Marine Machine

Kylie McPhersonSENIOR ECOLOGIST
FRC Environmental

QUALIFICATIONS
BSc (Marine Biology) 2003
Hons (Marine Biology) 2004

SALARY RANGE
Minimum $50,000
Maximum uncapped
Average $70, 000 p.a.  

CATCHING turtles from a tinny and mapping mangroves in mud might not sound like work – but it is fun activities like these that Kylie McPherson gets paid to do.

An aquatic ecologist for environmental consultancy firm frc environmental, Kylie's role is as diverse as the marvellous marine and freshwater environments she works in.

"There are many different aspects to my position, including field work, laboratory work, GIS mapping, statistical and other data analyses, reporting, strategic business development and project management," she says.

"One week you might be electro-fishing or catching freshwater turtles from a two metre tinny – while watching out for crocodiles – and the next you could be knee deep in mud mapping the health of mangrove forests."

In her relatively short career, Kylie has made the most of what her Bachelor of Science and Honours in marine biology from UQ could offer her.

Diving and fishing in the waters off Hawaii, New Caledonia and Heron Island while conducting a range of research projects are some of the exciting experiences her science background has led her to.

She lists her favourite, however, as her groundwater work on the northern Great Barrier Reef's Raine Island – the largest green turtle rockery in the southern hemisphere, which is also a nature refuge and therefore inaccessible to the public.

"There were so many turtles nesting that you could barely find enough sand to walk across the beach," she recalls.

"Money couldn't buy many of the experiences that my career in ecological science has offered me."