Prof Rebecca Lester



Director, Centre for Regional and Rural Futures


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


Centre Regional & Rural Future


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus


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

Career highlights

- two ARC Discovery Projects (in 2015 and 2016)

- two ARC Linkage Projects (in 2013 and 2019)

- grant income >$1.8m over a 4-y period

- 2015 NSW Office of Environment and Heritage Eureka Prize for Environmental Research

- 2019 Deakin Vice Chancellor’s Award for International Research Collaboration

- 2011 Australian Society for Limnology Early Career Research Awar

- 2011 Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand Early Career Research Achievement Award in 2011


- Australian Society for Limnology

- Ecological Society of Australia

- Australian Marine Sciences Association

- Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand

- Ecological Society of America

Teaching interests

- Freshwater biology
- Aquatic ecology
- Hydrology

Knowledge areas

My expertise is in integration of knowledge to create new understanding. My focus is the management of aquatic ecosystems, including the intersection with ecological theory, autecology, related disciplines (e.g. hydrology and geomorphology) and the social and economic impacts of natural resource management. I specialise in synthesising knowledge across disciplines, types of species (e.g. vegetation, invertebrates and fish) and in space and time, including developing predictive models. I bring expertise in experimental design, ecological statistics and modelling and challenge accepted maxims where appropriate. I collaborate widely and apply a range of field, laboratory and modelling approaches as best suit individual questions.


- Using fractals to describe physical and ecological complexity to describe species diversity

- Demonstrating species coexistence mechanisms in stream ecosystems

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

- Developing a framework for a Basin-wide ecological response model for the Murray-Darling Basin

- Understanding triggers and impacts of algal blooms in the Three Gorges Reservoir

- Regional development in Victoria