Pauline Grierson

Dr, BSc PhD Melb.

  • The University of Western Australia (M090), 35 Stirling Highway, Room 216, Botany and Biology Building, Perth campus

    6009 Crawley


  • 2302 Citations
  • 30 h-Index

Personal profile

Roles and responsibilities

Pauline is Director of the WA Biogeochemistry Centre and leads the Ecosystems Research Group at UWA. She 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.

Funding overview

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

Current projects

• Ecological water requirements in the Pilbara, including the integration of biological, ecological and hydrogeological elements

• Hydroclimatic variability and extreme events over the recent past in Western Australia from tree ring and sediment proxies

• Ecosystem biogeochemistry of the Swan-Canning catchment

• Dendroclimatology of Australia  - reconstructing rainfall patterns and understanding ecosystem functioning

Industrial relevance

Ecological water requirements
Sustainable management of semi-arid landscapes
Forest management & carbon sequestration
Fire ecology & management
Rainfall and climate reconstructions

Teaching overview

PLNT3306 Australian Vegetation (coordinator)
ENVT5512 Ecosystem Biogeochemistry (coordinator)


* 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


  • 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

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  • 2 Similar Profiles
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Projects 1998 2019

Research Output 1998 2018

Habitat disruption and the identification and management of functional trait changes

Kelley, J., Grierson, P. F., Collin, S. P. & Davies, P. M. 6 Apr 2018 (Accepted/In press) In : Fish and fisheries. 2018, 00, p. 1-13 13 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

habitat conservation
aquatic ecosystem

Living on the edge: microbes and carbon cycling in mangrove soils along the west coast of Australia

Davies, T. K. 2018 (Unpublished)

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

dissolved inorganic carbon
2 Citations

Cacao quality: Highlighting selected attributes

Loureiro, G. A. H. A., Araujo, Q. R., Sodré, G. A., Valle, R. R., Souza, J. O., Ramos, E. M. L. S., Comerford, N. B. & Grierson, P. F. 4 Jul 2017 In : Food Reviews International. 33, 4, p. 382-405 24 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Catchment land use influences on the reach-scale distribution of carbon and nutrients in sand-bed streams

Middleton, J. A., Beesley, L. S., Pettit, N. E. & Grierson, P. F. 2017 p. 6212 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference presentation/ephemera

stream bed
land use
water chemistry