New appointments strengthen research leadership at AIMS

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) has appointed new research leaders to enhance its world-leading scientific research in Australia’s tropical marine estate.

Dr David Wachenfeld, formerly the Chief Scientist at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), has joined AIMS as the Research Program Director of the Reef Ecology and Monitoring Program.

Man stands infront of trees
Dr David Wachenfeld, Research Program Director of the Reef Ecology and Monitoring Program

Dr Wachenfeld brings a wealth of scientific experience and deep knowledge of the Great Barrier Reef and its management to AIMS. As the high-profile chief scientist with GBRMPA, Dr Wachenfeld was the public face of reef management, delivering weekly Reef Health video updates throughout the summer months and updating media during bleaching events.

Biologist Dr Line Bay has been appointed to lead a new program focussed on Reef Recovery, Adaptation and Restoration. Over her 11 years with AIMS, Dr Bay has become one of the Institute’s most highly cited and recognised scientists and has led teams within the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program (RRAP).

Woman stands next to a reef tank
Dr Line Bay, Program Director of AIMS new Recovery Adaptation and Restoration Program

AIMS’ Sustainable Coastal Ecosystems and Industries Program will be led by research scientist Dr Claire Streten, who had been acting in the role during most of 2022. Dr Streten has been with AIMS for 10 years and helped lead the strengthening of AIMS’ Darwin operation, where she is currently based.

Woman smiling
Dr Claire Streten, Program Director of the Sustainable Coastal Ecosystems Program

Dr Britta Schaffelke has stepped down from her long-standing role as Research Program Director – Great Barrier Reef, which after significant growth under her leadership, was split into the two new programs being run by Dr Bay and Dr Wachenfeld. Dr Schaffelke will now take up a role as Director of international projects.

Woman smiling
Dr Britta Schaffelke, Manager International Projects and Initiatives

AIMS CEO Dr Paul Hardisty said the new appointments will build on the strong and experienced scientific leadership talent AIMS already has.

“Collectively, this will enhance our capability to deliver fantastic, world leading science with beneficial impacts for Australia’s tropical marine estate and help to keep AIMS in the top echelon of marine science globally,” he said.

“Australia and the world are grappling with difficult environmental and climate challenges, and what we do is critical to success in those areas. Our refreshed leadership team will not only keep delivering great science, but help to ensure that we turn our science into solutions to help address these challenges.”

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