COLEMAN, Melinda

Picture of Melinda Coleman

Research interests

  • Experimental marine ecology
  • Connectivity and population genetics
  • Seaweed ecology and conservation


Kelp forests are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth and are arguably among the most charismatic and socio-economically important habitats in temperate waters. Kelp forests are disproportionately important to biodiversity because habitat-forming species support an astounding diversity of associated organisms (e.g. Coleman et al. 2007). Anthropogenic stressors are beginning to precipitate significant changes in algal forests globally (e.g. Coleman et al. 2008) and sustainable development and conservation of these crucial ecosystems necessitates incorporation of ecological knowledge into management strategies. My research contributes to these efforts by focusing on understanding genetic and ecological processes that structure kelp forests (Coleman et al. 2011a, b, Coleman 2013), as well as investigating human impacts on kelp forest systems (Coleman et al. 2008). A key finding of my research is that boundary current systems can be used as predictive tools for marine connectivity and this will prove important for designing networks of MPAs globally (Coleman et al. 2011). My work is among the first to forecast the impacts of climate change and ocean currents on marine connectivity and is providing the necessary information with which to adaptively manage our marine environment (Cetina Heredia et al. 2015). A critical and novel result of my recent work is the demonstration that genetic diversity is key for determining resilience and vulnerability of kelp forests to climatic stress.


PhD, Marine Ecology, University of Sydney

Current projects

  • Understanding population connectivity for marine management
  • Restoration of underwater forests
  • Efficacy of networks of marine protected areas

Recent publications

Please refer to Melinda Coleman's Google scholar page.

Contact details

Phone: (02) 6648 3937