Dr Glenn Johnstone: Bachelor of Environmental Science (Hons), PhD

Research interests

Sea floor habitats around coastal Antarctica are biodiversity hotspots, full of activity, colour and species found nowhere else on earth. Marine invertebrates dominate these dynamic communities and provide a useful tool for monitoring how these ecosystems are changing over time. Human activities can impact on even these remote and rarely seen habitats.

Over the last 20 years I’ve been involved in various research projects focused on how human activities influence coastal Antarctic marine communities, particularly the biodiversity of sea floor invertebrates. Such projects use a range of biological, chemical and environmental sampling and imagery survey techniques to monitor and assess the effect of local (past and present station activities) to global scale potential impacts, such as climate change. In addition, several of these projects have monitored the effectiveness of management activities, such as cleaning-up old waste disposal sites and remediating contaminated areas. All of our research projects directly inform the policy settings and environmental management of Australia’s Antarctic Territory.

A large part of my role is to organise and lead the field component of our research projects. This has meant spending many summers in Antarctica, working on, through and under the sea ice, and from boats in the coastal bays around Australia’s Antarctic research stations. My first summer in Antarctica was as a volunteer, leading a small team on a project for the University of Wollongong, where I was completing a PhD. That work led to part-time work and eventually a full-time role with the Antarctic Division. Organising and participating in safe, productive and rewarding field research is still a very motivating and satisfying aspect of my role.

Current projects

Collaborations & representations
  • University of Tasmania / Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies
  • Tasmanian Museum & Art Galley
  • CSIRO Marine Hobart
Key outcome areas
  • Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Stark, J. S., Johnstone, G. J., Palmer, A. S., Snape, I., Larner, B. L. & Riddle, M. J. (2007), Monitoring the remediation of a near shore waste disposal site in Antarctica using the amphipod Paramoera walkeri and diffusive gradients in thin films (DGTs). Marine Pollution Bulletin, 52, 1595-1610.

Gillies C.L, Stark J.S, Johnstone G.J, Smith S.D.A (2013), Establishing a food web model for coastal Antarctic benthic communities: a case study from the Vestfold Hills, Marine Ecology Progress Series, 478, 27-41.

Stark J.S, Johnstone G., Riddle M.J (2014), A sediment mesocosm experiment to determine if the remediation of a shoreline waste disposal site in Antarctica caused further environmental impacts. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 89: 1-2.

Smith J, O’Brien P.E, Stark J.S, Johnstone G.J, Riddle M.J (2015), Integrating multibeam sonar and underwater video data to map benthic habitiats in East Antarctic nearshore environments, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 164, 520-536.

Jonathan S. Stark , Patricia A. Corbett, Glenn Dunshea, Glenn Johnstone, Catherine King, Julie A. Mondon, Michelle L. Power, Angelingifta Samuel, Ian Snape, Martin Riddle., 2016. The environmental impact of sewage and wastewater outfalls in Antarctica: An example from Davis station, East Antarctica. Water Research 105, 602-614.

Stark J.S, Roden N.P, Johnstone G.J, Milnes M, Black J.G, Whiteside S, Kirkwood W, Newbery K, Stark S, van Ooijen E, Tilbrook B, Peltzer E.T, Berry K & Roberts D (2018), Carbon chemistry of an in-situ free-ocean CO2 enrichment (antFOCE) in comparison to short term variation in Antarctic coastal waters, Nature Scientific Reports. Doi:10.1038/s41598-018-21029-1.

Black J.G, Stark J.S, Johnstone G.J, McMinn A, Boyd P, McKinlay J, Wotherspoon S, Runcie J.W (2019). In-situ behavioural and physiological responses of Antarctic microphytobenthos to ocean acidification. Scientific Reports. DOI 10.1038/s41598-018-36233-2.

Figuerola B, Gore D.B, Johnstone G.J, Stark J.S (2019). Spatio-temporal variation of skeletal Mg-calcite in Antarctic marine calcifiers. PLoS ONE 14(5), : e0210231. Doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0210231.

Stark J.S, Peltzer E.T, Kline D.I, Queirós A.M, Cox T.E, Headley K, Barry J, Gazeau F, Runcie J.W, Stephen Widdicombe S, Milnes M, Roden N.P, Black J, Whiteside S, Johnstone G, Ingels J, Shaw E, Bodrossy L, Gaitan-Espitia J.D, Kirkwood W, Gattuso J (2019). Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments: Scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects. Progress in Oceanography, 172, p89-107.

Clarke L.J, Suter L, Deagle B.E, Polanowski A.M, Terauds A, Johnstone G.J, & Stark J.S (2021). Environmental DNA metabarcoding for monitoring metazoan biodiversity in Antarctic nearshore ecosystems. PeerJ. Doi 10.7717/peerj.12458.

See more of Dr Johnstone's publications on ResearchGate.