Nina Wootton

Dr Nina Wootton

Post-doctoral Researcher

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

I am a marine ecologist and post-doctoral researcher in the Southern Seas Ecology Laboratories. I work broadly across environmental issues in the marine space, including science communication and education. Currently I am working across multiple projects to do with marine plastic pollution, as well as recently enhancing my research in blue carbon and restoration. I also have strong skills and passion for communicating science effectively, and enjoy sharing my research with stakeholders, students and the general public.

I am a diverse and flexible researcher, with a number of key areas where my research is currently focused.

Marine plastic pollution

Plastics broadly are recognised as causing havoc to the marine ecosystem. My research focuses on plastic particularly from a seafood angle, where we quantify the amount of plastic and microplastic found in seafood species globally; analyse the potential effects of plastic on seafood species and fisheries and work with the seafood industry to help develop solutions to this growing plastic problem. Within the Gillanders Lab group we have a range of plastic related projects, including quantifying plastic in mangroves and seagrass, developing methods to analyse the chemical components of plastic in the marine environment, and learning more about the plasticsphere. We are currently working on developing a set of standard operating procedures for best practices of microplastic sampling in Australia. 

Blue carbon ecosystems

Coastal carbon ecosystems (seagrass, mangrove and saltmarsh) can sequester and store carbon at much higher quantities than terrestrial areas. I work alongside a team of researchers from around Australia (led by Deakin University) to develop a best practice guide to assessing the success of coastal wetland restoration projects using a framework known as Environmental Economic Accounting (EEA). I am particularly focused on developing the cultural account, to ensure the accounting system can appropriately account for Indigenous benefits and services of coastal carbon ecosystems. 

Science education 

Sharing knowledge and information to the general public, and particularly school students is something that I am particularly passionate about. I work alongside a team of researchers from the School of Social Sciences to teach school students about out fabulous blue backyard. This project, named 'Finding the Fab Five', travels to regional and remote schools around South Australia to help young people understand the importance of our marine environment, what we are doing to protect it, and how First Nations' People have been protecting their Sea Country for thousands of years. As part of the school workshops, students create artworks to display their learnings - you can find an online gallery of some of the artworks here.


  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2024 Nursey-Bray, M., Wootton, N., Holland, S., Page, K., & Gillanders, B. M. (2024). Site unseen: Engaging communities on marine protected areas. Biological Conservation, 292, 11 pages.
    2024 Wootton, N., Nursey-Bray, M., Holland, S., & Gillanders, B. M. (2024). Better understanding ocean awareness: Insights from young people. Marine Policy, 164, 106159.
    2023 Ogunola, S. O., Reis-Santos, P., Wootton, N., & Gillanders, B. M. (2023). Investigating microplastic contamination and biomagnification in a remote area of South Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research, 74(11), 917-927.
    DOI Scopus1
    2023 Wootton, N. (2023). Book details: Field guide to the seashores of South-Eastern Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 147(2), 1-3.
    2022 Wootton, N., Nursey-Bray, M., Reis-Santos, P., & Gillanders, B. M. (2022). Perceptions of plastic pollution in a prominent fishery: Building strategies to inform management. Marine Policy, 135, 1-9.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS6
    2022 Ogunola, S. O., Reis-Santos, P., Wootton, N., & Gillanders, B. M. (2022). Microplastics in decapod crustaceans sourced from Australian seafood markets.. Mar Pollut Bull, 179, 1-9.
    DOI Scopus13 WoS9 Europe PMC2
    2022 Wootton, N., Sarakinis, K., Varea, R., Reis-Santos, P., & Gillanders, B. M. (2022). Microplastic in oysters: A review of global trends and comparison to southern Australia. Chemosphere, 307(4), 9 pages.
    DOI Scopus24 WoS12 Europe PMC4
    2021 Wootton, N., Ferreira, M., Reis Santos, P., & Gillanders, B. M. (2021). A Comparison of Microplastic in Fish From Australia and Fiji. Frontiers in Marine Science, 8, 12 pages.
    DOI Scopus40 WoS28
    2021 Wootton, N., Reis Santos, P., Dowsett, N., Turnbull, A., & Gillanders, B. M. (2021). Low abundance of microplastics in commercially caught fish across southern Australia. Environmental Pollution, 290, 1-11.
    DOI Scopus41 WoS25 Europe PMC6
    2021 Wootton, N., Reis Santos, P., & Gillanders, B. M. (2021). Microplastic in fish – A global synthesis. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 31(4), 753-771.
    DOI Scopus80 WoS48
Funding body Project title Investigators Years Amount 
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water - Ghost Nets Innovative Grants Toys for Turtles: Reducing marine debris through education and outreach N. Wootton, B.M. Gillanders, M. Nursey-Bray 2023-2025 $297,470
Fisheries Research Development Corporation  Attendance at the 2022 Microplastics and Seafood: Human Health Symposium in the UK N. Wootton 2022 $9,400
National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) Advancing national standards and best practices to monitor key marine values and pressures R. Przeslawski, B.M. Gillanders, P. Reis Santos, N. Wootton 2022-2023 $110, 273
Fisheries Research Development Corporation  A global review on implications of plastic in seafood B.M. Gillanders, N. Wootton, P. Reis Santos 2022-2023 $60,513
Fisheries Research Development Corporation A preliminary assessment of the prevalence of micro plastics in Australian seafood B.M. Gillanders, N. Dowsett, N. Wootton 2019-2020 $145,666
Association of Commonwealth Universities  Blue Charter Fellowship N. Wootton 2018-2019 $13,178
Nature Foundation South Australia Quantifying fish assemblages in South Australian marine parks  N. Wootton, B.M. Gillanders 2017 $2,500



  • I have lectured the 3rd year course Frontiers in Marine Biology (coordinated by Prof. Bronwyn Gillanders and Dr Patrick Reis-Santos) giving a lecture titled 'Plastic Pollution in the Marine Envrionment'
  • I demonstrated practicals in the 2nd year Zoology course for 3 years (2018-2020)
  • I have delivered tutorials into the 2nd year Zoology course
  • Position: Post-doctoral Researcher
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Darling, floor First Floor
  • Room: 120C
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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