Fish Ecologist, Scientific Adviser
Qifeng leads a research team at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) that studies the ecology of fish and aquatic plants in South Australia’s inland waters, including the River Murray.
Their science informs the development of policy that drives the conservation and sustainable management of these vital resources.
I studied aquaculture at the China Ocean University, in Qingdao, and gained my Master of Science at the Asian Institute of Technology in Thailand. I did my PhD in fish ecology and fisheries science at Mississippi State University in the US.
I’ve always loved fish and fish biology. I grew up near the ocean and our family had an aquarium.
My early studies were in marine aquaculture but when I moved to the US to do my PhD, I changed direction a little. My research project focused on restoring river flows and habitats for fish in the Mississippi, and I became fascinated by the environment and ecology of floodplain rivers.
I wanted to work in Australia because it’s surrounded by ocean and the fisheries are well developed. When I came to South Australia in 1998 I was initially ‘at sea’ again, working on a garfish project, but the chance to study the iconic Murray Cod saw me jump back to inland waters.
For a while I was the sole scientist at SARDI (a division of PIRSA) looking at fisheries in the Murray, Lower Lakes and Coorong. Soon I was working with the then Murray-Darling Basin Commission, collaborating with interstate organisations, bringing in funding and building up a research team.
Since 2005 I’ve been Principal Scientist and Science Leader for the Inland Waters and Catchment Ecology Program.
I love working with a team. I was once a lone scientist but I really enjoy the collaboration and cross-fertilisation we have within our program and with people across government and universities.
I’ve found that juggling work and children is challenging but achievable. If you’re determined and passionate about your career – and you have the right support at work and at home – you can make it work.
Quote : "In South Australia, at the end of the river system, water is precious. We’re always under pressure to manage it efficiently and that’s why science is so important."