Paco Martínez-Baena is a marine ecologist based in Sydney, with a strong background in shellfish reefs ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services provision and seascape ecology.
During the last five years, Paco has conducted ground-breaking research on the critically endangered Sydney rock oyster reef habitats in New South Wales. The inspiring results from his research are not only contributing to build knowledge gaps on the state estuarine system, but has provided scientific facts about the ecological importance of these habitats. His research is also being key in achieving further levels of legal protection nationwide and in building stronger business-cases for upscaling national restoration projects.
Paco assists The Nature Conservancy in the monitoring and evaluation of the shellfish reef restoration programs through Australia’s south coast since 2019. Most recently, Paco is assisting the Operations Manager in the management and establishment of the Reef Builder program in Botany Bay, engaging with project partners, stakeholders and assisting with site selection and project permitting.
Paco has a PhD in marine ecology from Macquarie University where he is a Honorary Postdoctoral Associate.
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.