I am a Principal Research Scientist and leader of the Ecosystem Science Program of DBCA's Biodiversity and Conservation Science. My research covers various aspects of wetland ecology, with a focus on aquatic invertebrates and waterbirds. Most of my research projects involve analysing patterns in the distribution of biodiversity in space (biological survey) or time (monitoring) and understanding the reasons why those patterns exist (effects of natural and human-influenced environmental drivers).
Prior to joining the department in 1996 I had worked at the Museum of Victoria and a consulting firm in the USA on aquatic oligochaete systematics, and before that I worked on nuisance midge control at Murdoch University.
My research has focused on various aspects of wetland fauna and ecology, including:
The following projects are either being undertaken at present or were completed within the last six years.
Biological survey of mound springs in northern Western Australia (2015-present). In collaboration with Kimberley Region staff, traditional owner groups a number of springs and spring groups have been surveyed for aquatic invertebrates and flora, starting with springs at Walyarta (Mandora Marsh in the Great Sandy Desert, organic springs in the western and eastern Kimberley, Nimalarragan wetland north of Broome and most recently Dragon Tree Soak, also in the Great Sandy Desert. The springs provide important aquatic habitat and reliable water for fauna and flora that would otherwise be absent from the region, including some species likely to be restricted to the springs. This research has been funded by BHP, Yaruwu Park Council, the Kimberley Science and Conservation Initiative and other DBCA funds and has been written up in several reports.
Aquatic invertebrate biodiversity in wetlands used by the western swamp tortoise (2013 to present). In conjunction with the Department's Swan Region, aquatic invertebrate biodiversity was surveyed in a number of shallow vegetated claypans on the Swan Coastal Plain, including those supporting western swamp tortoise. Temporary vegetated claypans have been poorly surveyed on the Swan Coastal Plain so this was an opportunity to provide more data on their values. Aquatic invertebrates are a major food source for the tortoises so we are also assessing the biomass of aquatic invertebrates in the same wetlands. The latest aspect of this work is a Masters project that showed that potential translocation habitats along the south coast have sufficient food resources to support western swamp tortoise. These data are now being combined with data for other wetlands for an analysis of biodiversity patterning in vegetated swamps of south-western Australia.
State Salinity Strategy Wetland Monitoring project (1997 to 2019). Biennial monitoring of 25 wetlands in the Wheatbelt and South Coast regions has been undertaken, mostly by David Cale and Michael Lyons, from 1997 to 2016 (to 2012 for the fauna component). From this project we now have a much better understanding of the long-term dynamics of a range of different types of wetlands and how their flora and fauna respond to pressures such as salinity (including that resulting from declining rainfall) and altered hydrology (see information sheet #80). Several publications have arisen from this work and an honours student has recently submitted a paper on responses of alpha, beta and gamma diversity to the drying Wheatbelt climate using these data.
Waterbird monitoring in the Warden and Gore Ramsar wetlands (2006 to present). This project has monitored waterbirds using the Lake Warden and Lake Gore Ramsar wetland systems, with the aims of 1) understanding usage by waterbirds of individual wetlands, 2) understanding patterns in waterbird usage over time and 3) monitor the effectiveness of engineering solutions to excess water in the Warden system (see Landscope vol. 30, issue 1). This work is now part of a larger Ramsar wetland monitoring project. The focus of this work now is to model waterbird communities in these wetlands against local and regional water availability.
Fortescue valley wetlands survey (2015-2017). This work, funded by the Pilbara Corridors Project, described how aquatic invertebrates and wetland flora are distributed across a variety of wetland types in the Fortescue Valley. These analyses resulted in a number of principals that can be used to ensure that wetland conservation programs maximise representation of wetland biodiversity. The full report can be found here.
Lake Carnegie biological survey (2019-present). This biological survey project aims to assess the biodiversity values of the large (100km long) Lake Carnegie, an arid zone episodically filled salt lake and associated wetland complexes. This data will be used to assess this wetland system against Ramsar criteria and for informing development of management processes, including reservation, with native title holders Tarlpa Matuwa Piarku Aboriginal Corporation. This study is complemented by a wider ongoing survey of wetlands in the Goldfields.
Spread and distribution of redclaw crayfish in the Pilbara. Redclaw is an Australian native crayfish but its natural range is eastern NT and northern Qld. In Western Australia, they are an introduced species, originally to the lower Ord River in the Kimberley, then into the Harding Dam in the Pilbara. The species remained in the Harding Dam for several years but from at least 2017 has been deliberately introduced to?numerous sites in the Pilbara?(which otherwise lacks crayfish)?and?is?spreading?within those catchments.?There is potential for this species to be translocated and flourish much further south, as has occurred in south-eastern Australia. With Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development three surveys for redclaw have been undertaken. The most recent (May 2021) was aimed at better understanding the impact of redclaw on Pilbara River Pools, following an earlier study that suggested they may have significant impact.
Aquatic Oligochaete Systematics (ongoing). Aside from the above work I also undertake research into the systematics of aquatic oligochaetes (earthworms) of the Australasian region, concentrating at present on species from surface water and groundwater of the Pilbara and elsewhere in Western Australia, but also from New Zealand and its territories. Data on the diversity of Australian aquatic oligochaetes is available at Australian oligochaete diversity. Recent papers include a study of invasive earthworms in the south-west, a paper on the genetic diversity of stygofaunal oligochaetes in the Pilbara and a description of a new species from subantarctic Campbell Island. A new guide to aquatic earthworms of Australia and New Zealand is in press.
Davis JA, Harrington SA, Pinder AM (1989). Further Investigations into the Control of Nuisance Chironomids (Midges) in Metropolitan Wetlands, Perth, Western Australia. Unpublished report prepared for the Midge Research Steering Committee. School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, 89 p.
Pinder AM (1989). Results of an invertebrate survey of Kogolup Lake. In, A Preliminary Report on the Ecology and Cultural Significance of Kogolup Lake and the Surrounding Area: A Report to the Beeliar Regional Park Coordinating Committee (eds F. Murray & G. Middle). Murdoch University, Perth, 5 p.
Pinder A, Harrington S, Davis J (1989). The use of megacondom enclosures for experiments with chironomids in shallow wetlands (ABSTRACT). In Programme and Abstracts of the 28th Annual Congress of the Australian Society for Limnology, Canberra, 7-9 July 1989.
Davis JA, Harrington SA, Pinder AM (1988). Investigations into More Effective Control of Nuisance Chironomids (Midges) in Perth Wetlands, Western Australia. Unpublished report prepared for the Midge Research Steering Committee. School of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, 116 p.
Davis JA, Harrington SA, Pinder AM (1987). An Appraisal of Available Chemical Control Options for Chironomids (Midges) in Metropolitan Wetlands. Unpublished report prepared for the Midge Research Steering Committee. School of Environmental and Life Sciences, Murdoch University, Perth, 34 p.
Pinder AM (1987). Ecology of macroinvertebrates in seasonal wetlands (ABSTRACT). In Programme and Abstracts of the 26th Annual Congress of the Australian Society for Limnology, Albury, 8-11 May 1987.