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Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

A biography of professor Jenny Davis: a scientist with a passion for freshwater ecology

Patricia L. Kennedy A *
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences, Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, Oregon State University, Union, OR 97883, USA. Email:

* Correspondence to:

Handling Editor: Graham Fulton

Pacific Conservation Biology 30, PC23033
Submitted: 19 July 2023  Accepted: 12 November 2023  Published: 11 December 2023

© 2024 The Author(s) (or their employer(s)). Published by CSIRO Publishing


Jenny Davis was among the first small, but significant tranche of women field biologists in the Pacific Region. She was born in Tasmania and developed a fascination with freshwater systems at an early age. Despite the paucity of female role models, freshwater ecology evolved into her research career track at the University of Tasmania where she completed her Honours degree (Zoology; 1976) and PhD (Freshwater Ecology; 1981). Jenny started her first academic position as a Tutor at Murdoch University in 1985. She successfully moved through the academic hierarchy where women continue to be under-represented in the senior ranks. She recently (2021) retired from her administrative and teaching responsibilities at Charles Darwin University (CDU) and approaching 70, is currently a Professor of Freshwater Ecology at CDU. An over-arching theme of her research is to understand the factors influencing the persistence of groundwater and surface water ecosystems. She has worked on the impacts of multiple stressors on springs, wetlands and arid zone waterbodies. She serves as a compelling role model for young scientists struggling to have a satisfying work-life balance. Jenny single-parented a son while conducting field work, teaching, publishing, serving as an academic administrator and being a prolific and successful grant writer. Jenny was also an exceptional mentor to a diverse group of students and post-docs, many of whom have thriving careers in academia, government and industry across Australia. This paper is a biography of a woman who with talent and persistence successfully broke gender barriers in Australian freshwater ecology and academia.

Keywords: academia, aquatic invertebrates, arid waterbodies, biography, Sclerocyphon, freshwater ecology, water pennies, women in science.


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