School of Chemical Engineering

Biography

Alice graduated with first class Honours in a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering from Griffith University in 2012. She commenced her PhD in 2016 within the School of Chemical Engineering under the guidance of Associate Professor Kate O’Brien, Dr Dave Callaghan and Dr Megan Saunders. Her research focuses on quantifying the extent to which seagrass can protect coastlines through physical processes such as erosion and wave attenuation. The outcomes of this research extend the knowledge of seagrass contributions to coastal protection and provides new quantification of the value of seagrass as a nature-based coastal defence.

Research Project

Title: Optimising Seagrass for Coastal Defence

Advisors: Associate Professor Kate O’Brien, Dr Dave Callaghan, Dr Megan Saunders

Brief Summary of project:

Coastal defence infrastructure such as seawalls and groynes reduce erosion but are very expensive and often shift the problem elsewhere. Seagrass meadows provide numerous ecosystem services including coastal protection and are often referred to as ‘green infrastructure’ due to their contribution to reducing beach erosion. This ecosystem service however, has not been monetarily quantified. My research aims to quantify such ecosystem services through modelling and field work as well as outline the limitations of seagrass for coastal protection. My goal is to establish a more comprehensive understanding of the beneficial opportunities provided by seagrass for nature-based coastal defence. If we can quantify the extent to which seagrass protects our coastline, we can monetarily evaluate the ecosystem service seagrass provides and move from grey to green infrastructure solutions.

Research Skills

  • Nature-based coastal defence
  • Environmental engineering
  • Quantifying ecosystem services
  • Field work and modelling (MATLAB, R, SWAN)

Achievement Highlights

Best Poster Presentation, ‘Water & Health’, UQ Postgraduate Conference – June 2018

Three Minute Thesis People’s Choice Award (Chemical Engineering) – July 2017

Moreton Bay Marine Station in partnership with Sibelco Australia Research Scholarship – October 2016

Moreton Bay Research Station, Research Scholarship – September 2016

APA & Chemical Engineering Top-Up Scholarship – January 2016

PhD Student

Room: 449

Building: General Purpose South (78)

p: +61 7 3365 8396

e: a.twomey@uq.edu.au