Christopher Keneally

Mr Christopher Keneally

Higher Degree by Research Candidate

PhD Candidate

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Chris is a microbial ecologist with a broad, transdisciplinary skillset. He holds an undergraduate degree in Microbiology & Immunology and completed a first-class (H1) Honours research project focused on the ecology, community dynamics, and function of nitrate-reducing microbial communities in the Coorong National Park, in South Australia.

Chris has extensive experience in field-based sampling of remote areas, biogeochemistry, wet lab-based microbiology, and dry-lab bioinformatics. In analysing the large, mixed datasets generated through this multidisciplinary approach to research, he has also gained experience in Linux-based bash scripting, HPC and cloud-based computing, multivariate statistical analyses in R and python, and geospatial data analyses in QGIS/ArcGIS).

Chris has worked on a range of projects, collaborating with both private sector, and government agencies. His current research aligns with "Project Coorong," which is part of the joint Australian Federal and South Australian government "Healthy Coorong, Healthy Basin" program. He works with researchers from Flinders University, UniSA, CSIRO, and the Goyder Institute, contributing to ongoing research and reporting on nutrient cycling.

Chris is interested in answering questions about complex systems, and his work aims to inform policy and decision-making.

Microbial dark matter: linking structure, functional genetics and bioremediation potential of microbial communities in a degraded hypersaline estuary.

Chris' PhD research is concerned with the functional genetics and ecology of microbial communities controlling nutrient and carbon cycling in hypersaline environments (a relatively understudied ecosystem in this field). His study site is the Coorong National Park, at the Murray-Darling Basin Estuary in South Australia - an internationally important migratory bird habitat, and a Ramsar-listed wetland ecosystem.
This research aims to find pathways to bioremediation of the study site, and inform policy and management in the region. It also aims to contribute to the scientific literature on similar 'extreme' systems on a broader scale - e.g. microbial stress adaptation, climate, early earth evolution and astrobiology.

PhD Research Summary video, winner of a communication award at The University of Adelaide's Ingenuity 2021 - Accompanying research poster
Honours research seminar
  • Journals

  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2023 Keneally, C., Southgate, M., Chilton, D., Kidd, S., & Brookes, J. (2023). Microbial ecology & methane production in a hypersaline coastal lagoon. Poster session presented at the meeting of Freshwater Sciences 2023. Brisbane.
    2022 Keneally, C. (2022). Sediment microbial ecology and methane dynamics during resuspension events in a hypersaline coastal lagoon - ePoster Session: Gases in inland waters: production, accumulation, and emission. Poster session presented at the meeting of 36th Congress of the International Society for Limnology. Berlin, Germany.
  • Report for External Bodies

    Year Citation
    2022 Huang, J., Welsh, D. T., Erler, D. V., Ferguson, A., Brookes, J., Keneally, C., . . . Mosley, L. (2022). Coorong nutrient cycling and fluxes (22/7). Goyder Institute for Water Research.
    2022 Huang, J., Welsh, D. T., Erler, D. V., Ferguson, A., Brookes, J., Keneally, C., . . . Mosley, L. (2022). Coorong nutrient cycling and fluxes (22/7). Goyder Institute for Water Research.
    2021 Dornan, T. N., Mills, J. G., Shiel, R., Keneally, C., Dorji, T., Deane, D., . . . Brookes, J. D. (2021). Monitoring microinvertebrate response to environmental watering events in the SA River Murray in 2020.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2020 Keneally, C. (2020). Towards Recovery of the Coorong: A Framework for Investigating Denitrification, Diversity & Other Functional Roles of Microbial Communities in Hypersaline Sediments. (Undergraduate Dissertation).

2023 Student Travel Grant - Australian Freshwater Sciences Society (AFSS)

Lecturing on aquatic microbiology for ENVBIOL3004: Freshwater Ecology III (Semester 1 2022 & 2023)

Demonstration for the following undergraduate courses:

  • BIOLOGY1101: Molecules, Genes, & Cells (Semester 1 2022 & 2023) - Lab-based practicals
  • ENVBIOL3004: Freshwater Ecology III (Semester 1 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023) - Statistics-based practicals and field camps
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Denitrification rates in sediments of the Coorong, South Australia University of Adelaide Principles & Practice of Research (Advanced) III Other Full Time Matilda Southgate

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