Samantha Munroe

Dr Samantha Munroe

Grant-Funded Researcher (A)

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I am an ecologist who specializes in stable isotope analysis. I enjoy studying the diet and movement of animals, the distribution patterns of plants, and try to better understand their role in the environment. I have had amazing opportunities to study both marine and land species, including sharks, bony fish, prawns, shrubs, and grass. In my current role at the University of Adelaide, I design ecosystem observation programs for the country’s largest environmental monitoring agency, the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN). I help create advanced applications and databases that enable ecological research, conservation, and management.

My primary area of expertise is stable isotope analysis. Stable isotopes are naturally occurring alternative forms of elements like carbon and nitrogen, which are distinguished by their different molecular weights. They are an amazing tool that let us trace the flow of nutrients up the food chain, or track the migration of fish, birds, and insects across entire continents and oceans. Using isotopes, I have studied the habitat use and diet of sharks on the Great Barrier Reef, traced the movement patterns of prawns, and mapped the influence of climate on grass and shrub distribution across Australia. My other key research interests include species distribution modeling, animal tracking, and food webs. 

My current projects examine the climate and soil conditions that control the distribution of warm-season (aka C4) and cool-season (aka C3) plants. My goal is to create vegetation maps of Australia that predict the distrubtion n of these species across the country and into the future. I also plan to build δ13C leaf isoscape, a map that predicts of carbon isotope ratios of plants at a continental scale. 

I also really enjoy communicating my work to the public. I have been lucky enough to be selected for the 2021-2022 of Superstars of STEM, and organisation that aims to smash society’s gender assumptions about scientists and increase the public visibility of women in STEM. If you are interested in having me speak with your school or community group about my research or just what it is like to be scientist, drop me a line. Links to a few of my blogs and news articles can be found here:

Surviving the 'Post-docalypse'

Just what is an isotope? And how can we use it to unlock the secrets of deep-water sharks?

Can buying up fishing licences save Australia's sharks?

Queensland's small sharks are 'homebodies', research finds

Prawn chemical fingerprints identify human influences in urban coastal habitats


                         Hear about my job in science, in under 60 seconds!
  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2018 - ongoing Postdoctoral Research Fellow University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow Griffith University
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2019 Award AMP Tomorrow Maker AMP Foundation Australia -
    2016 Research Award Save Our Seas Foundation Small Grant Award Save Our Seas Foundation Switzerland -
    2015 Award Queensland Fresh Science ECR winner Fresh Science Australia -
    2012 Research Award Joyce W. Vickery Scientific Research Fund Linnaean Society of NSW Australia -
    2012 Research Award Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Science for Management Award Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Australia -
    2011 Scholarship James Cook University International Scholarship James Cook University Australia -
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2011 - 2015 James Cook University Australia PhD
    2006 - 2010 Acadia University Canada Bachelor of Science (B.Sc. Honours)
  • Research Interests

I have lectured in Aquatic Ecology, Ecology and Conservation of Communities, Soils and Landscapes, Frontiers in Marine Science, and Food Production in a Future Climate III

  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2021 Co-Supervisor Comparing the past and present floral communities of Naracoorte Caves, South Australia. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rachel Amber Atkins
    2021 Co-Supervisor Measurement and Analysis of Nitrogen Isotopes to Identify Movement of Nitrogen in Soil by Australian Native Acacia Species Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Patrick David Timmins
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2019 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Carbon isotopic tools for determining the photosynthetic pathway of floral communities University of Adelaide Department of Earth Sciences Honours - Rachel Atkins
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Direct measurement of soil microplastic concentration using MIR spectroscopy University of Adelaide School of Agriculture, Food, and Wine Honours - Patrick Timmins
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2020 - 2015 Council Oceania Chondrichthyan Society Oceania Chondrichthyan Society Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA)-South Australia Australian Marine Science Association Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Editor PLoS One PLoS One United States
  • Position: Grant-Funded Researcher (A)
  • Phone: 88318376
  • Email:
  • Campus: Waite
  • Building: John Davies
  • Org Unit: Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network

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