ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr R. Keller Kopf

Dr R. Keller Kopf

Dr Keller Kopf is a research fellow with interests in fish ecology and the management and conservation of freshwater and marine ecosystems.  His work combines field, laboratory and modelling approaches to address applied and fundamental research questions—mostly related fish and helping to inform government policy and decision-making on sustainable use of aquatic ecosystems and the benefits to people.

The focus of his recent work has been on invasive species ecology, environmental flows, and life-history traits. His research spans large open ocean fish communities to small rivers and streams. This work has led him to think about drivers of biodiversity and its loss across diverse freshwater and marine environments. In this area, he is pursuing projects focused on body size scaling patterns, macroecology and the roles of invasive species in aquatic food webs.

Research Interests

  • Aquatic ecology
  • Environmental management
  • Conservation biology
  • Fish biology and Fisheries science

Keller helped to initiate the Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit (FECRU) led by Dr Paul Humphries. 

He is currently accepting Honours and PhD students interested in invasive species ecology and management—especially the ecological effects of common carp and the application of koi herpes virus biocontrol in Australia.


BSc University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

MSc Massey University, New Zealand

PhD Charles Sturt University, Australia


Membership of Advisory Boards and Panels

American Association for the Advancement of Science (member)

 Australian Marine Sciences Association (member)

Australian Society for Fish Biology (member) 

Australian Society for Limnology (member)


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

Watts, R.J., Kopf, R.K., McCasker, N., Howitt, J. A., Conallin, J., Wooden, I., Baumgartner, L. (2017) Adaptive Management of Environmental Flows: Using Irrigation Infrastructure to Deliver Environmental Benefits During a Large Hypoxic Blackwater Event in the Southern Murray–Darling Basin, Australia. Environmental Management, 1-12 

Kopf, R.K., Nimmo, D.G., Humphries, P., Baumgartner, L., Bode, M., Bond, N., Byrom, A.E., Cucherousset, J., Keller, R.P, King, A.J., McGinness, H., Moyle, P.B., & Olden, J.D. (2017) Confronting the risks of large-scale invasive species control. Nature Ecology and Evolution. (1) 0172, 1-4. 

Kopf, R.K., Shaw, C. & Humphries, P. (2017)Trait-based prediction of extinction risk of small-bodied freshwater fishes. Conservation biology. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12882

Kopf, R.K., Finlayson, C.M, Humphries, P., Hladyz, S. and Sims N. (2015) Anthropocene baselines: assessing change and managing biodiversity in human-dominated aquatic ecosystemsBioScience 8: 798-811

Small, K., Kopf, R.K., Watts, R.J., Howitt, J. (2014) Hypoxia, blackwater and fish kills: experimental lethal oxygen thresholds in juvenile predatory lowland river fishes. PLOS ONE 9(4), e94524 http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0094524

Kopf, R.K., Davie, P.S., Bromhead D.B. and Young, J. (2012) Reproductive biology and spatiotemporal dynamics of spawning in southwest Pacific striped marlin Kajikia audax. Journal of Fish Biology 81: 1834-1858.

McKenzie, J., B. Parsons, A.C. Seitz, R.K. Kopf, M. Mesa, and Q. Phelps. Editors. (2012) Advances in fish tagging and marking technology. American Fisheries Society Book. Symposium 76, Bethesda, Maryland. Pp 1-560.

Kopf R.K. (2012) Forward to Chemical and Biological Markers Section. Pages 387 – 388 in McKenzie, J., B. Parsons, A.C. Seitz, R.K. Kopf, M. Mesa, and Q. Phelps. Editors. (2012) Advances in fish Tagging and marking technology. American Fisheries Society Book. Symposium 76, Bethesda, Maryland. Pp 1-560.

Kopf  R.K.,  Davie P.S.; Pepperell J., Bromhead D. (2011) Age and growth of striped marlin (Kajikia audax) in the southwest Pacific Ocean.  ICES Journal of Marine Science.

Kopf  R.K. and Davie P.S.  (2011) Fin-spine selection and section level influence potential age estimates of striped marlin, Kajikia audax. Copeia, 1: 153-260.

Pepperell, J.G., R.K. Kopf and B.E. Malseed (2011). Use of historic fisheries data to determine trends in relative abundance and body size of sailfish, Istiophorus platypterus, off northwestern Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia, 94(2): 333-344.

Technical Reports

Watts, R.J., Healy, S., Howitt, J., Kopf, R.K., McCasker, N., Thiem, J. (2017) Long Term Intervention Monitoring project, Edward-Wakool River System Selected Area, Progress Report number 11, March 2017.  Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Watts, R.J., Thiem, J., Howitt, J., McCasker, N., Kopf, R., Healy S and Abell, J. (2016). Long term intervention monitoring project, Edward-Wakool River System Selected Area, Progress Report number 7, March 2016. Prepared for the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office.

Hicks,T., Kopf, R.K. & Humphries, P. (2015) Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead (Platycephalus fuscus) in East Gippsland, Victoria, ILWS Report No 94

Watts, R.J., McCasker, N., Thiem, J., Howitt, J.A., Grace, M., Kopf, R.K., Healy, S., Bond, N. (2015). Commonwealth Environmental Water Office Long Term Intervention Monitoring Project: Edward-Wakool Selected Area Synthesis Report, 2014-15.  Prepared for Commonwealth Environmental Water.

 Watts, RJ, Kopf, R.K., Hladyz, S., Grace, M., Thompson, R., McCasker, N., Wassens, S., Howitt, J.A., and Conallin, J. (2012). Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Edward-Wakool river system, 2011-2012.Report 1. Prepared for Commonwealth Environmental Water Office

 Watts, RJ., McCasker, N., Grace, M., Howitt, JA., Kopf, R.K., Dyer, J., Conallin, A.(2013). Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Edward-Wakool system, 2012/2013. Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Watts, RJ., Kopf, R.K., Hladyz, S., Grace, M., Thompson, R., McCasker, N., Wassens, S., Howitt, J.A., and Conallin, J.(2012). Monitoring of ecosystem responses to the delivery of environmental water in the Edward-Wakool system, 2011/2012. Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder.

Holdsworth J. and Kopf R.(2011) Characterisation of striped marlin fisheries and biology in New Zealand and wider southwest Pacific Ocean. Ministry of Fisheries, Fisheries Assessment Report (2011/22).

General Publications

Widespread invasive species control is a risky business. Kopf, R.K., Nimmo, D., Humphries, P. (2017) The Conversation https://theconversation.com/widespread-invasive-species-control-is-a-risky-business-77460? 

Why are there no (true) freshwater protected areas in Australia?"  Kopf, R.K., Humphries. P., McCasker, N. (2014) The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/why-are-there-no-true-freshwater-protected-areas-in-australia-32966


Conceptualisation of flow-recruitment relationships for riverine fisheries. Foundation activities for the Fish Theme of Environmental Water Knowledge Research (EWKR). (2016) Humphries, P., Mc Casker, N., & Kopf, R.K. MDFRC, $117,732

Synthesis of flow-recruitment relationships for riverine fishes, Humphries, P., King, A. (CDU), Kopf, K., McCasker, N. & Stoffels, R. (2016) MDRFC, $82,028  Project details

VEFMAP Fish data analysis-Part B: Analysis on existing fish data (2008-2014). Humphries, P. , Kopf, R.K. & McCasker, N. (2015) Goulburn Broken CMA, $9,800 

Fecundity and egg quality of dusky flathead in East Gippsland, Kopf, RK & Humphries, P. (2014-2105) Victoria. Department of Environment and Primary Industries. $49,639 Report 

Long Term Intervention Monitoring project - Edward Wakool Selected Area. Stage 2. Watts,R., McCasker,N., Howitt,J., Kopf,K with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), Monash University (Water Studies Centre), Griffith University, NSW OEH, and Murray LLS. (2014-2019) CEWO, $3.36M Project Webpage

Monitoring the ecological response of Commonwealth environmental water delivered in 2013-14 to the Edward-Wakool river system. SEWPAC, Watts, R., McCasker, N., Kopf, K., & Howitt, J. (2013-2014) Partners Department of Primary Industries – NSW Fisheries, Murray Catchment Management Authority, Monash University, and NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. $753,656 Project details

Where have all the fish gone, and can they come back? Australian Centre for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (ACEAS). Humphries,P., McCasker,N., and Kopf,K. (2012-2014) in collaboration with researchers from Griffith University, CSIRO, Vic Department of Sustainability and Environment,  NSW Department of Primary Industries, Monash University, Charles Darwin University, Murray Darling Basin Authority  Project details 

Invasive species and river regulation turn fish community food webs upside down. ILWS Research Centre Fellowship.  Kopf RK, Humphries P, McCasker N et al.