Staff profile - Rebecca Lester

Staff image

Dr Rebecca Lester

Position: Senior Lecturer
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Science Engineering & Built Environment
Department: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Campus: Warrnambool Campus
Phone: +61 3 55633330 +61 3 55633330



  • 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.


Research projects

- 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



Lester, RE & Fairweather, PG (2011) Ecosystem states: Creating a data-derived, ecosystem-scale ecological response model that is explicit in space & time Ecological Modelling 222, 2690-2703

Fairweather, PG & Lester RE (2010) Predicting future ecological degradation based on modelled thresholds Marine Ecology Progress Series 413, 291–304

Kingsford, RT, Walker, KF, Lester, RE, Fairweather, PG, Sammut, J & Geddes, MC (2011) Solving an engineered crisis in a Ramsar wetland: the Coorong, Lower Lakes & Murray Mouth, Australia Marine and Freshwater Research 62, 255–265

Lester, RE, Wright, W & Jones-Lennon, M (2007) Does adding wood to agricultural streams enhance biodiversity? An experimental approach Marine and Freshwater Research 58, 687–698

Higgins, AJ, Bryan, BA, Overton, IC, Holland, K, Lester, RE, King, D, Nolan, M & Connor, JD (2011) Integrated modelling of cost-effective siting & operation of flow-control infrastructure for river ecosystem conservation Water Resources Research 47, W05519

Link to publications

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