ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Matt O'Connell

ILWS PhD CandidateMatt O'Connell


Murray cod mounts: trophy fish, dusty relics, icons of interest and an environmental voice from the past


Dr Paul Humphries (principal supervisor), Dr Keller Kopf, Dr Nicole McCasker, Dr Jennifer Bond and Associate Professor Dirk Spennemann 


Matt O'Connell, the recipient of an ILWS PhD scholarship who commenced his PhD in January 2017, is exploring the knowledge that can be gained from trophy or mounted Murray Cod. The project is building on initial research done by fish ecologist Dr Paul Humphries who, with the help of the community, identified where some 100 or so cod mounts could be. 

Matt is continuing this "citizen science approach" for his research project and has set up a website - - where people can follow and contribute to the research. There is also a Facebook page - Spotting Murray Cod Mounts with over 250 members. Matt hopes that the community will continue to help with the research by providing many more location leads and photographs of the cod mounts, their catch records and surrounds, and transcriptions of the catch information.

Matt intends to use this information to build an ecologically relevant baseline and come up with some trends on how Murray cod sizes have changed in the Murray-Darling Basin.

These mounts are also objects of community interest and cultural relevance.  To help unpack some of these aspects, Matt will also explore their curatorial display and some of the community perspectives around the mounts.  

The project has received additional funding from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority - Stuffed Murray Cod in Pubs. Humphries, P., McCasker, N., Kopf, R.  & O'Connell, M. (PhD student), (2017-2020) MDBA Scholarship grant, $45,000 - and sits under the Institute's Biodiversity Conservation research theme and Environmental Water's  Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit.


Bachelor of Science – Melbourne University, Honours - CSU  

Research Theme (s)

Biodiversity Conservation  and Environmental  Water  (Fish Ecology Collaborative Research Unit)