Dr Sue-Ann Watson is Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates at Queensland Museum Network, based at the Museum of Tropical Queensland campus in Townsville. Her position is co-appointed with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University where she is a Senior Lecturer.
Sue-Ann has a BSc (Hons) degree in Biology from the University of Nottingham UK, and a MSc Oceanography degree and a PhD degree in Marine Biology from the University of Southampton and the National Oceanography Centre UK. She worked as a Research Fellow and then Senior Research Fellow in marine biology at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University before her job at Queensland Museum Network.
Sue-Ann works on a range of marine invertebrates (animals without backbones) including molluscs (e.g. snails, clams, cephalopods), echinoderms (e.g. sea urchins, sea cucumbers, sea stars), crustaceans (e.g. hermit crabs) and brachiopods. Some of her favourite study species – jumping snails, giant clams and pygmy squid – are all found in North Queensland.
Her research focuses on the responses of marine organisms to change, both in space (along natural evolutionary gradients) and time (responses to environmental change). She is particularly interested in large scale evolutionary patterns and ecological trends in marine invertebrates and the effects of stressors such as ocean acidification, warming and water quality impacts including light availability, nutrients and salinity on invertebrates, corals and fishes. Sue-Ann’s broad research interests include ecology, physiology, behavior, biogeography and the potential for acclimation and adaptation to change in marine organisms.
She has been the recipient of multiple awards including Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year (2014) and was a finalist in the Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Outstanding Early Career Research (2015).
Dr Watson contributed to Museum of Tropical Queensland's 2019 feature biodiversity exhibition Natural Curiosity: Discovering the secrets of Queensland's greatest collections and the 2019-2022 biodiversity exhibition on citizen science Redmap: Spot it Log it Map it. She talks regularly on the topic of ocean acidification and global change on molluscs.Fore more information on Sue-Ann, you can listen to her interview on Radio Marinara from May 2021.