Jess is a PhD candidate, studying Irukandji jellyfishes at Ningaloo Reef, in Western Australia. Her research focuses on understanding of the distribution and ecology of Irukandji jellyfishes in varying habitats, including onshore and offshore environments, and in convergent oceanographic slicks. She employs a variety of methods to study her target species, including environmental DNA (eDNA) and underwater videos. Jess hopes her work will inform risk management decisions for local authorities and commercial tour operators at Ningaloo, which is home to a significant whale shark tourism industry. Her findings will likely inform public safety and increase the understanding of the ecology of understudied Irukandji jellyfish species.
Jess holds a Bachelor of Science, with majors in Marine Biology and Climate Change Adaptation, and a Bachelor of Urban and Environmental Planning with a 1st Class Honours, investigating the impacts of catchment pollutants on the Moreton Bay Marine Park, in Queensland. Jess has lived and worked in various places in Australia and overseas, including in the government, tourism, and conservation sectors. Prior to commencing her PhD, Jess developed a management program for humpback whales in Western Australia, and coordinated the development of a management plan for the Pilbara Islands, while working for the Western Australian government. Jess currently splits her time between Queensland and Exmouth, Western Australia, and enjoys diving, camping and exploring on her days off. She is currently enrolled with Griffith University and is supervised by Kylie Pitt (GU), Dean Jerry and Mike Kingsford.