Dr Heather McGinness

Senior Research Scientist

Contact details:


Dr McGinness is an Ecologist who conducts research aiming to inform sustainable natural resource management practices. With a background in riverine and floodplain landscape ecology, her interdisciplinary work integrates aquatic and terrestrial ecology in a range of agricultural, mixed and natural ecosystems. Research areas include the effects of changes in landuse, hydrology and flooding upon biodiversity and productivity; the ecological influence of variability and connectivity in river systems and their catchments; and the adaptive management and rehabilitation of ephemeral creeks, floodplains and wetlands in multi-use landscapes.

Dr McGinness’ research describing how key drivers including land use and water regime influence ecological outcomes in floodplain ecosystems is part of a nation-wide effort to develop ecosystem response models to inform management in these systems. She provides solutions to management problems such as how, when and where to apply environmental flows in the context of competing environmental and consumptive water needs – for both in-stream benefits and sustainability of ecological communities in the broader landscape.

As a Senior Research Scientist, Heather develops and leads significant and forward-thinking collaborative research projects. She leads teams comprising both internal and external staff, and concurrently manages and applies for funding for multiple projects and associated contracts and budgets within tight timeframes. Heather is actively sought as a collaborator by colleagues internal and external to CSIRO. She has a ‘big picture’ brain, able to develop conceptual models of whole systems and synthesise diverse sources of information and perspectives. This allows her to develop novel solutions to difficult problems and communicate complexity effectively.She has a strong interest in improving the understanding and management of water as a key integrating element crucial to the sustainability of our inland landscapes.

Websites and social media:



Twitter: @AusWaterbirds / @HMMcGinness

Facebook: Waterbirds Australia https://www.facebook.com/ColonialWaterbirdScience/

Current Roles

  • Project leader - various projects
    Responses of floodplain fauna and vegetation to flood regimes and individual flood events; floodplain ecosystem function and ecological outcomes of environmental flows

Academic Qualifications

  • 2007

    Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Applied Science

Community and Corporate Citizenship

  • Member, Australian Society for Limnology

  • Member, Ecological Society Australia

  • Member, BirdLife Australia


We have publications by Dr Heather McGinness