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Dr. Angela Capper

BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD, PGCILT
Research Fellow - Coastal Marine Ecosytem Res
School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences
Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre
Gladstone Marina
About Me

I have more than 20 years experience in the field of marine ecotoxicology. I have a broad interest in anthropogenic pollutants, marine litter, chemical ecology, harmful algal blooms (HABs), seafood security, aquaculture and fisheries co-existence. I am specifically interested in trophic and vectorial transfer, bioaccumulation and bioconcentration of marine natural and inorganic toxins.


My research has encompassed a broad spectrum of freshwater and marine pollutants and contaminants, their impact upon flora and fauna and potential implications for human health.

My BSc research began in the UK looking at the impact of pesticides on non-target freshwater insect larvae. I travelled to Malaysia to investigate the impact of antibiotics in prawn farming for my MSc. My PhD took me to Brisbane, Queensland Australia where I initially worked on the impact of mosquitocides on non-target freshwater organisms before developing a fascination for harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxins, their trophic transfer, bioaccumulation and health implications in a range of marine biota at the Univ of Queensland (UQ). This research also took me to Guam where I made connections and continued HAB research as a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institute in Florida, USA. During my time here I gained valuable scientific scuba diving experience on projects in Florida, Belize and Panama. I diversified from cyanobacterial toxins and feeding preference and deterrence to generalist, specialist and incidental grazers to dinoflagellate toxins and their impacts upon turtles and manatees. I returned to Australia to James Cook University (JCU) where I began an academic career coordinating and teaching into a range of courses. I also continued dinoflagellate research investigating ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP), risk to new target environments, human health impacts and trophic transfer in sharks and fish. I developed an interest in plastic pollution and examined uptake of microplastics in sea cucumbers and recreationally caught fish. I also investigated heavy metals in recreationally caught fish. From JCU I moved back to the UK to Heriot-Watt University in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. Here I developed skills in MSc Program development and coordination and obtained my PGCILT. I maintained my interest in microplastics research through multiple MSc projects that looked at microplastic contamination in water, sediment, seagrass, jellyfish, recreationally important fish. We also examined and categorised marine debris on beaches and provided an analysis of policies associated with international and local laws governing marine litter. Fisheries and aquaculture are two very important industries in the Orkney Islands and the close connection of fisheries with the University facilitated a four year PhD project to examine the impacts of aquaculture therapeutants on non-target commercially fished shellfish. From Orkney, I returned to Australia to Central Queensland Univ (CQU) to the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre. This is now a fantastic opportunity to use my expertise across a broad range of projects to determine the health and sustainability of our coastal environments with a focus on expanding industry and community connections. Projects will include marine litter and plastic pollution (at the macro and micro level), other pollutants (e.g. heavy metals) and emerging contaminants of concern such as PFAS chemicals.

Universities Studied At

PhD University of Queensland (UQ), St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia (1999-2003)

MSc Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland UK (1997-1998)

BSc (Hons) Anglia University, Cambridge, UK (1994-1997)

Universities Worked At

James Cook University (JCU), Townsville, Queensland, Australia (2009-2015)

Heriot-Watt University, Orkney Islands, Scotland, UK (2016-2019)


Smithsonian Institute, USA Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2004)

University of Queensland School of Research Travel Award (2002)

Joint Xth Harmful Algal Bloom and ISSHA Student Stipend Award for International Student Travel (2002)

Moreton Bay Research Station Scholarship Award (2002)

International PostGraduate Research Scholarship Award, UQ (1999)

Media Citations

Previous teaching

Programme Developer and Coordinator MSc Integrative Marine Data Skills

Course Coordinator MSC Advanced Research Skills (core); Case Study and Project Design (core)

Course Coordinator BSc - Introduction to Biological Processes (Year 1, core)

Course Coordinator BSc - Biodiversity of Tropical Australia (Year 2, elective)

Teaching at BSc - Introduction to Biodiversity (Year 1, core); Functional Biology (Year 1, elective); Marine Plants (Year 2, elective); Invertebrate Biology (Year 2, elective); Adaptation to Environmental Change (Year 

Professional Experience

Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching (PGCILT)

Computer Software


Adobe Illustrator

Industry Reports

Flint, N., Carton, G., Irving, I., Anastasi, A. and Capper, A. (2020). Review of the impacts of hypoxia on local estuarine species. Gladstone, CQU University, pp. 117.

Jackson, E.L., Flint, N. and Capper, A. (2019). Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program. Seagrass trace element sampling 2019. Report by the CQUniversity Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) for the Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program (PCIMP), pp. 52.

Capper, A., Lapointe, B. and Bell, M. (2019). Degradation and eutrophication of the Indian River Lagoon, Florida and potential impacts upon the endangered manatee (Trichechus manatus) and green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Coastal Ocean Assocation of Science & Technology (COAST), USA, pp. 41. 

Heimann, K., Sparrow, L., Momogliano, P., Capper, A. & Blair, D., (2011). Final Report on toxic dinoflagellate species identified within the Great Barrier Reef region. The GBR atlas - a work in progress, Project 2.6.1 Identification and impact of invasive pests in the Great Barrier Reef. Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, p. 49 pp.

Heimann, K., Sparrow, L., Capper, A. & Blair, D., (2010). Final report on seasonal sampling of toxic microalgae from the central GBR, Project 2.6.1 Identification and impact of invasive pests in the Great Barrier Reef. The Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, p. 19 pp.

Paul, V.J., Arthur, K., Capper, A., Ross, C., Banks, K., Bartels, E., Clementz, M. & Semon, K. (2006) POR-2006-18 Impact of toxic cyanobacterial blooms (Lyngbya spp.) on coral reef habitats off southeastern Florida and the Florida Keys.


Guest co-editor for Marine Drugs special edition 'Okadaic acid and dinophysis toxins' 2014 and 2015

Recent Research Projects
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Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • 3401 Analytical Chemistry
  • 4102 Ecological Applications

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
No Supervisions to display.
Research Interests
Biological Sciences

Ecology - Ecological Physiology

Biological Sciences

Ecology - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)

Biological Sciences

Physiology - Animal Physiology - Systems

Biological Sciences

Plant Biology - Phycology (incl. Marine Grasses)

Chemical Science

Analytical Chemistry - Analytical Spectrometry

Environmental Sciences

Ecological Applications - Ecosystem Function

Environmental Sciences

Environmental Science and Management - Environmental Monitoring

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