Amy Smoothey

Research interests

  • Understanding processes responsible for  establishing & maintaining animal-
    habitat associations
  • Understanding the effects that loss &  fragmentation of habitat may have on
    species distribution & abundance
  • Ecology of invertebrates
  • Shark biology and ecology
  • Management &  sustainability of fisheries resources and biodiversity


Amy Smoothey is part of the Shark Research Group at the Cronulla Fisheries  Research Centre of Excellence. Amy attained her PhD from the University of Sydney in 2008 for her research on the ecology of harvested turban snails on intertidal and subtidal rocky reefs. She has over 8 years experience in researching invertebrates and vertebrates in coastal and estuarine environments of south-eastern Australia. Her research interests have focused on understanding, through the use of carefully designed experiments, the processes  (e.g. movement-patterns) that cause and maintain patterns of animals’  distributions and abundance in habitats. Amy joined NSW DPI in 2003 where she worked, on a casual basis, until 2009, on various recreational angling research projects. More recently, Amy has coordinated research  projects to understand aspects of the biology and ecology of commercially and  recreationally harvested sharks in estuaries and coastal waters of NSW. This research will provide scientific-based  guidelines for minimising the risk of shark attacks within estuaries such as Sydney Harbour, as well as, some of the necessary information to ensure species in NSW are effectively managed in an ecologically sustainable way.


  • B. Sc. (Honours) – University of Sydney 2003
  • PhD – University of Sydney 2008

Current  projects

  • Movements and biology of coastal sharks in NSW

Recent  publications

Smoothey,  A.F. and Chapman M.G. (2007). Small-scale variability in the dispersion of the  sea urchin, Heliocidaris erythrogramma among boulders. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 340: 89-99.

Palmer,  A., A Smoothey, S. Hishaw (2005). Book Review: Experimental Design for the  Life Sciences by G.D. Ruxton & N. Colegrave.  Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and  Ecology, 314: 113.

Byrne, M.,  Smoothey, A., Hoggett, A., Uthicke, S (2004).  Population biology of shallow water  holothurians and ophiuroids from Raine  Island and Moulter Cay, Northern Great Barrier Reef.  In: Munchen–Heinzeller and Nebelsick (eds) Echinoderms. Taylor  and Francis Group, London,  p165-169.

Byrne, M.,  Hoggett, A., Smoothey, A., Uthicke, S (2003).  Raine   Island and Moulter Cay  Echinoderms: Diversity, Phylogeny, Population Biology and Life History.  Raine   Island Final Report  2002-2003.

Professional associations and activities

  • Oceania Chondrichthyan Society
  • Australian Marine Science Association

Fields of research

  • 050202 - Conservation and Biodiversity
  • 060201 - Behavioural Ecology
  • 060205 - Marine and Estuarine Ecology
  • 070402 - Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Marine ecology
  • Movement
  • Shark ecology
  • Age & growth
  • Fisheries assessment
  • Fisheries management