Brisbane, Australia

Dr John Kirkwood

Lecturer and Master’s Thesis Manager

International WaterCentre


John is a marine biologist who began his professional career conducting research at sea on the Southern Ocean and in Antarctica. His PhD research was on the ecology of an Antarctic fjord and involved him conducting a year-round under-ice diving program at isolated sites along the Antarctic coastline. He has also worked as a fisheries scientist for the Queensland Government, environmental scientist/manager for Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership and Senior Lecturer in environmental science and management at The University of Queensland.

John manages the Final Project course in the Master of Integrated Water Management program at the International WaterCentre, where he supports students to design, conduct and report on a significant independent research project. As a tertiary educator, John motivates students to learn by using experiential, problem-based approaches that challenge them to go beyond their previous boundaries to develop new capabilities. He engages student interest by facilitating diverse learning activities, such as the conduct of field research, participation in stakeholder workshops and the use of innovative computer platforms.

He has supervised numerous postgraduate students to conduct research in ecology and applying integrated approaches to fisheries, environmental and water management.

  • PhD, Monash University
  • BSc (Honours), The University of Queensland

John’s research career has focussed on aquatic ecological research in Antarctica and fisheries science and management in Australia. He has also contributed to the development of ecosystem health report cards. He is currently engaged in a research project on the application and effectiveness of ecosystem health report cards in Australia.

  • Conducted year-round under-ice diving program in Antarctica. Overwintered at Davis Station, Antarctica.
  • Awarded twenty externally funded, research grants worth a total of over $1.5 million.
  • Planned, established and led Queensland statewide Marine Fish Habitat Research Program.
  • Awarded Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning for developing innovative curricula in fisheries science and management courses at The University of Queensland (UQ). Six citations awarded annually amongst 2,000 teaching staff.
  • Achieved a mean rating of 4.87 out of 5.00 for ‘overall performance as a university teacher’ in formal student evaluations. This is among the highest mean student evaluation ratings ever achieved at UQ.
  • McIntosh, E.J., Rolfe, J., Pinto, U., Kirkwood, J.M., Greenlee, M., Poiner, I.R. (2019) Designing report cards for aquatic health with a whole-of-system approach: Gladstone Harbour in the Great Barrier Reef. Ecological Indicators. 102: 623-632. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2019.03.012
  • Campbell, A.B., O’Neill, M.F., Staunton-Smith, J., Atfield, J., Kirkwood, J.M. (2012) Stock assessment of the Australian East Coast Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus commerson) fishery. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Brisbane, 138pp.
  • Brown, I.W., Sumpton, W.D., McLennan, M., Mayer, D., Campbell, M., Kirkwood, J.M., Butcher, A.R., Halliday, I., Mapleston, A., Welch. D., Begg, G.A. & Sawynok, B. (2011) An improved technique for estimating short-term survival of released line-caught fish, and an application comparing barotrauma-relief methods in red emperor (Lutjanus sebae Cuvier 1816). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology 385: 1-7.
  • Sumpton, W.D., Brown, I.W., Mayer, D., McLennan, M., Mapleston, A., Butcher, A.R., Welch, D.J., Kirkwood, J.M. Sawynok, B. and Begg, G.A. (2010)  Assessing the effects of line capture and barotrauma relief procedures on post-release survival of key tropical reef fish species in Australia using recreational tagging clubs. Fisheries Management and Ecology 17: 77-88.
  • Campbell, A.B., M.F. O’Neill, W.D. Sumpton, J.M. Kirkwood and S. Wesche (2009) Stock assessment of the Queensland snapper fishery (Australia) and management strategies for improving sustainability. Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry, Brisbane, 110pp.
  • Sumpton, W.D., Mayer, D., Brown, I.W., Sawynok, B., McLennan, M., Butcher, A.R. & Kirkwood, J.M. (2008)  Investigation of movement and factors influencing post-release survival of line-caught coral reef fish using recreational tag-recapture data. Fisheries Research (Amsterdam) 92, 189-195. https://doi:10.1016/j.fishres
  • Kenna, E.P & J.M. Kirkwood (2008) Seabed mapping of the Tweed-Moreton Bioregion. Phase 1 Report: Collation and synthesis of existing data. Final Report to Burnett-Mary Regional Group 56pp.
  • Brown, I.W., W.D. Sumpton, M. McLennan, D. Welch, J.M. Kirkwood, A.R. Butcher, A. Mapleston, D. Mayer, G. Begg, M.J. Campbell, I. Halliday & W. Sawynok (2008) National strategy for the survival of released line-caught fish: tropical reef species. Final Report to Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, FRDC Project Number 2003/019. 167pp.
  • Hutchison, M., A.R. Butcher, J.M. Kirkwood, K. Chilcott & S. Backhouse (2007) Mesoscale movements of small and medium sized fish in the Murray-Darling Basin. Final Report to Murray-Darling Basin Commission. 136pp.
  • Kirkwood, J.M., Couchman D, & J. Beumer (2007) Mangrove myths and reality: their connectivity to fisheries production. Bulletin of Marine Science 80(3), 918.
  • Lanyon, J.M., Slade, R.W., Sneath, H.L., Broderick, D., Kirkwood, J.M., Limpus, D., Limpus, C.J. & Jessop, T. (2006) A method for capturing dugongs (Dugong dugon) in open-water. Aquatic Mammals 32, 196-201.
  • Kirkwood, J.M., Brown, I.W. Gaddes, S.W. & Hoyle, S. (2005) Juvenile length-at-age data reveal that spanner crabs (Ranina ranina) grow slowly.  Marine Biology 147, 331-339.
  • Butcher, A.R., M. Hutchison & J.M. Kirkwood (2005) A review of studies on the movements of freshwater fishes in the Murray-Darling Basin.  Technical Report to Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 48pp.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. & Hooper, J.N.A. (2004) Burnett-Mary Regional Assessment: Coastal & Marine Biodiversity.  Technical Report to Burnett-Mary Regional Group 50pp + appendices.
  • Johnston, M.C., C.A. Harris, J. Beumer & J.M. Kirkwood (2003) Floodgate enhancement in the Maroochy Catchment for water quality and other environmental benefits. Final Report to Coastal Acid Sulphate Soils Program, 106pp.
  • Rudkin, K.C., Kirkwood, J.M., Hero, J-M. & Arthur, M. (2003) Do estuarine no-take reserves affect the abundance and length frequencies of fishery target species – an assessment of two north Queensland estuarine ‘no-take’ marine park zones.  In Beumer, J.P., Grant, A. & Smith, D.C. Aquatic Protected Areas: What works best and how do we know?  ASFB Australia, pp 500-510.
  • Harris, C.A., J.M. Kirkwood & M.C. Johnson (2002) DPI guidelines for floodgates for fish passage and water quality.  Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Information Booklet. 29pp.
  • Lanyon, J.M., Sneath, H.L., Kirkwood, J.M., & Slade, R.W (2002) Establishing a mark-recapture program for dugongs in Moreton Bay, south-east Queensland. Australian Mammalogy 24, 51-56.
  • Trull, T.W., J.A.E. Gibson, K.L. Beaumont, H.R. Burton, A.T. Davidson, A. Guichard, J.M. Kirkwood, A. McMinn, P.D. Nichols, H.H. Skerrat, R.E. Summons, K.M. Swadling, & J.K.Volkman  (2001)  Site holds promise for ecosystem and biogeochemical investigations.  EOS  82, 306-315.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. (2000) Marine Fish Habitat Research, Strategic Plan: A Whole of Ecosystem Approach.  Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane, 10pp.
  • Kirkwood, J.M., Brown, I.W., Gaddes, S., Dichmont, C. & Ovenden, J.R. (1999) Population dynamics and management of spanner crabs in southern Queensland.  Final Report to Fisheries Research and Development Corporation 128pp.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. & Brown, I.W. (1998) The effect of limb damage on the survival and burial time of discarded spanner crabs Ranina ranina (Linnaeus).  Marine and Freshwater Research 49, 41-45.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. (1996) The developmental rate of Euphausia crystallorophias larvae in Ellis Fjord, Vestfold Hills, Antarctica.  Polar Biology 16, 527-530.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. & Burton, H.R. (1988) Macrobenthic species assemblages in Ellis Fjord, Vestfold Hills, Antarctica.  Marine Biology 97, 445-457.
  • Dhargalkar, V.K., Burton, H.R. & Kirkwood, J.M. (1988) Animal associations with the dominant species of shallow water macrophytes along the coastline of the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. In: Ferris, J.M., Burton, H.R., Johnstone, G.W. and Bayly, I.A.E. (Eds.). Biology of the Vestfold Hills, Antarctica. Hydrobiologia 165, 141-150.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. & Burton, H.R. (1987) Three new zooplankton nets designed for under-ice sampling: with preliminary results of collections made from Ellis Fjord, Antarctica during 1985.  Proceedings of the NIPR Symposium on Polar Biology 1, 112-122.
  • Hosie, G.W. & Kirkwood, J.M. (1986) Euphausiid larvae collected from the Prydz Bay region during the Nella Dan cruise (SIBEX I).  Memoirs of National Institute of Polar Research 40, 110-116.
  • Williams, R., Kirkwood, J.M. & O’Sullivan, D.B. (1986) Antarctic Division BIOMASS Expedition I cruise zooplankton data.  Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, Research Notes   31, 1-108.
  • Ikeda, T., Dixon, P. & Kirkwood, J. (1985) Laboratory observations of moulting, growth and maturation in Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba Dana).  Polar Biology 4, 1-18.
  • Ikeda, T., Hosie, G. and Kirkwood, J. (1984) Antarctic Division BIOMASS Expedition II cruise krill/zooplankton sampling data.  Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, Research Notes 23, 1-32.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. (1983) A guide to the Decapoda of the Southern Ocean.  Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, Research Notes 11, 1-47.
  • Williams, R., Kirkwood, J.M. & O’Sullivan, D.B. (1983) First International BIOMASS Expedition (FIBEX) zooplankton data.  Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, Research Notes 7, 1-163.
  • Kirkwood, J.M. (1983) A guide to the Euphausiacea of the Southern Ocean.  Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions, Research Notes 1, 1-45.

John has supervised the research of ten Honours (nine 1st class, two University medals) and seven Masters students.

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