ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Dr Nathan Ning

Dr Nathan Ning

Nathan Ning undertakes research on the ecology, management and restoration of freshwater ecosystems. His major interests include human impacts on rivers and wetlands (altered flow regimes, hypoxic blackwater events, acid sulfate soils), food-web dynamics (zooplankton–fish predator-prey interactions), aquatic microinvertebrate ecology, and invertebrate egg and plant seed dormancy and dispersal mechanisms. He has worked on a range of ecological projects over the last eight years, including the development of watering protocols for native fish in wetlands, investigations into the effects of various stressors on riverine microinvertebrates (drought, climate change, hypoxic blackwater events, acid sulfate soils), the development of methods to identify climate refuges in the Murray­–Darling Basin, and an assessment of the biophysical and community impacts of improved fish passage in Lao PDR.

Research Interests

  • River and wetland ecology
  • Relationships between riverine biota and flow
  • Zooplankton dynamics

Bachelor of Science (Honours): La Trobe University, 2004
PhD (Freshwater ecology): La Trobe University, 2009

Memberships of Advisory Boards and Panels

  • Associate member of the Australian Institute of Professional Editors
  • Member of the Australian Society for Limnology

Full Publications List CRO Research Outputs

Selected Publications
Peer Reviewed Papers

Rees, G.N., Cook, R.A., Ning, N.S.P., McInerney, P.J., Petrie, R.T. & Nielsen, D.L. (2020). Managed floodplain inundation maintains ecological function in lowland rivers. Science of The Total Environment 727: 138469.

Baumgartner, L.J., Deng, Z., Ning, N., Conallin, J. & Lynch, A. (2019). Irrigation, fisheries and sustainable development goals: the importance of working collaboratively to end world hunger and malnutrition. Marine and Freshwater Research. 70: ii-iii.

Baumgartner, L. J., Boys, C. A., Marsden, T., McPherson, J., Ning, N., Phonekhampheng, O., Robinson, W.A., Sinhanouvong, D., Stuart, I.G., Thorncraft, G. (2018). Comparing fishway designs for application in a large tropical river system. Ecological Engineering, 120, 36-43. doi:

Grieve, B., Baumgartner, L.J., Robinson, W., Silva, L.G.M., Pomorin, K., Thorncraft, G., Ning, N. (2018). Evaluating the placement of PIT tags in tropical river fishes: a case study involving two Mekong River species. Fisheries Research 200: 43-48

Grieve, B., Baumgartner, L.J., Robinson, W., Silva, L., Pomorin, K., Thorncraft, G., Ning, N. (2018). Flexible and non-invasive passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagging protocols for tropical freshwater fish species. MethodX. DOI: 10.1016/j.mex.2018.04.001

Wassens, S., Ning, N., Hardwick, L., Bino, G., Maguire, J. (2017). Collapse and recovery of floodplain freshwater plant communities in response to prolonged drying and flooding. Hydrobiologia. 799: 233-247

Portinho, J., Nielsen, D., Ning, N., Paul, W., Nogueira, M. (2017). Spatial variability of aquatic plant and microfaunal seed and egg bank communities within a forested floodplain system of a temperate Australian river. Aquatic Sciences. 79: 515-527

Nielsen, D., Cook, R., Petrie, R., Ning, N., & Gawne, B. (2015). Carbon and nutrient subsidies to a lowland river following floodplain inundation. Marine and Freshwater Research 67: 1302-1312

Nielsen, D., Jasper, E., Ning, N., & Lawler, S. (2015). High sediment temperatures influence the emergence of dormant aquatic biota.  Marine and Freshwater Research 66: 1138-1146

Cook, R., Gawne, B., Petrie, R., Baldwin, D., Rees, G., Nielsen, D., & Ning, N. (2015). River metabolism and carbon dynamics in response to flooding in a lowland river.  Marine and Freshwater Research 66: 919-927


Ning, N., Doyle, K., Silva, L., Boys, C., Mc Pherson, J., Fowler, A., McGregor, C., Brambilla, E., Thiebaud, I., Du Preez,, J., Robinson, W., Deng, D., Fu, T. & Baumgartner, L.J. (2019) Predicting invasive fish survival through the Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme. Institute for Land, Water and Society report 123. ISBN: 978-1-86-467334-0. 96pp.

Silva, L,G., Pearce, L., Mabon, S., Horta, A., Duffy, D., Kopf, S., Ning, N., & Baumgartner, L,J. (2018). Macca’s in the Mannus, Macquarie perch refuge in the Upper Murray. ILWS Report No 114.

Pearce L., Silva, L.G., Mabon, S., Horta, A., Duffy, D., Ning, N., & Baumgartner, L.J. (2018). Finding forgotten fishes, the search for two endangered species in the NSW Murray Catchment. ILWS Report No 112.

Baumgartner, L.J., Boys, C.A., Gilligan, D.M., Silva, L.G., Pflugrath, B., Ning, N. (2017) Fish transfer risk associated with Snowy 2.0 pumped hydro scheme. ILWS Report No 107.


Baumgartner, L., Doyle, K., Silva, L.G.M., Pearce, L., & Ning, N. (2020) Before and after: see how bushfire and rain turned the Macquarie perch's home to sludge The Conversation July 10

Current Projects

Fish investigations associated with Snowy 2.0 - Snowy Hydro Ltd. (Assignment 1). Baumgartner, L., Silva, L., Ning, N.  (2017-2020) Snowy Hydro Ltd. $61,647 Project details

Maccas on the Manus: Bushfire Recovery. Doyle, K., Baumgartner, L., McGregor, C., Ning, N., Weatherman, K.  (2020-2021), Murray Local Land Services (DAWE Bushfire Recovery Funding), $130,000

Predicting redfin survival through the Snowy 2.0 scheme. Assignment 2. Baumgartner, L., Silva, L., Ning, N. & McPherson, J. (2018-2020) Snowy Hydro Ltd. $848,803 Project details

Quantifying improved fisheries productivity at fish passage rehabilitation sites in Lao PDR.  (2016-2020) Baumgartner, L., Ning, N., Horta, A., Conallin, J. with Thorncraft, G. (National University of Laos), Phonekhampheng, O. (National University of Laos),  Singhanouvong, D. (Living Aquatic Resources Research Centre), Cooper, B. (UniSA)  Marsden,T., (Australasian Fish Passage Services) Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) & USAID, $2.6M (initial funding of $1.8M plus an additional $800,000 in 2018)  Project details

Translating fish passage research outcomes into policy and legislation across South East Asia. Baumgartner, L., Robinson, W., Ning, N., Conallin, J., Bond, J., Pawsey, N. (2020-2023) ACIAR, $1,956,187

Completed Projects

A review of climate refuge science and its application in the Murray–Darling Basin (2015). Stratford, D., Nielsen, D., Baldwin, D., Brown, P., Davis, J., McGinness, H. Collaborators: The Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre, CSIRO and The Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

Assessing the risk of hypoxic blackwater generation at proposed SDL offset project sites on the lower River Murray floodplain (2014) Ning, N., Linklater, D., Baldwin, D., Baumgartner, L. Collaborators: The Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre and Mallee CMA.

Long Term Intervention Monitoring project-Murrumbidgee Selected Area. (2015-2016) Wassens, S., Hall, A., Ning, N., Wolfenden, B. with NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries), University of NSW, Riverina LLS, and NSW OEH, CEWO,

The role of hydrological and riparian connectivity in maintaining biodiversity of river-floodplain ecosystems (2014) Collaborators: The Murray–Darling Freshwater Research Centre, CSIRO and the Department of Environment.