Leah Beesley
University of Western Australia

Leah BeesleyDr Leah Beesley

Key researcher

Research fellow, The University of Western Australia

See Dr Beesley’s full research profile here.


Dr Beesley is an aquatic ecologist specialising in the conservation and restoration of freshwater systems. The majority of her research has focused on fish and how they interact or respond to their environment, particularly aspects of flow and watershed urbanization. However, she also conducts research on the relationships between environmental factors and other biota, such as freshwater turtles and invertebrates, as well as nutrient dynamics and food webs. Her research has always been strongly applied with the nested goals of understanding ecological processes to serve management and conservation.

Research outputs linked to policy change and decision-making

  • Dr Beesley was a key researcher within the fish-ecology research within the transdisciplinary NESP NAERH Environmental water needs of the Fitzroy River project team. The team (including WA Government staff) developed a hydro-socio-ecological conceptual model for WA’s Fitzroy catchment that demonstrated the need to maintain hydrological connectivity to support hydro-ecological values and Indigenous use for food and amenity, and to meet cultural and spiritual responsibilities. They developed a set of guiding principles for using e-flows to protect aquatic ecosystems and their dependent human cultures and livelihoods. The WA Government are using these for their catchment water planning.
  • Dr Beesley was a member of a large research team, CRC Water Sensitive Cities, that promoted the adoption of innovative solutions for water conservation, liveability and enhanced greening and biodiversity. Dr Beesley co led a project on the protection and restoration of urban freshwater ecosystems to inform management and planning. As part of this project, she developed tools to assist decision making, including the RESTORE tool, Urban Waterway Factsheets, and Riparian Design Guidelines.
  • Dr Beesley has undertaken applied research between river flow and fish to support state and federal decision making regarding the use of environmental flows for Australia’s Murray Darling Basin.

Current academic employment and positions

  • Research Fellow, School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia

Highest qualification

  • 2006: PhD, The University of Western Australia (UWA)


My Projects

Current projectCompleted project
NESP RLH, 2021-2027NESP, 2015-2021NERP, 2012-2015TRaCK, 2005-present