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

Research interests

How do human activities impact on coastal Antarctic marine communities, particularly the biodiversity of sea floor invertebrates? That’s been the focus of my research for the past 17 years, as a member of the Australian Antarctic Division’s Human Impacts group. Our research includes monitoring and assessing the effect of local to global potential impacts, such as past and present station activities, climate change and ocean acidification. It includes monitoring the effectiveness of management actives, such as the clean-up of an old waste disposal site at Casey research station.

Our research uses a range of biological, chemical and environmental sampling and survey techniques, as well as conducting experimental manipulations such as the Antarctic Free Ocean Carbon Dioxide Enrichment experiment (antFOCE). 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 Casey and Davis 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

International/national collaborations

  • University of Tasmania / Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies
  • Tasmanian Museum & Art Galley
  • CSIRO Marine Hobart
  • National Marine Science Centre, Southern Cross University
  • Plymouth Marine Laboratories, UK
  • University of Florida, USA
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, USA

Key outcome areas

  • Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)


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

Stark J.S., Peltzer E.T., Kline D.I., AnaM.Queirós A.M., Cox T.E., Headley K., Barry J, Gazeau F., Runcie J.W., Widdicombe S., Milnes M., Roden N.P., Black J., Whiteside S., Johnstone G., et al. (2019). Free Ocean CO2 Enrichment (FOCE) experiments: Scientific and technical recommendations for future in situ ocean acidification projects. Progress in Oceanography 172: 89–107.

Stark J.S, Roden N.P, Johnstone G.J, Milnes M, Black J.G, et al. (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.

Jonathan S. Stark , Patricia A. Corbett, Glenn Dunshea, Glenn Johnstone, Catherine King, et al. (2016). The environmental impact of sewage and wastewater outfalls in Antarctica: An example from Davis station, East Antarctica. Water Research 105: 602–614.

For a full list of publications see Dr Johnstone’s profile on ResearchGate.