Garth Watson

Experimental Scientist

Garth is a molecular biologist with a focus on food webs and freshwater ecology


Garth has over 30 years experience in CSIRO Land and Water and is also a research fellow at Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona.  He uses next-generation DNA technologies to understand how freshwater ecosystems and their components function to provide knowledge to best manage those resources.  He is experienced in a range of molecular protocols and specialises in metagenomics approaches and their bioinformatic pipelines. Garth sequences and identifies bulk environmental samples as opposed to individual organisms which allows for the analysis of whole communities. This also includes eDNA where individual organisms have shed DNA into their environment and can be identified through eDNA as a surrogate when the organism itself is not captured or observed. Garth has also worked across several disciplines including ecological consulting to government agencies as well as zooplankton taxonomy and ecology.

Some of Garth’s recent activities include:

  • The first Australian freshwater fish microbiome study providing a structural and functional analysis of fish gut bacteria which gives a baseline for understanding fish health.
  • Sequencing gut contents to identify niche partitioning of coexisting fish species as well as identifying the role of terrestrial and aquatic sourced food items.
  • Using sediment community DNA to determine no adverse environmental impact to plant or animal life from methane seeps in an affected river.
  • Salinity impacts to microbial community structure and function in wetlands.
  • The effects of hyperdrought on soil microbiota and macrobiota.

Recent Publications: