Stuart has over 30 years experience as an aquatic ecologist specialising in micro-algal ecology and taxonomy. During his extensive career, Stuart has undertaken research and consultancy on freshwater, estuarine, salt lake (coastal and inland) and marine ecosystems, as well as palaeoecological studies investigating past climate and sea level using fossil algae.
Stuart’s main area of expertise is harmful algae blooms (HABs), but he also has considerable experience in marine zooplankton, marine infauna, macroinvertebrate, benthic microbial communities and diatom ecology and taxonomy.
Stuart has a BSc in Environmental Biology with Honours in Palaeoecology, an MSc in Natural Resources (Freshwater Ecology) and a PhD in Marine Ecology.
Stuart’s research career and interest in microalgae began in 1987 with a palaeoecological investigation of the salt lakes of Rottnest Island, Western Australia. This research was followed up by a similar study of two barred inlets, Stokes Inlet and Wilson Inlet, on the south coast of Western Australia. Both these studies utilised fossil diatoms from sediment cores to infer past sea level changes.
Stuart then undertook an ambitious investigation of the water chemistry and diatom flora of 41 of Perth’s metropolitan wetlands, using diatom assemblages to categorise the wetlands according to trophic status, pH and salinity. During this time, Stuart also collaborated on several research projects investigating the palaeoecology of some of Perth’s wetlands, with a focus on past water quality.
Stuart was then invited to undertake the phytoplankton and zooplankton components of the Southern Metropolitan Coastal Waters Study (1991-1994). The Southern Metropolitan Coastal Waters Study was a large multi-disciplinary study investigating the water quality, sediment quality, seagrass health and phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages of Cockburn Sound, Warnbro Sound and surrounding waters.
In 1994, Stuart was an invited scientist on board the CSIRO research vessel RV Franklin to investigate mass pilchard mortalities along the southern and south-western Australian coastline. In 1997, Stuart was an invited scientist on board Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior II to investigate phytoplankton and zooplankton assemblages of the Timor Sea, the North West Shelf and the Western Australian coastline as part of a 7 week “Climate Challenge Tour”.
Stuart founded Dalcon Environmental in 1998 after identifying a need for expert algal taxonomic services in Western Australia. Over the ensuing years, Dalcon Environmental grew to a company which employed, at any given time, up to 10 scientific staff plus technical and administrative staff.
Stuart has undertaken a wide range of projects from virtually all aquatic environments for a diverse client base, whilst at Dalcon Environmental. Stuart has appeared as an expert witness in State Administrative Tribunal hearings, prepared reports to be used in various legal proceedings, advised Government authorities and regulators on matters pertaining to harmful algal blooms (HABs) including appointments on advisory panels and written standard operating procedures for Government authorities. Stuart has also taught at tertiary level in various capacities (tutor, lecturer, unit coordinator, sessional academic) and presented at local, national and international workshops, conferences and symposia.
Stuart is internationally accredited for the identification and enumeration of harmful microalgae by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO.
Stuart is a member, and former vice president, of the Environmental Consultants Association (WA).