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Conservation Research Institute



What started as a part-time undergraduate job documenting the personal archive of Dr Phillip Law, first director of the Australia Antarctic Division, quickly became a fascination with Antarctica, how people do research there and the species that survive in one of the harshest environments on earth. In my home town of Melbourne, Australia, I completed a Bachelor of Science (Zoology) and a Diploma in Languages (German) at the University of Melbourne and by my final year was taking as many marine biology courses as possible. 

After a year of travel and volunteering on research and conservation projects, I moved to Hobart, Australia, where I completed a Master in Marine and Antarctic Science at the University of Tasmania. During my masters I completed two courses at the University Centre in Svalbard, where I discovered that benthic ecology and marine invertebrates are what I want to spend my time researching. I also discovered that I prefer to focus on processes and links within ecosystems than specific taxa. Between finishing my masters and beginning my PhD I worked as a research assistant and dabbled ecology consulting and conservation work. 

I am forever grateful to those who have shown their support by funding me to undertake a PhD. I am the 2017 David Turner John Monash Scholar, generously funded by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia through the John Monash Foundation. My research is funded through a Claire Barnes Studentship from the Zoology Department, thanks to the generosity of Claire Barnes. 


Assessing the vulnerability of Antarctic ecosystems to invasive marine species

My doctoral research addresses the risk posed by marine invasive species in Antarctica. Invasive species are a major threat to global biodiversity, driving ecological changes that impact all types of marine activities and environments. For at least 15 million years, the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctica have been largely isolated from nearby temperate ecosystems by physical and physiological barriers that prevent non-native species from establishing populations. However, warming temperatures and reductions in sea ice caused by climate change, combined with increasing human activity within the Southern Ocean, will lower these barriers. My research investigates factors that affect both the transport of non-indigenous species to Antarctic coastlines and the capacity of such species to establish populations, both now and in the future.

I am based both in the Zoology Department and at the British Antarctic Survey, where I am co-supervised by Prof Lloyd Peck. 


Key publications: 

McCarthy, A. H., Peck, L. S., Hughes, K. A., & Aldridge, D. C. (2019). Antarctica: the final frontier for marine biological invasions. Global Change Biology, 25(7).

McCarthy, A., Crawford, C., Eriksen, R. and Ross, D. J. (2015). Dietary preferences, growth and condition of triploid and diploid Pacific Oysters, Crassostrea gigas (Thunberg), in Little Swanport Estuary, Tasmania, Australia. Aquaculture Research. doi: 10.1111/are.12776

McCarthy, A. H., Potvin, D. A., Aslam, T., Bartlett, R., Beebe, S., Bennett, J., Hitchcock, D. J., et al. (2013). Differences between the songs of rural and urban Australian magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) and the potential consequences for territorial interactions. Notornis, 60, 143–150.

Other publications: 

Ross, D.J., McCarthy, A., Davey, A., Pender, A., Macleod, C.M. (2016) Understanding the Ecology of Dorvilleid Polychaetes in Macquarie Harbour: Response of the benthos to organic enrichment from finish aquaculture. FRDC Final Report Project No 2014/038.

Liddicoat, J., Liddell, K., McCarthy, A. H., Hogarth, S., Aboy, M., Nicol, D., … Hopkins, M. M. (2019). Continental drift? Do European clinical genetic testing laboratories have a patent problem? European Journal of Human Genetics.

PhD Student
 Arlie  McCarthy