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Meet the Australia Faculty

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Faculty in Residence

Each quarter, one Stanford professor serves as Faculty in Residence in each of the BOSP program locations. These faculty teach classes in their own disciplines, developing courses that incorporate unique features of the local culture and environment or that provide comparative perspectives on a particular topic. View a list of current and future faculty.

Local Faculty

Associate Professor Ian Tibbetts (Individual Research Project Course Coordinator)

A marine biologist by trade, Ian is the founding Director of the International Programs Unit at the University of Queensland and oversees the direction of the Stanford Australia Program. Ian has considerable experience in program development and enjoys engaging with students in field research activities and following the development of their careers. With an extensive marine science background, Ian has published in diverse fields reflecting his general curiosity about marine life and in particular, the dynamic between evolution and action, addressing challenges to extant paradigms that his extensive field research has prompted. Ian coordinates the Independent Research Projects. 

Dr. Nicola Browne (Coastal Reef Ecosystems Course Coordinator)

Nicola Browne obtained her PhD from James Cook University in Marine Sciences in 2011. Shortly afterwards, she moved to Singapore for a 2-year postdoctoral position investigating the impact of ship-wake induced sediment resuspension on coral reefs and sea grass communities. On return to Australia in 2014, Nicola took up a teaching-focused position in Experimental Biology at Curtin University in Western Australia (WA) before she was awarded an ARC DECRA in 2018.

Nicola’s research focuses on carbonate budgets on coral reefs as well as reef-associated island stability. This involves the quantification of all biological sources of carbonate (corals, calcareous algae, foraminifera etc.) as well as estimating rates of carbonate loss through physical, chemical and biological erosion. The ARC DECRA focused on the development of a dynamic data-driven model to predict reef island resilience to tropical cyclones and rising sea level. This involved the application of carbonate budgets as well as palaeoecology, sedimentology, oceanography and geomorphology. She has also worked on turbid reefs on the Great Barrier Reef, Pilbara WA, Borneo, Madagascar and Singapore investigating increased resilience of turbid water corals to rising sea surface temperatures using various measures of coral physiology and growth.

In the School of Biological Sciences, Nicola is the Coral Reef Ecosystems co-ordinator for the Stanford BOSP Australian Coastal Studies International Program as well as the course co-ordinator for Masters in Conservation Biology.

Dr. Dana Burfeind (Coastal Reef Ecosystems Course Co-Coordinator)

Dana Burfeind is a marine ecologist and national award-winning education specialist. She completed her PhD at The University of Queensland (2009) examining growth dynamics and habitat value of the invasive algal species Caulerpa taxifolia. Her PhD research helped to inform Ctaxifolia management in Queensland, New South Wales, and South Australia. Dana competed a postdoctoral fellowship at Griffith University where she examined the impact of the 2011 flood on seagrass recovery and resilience in Moreton Bay. In 2012 Dana returned to UQ and redeveloped the research component of the University of California program, resulting in publication quality research by undergraduate students. Since 2012, Dana has been developing, implementing, and evaluating innovative science education programs at both UQ and Queensland University of Technology.

Most recently in her role as a Senior Lecturer at QUT, she was recognized with a national teaching award (Australian Awards for University Teaching) for leading the development and implementation of the novel Kitchen Lab program. Additionally, she has international recognition as a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA) for her contributions to high quality university teaching, and she was also recognized as Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (Indigenous) for her work in incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the University of California program. Dana’s research focuses on using cohort data and personal relationships to create targeted interventions to address complex problems in teaching and learning. 

Patrick Moss (Australian Studies Course Coordinator)

Patrick Moss is a Professor in Physical Geography in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at The University of Queensland. He is currently Head of School and has a PhD from Monash University (2000) and a Bachelor of Science (Ecology major) and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) (1995) from The University of Melbourne. He was appointed as a continuing academic at The University of Queensland in 2004 and has been employed by the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2002 to 2004) and the University of Iowa (2000 to 2002) as a Visiting Assistant Professor.

His research is related to an improved understanding of how Australian and Southeast Asian landscapes have responded to climatic alterations and/or human impacts. This research has focused on how past environmental change can contribute to a number of key management and/or conservation issues, including water security, fire ecology, conservation of key ecosystems and ecological/anthropogenic response to climate change. In addition, Patrick has worked extensively with First Nations People in Australia, focussing on landscape reconstructions that are relevant to their Lands, as well as examining the impacts of British colonisation on the Australian landscapes. He has supervised 18 PhD and MPhil students to completion and is currently advising 13 PhD students (5 as principal advisor) and who are working on a variety of projects in the research areas above. His areas of teaching are in the Geography of Australia, Biogeography, Palaeoecology, Introductory Geography, Environmental Management, Fire Ecology, Global Change and Quaternary Science across both undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Dr Tobias Smith (Terrestrial Ecology and Conservation Course Coordinator)

Tobias (Toby) is the coordinator for the Terrestrial Ecology course taught on K’gari/Fraser Island and at Lamington National Park. Toby is a passionate ecologist and educator, having completed his PhD on tropical bees at the University of Queensland, undertaking research in both Northern Australia and Central America. Toby’s research mostly focuses on one particularly fascinating group of bees, the stingless honeybees, found in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Toby has a passion for bee-related teaching and science communication, running bee workshops for Schools and Universities, and has published a series of user-friendly taxonomic keys to make Australian bee identification more accessible to non-experts.

James Udy (Coastal Ecosystems Course Coordinator)

James Udy adjunct Professor and Directory of Science Under Sail Australia’ has over 20 years’ of experience applying marine scientific knowledge to improve environmental outcomes. James completed his PhD in 1997 (UQ), focused on the impacts that anthropogenic nutrients have on marine ecosystems. James then expanded his interest to understand and quantify the impacts humans have on both freshwater (GU, Rivers Institute) and marine ecosystems (CMS, UQ). He also established and led multidisciplinary research teams at UQ (Ecosystems Processes Lab) and Seqwater (Research and Development team), where he grew a team of 2 to become the regions dominant multidisciplinary team focused on using natural processes to provide safe and cost-effective drinking water. The team included 12 full time research doctorates and over 50 collaborating scientists, with an annual budget of $5.5M. In 2011, James accepted the role of Chief Scientist at Healthy Waterways, where he facilitated collaboration between numerous experts (e.g. ecologists, statisticians, engineers, economists, social scientists) to provide recommendations to all levels of government (Federal, State, Local).  In 2016, James launched Science Under Sail Australia, to run experiential marine education activities for university and senior high school students. He remains an active marine consultant, having recent completed contracts for AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science), GBRMPA (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) and state governments. He played several key roles in the design of a new monitoring program for the Great Barrier Reef (Reef Integrated Monitoring and reporting Program), including chairing the seagrass expert panel.

The value of James’ extensive experience to students has been recognised by the University of Queensland (UQ) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where for many years he has been both a lecturer for UQ’s Masters of Conservation Biology program and an adjunct Professor, respectively. James enhances student experiences by applying his real-world knowledge in science communication and the application of science to solve environmental problems.