Chad Hewitt  from Murdoch University in Perth Australia.

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    Professor Chad Hewitt
    AB Biology and Fine Arts (UC Berkeley); PhD Biology (UOregon)

    Director, Biosecurity Research Centre

    About me

    My research portfolio revolves around the role humans’ play in changing the natural world, particularly in marine systems, and how natural science can influence management and policy. My research has primarily focused on how humans have transferred species around the globe, the consequences of those movements in ecological and evolutionary contexts, and the ways that we can predict, prevent and/or mitigate the impacts of these novel species.

    My background is in marine ecology, with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, Berkeley (USA) in both Biology and Fine Arts, and a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Oregon (USA). I held one of the US Department of Energy Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowships which I undertook at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

    I have worked in academic, government and research sectors. My academic experience includes Director of Centres, Head of School (Science), Dean (Science and Engineering), and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at various Universities in Australia and New Zealand. I am currently responsible for the development of a Biosecurity Research Centre and providing coordination of Defence Research opportunities at Murdoch University.

    I was the Chief Technical Officer – Marine Biosecurity for the New Zealand Government between 2003 and 2005, responsible for the management and implementation of the biosecurity system in the New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone. I was the NZ Head of Delegation to the International Convention on the Management and Control of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments.

    I originally immigrated to Australasia to take up a role at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as Leader of the Invasion Processes Group at the Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests (CRIMP) in 1996. My group undertook the first comprehensive study of modern and historical invasions in the Southern Hemisphere, and established the National Port Baseline Survey Programme to determine the scale and scope of marine invasions in Australia. The protocols developed for this programme have now been adopted by national governments, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies across the globe.

    I continue to provide advice to governments on biosecurity and quarantine frameworks and have participated in capacity building activities for ocean governance and biosecurity frameworks with small island states and other developing countries throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. I am a Lead Author in the Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) assessments for the Asia-Pacific Regional assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and for the upcoming Invasive Alien Species global assessment. I am also a Contributing Author for the UN World Ocean Assessment II under the Regular Process. I was a member of the Eminent Scientists Group for the Australian Government providing oversight of Import Risk Assessments and continues as a long-standing member of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group.

    Research areas

    My research portfolio revolves around the role humans play in changing the natural world, particularly in marine ecosystems, and how science can influence management and policy to create effective interventions. I have primarily focussed on human mediated transfers of species in the marine environment, specifically macrobiota across all phyla.

    I am interested in:

    • the biology of invaders comparing native and introduced environments to examine adaptations and highlight traits that lead to invasion success;
    • the biogeography of global marine invasions, including the development of shared datasets;
    • survey and surveillance techniques to rapidly detect invaders;
    • the ecology of invaders to determine environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts;
    • the linkages of species to transport mechanisms (eg ballast water, biofouling, aquaculture, marine debris), examining traits that facilitate invasion and identifying appropriate interventions for prevention;
    • develop risk based frameworks to aid in biosecurity decision making, taking into account environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts;
    • understanding marine and coastal values and their spatial distribution to aid in response;
    • development of biosecurity frameworks at national and regional scales.

    Recently I have also collaborated on understanding marine debris and beach litter distributions and their impacts on values including human health.



    • Campbell, M., Peters, L., McMains, C., Cruz Rodrigues de Campos, M., Sargisson, R., Blackwell, B., Hewitt, C., (2019), Are our beaches safe? Quantifying the human health impact of anthropogenic beach litter on people in New Zealand., Science of the Total Environment, 651, , pages 2400 - 2409.
    • Campbell, M., Hewitt, C., (2018), Which Values Do Non-Native Marine Species Affect? A Case-Study Exploration of Perceived Values at Threat in Micronesia, Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, , pages 247 -.
    • Campbell, M., Leonard, K., Primo, C., Hewitt, C., (2018), Marine biosecurity crisis decision-making: two tools to aid "go" / "no go" decision-making., Frontiers in Marine Science, 5, SEP, pages 331 -.