Profile image of Prue Francis

Dr Prue Francis



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env Sciences


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

+61 3 556 33026


Prue is a Senior Lecturer in Marine Science and Professional Practice in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences and the Course Director of the Bachelor of Marine Science at Deakin University.  

My marine education background and expertise translates into my research interest focusing on the extent to which ocean literacy is being taught in schools across Australia and exploring innovative methods to promote ocean literacy through research, education and engagement. I actively promote ocean literacy through regular appearances on radio and I have recently co-authored a children’s book called The Great Southern Reef (by Paul Venzo, Prue Francis; illustrated by Cate James). I also have a research interest in the growing seaweed industry in Australia, where I am utilising the state-of-the-art flow-through seawater aquarium systems at Deakin’s Queenscliff Marine Science Centre to explore optimisation of cultivation techniques for local seaweed species for farming and restoration purposes.

Read more on Prue's profile

Career highlights

2023/24 STA's Superstar of STEM 

2022 School of Life and Environmental Sciences Award for Community Partnerships

2022 School of Life and Environmental Sciences Award for Empowering learners for jobs, and skills (co-recipient with Sharon La Fontaine and Anthony Rendall)

2022 School of Life and Environmental Sciences Commendation for Communication / Community engagement

2021 Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy

2020 Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment Teaching and Learning Award

2017 School of Life and Environmental Sciences Teaching Award for Excellence in Learning

2016 School of Life and Environmental Sciences Teaching Award for Excellence in Learning

Research interests

Improving ocean literacy in education

Seaweed cultivation techniques

Enhancing employability outcomes in Higher Education


Centre for Marine Science, Deakin Marine

Units taught


SLE107 Marine Environments 

SLE301 Professional Practice 

Knowledge areas

Ocean literacy

Marine education

STEM education


Seaweed biology and ecology

Seaweed cultivation


Filter by


Upscaling marine forest restoration: challenges, solutions and recommendations from the Green Gravel Action Group

Georgina Wood, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Melinda Coleman, Jurgen Valckenaere, J Aguirre, Paige Bentley, Paul Carnell, Phoebe Dawkins, Lauren Dykman, Hannah Earp, Leeann Ennis, Prue Francis, João Franco, Hilary Hayford, Joleah Lamb, Scott Ling, Cayne Layton, Ella Lis, Beau Masters, Nicole Miller, Pippa Moore, Chris Neufeld, Jacqueline Pocklington, Dan Smale, Florian Stahl, Samuel Starko, S Steel, Jan Verbeek, Adriana Vergés, Catherine Wilding, Thomas Wernberg

(2024), Vol. 11, pp. 1-15, Frontiers in Marine Science, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Diving into a sea of knowledge: empowering teachers to enhance ocean literacy in primary schools through an ocean education training program

C Freitas, P Venzo, A Bellgrove, P Francis

(2024), Environmental Education Research, C1-1

journal article

Adopting Ocean-Themed Picture Books to Promote Ocean Literacy in Primary Education

Cátia Freitas, Prue Francis, Alecia Bellgrove, Paul Venzo

(2023), pp. 1-16, Children's Literature in Education, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal article

Fostering ocean literacy through informal marine education programs

Madi O'Brien, Cátia Freitas, Paul Venzo, Prue Francis

(2023), Vol. 193, pp. 115208-115208, Marine Pollution Bulletin, England, C1

journal article

The Kelp Forest �Challenge: A collaborative global movement to protect and restore 4 million hectares of kelp forests

Aaron Eger, J Aguirre, María Altamirano, Nur Arafeh-Dalmau, Nina Arroyo, Anne Bauer-Civiello, Rodrigo Beas-Luna, Trine Bekkby, Scott Bennett, Blanca Bernal, Caitlin Blain, Jordi Boada, Simon Branigan, Jasmine Bursic, Bruno Cevallos, ChangGeun Choi, Sean Connell, Christopher Edward, Hannah Earp, Norah Eddy, Aaron Matthius, Lee-Ann Ennis, Annalisa Falace, Ana Ferreira, Karen Filbee-Dexter, Hunter Forbes, Prue Francis, Joao Franco, Karen Geisler, Anita Giraldo-Ospina, Alejandra Gonzalez, Swati Hingorani, Rietta Hohman, Ljiljana Iveša, Sara Kaleb, John Keane, Sophie Koch, Kira Krumhansl, Lydia Ladah, Dallas Lafont, Cayne Layton, Duong Le, Lynn Lee, Scott Ling, Steve Lonhart, Luis Malpica-Cruz, Luisa Mangialajo, Amy McConnell, Tristin McHugh, Fiorenza Micheli, Kelsey Miller, Margalida Monserrat, Juan Montes-Herrera, Bernabé Moreno, Christopher Neufeld, Shane Orchard, Betsy Peabody, Ohad Peleg, Albert Pessarrodona, Jacqueline Pocklington, Simon Reeves, Aurora Ricart, Finnley Ross, Federica Schanz, Maria Schreider, Mohammad Sedarat, Shannen Smith, Samuel Starko, Elisabeth Strain, Laura Tamburello, Brian Timmer, Jodie Toft, Roberto Uribe, Sander van den Burg, Julio Vásquez, Reina Veenhof, Thomas Wernberg, Georgina Wood, José Zepeda-Domínguez, Adriana Vergès

(2023), pp. 1-14, Journal of Applied Phycology, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Seaweed and Seaweed-Based Functional Metabolites as Potential Modulators of Growth, Immune and Antioxidant Responses, and Gut Microbiota in Fish

Muhammad Siddik, Prue Francis, Md Rohani, Mohammed Azam, Thomas Mock, David Francis

(2023), Vol. 12, pp. 1-34, Antioxidants, Basel, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Aesthetic surprises and considerations when researching marine science education with art

S Hannigan, C Freitas, P Francis

(2023), Vol. 8, pp. 1-17, Frontiers in Education, Lausanne, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Towards a 2025 National Ocean Literacy Strategy: Current Status and Future Needs in Primary Education

C Freitas, A Bellgrove, P Venzo, P Francis

(2022), Vol. 9, Frontiers in Marine Science, C1

journal article

The Great Southern Reef

Paul Venzo, Prue Francis

(2022), Clayton South, Vic., JO3

Non-Traditional Research Output

Riding the COVID-19 wave: Online learning activities for a field based marine science unit

Prudence Francis

(2021), pp. 393-405, COVID-19 and Education: Learning and Teaching in a Pandemic-Constrained Environment, Santa Rosa, Calif., B1

book chapter

Reading over and under the waves: A study of ocean picture books for children

P Francis, P Venzo, A Bellgrove

(2021), Vol. 37, pp. 167-186, Australian Journal of Environmental Education, C1

journal article

Whose eggs are these? Gender in ocean-themed picture books

Paul Venzo, Lara Hedberg, Prue Francis

(2021), Vol. 4, pp. 115-133, Journal of Science and Popular Culture, Bristol, Eng., C1

journal article

Educate to keep it great: The long-term successes of a virtual Great Barrier Reef education program

P Francis, J Spencer, C McGrogan

(2020), Vol. 3, Journal of STEM Outreach, Nashville, Tenn., C1

journal article

Stewards of Swan Bay: Curriculum diversity in place-based environmental science education

Julianne Lynch, Nicole Sadler, Prudence Francis, Ty Matthews, Julie Mondon, Alecia Bellgrove

(2020), pp. 1-10, AERA 2020 : The power and possibilities for the public good: When researchers and organizational stakeholders collaborate : Proceedings of the 2020 American Educational Research Association Meeting, Online from San Francisco, California, E1


Restoring rocky intertidal communities: lessons from a benthic macroalgal ecosystem engineer

A Bellgrove, P McKenzie, H Cameron, J Pocklington

(2017), Vol. 117, pp. 17-27, Marine pollution bulletin, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Restoration of the habitat-forming fucoid alga Hormosira banksii at effluent-affected sites : competitive exclusion by coralline turfs

A Bellgrove, P McKenzie, J McKenzie, B Sfiligoj

(2010), Vol. 419, pp. 47-56, Marine ecology - progress series, Oldendorf, Germany, C1

journal article

Dislodgment and attachment strength of the intertidal macroalga Hormosira banksii (Fucales, Phaeophyceae)

P McKenzie, A Bellgrove

(2009), Vol. 48, pp. 335-343, Phycologia, Lawrence, Kan., C1

journal article

Dispersal of Hormosira banksii (phaeophyceae) via detached fragments : reproductive viability and longevity

P McKenzie, A Bellgrove

(2008), Vol. 44, pp. 1108-1115, Journal of phycology, New York, N.Y., C1

journal article

No outbreeding depression at a regional scale for a habitat-forming intertidal alga with limited dispersal

P McKenzie, A Bellgrove

(2006), Vol. 57, pp. 655-663, Marine & freshwater research, Collingwood, Vic., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Inspiring Young Marine Science Experts - Stewards of Swan Bay

Ms Nicole Sadler, Dr Alecia Bellgrove, A/Prof Julianne Lynch, Dr Ty Matthews, Dr Prue Francis, A/Prof Julie Mondon

DELWP Port Phillip Bay Fund

  • 2019: $13,356
  • 2018: $18,115

Learning from Communities: Indigenous uses of seaweeds in Australasia

Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Ms Zoe Ellen Brittain, Dr Prue Francis, Prof David Jones

Parks Victoria Grant - Research CAT2-1-2

  • 2022: $5,000
  • 2021: $5,000
  • 2020: $5,000

Restoring golden kelp forests on rocky reefs in Port Phillip Bay.

Dr Paul Carnell, Dr Prue Francis

Department of Environment Land Water and Planning

  • 2023: $159,980

Kelping the Bay: future proofing the Golden Kelp

Dr Prue Francis, A/Prof Adam Miller, A/Prof Craig Sherman, Dr Paul Carnell, Dr Jacqui Pocklington, Dr Mary Young, Miss Jasmine Bursic

Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action Port Philip Bay Fund 90 719 052 204

  • 2023: $90,721

Improving Ocean Literacy in Port Phillip Bay Primary Schools

Dr Prue Francis, Dr Paul Venzo, A/Prof Craig Sherman, Miss Catia Abreu De Freitas

Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action Port Philip Bay Fund 90 719 052 204

  • 2023: $89,265

STUDENT APPLPICATION -Empowering Wathaurong Women?s Seaweed Knowledge

Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Ms Zoe Ellen Brittain, Dr Prue Francis

DEECA - Coastcare Victoria Community Grants - 90 719 052 204

  • 2023: $9,700

Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op & Deakin University: Building Capacity for Engagement in Seaweed Management on Country

Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Dr Prue Francis, Ms Zoe Ellen Brittain

Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action Port Philip Bay Fund 90 719 052 204

  • 2023: $49,000

STUDENT APPLICATION:Future proofing Victorian golden kelp populations

Dr Prue Francis, Dr Jacqui Pocklington, Ms Kaylah Ellen Gawne

Parks Victoria Grant - Research CAT2-4

  • 2024: $5,000

Industry and Other Funding

DeakinSeaEd: marine education resources for children

Dr Prue Francis, Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Dr Paul Venzo

Gwen & Edna Jones Foundation, The Ray & Joyce Uebergang Foundation

  • 2019: $10,000

Student application - Raising awareness of the Australia's Great Southern Reef in primary schools using children's literature through a professional development program for teachers.

Dr Prue Francis, Miss Catia Jose Abreu De Freitas, Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Dr Paul Venzo

PADI Foundation Research Grants

  • 2021: $4,015

Developing a new Seaweed Aquaculture Industry in Gippsland.

Dr Paul Carnell, Dr Prue Francis, Dr Alecia Bellgrove, Prof Peter Macreadie, Dr Cecilia Biancacci, Dr Stacey Trevathan-Tackett

Food & Fibre Gippsland Inc

  • 2022: $80,050
  • 2021: $40,000

Onshore production of the red seaweed, Asparagopsis armata.

Dr Prue Francis, Dr Paul Carnell

Seascape Restorations Australia P/L t/as Immersion Group

  • 2023: $18,950
  • 2022: $18,950

The role of environmental messaging on Australia's attitudes, intentions, and behavious towards cultivated seafood.

Dr Adam Cardilini, Dr Alexa Hayley, Dr Prue Francis

Cellular Agriculture Australia Ltd

  • 2022: $5,000

Kelping the Bay: restoring Golden Kelp forests

Dr Jacqui Pocklington, Dr Prue Francis, Miss Jasmine Bursic

CMA CGM Group Agencies (Australia) Pty Ltd

  • 2024: $96,020


Principal Supervisor

Catia Jose Abreu De Freitas

Thesis entitled: Using Children¿s Literature to Teach Marine Science Concepts

Doctor of Philosophy (Life & Env), School of Life and Environmental Sciences