ABOUT DR LISA-ANN GERSHWIN
I am a marine biologist, with my research specialty on jellyfish. In the 18 years I have been working with jellyfish, they have been good to me. I have discovered over 160 new species, published fifty scientific research papers, and been awarded a half million dollars in competitive research funding. I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in October 2010.
My Curriculum Vitae and List of Publications are linked below.
Coming to the position of Curator and Head of Science at the QVMAG was meant to be my dream job. I am a marine biologist, with my research specialty in Jellyfish. I spend my time divided between their identification and classification, and their bloom dynamics in how they respond to and drive ecosystem perturbations. If you believe in Climate Change, I hope you like jellyfish... and if you don't believe in it, well, I hope you like them anyway -- you will hear a lot more about them in the coming years, as they become more and more pestilent.
I have been researching jellyfish for 18 years, obtaining my PhD from James Cook University on the dangerous box jelly and Irukandji species associated with the tropics. After finishing my term as National Marine Stinger Advisor, I started my own consulting business, the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services. My contracts include the movies Baz Luhrman's Australia and Seven Pounds, the Whitsunday Shire Council and Tourism Industry, the Government of Thailand, the Darwin Waterfront and Lagoon, and the Commonwealth of Australia.
I very proudly became an Australian citizen in July 2009, and I am also very proud to hold the following honorary positions:
- Honorary Research Associate at both the South Australian Museum and the Museum of Tropical Queensland
- Advisor, Medical Advisory Panel for St John Ambulance Australia
- Scientific broadcaster, 4BC Radio Brisbane
To date, I have discovered over 160 new species of jellyfish, published 50 research papers (and a whole lot more popular articles), been awarded a half million dollars in competitive research funding, and had a heck of a lot of fun. I sincerely hope that the horrible things that the Launceston City Council have done to me don't hinder the forward motion of my career, but the Council has certainly tried hard to ruin me, so only time will tell.
In October 2010, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. It was first flagged by Council's psychiatrist, and subsequently confirmed by Prof. Tony Attwood, the world expert on Asperger's in women. Since that time, I have made learning about it my new "special interest", and I am convinced that Asperger's is a god-send, not a death-blow. It gives me my fascination for strange invertebrates, my strong focus ability and workaholic tendencies, and my photographic recollection of seemingly meaningless facts into a meaningful order (very handy for a scientist!). Also, on a more personal note, now intimately understanding Asperger's from the inside, it explains why I have spent most of my life feeling like I have parachuted down into medieval Japan, and why some people have bullied me very very badly, both completely typical experiences for Aspies. Sadly, Homo sapiens has an instinct to destroy that which it does not understand. So, while my staff at the QVMAG hated me for it, and Launceston City Council management sacked me for it, learning this about myself has been a tremendously liberating experience. In the coming months and years I hope to contribute positively and significantly to Autism awareness and disability rights.
List of Scientific Publications