Barbara Cook


  • The University of Western Australia (M701), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus

Personal profile


Dr Barbara Cook has extensive experience in the collection, analysis and interpretation of river and wetland biological and biodiversity data in WA, especially in the South Coast and South West NRM Regions. She has published over 100 papers, book chapters, reports and conference presentations on various aspects of the ecology of rivers and the biology and genetics of in-stream fauna. She is currently engaged in several projects which involve the determination of the ecological character of WA waterways and wetlands. She is presently investigating the ecological values of South Coast rivers in partnership with the WA Dept of Water. Barbara also has extensive experience in researching the systematics and biogeography of selected components of biodiversity.

Roles and responsibilities

Research and teaching; responsible for research project design, costing and management, implementation and reporting on research findings, designing & teaching undergraduate modules covering aquatic ecology, biodiversity science and restoration ecology, design & co-ordination of new degree program Bachelor of Science in Restoration Ecology, supervision of postgraduate students and research staff; general administration and management activities.

Current projects

Ecology of waterways and wetlands:

•Downstream ecological impacts of engineering interventions such as deep drains and pumping on natural streams and wetlands in the Wheatbelt of Western Australia (2004-2010)
•Ecological values of the rivers of the South Coast Region, Western Australia (2004-2009)
•In-stream biodiversity of the Beaufort River, a proposed recovery catchment for biodiversity in Western Australia (2005-2006)
•Impacts of blue gum plantations on local waterways in Western Australia (2006-2010)
•Ecological monitoring for the Fitzgerald River Catchment Demonstration Initiative (aimed at salinity abatement) (2005-2010)
•Monitoring of biodiversity and water quality of a variety of streams, rivers and wetlands in Western Australia (2002-2010)
•Detritus dynamics of headwaters (1988-1995)

Taxonomy, biogeography, ecology and genetics of aquatic biodiversity:

•Ecology, distribution and genetics of freshwater crayfish in Western Australia (2002-2010)
•Biogeography and systematics of phreatoicidean isopods, a Gondwanan relictual faunal group occurring in southern Australia and southern Africa (2004-2010)
•Species delimitation using genetic markers in marine and freshwater fish (1999-2002)
•Biogeography and systematics of freshwater crabs (1998-2004)
•Biogeography and systematics of sponge crabs of southern Africa (1998-2004)
•Population genetics and systematics of selected marine and terrestrial invertebrates (2000-2004)
•Biogeography, systematics and aspects of the ecology of freshwater amphipods (1988-1996)

Natural Resource Management:

•Development of a Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement (MERI) Strategy for the management of natural resources in the South Coast Region of Western Australia (2010)
•Design of Monitoring and Evaluation plans for natural resource management, with focus on plans for monitoring waterways and wetlands (2004-2010)

Teaching overview

Development and delivery of undergraduate units and courses, University of Western Australia (2002-present). Co-ordination and teaching of lecture and practical components in six units: Aquatic Biology (ENVT3340), Systematics & Biodiversity (570.325), Introduction to Restoration Ecology (ENVT1110), Biodiversity & Habitats (ENVT2252), Environmental Targets & Monitoring (ENVT3341), Restoration Ecology: Case Studies (ENVT3344); design and implementation of new Albany-based degree program in Restoration Ecology.

Development and delivery of undergraduate units and courses, Stellenbosch University (1998-2001)
Developed and delivered units in animal diversity (1st year level), arthropod diversity, freshwater & marine ecology (2nd year level), evolution and diversity (3rd year level), principles of systematics, molecular systematics, biodiversity & conservation, biodiversity of the Western Cape and conservation genetics (B.Sc. Hons level); developed new undergraduate modules (Principles of Ecology, Ecotoxicology & Limnology, and Evolution, Biogeography & Systematics); design and implementation of new academic programmes at Stellenbosch University, BSc in Biodiversity & Ecology with 3 streams: Functional Biology, Evolutionary Biology and Organismal & Environmental Biology; course co-ordination.


Biodiversity and systematics,
freshwater ecology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Conservation genetics
  • Freshwater ecology
  • Systematics and taxonomy
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Freshwater biodiversity


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