Fresh Water Research Centre located in Mildura, and I haven’t looked back with my knowledge and understanding of ecology growing every day. I have always had a basic understanding of the Murray but now working in the science industry things are starting to click. During my time at MDFRC I have worked on projects covering Fish biology/ecology, Lowland river and wetland ecology and Lateral Fish Movement (just to name a few). I never knew I could love science as much as I do and every day is an amazing experience for me as science is a great adventure. Every day you see new and exciting things and because of that I do not and have not seen this industry as a job, I see it as a hobby. I believe the work that I do also provides a better future for my children so they can enjoy the System like I do and will keep doing.


Braeden works at the MDFRC laboratory in Mildura

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M 0432656835 │W

Scotte Wedderburn cliffs (2)cropped

Dr Scotte Wedderburn, River Ecologist

In my mid-20s, after several years of ‘wastin’ my days on a factory floor’, the realisation came to me that I should be an ecologist. I studied a few year 12 subjects at an adult high school, and gained entry into university. I was focusing on studying fish in the lower River Murray by the start of my second year as an undergraduate – an interest probably triggered by numerous family holidays camping on the river bank. Thanks to the support of several key people, including my wife Julie, former PhD supervisor Keith Walker and good friend Michael Hammer, I currently find myself working (not that I consider it ‘work’) mostly on the ecology of threatened fishes in the lower River Murray, Lower Lakes and Coorong. I find the end of the river a very interesting region to study because of the diversity of habitats (the Coorong is awesome), fish and other biota, and its Ngarrindjeri connections. Secretly, it is also because of its close proximity to the south coast, where you often can catch some therapeutic waves.

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