• The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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

Personal profile

Roles and responsibilities

Pauline is Deputy Head of the School of Biological Sciences Director of the WA Biogeochemistry Centre. She leads the Ecosystems Research Group at UWA and has extensive experience in the application of stable isotope methods (C, N, H and O) to examining ecosystem processes, particularly in assessing the biogeochemistry and ecological water requirements of semi-arid ecosystems.


Teaching overview

PLNT3306 Australian Vegetation (coordinator & primary lecturer)
ENVT5512 Ecosystem Biogeochemistry (coordinator & primary lecturer)
BIOL1131 Plant & Animal Biology (co-cordinator and block lecturing)



 * Ecohydrological linkages & ecological water requirements in arid systems;
* Fire ecology - spatial patterning and links with key ecological processes;
* Stable isotopes in ecology and ecohydrology;
* Belowground processes in natural ecosystems
* Dendrochronology & dendroclimatology of Callitris and other Australian species
* Ecophysiology of arid zone shrubs and trees
* Riparian zone biogeochemistry & functioning
* Aquatic ecology & limnology

Industrial relevance

Water stewardship and managing ecological water requirements
Sustainable management of semi-arid landscapes
Forest management & carbon sequestration
Fire ecology & management
Rainfall and climate reconstructions

Funding overview

2022-2027. Desert to Sea. McDonald et al. ARC-LP200300886


2020-2024. Dating Murujuga's Rock Art: new scientific approaches. McDonald, McCulloch, Hergt, Goodwin, O’Leary, Grierson, Skrzypek, Jeffries, Mulvaney, Dogramaci, Smith. ARC- LP190100724. Partners - U Melbourne, Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation, Rio Tinto, Woodside. ARC $1.34M; Rio Tinto and Woodside $2M


2017-2020. Ecohydrologic functioning of ephemeral streams. Grierson, Skrzypek, Dogramaci, Simmons, Cook. ARC-LP160101225. Rio Tinto, Flinders University 620K

2017-19. Annual rainfall variability and extreme drought over the late Holocene. Grierson, Cook, Skrzypek. ARC- DP170101033. LDEO, Columbia University 485K

2017. A multi-institutional environmental radioactivity research centre. Masque, Lavery, McInnes, Grierson, McCulloch et al. ARC-LE170100219. 170K Ex Edith Cowen University

2016. Distribution of Triodia cytotype within Roy Hill seed collection zones, east Pilbara. Grierson, Barrett. Roy Hill. 35K.

2016. Recruitment dynamics of Tecticornia on the Fortescue Marsh in relation to flood regimes. Grierson, O'Donnell, Colmer. Pilbara Corridors (WA Rangelands NRM). 9K

2016-2017. Monitoring of vegetation water use, Billiards North. Linkage scoping study. Grierson, Skrzypek. Rio Tinto, 150K.

2015. Isotope analyser with delta17O capability to examine water fluxes. Skrzypek, Grierson, Edwards, McCulloch, Grice ARC-LE150100139. 160K.

2013-14. Phase 2: Assessment of vegetation water use of upland and lowland communities associated with the Fortescue Marsh using isotopic tracers. Grierson, Page, Skrzypek. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. 40K

2013. Ultra-trace analytical facility for earth system change. Edwards, Goodwin, Tessalina, Grierson, Nelson, McCulloch. ARC-LE130100029. 280 K. Ex Curtin University

2013-2015. Reconstructing changes in atmospheric circulation over the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere during the past 3000 years. Turney, Meissner, Grierson. ARC-DP130104156. 470K Ex UNSW

2012-2016. Ecological responses of native fishes to extreme flow variability in arid Australia. Grierson, Collin, Davies, Kelley. ARC- LP120200002. Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton Iron Ore. 400K

2012-2016. Defining ecological and evolutionary significant units in spinifex (Triodia spp.) for improved ecological restoration in arid Australia. Grierson, Krauss, Price, Dixon, Thiele. ARC-LP120100350. BGPA, Rio Tinto, Chevron, DEC. 550K

2012-2015. Climate-related shifts in semi-arid ecosystems through ecohydrological proxies. Grierson, Skyrzpek, Turney, Cook, Greenwood Dogramaci. ARC-LP120100310. Rio Tinto Iron Ore. 330K

2012-14. Plumbing the depths of tall trees: quantifying the hydraulic structure and function of deep roots. Hermon Slade Foundation. Bleby, Burgess, Grierson 64K.

2011-2012. Triangulating climate records derived from fish, corals and trees to predict marine ecosystem productivity in the face of ocean warming. ANNIMS (Australian National Network in Marine Science). Meeuwig, McCulloch, Grierson, Waite, Frusher, Buxton, McCormick, Choat, Meekan, Black, Heung, Clements, Simpson, Zeller. 298K.

2011-12. Assessment of vegetation water use of upland and lowland communities associated with the Fortescue Marsh using isotopic tracers. Grierson, Page, Skrzypek. Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. 45K

2011-12. Coolibah woodland: water use and hydraulic architecture. Grierson, Page, Skrzypek, Bleby, Argus. Rio Tinto. 42K.

2001-2012. LTER Monitoring of Themeda grasslands. Grierson. Rio Tinto. 350K.

2010. A high-resolution isotope facility for low cost analysis of water, plant, and soil/sediment samples to understand environmental change. Grierson, Kendrick, Skyrzpek, Fellman, Bowman, Grice, Waite, Stock, Froend, Lavery. ARC LIEF $100K (+ 225K partner contributions)

2010. High resolution liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (Orbitrap) for analysis of polar compounds in biomass, petroleum, potable and reclaimed water. Grice K, Murphy, Greenwood, Heitz, Grierson, Busetti, Wacey, Gleeson. ARC LIEF $300K (+ 300K partner contributions)

2008-2011. Dynamics of woody vegetation and water in the central Pilbara – understanding and managing for environmental change. ARC-Linkage, Rio Tinto Iron Ore & BHP-Billiton Iron Ore. Grierson, Adams, Madden, White, Van Leeuwen. $1.7M (ARC $840K, Partners $840K)

2008-10. Ecological water requirements of the Yule River. Water Corporation and WA Dept of Water. Grierson, McLean, Pfautsch, Adams, Braimbridge, Bellhouse, Jones. Water Corporation $110K

2008-11. Fire management of complex rehabilitated forests – quantifying and understanding spatial variability of forest structure and fuels. ARC-Linkage, Worsley Alumina, DEC. Grierson, Macfarlane, Boer, Sadler, Vlahos, McCaw. $645K (ARC $465K, Worsley $180K)

2007-10. Using tree-rings of an Australian conifer as a bio-indicator of decadal-scale environmental change. CERF – Dept of Enviro, Water, Heritage & Arts. Bowman, Grierson, Hua, Dodson, McCaw, Prior. $799K

2003-2010. Multi-scale analysis of patterns in ecological processes in relation to fire regimes. Bushfire CRC. Grierson, Boer, Sadler $750K

2007-09. Productivity of the southern jarrah forest in relation to fire. Australian Greenhouse Office, Grierson, Boer, Pekin, Macfarlane. $30K

2007-9 Impacts of environmental change on organic matter and nutrient dynamics in near - coast catchments. CSIRO Flagship Collaborative Research Fund. Grierson, Petrone, Barron (CSIRO Land & Water). $109K

2007-9. John de Laeter Research Fellow in Isotope Biogeochemistry. John de Laeter Centre for Mass Spectrometry. Grierson McNaughton, McWilliams. $300K

2007-8. Host-truffle relationships – dependency on host tree roots. Hazel Hill/Manjimup Wine & Truffle Company. Grierson, Bougoure, Malajczuk, Eslick. $59K

2007. A novel isotope facility to characterise high-molecular-weight fractions of natural organic matter in soils, sediments, water, petroleum and coal. ARC-LIEF. Grice, Grierson, Greenwood, Brocks, Zhang, Heitz. $280K (ARC $160K+ 120 Partner contributions). Ex Curtin University.

2006-7. Hydraulic conductivity and functional redundancy in woody shrubs. Andrew Mellon Foundation/CSU. Grierson, Dr Jochen Schenk (California State University Fullerton). $26K

2006. Stable isotope facility for biological, ecological, and geological applications - West Australian Biogeochemistry Centre. ARC-LIEF. Grierson, McNaughton, Murphy, Greenwood, Walker, Kendrick, Roberts, Grice. $614K (350K ARC + $264K partner contributions)

2006. Laser pyrolysis system with GC-MS.ARC-LIEF. Greenwood (UWA), Grice, Watling, Grierson. $350K (170K ARC + 180K partner contributions)

2004-7. The role of mycorrhizal fungi in nutrient supply and habitat specificity of the rare underground orchid (Rhizanthella gardneri). ARC-Linkage, DEC Grierson, Brundrett, Brown, Sivasithamparam. $140K ARC LP

2006-8. Dendroclimatology studies of Callitris. Hermon Slade Foundation. Dr Louise Cullen (UWA), Grierson. $120K

2005-7. Understanding coastal biodiversity: the impact of marine production subsidies upon arid coastal environments. ARC Discovery. Walker, Duarte, Grierson, Robertson. $220K

2005-8. Mulga ecology in the Pilbara. Pilbara Iron Pty Ltd. Grierson, Page, Cullen. $250K

2002-6. Ecological sustainability and changing land use in the Pilbara. ARC-Linkage, Pilbara Iron Pty Ltd. Grierson, Adams. 1.5 M ($750K ARC, $750K RTIO)

2005. State-of-the-art solid state nuclear magnetic resonance. ARC-LIEF Berners-Price (UWA). Berners-Price, Raston, Baker, Koutsantonis et al. $434K

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 6 - Clean Water and Sanitation
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

Research expertise keywords

  • Ecosystem biogeochemistry of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems
  • Stable isotope techniques for environmental, hydrogeological and ecological applications
  • Ecohydrology of arid and semi-arid ecosystems
  • Ecological water requirements
  • Tree physiology and hydraulic architecture
  • Dendroclimatology and tree ring studies
  • Fire ecology
  • Forest ecology

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or