Leading researcher in Australian marine ecosystems
Named Tasmania’s Australian of the Year in 2020, Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas has been instrumental in researching the natural marine ecosystem of Tasmania.
Thanks to her work with CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere in Hobart, Jess’ role as a Transdisciplinary Researcher and Knowledge Broker has helped redefine the ways in which Australia understands modelling and risk assessment of its marine ecosystems. She is also a Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as well as a Theme Leader with the Centre for Marine Socioecology.
With a strong academic background in ecosystem science and marine ecosystem modelling, Jess has dedicated her career towards bridging the gap between the science-user-policy divide.
She is passionate about implementing different communication methods that can enact the most change. Through an extensive understanding of psychology and human behaviour, Jess is able to tailor different information based on how people process information and make decisions.
In recognition of her work, Jess was named one of Australia’s first 30 Superstars in STEM, as well as Tasmania's Young Tall Poppy of the Year in 2015 for her excellence in research, science communication and policy engagement. As part of GE’s Balance the Equation campaign, Jess also has a portrait featured on the ceiling of Grand Central Station in New York alongside 11 other respected female scientists.
Outside of her science work, Jess is also a passionate advocate for diversity and gender equality within her field. The Homeward Bound Project, co-founded by Jess, recently celebrated their 2016 leadership journey that made history as the largest ever all-female expedition to Antarctica.