“It has been a pleasure to be a part of this children’s fictional book series which serves to promote reading and inspire the next generation of scientists and inventors,” said Professor Johnston. “I am a passionate environmental scientist and an advocate for greater diversity in our research community. I hope this book helps open the door to a career in research for a diverse range of kids from across the country.
“I’ve not previously shared the story of my life. It reveals a strong marine theme, from early childhood growing up in a peninsula town, swimming, snorkelling and sailing, to my diving adventures under the Antarctic Sea ice, and later efforts to translate marine science into marine solutions. This collaboration with author Dee White goes some way to explaining why I love research so much and how people can use research to inform the restoration and conservation of our precious marine environments.”
About Professor Johnston’s STEM research
Professor Johnston’s research focuses on global change including marine debris, microplastics, bushfire impacts in marine ecosystems and securing Antarctica’s environmental future. It is research that is conducted in such diverse field environments as Sydney Harbour, Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and temperate Australian estuaries. While at UNSW, her research group investigated the ecology of human impacts in marine systems, combining the diverse disciplines of ecology, microbiology, and ecotoxicology to expand fundamental understanding and provide recommendations for management.
She has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council, and the Australian Antarctic Science Program and contributed to the development of international and national research strategies, priorities and plans. She is a sustainability and diversity champion and a Chief Author of the Australian State of the Environment Report 2021. She is also a trusted advisor working across a range of government and industry bodies.
Professor Johnston is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (AAS), of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and of the Royal Society of New South Wales. She was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday honours for “distinguished service to higher education, particularly to marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as an academic, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes.”
She is a regular media commentator and, as co-presenter of the Foxtel/BBC television series Coast Australia, helped take Australian marine science to an international audience.
The book’s author, Dee White, has written more than 20 books published in USA, UK, Canada, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. She has three generations of scientists in her family, cares deeply about the environment and is fascinated by how things work. Ms White loves writing books that empower readers and inspire them to explore the world outside their own experiences.