ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr Lee Baumgartner

Dr Lee Baumgartner

Lee Baumgartner is a Freshwater Fish Ecologist who designs, supervises and undertakes into various aspects of the biology and ecology of freshwater fish. His research has been in several broad areas, including fish passage and fish migration, dietary interactions among native fish species, the impact of human disturbance on aquatic ecosystems and, more recently, the effectiveness of native fish stocking. Dr Baumgartners' work has also focused on developing innovative methods for assessment (such as the adaptation of sonar technology to for migration studies) and improving existing fish collection techniques. Much of his work is applied and has fed back into adaptive management strategies which have resulted in state and national policy development. Recently, he has been involved in research activities in the lower Mekong Basin;   specifically understanding mechanisms to help fisheries recover from human disturbance and quantifying the value of fish in a food security context.

Research Interests

  • Freshwater fisheries
  • Fish passage and migration
  • Mitigating human disturbances
  • Hydropower
  • Riverine ecology

Bachelor of Science. (Biological Science) – Deakin University

Bachelor of Science. (Aquatic Science with Honours) – Deakin University

PhD Applied Ecology – University of Canberra

Membership of Advisory Boards

Australian Society for Fish Biology (NSW Representative); American Fisheries Society (member); Association of Power Biologists (member); Fish Passage Task Force (member); Murray Cod Fishery Management Group (member); International Energy Agency Fish and Hydropower Annexe (member); IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialists Group (member); North East Catchment Management Authority(board member).

Editorial Boards

Marine & Freshwater Research (Associate Editor).

Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Papers

Baumgartner, L.J., Boys, C.A., Barlow, C., Roy, M. (2017) Lower Mekong Fish Passage Conference: Applying innovation to secure fisheries productivity. Ecological Management and Restoration. 18: 8-12. DOI: 10.1111/emr.12272

Voicu, R., Banaduc, D., Baumgartner, L.J., Voicu, L., Curtean-Banaduc, A. (2017). Upper Caras River (Danube Watershed) fish populations fragmentation – Technical Rehabilitation Proposal. Transylvanian Review of Systematical and Ecological Research. 20: 69-85. DOI: 10.1515/trser-2018-0006Silva, A.T., Lucas, M.C., Castro-Santos, T., Katopodis, C.,

Baumgartner, L.J.

, Thiem, J.D., Aarestrup, K., Braun, D.,  Burnett, N., Fjeldstad, H.P., Forseth, T., Pompeu, P., Rajaratnam, N., Williams, J., Zhu, D.Z. & Cooke, S.J. (2017) The top five ways to improve global fishway research.Fish and Fisheries.

1-23. DOI: 10.1111/faf.12258. 

 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. 

Baumgartner, L.J., Thorncraft, G., Boys, C., Singhanouvong, D., Phonekhampheng, O. (2017) Effects of fluid shear on Silver shark; Implications for hydropower design. Fisheries Management and Ecology. DOI:10.1111/fme.12213

Jones, M., Beyer, K., Zampatti, B. & Baumgartner, L.J. (2017) Influence of altered light intensity on passage success through a vertical slot fishway: implications for instream structures. Ecology of Freshwater fish. DOI:10.1111/fme.12205

Baumgartner, L.J., Wooden, I., Conallin, J., Robinson, W., Thiem, J.D. (2017) Informing water delivery to sustain native fish communities during a long-term drought: Management recommendations for dryland streams in Southern Australia. Ecohydrology. DOI:10.1002/eco.1820

Thiem, J.D, Wooden, I.J., Baumgartner, L.J., Butler, G.L., Forbes, J.P., Conallin, J. (2017) An assessment of the contribution of stocking to golden perch and Murray cod recovery in hypoxic blackwater affected areas of the Edward-Wakool river system, Australia. Austral Ecology. DOI:10.1111/aec.12424 

Thiem, J.D., Wooden, I.J., Baumgartner, L.J., Butler, G.L., Forbes, J. P., Conallin, J. (2016). Recovery from a fish kill in a semi-arid Australian river: Can stocking augment natural recruitment processes? Austral Ecology. doi:10.1111/aec.12424. 

Cameron, L. Baumgartner, L., Butler, G., Bucher, D. & Lou, D. (2016) Using otolith microchemistry to differentiate between stocked and unstocked Australian bass (Percalates novemaculeata). Fisheries Research, 183:86-91

Harris, J.H., Kingsford, R.T., Peirson, W. & Baumgartner, L.J. (2016) Mitigating the effects of barriers to freshwater fish migrations: the Australian experience. Marine and Freshwater Research. 

Forbes, J., Watts, R.J.,  Robinson, W.A., Baumgartner, L.J.,  Allen, M.S.,  McGuffie, P., Cameron, L.M. & Crook, D.A. (2015) System-Specific Variability in Murray Cod and Golden Perch Maturation and Growth Influences Fisheries Management Options, North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 35:6, 1226-1238, DOI: 10.1080/02755947.2015.1094153

Crook, D.A., O'Mahony, D.J, Gillanders, B.M., Munro, A.R., Sanger, A.C., Thurstan, S., Baumgartner, L.J. (2015). Effects of stocking on the population structure and abundance of a native riverine fish. Marine and Freshwater Research. DO10.1071.MF15037.

Forbes, J., Baumgartner, L.J., Robinson, W., Watts, R.J., McGuffie, P., Cameron, L. and Crook D. (2015). Assessment of stocking effectiveness for Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) and golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) in rivers and impoundments of south eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research. DOI 10.1071.MF15230

Baumgartner, L.J. (2015). Adaptive management in action: using chemical marking to advance fish recovery programs in the Murray–Darling Basin. Marine and Freshwater Research. DOI10.1071. MF15353.

Boys, C.A., Robinson, W.R., Miller, B., Pflugrath, B., Baumgartner, L.J, Navarro, A., Brown, R. (2015). Understanding fish welfare at river infrastructure: A piecewise regression approach to determining barotrauma injury thresholds. Journal of Fish Biology.

Forbes, J., Baumgartner L.J., Robinson R, Watts R., Murphy, J., Steffe, A. (2015). Recreational Fishing Effort, Catch, and Harvest for Murray cod Maccullochella peelii and Golden perch Macquaria ambigua, in the Murrumbidgee River, Australia.North American Journal of Fisheries Management 35: 254-264.

Brown, R.S., Colotelo, A.H., Pflugrath, B.D., Boys, C.A., Baumgartner, L.J., Deng, Z. D., Silva, L.G.M., Brauner, C.J., Mallen-Cooper, M., Phonekhampeng, O., Thorncraft, G., Singhanouvong, D. (2014). Understanding barotrauma in fish passing hydro and irrigation structures: a global strategy for sustainable development of water resources. Fisheries. 39 (3): 108-122.  

Baumgartner, L.J, Zampatti, B., Jones, M., Stuart, I., Mallen-Cooper, M. (2014). Fishways and Fish Migration in the Murray-Darling Basin: Not just an upstream battle. Ecological Management and Restoration, 15 (S1): 28-39.

Baumgartner, L.J., Conallin, J., Wooden, I., Campbell, B., Gee, R. and Robinson, W. (2014). Linking biological needs with hydrology to develop environmental flow requirements for freshwater fish in riverine systems. Fish and Fisheries, 15 (3): 410-427.


Cresswell, I., Baumgartner, L.J., Bond, N., Brown, P., Chua, S., Cooling, M., Cuddy, S., Hillman, T., Kingsford, R., Lester, R., Mallen-Cooper, M., McGinness H, Nicol S, Nielsen D, Robson B, Stratford D, Webb A. (2017). Scoping the development of a method to assess the relative environmental benefits of Complementary Measures. CSIRO Land and Water, Report to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. 121pp.

Baumgartner, L.J. & Pomorin, K. (2017) The FishNet Database. Institute for Land, Water and Society, Thurgoona. Report to the Australian National Data Service. 6pp.

Baumgartner, L.J. (2017) Peer review of Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) adjustment – Complimentary Measures. Institute for Land Water and Society, Thurgoona. Report to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. 16pp. 

Baumgartner, L.J. (2016). Restoring fish migration. RipRap 39:30-32.

Baumgartner, L., Marsden,T., Millar,J., Thorncraft,G., Phonekhampheng, O., Singhanouvong, D., Homsombath, K., Robinson, W., McPherson, J., Martin, K., & Boys, C. (2016) Development of fish passage technology to increase fisheries production on floodplains in the lower Mekong basin, Final Report, ACIAR

Conference Presentations and Proceedings

Millar, J., Baumgartner, L., Homsoumbath, K., Phommavong, T. (2017) Changes in the role and management of wetland commons in the Lao PDR: the case of Pak Peung wetland. International Association for Society and the Commons Conference 10-15 July 2016, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Baumgartner, L.  (2016) Designing fishways for floodplain species of the Lower Mekong Basin. Presented at the Australian Society of Fish Biology and Oceania Chondrlchthyan Society Conference 2016, Sept 4-7, Tasmania

Current Projects

Complementary measures for native fish.  Baumgartner, L. (2017) CSIRO/Murray-Darling Basin Authority. $33,000  

Development of strategies to optimise release and clean up strategies underpinning possible use of herpes virus 3 (CyHV-3) for carp biocontrol in Australia. Silva, L, & Baumgartner, L. (2017) Fisheries Research & Development Corporation. $39,000. 

Fishing for answers: Unlocking spawning secrets of Australian native fish. Baumgartner, L., Silva, L., Thiem, J. (2016-2020) Recreational Fishing Trust. $100,000 Project Details

Murray Small-bodied threatened fish project. Baumgartner, L., Silva, L. & Kopf, S. (2017) NSW Department of Primary Industries/Murray LLS, $52,000

Macca's in the Mannus, Macquarie Perch Refuge in the Upper Murray. Baumgartner, L., Silva, L., Kopf, S. (2017) NSW Department of Primary Industries/Murray LLS, $120,000

Recovery of native fish communities in the Murray-Darling Basin. Baumgartner, L. (2017) Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, $18,948. 

Environmentally sustainable irrigation solutions for the Murray-Darling Basin. (2017) Baumgartner, L.  Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering-Global Connections Fund – Bridging Grant, $49,966 

Quantifying improved fisheries productivity at fish passage rehabilitation sites in Lao PDR. Baumgartner,L., Robinson,W.,  McPherson,J.  with Thorncraft,G. (National University of Laos), Phonekhampheng,O. (National University of Laos),  Singhanouvong,D. (Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre) and Cooper,B. (UniSA) (2016-2020) ACIAR, $1,890,224 Project details

Determining optimal design criteria for hydroelectric facilities in NSW and the Lower Mekong Basin. Boys, C.A., Baumgartner, L., Jones, M. (2012-2017) Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research $790,000

Completed Projects

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) for water research. (2016) Watts, R., Baumgartner, L., Wassens, S., Hall, A. CSU RIBG Grant, $49,919

Evidence-based scientific advice – Lasting environmental benefits of non-flow measures in the Murray Darling Basin. (2016) Baumgartner, L. Department of Agriculture & Water Resources (Fisheries & Forestry) $9090 

Foundational activities for the Fish Theme of Environmental Water Knowledge and Research (EWKR). Baumgartner, L. (2016) MDRFC, $16,800 

Measuring Impacts of Lower Mekong Basin fish passage. Baumgartner, L. (2015) Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. $1.84 M

Modelling the success of Australian Bass re-stocking. Suthers, Taylor, Baumgartner, L. (2008-2011) Australian Research Council. $210,000

Murray River Fishway Assessment Project. Baumgartner, L., Zampatti, B., Jones, M. (2002-2013) Murray Darling Basin. $5.8M

Transferring fish passage technology to the Lower Mekong and Murray-Darling Basins. Baumgartner, L. (2007-2015) Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research $1.83M