Dr Maarten Brauwer

Maarten recording a sighting of a flamboyant cuttlefish while undertaking a marine survey. Photo credit: Luke Gordon

Maarten is a marine ecologist with expertise in coral reefs and soft sediment habitats. He received his PhD from Curtin University (Perth), focussing on cryptobenthic fish species in Indonesia. His research uses methods such as eDNA, network analysis and classic survey techniques to better understand the functioning of coastal ecosystems. Maarten’s previous research includes projects in Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, and the Philippines. He currently works as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at CSIRO.

His project aims to develop a roadmap to integrate eDNA methods in marine park monitoring. Environmental DNA in practice: a roadmap for integrating eDNA in Australian marine park monitoring – Environomics Future Science Platform (csiro.au)

Why choose a career in science?

Despite coming from Belgium, which has a very small coastline, I have always been fascinated by the ocean and the natural world.  After completing my biology teacher undergraduate studies, I travelled the world as a dive instructor. This evolved into working for NGOs and scientific expeditions. During this time I developed a passion for fascinating but understudied cryptic marine life on soft sediment, which prompted me to start a PhD studying these species.

What is exciting about your project?

What I find most exciting is the opportunity to work on a project that has the potential to revolutionise how the marine environment is studied. Biodiversity monitoring in Australia’s marine parks is an enormous challenge. The areas to be monitored are very large and many are in remote or hard to access areas. Environmental DNA has great potential to address these issues, but is such a fast-moving field that implementing it can seem daunting for non-experts. My project aims to provide clear, practical pathways on how eDNA can be used in marine monitoring, which will directly benefit resource managers and help improve our understanding of the marine environment.

What other interests do you have?

I am passionate about communicating science to a broad audience, which is as important to me as doing the actual research. Much of my free time is spent in the ocean. Depending on conditions, I enjoy surfing, freediving, scuba diving and underwater photography.

Profile: https://crittersresearch.com/about/