Dr Chris Gillies is The Nature Conservancy Australia’s (TNC) Oceans Program Director and has a passion for protecting and enhancing ocean environments.
Driven by a vision of establishing a global restoration industry to restore ocean ecosystems, Chris leads a team of restoration experts employed across Australia to deliver innovative conservation projects for the benefit of people and nature. He works in partnership with government, industry and the community to develop large-scale natural infrastructure projects, advance policy and strengthen investment in ocean protection and restoration.
Chris has worked across the science and conservation sectors in both aquatic and terrestrial environments but his true passion is the ocean. He was formerly the Director of Science at Earthwatch Australia, where he managed the scientific program across their expedition and citizen science portfolio. He has served as an Ecologist for both state and federal government environmental agencies and several consultancies.
Chris’s doctoral research focused on Antarctic shallow-water marine food webs and his later research includes coastal climate change, impacts of marine debris and shellfish reef ecology. He is a three-time summer Australian Antarctic expeditioner and has published over 30 scientific studies.
Chris has a PhD in marine ecology from Southern Cross University and is an Associate Professor (Adjunct) at James Cook University. He commenced working at TNC in 2014 and is based in the Melbourne office.
Get to Know Chris Gillies
What do spiders and pack ice have in common?
Restoring shellfish reefs
Shellfish reefs are Australia’s most critically endangered marine ecosystem. Made up of billions of oysters and mussels, they once thrived in Australia’s bays and estuaries from Noosa in Queensland right around Australia’s southern coastline to Perth in Western Australia. Now less than 10% remain.