Dr Catherine Leigh

Cath Leigh

Senior Research Fellow, Associate Investigator

Queensland University of Technology

Cath is a quantitative community ecologist, scientific communicator and teacher, with a research focus on rivers and reservoirs. Her work seeks to understand ecological responses to natural and human-induced changes in the environment by incorporating population- to ecosystem- level science with state-of-the-art, data-driven analytical approaches, and to find innovative solutions to real world environmental problems. She is currently working on projects to improve water quality monitoring and data-driven modelling for enhanced environmental protection. Her expertise is sought widely across state, national and international levels, spanning government, professional, industry and community organisations. Cath is a key participant in the international Intermittent River Biodiversity Synthesis and Analysis project, the ACIAR Improving the Sustainability of Rice-shrimp Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam project, and previously the Australian National Water Commission Low Flows project, and the AusAID River Health and Environmental Flows in China project. She is highly productive and an excellent communicator, having produced over 80 research outputs, including 30+ journal articles, 6 invited book chapters, online databases, and multiple conference proceedings and technical reports. She enjoys convening special sessions and workshops and delivering plenary and keynote presentations at national and international conferences and at public outreach events. Cath served as Guest Editor for the 2016 special issue of the journal Freshwater Biology on intermittent river ecology and management, and serves on this journal’s Editorial Board. She the National Secretary and past Queensland State Representative for Australia’s peak professional body for freshwater scientists and managers, the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society and the proud recipient of the 2017 AFSS Early Career Excellence Award.

Research Interests:

  • Applied statistics
  • Aquatic science
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecology
  • Environmental monitoring assessment and reporting
  • Intermittent rivers
  • Spatio-temporal modelling
  • Water quality


  • PhD
  • BSc(Hons)

Prizes, awards and special recognition


 was awarded to Catherine Leigh. Awarded from the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society.

Research links