WATERS, Cathleen

Research interests

  • Sustainable use of semi-arid rangelands
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem resilience
  • Plant adaptation to climate change
  • Pasture species evaluation
  • Genetic diversity in native grasses


Cathy is a Rangelands Research Officer and has spent almost ten years researching native grasses. Her research has included the evaluation and utilisation of native grasses through the release of three of cultivars and sowing/harvesting technologies. Recent work has focused on the scales of genetic variation in wild populations to the determination of provenance guidelines for utilising wild-land seed sources.


  • B. Sc. (Agric.) – Sydney University, 1998
  • PhD – Charles Sturt University, 2007

Current projects

  • Historical evidence for adaptation to climate change in Australian native grasses
  • Review of integration of biodiversity and agricultural production
  • Investigate genetic diversity within the native grass Austrodanthonia caespitosa and develop guidelines for use of wild-harvested seed in restoration projects

Recent publications

Waters CM, Hacker R, Howling G, and Hulme T (2008) Integrating biodiversity and agricultural production in Northern and Western New South Wales. Report to Western, Namoi, Border-Gwydir Catchment Management Authority. August  2008. (in press)

Waters CM, Melville GJ and Hacker RB (2008) Different scales of adaptive diversity in Austrodanthonia – A case against domestication. International Grasslands Congress and International Rangelands Congress, Hohhot, China. 29 June – 5 July 2008 (in press)

Waters CM (2008) Landscape genetics of five common Austrodanthonia species in central western New South Wales. Australasian Plant Conservation 16 (1) (in press)

Waters CM, Dear B, Hackney B, Jessop P and Melville G (2008) Trangie Wallaby grass (Austrodanthonia caespitosa (Gaudich.) H.P.Linder, Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture. 48,575-577.

Waters CM (2008) Simplistic rules for sourcing ’local’ provenance seed in revegetation ignore complex ecological processes of adaptation. Proceedings of the 15th Biennial Conference - Australian rangeland Society. 28 September to 4 October, Charters Towers (in press)

Jessop P, Waters C and Ayres L (2008) Best Management Practice for Perennial Pastures on the Central West Plains. Central Western Catchment Management Authority.

Rose H and Waters C (2008) Common Native Grasses of the Central West. Central Western Catchment Management Authority.

Waters CM, Young AG and Crosthwaite J (2007) Genetic Integrity as a Target for Natural Capital Restoration: weighing the costs and benefits. In: Restoring Natural Capital: Science, Business and Practice. Eds. J. Aronson, S.J. Milton and J.N. Blignaut. Island Press, Washington. pp 85-93.

Waters CM, Garden DL, Smith AB, Friend DA, Sanford P and Auricht GC (2005) Performance of native and introduced grasses for low-input pastures. 1. Survival and Recruitment. The Rangeland Journal 27: 23-39.

Garden DL, Waters CM, and Smith AB (2005) Performance of native and introduced grasses for low-input pastures. 2. Herbage production. The Rangeland Journal 27: 41-53.

Sanford P, Whalley RDB, Garden DL, Norton MR, Waters CM, Smith AB, Mitchell ML, Kobelt E, Friend D, Hall E and Auricht G (2005) Identification of superior native and introduced grasses for low input pastures in temperate Australia. The Rangeland Journal 27: 55-71

Waters CM, Virgona J and Melville GJ (2005) A genecological study of the Australian native grass Austrodanthonia caespitosa (Gaudich.) H.P. Linder.: Physiological differences between and within populations. Proc. Of the XII International Grasslands Congress. Satellite Workshop, 2 -7 July 2005, Glasgow

Waters CM, Virgona J and Melville GJ (2004) A genecological study of the Australian native grass Austrodanthonia caespitosa (Gaudich.) H.P. Linder. Proc. of the 5th Australian Workshop on Native Seed Biology for Revegetation. 21-23 June 2004 Australian Centre for Mining Environmental Research, Brisbane, Queensland.

Waters CM, Melville GJ and Grice AC (2003) Genotypic variation among sites within eleven Australian native grasses. The Rangeland Journal 25 :70-84.

Waters CM and Shaw NL (2003). Developing native seed industries for re-vegetation in Australia and the Western United States: A contrast in production and adoption. Proceedings of the VIIth International Rangeland Congress. 26 July – 1 August 2003, Durban, South Africa. African Journal of Range and Forage Science. 20: 159.

Whalley RDB, Chivers IH and Waters CM (2003) The assumptions behind the recommended use of local provenances of Australian native grasses for revegetation. Proceedings of the 3rd National Conference of the STIPA Native Grasses Association, Cooma

Professional associations and activities

  • Member, The Australian Rangeland Society
  • Member, The Society for Ecological Restoration International
  • Member, Australian Network for Plant Conservation

Fields of research

  • 060411 Population, Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics
  • 060705 Plant Physiology
  • 050104 Landscape Ecology
  • 070306 Crop and Pasture Improvement

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)

Keyword/phrase list of research interests

  • Native grasses
  • Climate change impacts of native ecosystems
  • Provenance

Contact details

Email: cathy.waters@dpi.nsw.gov.au