Amy Shurety

Amy Shurety


I am a network ecologist interested in answering key questions in social-ecological and sustainability research. I trained as a marine biologist and network ecologist, and hold a masters degree in biology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. My master’s dissertation developed an ecological resilience framework using ecosystem networks of South African east coast estuaries. I am interested in quantitative ecology and believe it is an innovative and powerful tool with the potential to provide clear-cut advice to sustainability researchers. Since finishing my masters I worked at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Research at James Cook University, Australia. Here I worked on network and social-ecological research aimed to link system structure to function. Other work and education experience has also provided me with a background in conservation and marine based field work. I am keen to undertake my PhD research as the goal is to improve foundations of ecosystem-based management and vulnerability risk assessments in the face of global change.

Amy Shurety

PhD title: Environmental drivers of food web structure and energy flux in marine ecosystems.

Global environmental change is predicted to alter the structure and stability of marine ecosystems with major implications for the sustainability of commercial fisheries. The aim of my PhD project is to determine major drivers of trophic complexity and biomass distributions in marine ecosystems of the North Sea. It will quantify changes in food web structure and energy flux to fish predators along large-scale environmental gradients. A main goal of the research is to provide multiple measures of ecological stability to highlight vulnerable species, which will ultimately enable more effective ecosystem-based advice.


    • IPCC. 2020. Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate. Chapter 5: Changing Oceans, Marine Ecosystems and Dependent Communities. Pg. 179. Role: Contributing Author.

    • A. L. Shurety, Ö. Bodin and G. S. Cumming. (Submitted). A comparative approach to quantify the structure of complex systems.

    • A. L. Shurety, H. Bartelet, S. Chawla, N. L. James, M. Lapointe, K. C. Zoeller, C. M. Chua, and G. S. Cumming. (Submitted). Insights From Twenty-Five Years of Comparative Research in Small Pacific Islands.


  • • The International Society of Ecological Modelling Global Conference. Salzburg, Austria. 1st - 5th October 2019. Role: Oral presentation.
  • • 8th World Conference on Ecological Restoration. Cape Town, South Africa. 24th - 28th September 2019. Role: Oral presentation.
  • • The Conservation Symposium. 5th - 9th November 2018. Midlands, South Africa. Role: Oral presentation
  • • The Contemporary Conservation Symposium. Howick, South Africa. 6th - 10th November 2017. Role: Oral Presentation.
  • • The African Marine Waste Conference. Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 4th - 7th July 2017. Role: Poster presentation.
  • • South African Marine Science Symposium. Port Elizabeth, South Africa. 9th - 13th July 2017. Role: Oral Presentation.

Awards and Prizes

  • National Research Foundation Bursary Holder (Covered the tuition of my MSc and BSc (Hons) degrees)
  • Golden Key International Honours Society
  • Alan Grey Top Achievers candidate 2017
  • UKZN Best Marine Biology Honours Student 2017


Further information

I participated in outreach programs such as BlueWise and Ocean Stewards aimed to increase marine conservation awareness and education in South Africa.