Dr Christopher Hallett
BSc, MSc, PGCE, PhD

Research Fellow

About me

Originally from the UK, I am a research fellow working on a multidisciplinary Australian Research Council (ARC) project in the Peel region. My current research focuses on the ecology of estuarine and nearshore marine fish and macroinvertebrate communities, the concept of ecological health, its monitoring and assessment, and the use of ecological indicators for aquatic ecosystem management and reporting.

My qualifications include:
- BSc in Biology (2.1) from the University of Manchester;
- MSc (distinction) in Marine Environmental Protection from the University of Wales, Bangor;
- Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) from Christ Church University College, Canterbury, UK;
- PhD in Marine Biology from Murdoch University.

Teaching area

Although my current role is research-focused, I have previously been engaged in numerous teaching responsibilities at Murdoch University. These have included:

- Lecturer and tutor: TLC 113 (Headstart unit) – Introduction to fieldwork.
- Lecturer and demonstrator: BIO 384 – Marine & Estuarine Biology; ENV 268 - Ecology
- Demonstrator: BIO 157 – Introduction to Australian Biodiversity; BIO 209 – Vertebrate Evolution and Adaptation.

I have also co-supervised (with Dr James Tweedley) a third-year student on an Independent Study Contract entitled ‘The fish fauna of the Vasse-Wonnerup wetland system’.

Research areas

My research centres on the ecology of estuarine and nearshore marine fish and macroinvertebrate communities, the concept of ecological health, its monitoring and assessment, and the use of ecological indicators for aquatic ecosystem management and reporting. Much of my research has a translational focus, harnessing collaborations between scientists and managers to develop quantitative tools for monitoring and reporting ecosystem health.

In addition, my broad research interests include:

- ecological effects of hypoxia and algal blooms;
- the factors affecting the temporal and spatial distributions of organisms;
- introduced aquatic species and their effects;
- approaches to managing and restoring estuaries, wetlands and other ecosystems;
- the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function;
- studies of trophic partitioning among fish;
- multivariate methods for analysing ecological data.

Current projects

Current projects:
Post-doctoral fellow: ARC Linkage Project LP150100451: ‘Balancing estuarine and societal health in a changing environment’. Funded by the Australian Research Council ($856,400).

Principal investigator: ‘Exploring fish communities as a function of estuarine condition’. Funded by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions ($48,000).

Co-investigator: ‘Application of Flowcam to biological monitoring in the Swan Canning Riverpark’. Funded by the Department of Parks and Wildlife ($41,000).
Co-investigator: ‘Monitoring of the fish fauna of the Walpole-Nornalup Inlets Marine Park’. Funded by the Department of Fisheries ($48,000)

 

Previous projects:
Principal investigator:
‘Investigating fish community assemblages as an index of estuarine condition, 2013-2017.’ Funded by the Swan River Trust/Department of Parks and Wildlife ($217,150).

Principal investigator: ‘Monitoring the effects of artificial oxygenation on macroinvertebrate fauna.’ Funded by the Swan River Trust ($73,000).

Co-investigator: ‘Assessing long-term changes in the benthic macroinvertebrate community of the Swan and Canning Rivers’ ($3,000).

Principal investigator: ‘Validation of the fish assemblage-based index of estuarine health and development of a monitoring regime for the Swan-Canning Riverpark.’
Funded by the Swan River Trust and Murdoch University ($150,000).

Co-investigator: ‘Development of biotic indices for establishing and monitoring ecosystem health of the Swan-Canning Estuary.’ Funded by the Swan River Trust, Department of Water, Department of Fisheries ($434,000).

Co-investigator: ‘Relationships between fish faunas and habitat type in south-western Australian estuaries.’ Funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation ($480,000).

Co-investigator: ‘A baseline survey of the fish fauna of the highly eutrophic Vasse and Wonnerup estuaries’.

Awards and grants

2017-present. ‘Monitoring of the fish fauna of the Walpole-Nornalup Inlets Marine Park’ (F. Valesini, C. Hallett, D. Yeoh). Funded by the Department of Primary Industries ($48,000).

2017-present. ‘Exploring fish communities as a function of estuarine condition’ (C. Hallett). Funded by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions ($48,000).

2016-present. ‘Application of Flowcam to biological monitoring in the Swan Canning Riverpark’ (C. Hallett, F. Valesini, N. Moheimani). Funded by the Department of Parks and Wildlife ($41,000).

2013-2017. ‘Investigating fish community assemblages as an index of estuarine condition’ (C. Hallett). Funded by the Swan River Trust/Department of Parks and Wildlife ($217,150).

2012-2015.‘Growing community engagement by growing prawns’. (N. Loneragan, G. Jenkins, C. Hallett). Funded by the WA Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund; Recfishwest; Department of Fisheries.

2011-2012. ‘Validation of the fish assemblage-based index of estuarine health and development of a monitoring regime for the Swan-Canning Riverpark.’ (C. Hallett, F. Valesini). Funded by the Swan River Trust and Murdoch University ($150,000).

2011-2012. ‘Monitoring the effects of artificial oxygenation on macroinvertebrate fauna.’
(C. Hallett, J. Tweedley). Funded by the Swan River Trust ($73,000).

2010. Awarded the 2010 Future Water Leaders award at the 13th International Riversymposium, Perth, WA.

2009. Awarded a Murdoch University International Conference Travel Award.

2007-2010. PhD – C. Hallett.
Awarded an International Postgraduate Research Studentship ($70,000) and a
Western Australian Marine Science Institute (WAMSI) PhD scholarship ($24,000).

2002-2003. MSc – C. Hallett.
Awarded a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Studentship (£7,000)
and NERC overseas fieldwork research grant (£2,500).

Events and speaking engagements

Conference/seminar presentations

2017   Hallett, C.S., Beatty, S.J., Bice, C., Cottingham, A., Earl, J., Ferguson, G., Gleiss, A., Ye, Q., Zampatti, B. (2017). Drivers and symptoms of environmental stress among estuarine fish communities of southern Australia. (ASFB, Albany).

2017   Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Elliott, M. (2017). Lessons for improved monitoring and reporting of estuarine condition across Australia. (AMSA, Darwin).

2015   Hallett, C.S., Tweedley, J.R. Effects of climate change on estuarine fish communities of southwestern Australia. (ASFB, Sydney).

2015   Valesini, F.J., Hallett, C.S., Cottingham, A. Multi-decadal changes in the fish fauna of an extensively modified estuary. (AMSA, Geelong; Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association conference, London, UK).

2014   Hallett, C.S. Assessment, monitoring and reporting of estuarine condition across Australia: A review. (National Estuaries Network, South Australia).

2013  Veale, L.J., Coulson, P., Potter, I.C., Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Hoeksema, S.D. (2013). Shifts in the characteristics of the fish faunas of the Peel-Harvey Estuary in response to anthropogenic and climatic changes. (South West Catchment Council South West Marine Conference 2013, Bunker Bay, Australia).

2012  Valesini, F.J., Coen, N.J., Wildsmith, M.D., Hourston, M., Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S. How important are different habitat characteristics in structuring fish communities in south-western Australian estuaries? (Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association conference, Venice, Italy).

2011 Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J.  How healthy is the Swan-Canning Estuary? Assessing ecological health using fish-based indices. (River Forum, Perth).

2011  Hallett, C.S. Establishing reference conditions for multimetric health indices: the benefits and challenges of historical data sets. (Australian Marine Science Association conference, Fremantle).

2011  Hallett, C.S. and Valesini, F.J. Progress towards fish-based multimetric indices for assessing and monitoring the ecological health of the Swan-Canning Estuary. (National Estuaries Network symposium, Perth).

2010  Hallett, C.S. Assessing the health of estuaries: an Australian perspective (or “How do we catch up?”). (Plenary presentation; Riversymposium, Perth).

2010  Hallett, C.S. and Valesini, F.J. A fish-based Estuarine Health Index for the Swan Estuary, WA. (Riversymposium, Perth).

2010  Hallett, C.S. and Valesini, F.J. Developing a multimetric estuarine health index for the Swan Estuary, Western Australia: An approach for selecting fish community metrics in the absence of independent measures of ecological condition. (Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association conference, Figueira de Foz, Portugal).

2009  Hallett, C.S. and Valesini, F.J. The development of a multimetric index of ecosystem health for the Swan Estuary, Western Australia: Metric selection. (Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation conference, Portland, Oregon, USA). Funded by a Murdoch University International Conference Travel Award.

2009  Hallett, C.S. and Valesini, F.J. The development and validation of an estuarine health index using fish community characteristics. (8th Indo Pacific Fish conference, Fremantle).

2009  Hallett, C.S. Selection of metrics for incorporation into an Estuarine Health Index. (Swan River Trust Research Program Showcase, Perth).

2008  Hallett, C.S. Selection of metrics for establishing an index of estuarine health (AMSA 6th Annual Student conference, Rottnest Island).

2007  Hallett, C.S. Fish as Indicators of Estuarine Health (presented at: Centre for Ecosystem Management Seminar Series, Edith Cowan University; AMSA 5th Annual Student Conference, Rottnest Island; National Estuaries Network Public Forum: ‘Estuary Science for a Changing Climate’, Perth).

Poster presentations

2015   Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Tweedley, J.R. (2015). The Fish Community Index – a simple and robust tool for monitoring and reporting estuarine health. (ASFB, Sydney).

2015   Yeoh, D., Valesini, F.J., Hallett, C.S., Williams, J., Abdo, D. Diel, seasonal and regional variation of fish fauna in the nearshore waters of a south-coast Australian estuary. (ASFB, Sydney).

2015   Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Warwick, R.M., Clarke, K.R., Potter, I.C., Valesini, F.J. Dramatic impacts of storm-induced hypoxia on the benthos of a microtidal estuary. (Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association conference, London, UK).

2014   Yeoh, D., Valesini, F.J., Williams, J., Abdo, D., Hallett, C.S. Tracking movements of three key recreational fish species in a south-western Australian estuary. (Australian Society for Fish Biology/Australian Society for Limnology joint congress, Darwin).

2012  Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J.  Responses of fish-based, estuarine health indices to algal bloom events of differing severity. (Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association conference, Venice, Italy – June 2012).

2011  Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J. An overview of fish-based estuarine health indices developed for the Swan-Canning Riverpark. (River Forum, Perth).

2011  Hallett, C.S. Spatial and temporal variability of multimetric health index scores: implications for management. (Australian Marine Science Association Conference, Fremantle).

2009  Hallett, C.S. and Daley, R.K. Feeding ecology of the southern lanternshark, Etmopterus baxteri, and the brown lanternshark, E. unicolor, from south-eastern Australia (8th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference, Fremantle).

Professional and community service

Invited expert contributor to three topics under the Coasts chapter of the 2016 Australian State of the Environment Report

Invited expert reviewer, South African National Research Foundation (2017-present)

I am co-chair of the international conference of the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (Perth, 2018), and also recently contributed as a member of the organising committee for the 2017 Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB) conference

I am a State representative (WA) on the Australian Society for Fish Biology Executive Council (2017-present)

Murdoch University Animal Ethics Committee member (2012)
Murdoch University Health and Safety representative and First Aid representative (2017-present)
Swan River Trust (SRT) – Technical Advisory Panel and Estuarine Report Cards Working Group member (2011-2012)

I act as a Review Editor (Marine Ecosystem Ecology) for the open access journals Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution and Frontiers in Marine Science. In addition, I have reviewed >35 papers from ca. 20 journals, and several Honours and PhD theses.

Professional society memberships:
Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA; 2011-present)
Australian Society for Fish Biology (ASFB; 2011-present. WA State representative on the Executive Council, 2017-present; Education Committee member, 2015-present)
Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA; 2010-present)
Western Australian Fish Foundation (WAFF) – Board Member (2008-2012)

Doctoral and masters supervisions

PhD
2017-present:
Sorcha Cronin O’Reilly (PhD; co-supervisor): ‘Assessing the ecological condition of the Peel Harvey Estuary’.
Supervisors: Dr Fiona Valesini, Dr Chris Hallett, Prof. Brad Eyre (Southern Cross University, QLD)

2017-present: Bianca Owen (PhD; principal supervisor): ‘Application of Flowcam to biological monitoring in the Swan Canning Riverpark’.
Supervisors: Dr Chris Hallett, Dr Fiona Valesini, Dr Navid Moheimani, Dr Jeff Cosgrove (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA)

2014-present: Daniel Yeoh (PhD; co-supervisor): ‘Ecology and movement patterns of the fish fauna in the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park’.
Supervisors: Dr Fiona Valesini, Dr Chris Hallett, Dr Dave Abdo (Division of Fisheries, WA), Dr Joel Williams (Department of Primary Industries, NSW).

Honours
2017-present:
Oliver Krumholz (Hons; principal supervisor): ‘Long term changes in the spatial and temporal distribution of seagrass and macroalgae in the Peel-Harvey Estuary’.
Supervisors: Dr Chris Hallett, Dr Fiona Valesini, Assoc. Prof. Halina Kobryn

We have many other exciting opportunities for potential PhD, Masters and Honours projects.
If you are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies, please contact me for details at c.hallett@murdoch.edu.au

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications:

Hallett, C.S., Hobday, A., Tweedley, J.R., Thompson, P., McMahon, K., Valesini, F.J. (In press). Observed and predicted impacts of climate change on the estuaries of south-western Australia, a Mediterranean climate region. Regional Environmental Change doi: 10.1007/s10113-017-1264-8

Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Beatty, S. (2017). Baseline survey of the fish fauna of a highly eutrophic estuary and evidence for its recent colonisation by Goldfish (Carassius auratus). International Aquatic Research 9(3): 259-270

Tweedley, J.R., Warwick, R.M., Hallett, C.S., Potter, I.C. (2017). Fish-based indicators of estuarine condition that do not require reference data. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 191: 209–220

Valesini, F.J., Cottingham, A., Hallett, C.S., Clarke, K.R. (2017). Inter-decadal changes in the individual, population and community levels of the fish fauna of an extensively modified estuary. Journal of Fish Biology 90: 1734–1767

Yeoh, D., Valesini, F.J., Hallett, C.S., Abdo, D., Williams, J. (2017). Diel shifts in the structure and function of nearshore estuarine fish communities. Journal of Fish Biology 90: 1214–1243

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Elliott, M. (2016). A review of Australian approaches for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition: I. International context and evaluation criteria. Environmental Science and Policy, 66: 260–269. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2016.07.014

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Scanes, P., Crawford, C., Gillanders, B., Pope, A., Udy, J., Townsend, S., Barton, J., Ye, Q. Maxwell, P., Ross, J., Martin, K., Glasby, T., Maxwell, P. (2016). A review of Australian approaches for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition: II. State and Territory programs. Environmental Science and Policy, 66: 270–281. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2016.07.013

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Elliott, M. (2016). A review of Australian approaches for monitoring, assessing and reporting estuarine condition: III. Evaluation against international best practice and recommendations for the future. Environmental Science and Policy, 66: 282–291. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2016.07.015

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Clarke, K.R., Hoeksema, S.D. (2016). Effects of a harmful algal bloom on the community ecology, movements and spatial distributions of fishes in a microtidal estuary. Hydrobiologia 763: 267-284. doi: 10.1007/s10750-015-2383-1.

Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Warwick, R.M., Clarke, K.R., Potter, I.C. (2016). The hypoxia that developed in a microtidal estuary following an extreme storm produced dramatic changes in the benthos. Marine and Freshwater Research 67(3): 327-341. doi:10.1071/MF14216.

Veale, L., Tweedley, J.R., Clarke, K.R., Hallett, C.S., Potter, I.C. (2014). Characteristics of the ichthyofauna of a temperate microtidal estuary with a reverse salinity gradient, including comparisons between decades. Journal of Fish Biology 85: 1320-1354.

Hallett, C.S. (2014). Quantile-based grading improves the effectiveness of a multimetric index as a tool for communicating estuarine condition. Ecological Indicators 39: 84-87.

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Clarke, K.R., Hesp, S.A., Hoeksema, S.D. (2012). Development and validation of a fish-based, multimetric index for assessing the ecological health of Western Australian estuaries. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 104-105: 102-113.

Hallett, C.S., Hall, N.G. (2012). Equivalence factors for standardising catch data across multiple beach seine nets to account for differences in relative bias. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 104-105: 114-122.

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Clarke, K.R. (2012). A method for selecting health index metrics in the absence of independent measures of ecological condition. Ecological Indicators 19: 240-252.

Hallett, C.S., Daley, R.K. (2011). Feeding ecology of the southern lanternshark (Etmopterus baxteri) and the brown lanternshark (E. unicolor) from south-eastern Australia.  ICES Journal of Marine Science 68 (1): 157-165.

 

Theses, reports and other publications:

Yeoh, D.E., Valesini, F.J., Hallett, C.S., Abdo, D.A., Williams, J. (2017). Ecology and movement patterns of fish fauna in the Walpole and Nornalup Inlets Marine Park. Final report to the Department of Fisheries WA. Murdoch University.

Thomson, C., Kilminster, K., Hallett, C., Hipsey, M., Valesini, F., Trayler, K., Gaughan, D., Summers, R., Syme, G., Seares, P. (2016). Research and information priorities for estuary management in South-west Western Australia: Final Report. Western Australian Institute of Marine Science (WAMSI).

Hallett, C.S., Tweedley, J.R. (2015 and 2014). Assessment of the condition of the Swan-Canning Estuary, based on the Fish Community Indices of estuarine condition. Final report to the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Murdoch University.

Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S. (2014). Evaluating the effects of artificial oxygenation and hypoxia on biota in the Upper Swan Estuary. Final report to the Swan River Trust. Murdoch University.

Hallett, C.S. (2017, 2016, 2013 and 2012). Assessment of the condition of the Swan-Canning Estuary, based on the Fish Community Indices of estuarine condition. Final report to the Department of Parks and Wildlife. Murdoch University.

Hallett, C.S. (2012). Brief report on fish community responses to the Karlodinium veneficum bloom of May 2012, including the response of the Fish Community Index of Estuarine Condition. Final report to the Swan River Trust. Murdoch University.

Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S. (2012). Fish fauna survey provides new insights into the Vasse-Wonnerup Wetland System. Wetlands Australia: National Wetlands Update, Issue 21, pp 34-35.

Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Chambers, J.M. (2012). A baseline survey of the fish fauna of the highly eutrophic Vasse and Wonnerup estuaries. Report to the Southwest Catchments Council. Murdoch University.

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J. (2012). Validation of the fish assemblage-based index of estuarine health and development of a monitoring regime for the Swan-Canning Riverpark. Final Report to the Swan River Trust. Murdoch University.

Valesini, F.J., Hallett, C.S., Cottingham, A., Hesp, S.A., Hoeksema, S.D., Hall, N.G., Linke, T.E., Buckland, A.J. (2011). Development of biotic indices for establishing and monitoring ecosystem health of the Swan-Canning Estuary. Final Report to the Swan River Trust, Department of Water, Department of Fisheries. Murdoch University.

Aquenal Pty Ltd. (2011). DomGas Marine Baseline Survey Dry and Wet Season Report: Demersal Fish Assemblages Characterising Mangrove Communities. Prepared for Chevron Australia.

Hallett, C.S. (2010). The development and validation of an estuarine health index using fish community characteristics (PhD thesis, Murdoch University).

Valesini, F.J., Coen, N.J., Wildsmith, M.D., Hourston, M., Tweedley, J.R., Hallett, C.S., Linke, T.E., Potter, I.C. (2009). Relationships between fish faunas and habitat type in south-western Australian estuaries. FRDC Project 2004/045 Final Report. Murdoch University.

Hallett, C.S., Valesini, F.J., Potter, I.C. (2007). Fish community characteristics as indicators of estuarine health: Discussion paper. Swan River Trust, East Perth.

Hallett, C.S. (2003). The diet of Etmopterus baxteri and E. sp. B from waters off Tasmania (M.Sc. thesis, University of Wales, Bangor).

Hallett, C.S. (2001). Effects of light wavelength on metamorph fitness of the leaf frog Phyllomedusa lemur (B.Sc. thesis, University of Manchester).