Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env. Sciences


Warrnambool Campus


Bachelor of Science, University of Melbourne, 2001
Bachelor of Engineering, University of Melbourne, 2001
Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University, 2007
Graduate Certificate of Higher Education, Deakin University, 2012


Career highlights

- Lecturer, Freshwater Biology, Deakin University
- Research Scientist, CSIRO Land and Water
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Flinders University


- Australian Society for Limnology

- Ecological Society of Australia

- Australian Marine Sciences Association

- Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand

Teaching interests

- Freshwater biology
- Aquatic ecology
- Hydrology

Knowledge areas

I have expertise in freshwater, estuarine and coastal ecosystems. My PhD research investigated stream restoration techniques on farms, which was followed by post-doctoral research developing ecological response models and environmental water requirements for the Coorong and Lower Murray Lakes, and contributing to the Murray-Darling Basin Planning process.  My research interests include ecosystem ecology, particularly in aquatic ecosystems, ecological restoration and science-based natural resource management, with an emphasis on applied techniques suitable for use outside conservation reserves and large spatial scales.  In particular, I am interested in the function and structure of ecosystems and in the development of management strategies that incorporate good ecological outcomes with human activities.


- Ecological responses in the Coorong and Lower Lakes

- Predicting ecological response to climate change using space-for-time substition across domains

- Testing the scientific foundations of a method to identify threatened ecosystems

- Use of anthropogenic storages by fish, macroinvertebrates & frogs in southwest Victoria


Filter by


Assessing the impact of drought and forestry on streamflows in south-eastern Australia using a physically based hydrological model

Mr Stuart Brown, Dr Vincent Versace, Dr Rebecca Lester, M. Todd Walter

(2015), Vol. 74, pp. 6047-6063, Environmental earth sciences, Berlin, Germany, C1


Potential for water-resource infrastructure to act as refuge habitat

Mr Bryce Halliday, Dr Ty Matthews, Dr Dion Iervasi, Mr David Dodemaide, Mr Pat Pickett, Mr Matthew Linn, Ashley Burns, Ian Bali, Dr Rebecca Lester

(2015), Vol. 84, pp. 136-148, Ecological engineering, Amsterdam ,The Netherlands, C1


Limitations to the feasibility of using hypolimnetic releases to create refuges for riverine species in response to stream warming

Dr Ty Matthews, Dr Rebecca Lester, Miss Courtney Cummings, Miss Agnes Lautenschlager

(2015), Vol. 54, pp. 331-339, Environmental science and policy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1


Hydrologic landscape regionalisation using deductive classification and random forests

Mr Stuart Brown, Dr Rebecca Lester, Dr Vincent Versace, Jonathon Fawcett, A/Prof Laurie Laurenson

(2014), Vol. 9, pp. 1-20, PLoS One, San Francisco, Calif., C1


Predicting the likely response of data-poor ecosystems to climate change using space-for-time substitution across domains

Dr Rebecca Lester, A/Prof Paul Close, Dr Jan Barton, Dr Adam Pope, Mr Stuart Brown

(2014), Vol. 20, pp. 3471-3481, Global change biology, Chichester, England, C1


Storm versus calm : Variation in fauna associated with drifting macrophytes in sandy beach surf zones

Mr Ryan Baring, Prof Peter Fairweather, Dr Rebecca Lester

(2014), Vol. 461, pp. 397-406, Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Amsterdam , Netherlands, C1


Population genetic structure of the Australian caddisfly Lectrides varians Mosely (Trichoptera: Leptoceridae) and the identification of cryptic species in south-eastern Australia

S. J. Wickson, Edwin T. Chester, I Valenzuela, Mr Bryce Halliday, Dr Rebecca Lester, Dr Ty Matthews, Dr Adam Miller

(2014), Vol. 18, pp. 1037-1046, Journal of insect conservation, Berlin, Germany, C1


Understanding the sources of uncertainty to reduce the risks of undesirable outcomes in large-scale freshwater ecosystem restoration projects: an example from the Murray–Darling Basin, Australia

R H Bark, L JM Peeters, Dr Rebecca Lester, C A Pollino, N D Crossman, J M Kandulu

(2013), Vol. 33, pp. 97-108, Environmental science and policy, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1


Ecohydrological and socioeconomic integration for the operational management of environmental flows

B. A. Bryan, A. J. Higgins, I. C. Overton, K. Holland, Dr Rebecca Lester, D. King, M. Nolan, D Hatton-MacDonald, J. D. Connor, T Bjornsson, M Kirby

(2013), Vol. 23, pp. 999-1016, Ecological applications, Washington, D. C., C1


Scientific foundations for an IUCN red list of ecosystems

David A. Keith, Jon Paul Rodriguez, Kathryn M Rodriguez-Clark, Dr Emily Nicholson, Kaisu Aapala, Alfonso Alonso, Marianne Asmussen, Steven Bachman, Alberto Basset, Edmund G Barrow, John S Benson, Melanie J. Bishop, Ronald Bonifacio, Thomas M Brooks, Mark Burgman, Patrick Comer, Francisco A Comin, Franz Essl, Don Faber-Langendoen, Prof Peter Fairweather, Robert J Holdaway, Michael Jennings, Richard T Kingsford, Dr Rebecca Lester, Dr Ralph MacNally, Michael A. Mccarthy, Justin Moat, Maria A Oliveira-Miranda, Phil Pisanu, Brigitte Poulin, Dr Tracey Regan, Uwe Riecken, Mark D Spalding, Sergio Zambrano-Martinez

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-25, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1


Scenarios involving future climate and water extraction: ecosystem states in the estuary of Australia's largest river

Dr Rebecca Lester, Prof Peter Fairweather, Ian T. Webster, Rebecca A Quin

(2013), Vol. 23, pp. 984-998, Ecological applications, Washington, D. C., C1


Novel methods for managing freshwater refuges against climate change in southern Australia. Final Report. National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility

Dr Ed Chester, Mark Allen, Stephen Beatty, Jane M Chambers, A/Prof Paul Close, Barbara Cooke, Ms Courtney Cummings, Peter M Davies, Dr Rebecca Lester, Alan Lymbery, Dr Ty Matthews, David Morgan, Melanie Stock

(2013), Perth, W.A., A1-1


A Ramsar wetland in crisis the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth, Australia

Richard T Kingsford, Keith F. Walker, Dr Rebecca Lester, William J. Young, Prof Peter Fairweather, Jesmond Sammut, Michael C. Geddes

(2011), Vol. 62, pp. 255-265, Marine and freshwater research, Collingwood, Vic., C1-1


Linking water-resource models to ecosystem-response models to guide water-resource planning -- an example from the Murray--Darling Basin, Australia

Dr Rebecca Lester, Ian T. Webster, Prof Peter Fairweather, William J. Young

(2011), Vol. 62, pp. 279-289, Marine and freshwater research, Collingwood, Vic., C1-1


Integrated modelling of cost-effective siting and operation of flow-control infrastructure for river ecosystem conservation

A. J. Higgins, B. A. Bryan, I. C. Overton, K. Holland, Dr Rebecca Lester, D. King, M. Nolan, J. D. Connor

(2011), Vol. 47, pp. 1-14, Water resources research, Washington, D. C., C1-1


Ecosystem states : creating a data-derived, ecosystem-scale ecological response model that is explicit in space and time

Dr Rebecca Lester, Prof Peter Fairweather

(2011), Vol. 222, pp. 2690-2703, Ecological modelling, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1-1


Improving ecological outcomes by refining decision support tools : a case study using the Murray Flow assessment tool and the sustainable rivers audit

Dr Rebecca Lester, C A Pollino, Ms Courtney Cummings

(2011), pp. 2458-2464, MODSIM 2011 : Sustaining our future, understanding and living with incertainty Proceedings of the 19th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation, Perth, W. A., E1-1


Ecosystem response modelling of the Murray Mouth and Coorong lagoons

Dr Rebecca Lester, Prof Peter Fairweather

(2010), pp. 373-390, Ecosystem response modelling in the Murray-Darling basin, Collingwood, Vic, B1-1


Predicting future ecological degradation based on modelled thresholds

Prof Peter Fairweather, Dr Rebecca Lester

(2010), Vol. 413, pp. 291-304, Marine ecology progress series, Oldendorf, Germany, C1-1


Overcoming data constraints to create meaningful ecological models

Dr Rebecca Lester, Prof Peter Fairweather

(2010), pp. 1-9, IEMSS 2010 : Modelling for environment's sake : Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software, Ottawa, Ontario, E1-1


Reintroducing wood to streams in agricultural landscapes : changes in velocity profile, stage and erosion rates

Dr Rebecca Lester, Wendy Wright

(2009), Vol. 25, pp. 376-392, River research and applications, Malden, Mass., C1-1


Modelling future conditions in the degraded semi-arid estuary of Australia’s largest river using ecosystem states

Dr Rebecca Lester, Prof Peter Fairweather

(2009), Vol. 85, pp. 1-11, Estuarine coastal and shelf science, New York, N.Y., C1-1


Large versus small wood in streams : the effect of wood dimension on macroinvertebrate communities

Dr Rebecca Lester, Wendy Wright, Michelle Jones-Lennon, Phil Rayment

(2009), Vol. 174, pp. 339-351, Fundamental and applied limnology, Stuttgart, Germany, C1-1


Rehabilitating agricultural streams in Australia with wood : a review

Dr Rebecca Lester, Andrew J. Boulton

(2008), Vol. 42, pp. 310-326, Environmental management, New York, N.Y., C1-1


Does adding wood to agricultural streams enhance biodiversity? An experimental approach

Dr Rebecca Lester, Wendy Wright, Michelle Jones-Lennon

(2007), Vol. 58, pp. 687-698, Marine and freshwater research, Collingwood, Vic., C1-1


Determining target loads of large and small wood for stream rehabilitation in high-rainfall agricultural regions of Victoria, Australia

Dr Rebecca Lester, Wendy Wright, Michelle Jones-Lennon

(2006), Vol. 21, pp. 71-78, Ecological engineering, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1-1