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Peter Gell

Peter Gell is an ecologist and paleoecologist who examines the past state of wetlands to better understand the present. He has used diatom algae as a tool to understand water quality and infer the response of waterways to climate and people. He is an ornithologist with 48 years experience in assessing bird habitat interactions. He has taught at secondary and tertiary level for over 40 years and has supervised 24 graduate students and 32 honours students to completion.  He has produced over 170 publications including as lead editor of the recent volume Ramsar Wetlands: Values, Assessment, Management.

Formal Qualifications: Ph.D., M. Env. Sci., B.Sc (Hons), DipEd.


  • Director Diatoma; Director Western Region Ecological Network Ltd.,
  • Director SciLink Ltd.,
  • Em. Prof. Federation University;
  • Adj. Prof Diponegoro University, Indonesia.

Date joined ESAP: 2017


General Background:

Peter Gell’s completed his honours science degree at Monash University examining the relation between mallee birds and habitat patch size. He completed a Master of Environmental Science (Monash) studying the fire and settlement history of the wet forests of East Gippsland. His PhD (Monash) examined the relations between lake salinity and diatom species to infer changes to Holocene climates across western Victoria. He has had research fellowships at Université de Paris Sud (France) and Loughborough, Birmingham (UK) and Federation Universities and is presently Adjunct Professor at Diponegoro University, Indonesia. He was a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the global research project Past Global Changes (PAGES) and is now a PAGES Fellow. At Federation (Ballarat) University he was Professor of Environmental Science, Director of the Centre for Environmental Management, Associate Dean (Research) and chair of the Professoriate. He was chair of the AINSE Environment Committee and a member of the AINSE Council, and co-chair of the DELWP Grampians Region Climate Adaptation Group. He was the 2019 recipient of the Australian Freshwater Science Society’s Hillary Jolly medal for research excellence. He was chair of the Victorian chapter of the United Scientists for Environmental Responsibility and Protection and is presently chair of the Ballarat Environment Network.