Deirdre Gleeson

Associate Professor, BSc PhD Dub.City

  • The University of Western Australia (M087), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Dr Deirdre Gleeson completed her PhD in Biotechnology in 2001 and is currently based in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment. Deirdre's research aim is to link microbial community structure with function - one of the central thrusts of modern microbial ecology. Deirdre focuses on the use of molecular approaches (environmental DNA) to study a variety of natural and managed microbial ecosystems across both terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Her key contributions within this area focus on how the diversity and function of microorganisms are impacted by their surrounding habitat at both micro scale and at landscape scale (e.g. management practices and climate) with particular emphasis on the use of novel molecular biology technologies. More recently Deirdre has been using environmental DNA in biodiversity assessment outside the microbial world and including both soil and water vertebrates and invertebrates.

Roles and responsibilities

Senior Fellow, Higher Education Authority

Chair, Education Committee and Board of Examiners, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment (SAgE)

Member, School Executive, UWA SAgE

PhD Supervisor

Teaching overview

ENVT1104 – Environmental Science and Technology

ENVT3361 – Environmental Quality

ENVT4461 – Assessing Environmental Quality

ENVT5503 – Contaminated Soils and Groundwater


Terrestrial Microbiology

Rock and mineral weathering interactions in the environment.

The soil microbiome and nutrient cycling biogeochemistry (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus).

Understanding rhizosphere interactions across a variety of crop plants.

Organic and inorganic contaminants in the environment.

Exploring fine root endophytes in agricultural systems.

Aquatic Microbiology

The importance of microbialite forming microbial mats.

eDNA applications in urban environments.

The Seagrass microbiome – an underexplored habitat.

Riparian zone microbial interactions.

The use of eDNA to investigate fish assemblages.

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 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Education/Academic qualification

Biotechnology, PhD, xamination of the role of proline in environmental stress tolerance through genetic manipulation of forest tree cultures, Dublin City University

Award Date: 3 Nov 2001

Biotechnology , BSc (Hons), Dublin City University

Award Date: 2 Nov 1996

Industry keywords

  • Environmental
  • Agriculture and Food

Research expertise keywords

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Microbial activity and nutrient cycling in agricultural soils
  • Microbial diversity
  • Microbial ecology
  • Environmental DNA
  • Soil biology


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