Doctor Michelle Ryan

Doctor Michelle Ryan

Senior Lecturer, Ecology and Environmental Science,
Life Sciences


Dr Michelle Ryan is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science and Western Sydney University and the current Hawkesbury-Nepean Waterkeeper. Michelle’s research includes human impacts on aquatic environments with a focus on the ecological health of freshwater systems and aquatic animals. Her current research focuses on the iconic platypus and the health of platypus populations in the Greater Sydney region. Michelle is passionate about waterway health and uses her research into the platypus to connect and engage with the community, industry and government with the aim of creating resilient waterways throughout Western Sydney. 

This information has been contributed by Doctor Ryan.


  • PhD University of Western Sydney
  • BSc University of Western Sydney
  • BAppSc University of Western Sydney

Professional Memberships

  • Environmental Health Australia (2016)
  • River Basin Management Society (2021)
  • Ecological Society of Australia (2008)


  • The Academy - Staff Excellence Award 2019-12-04
  • School of Science and Health - Research Impact - Team 2019-12-03
  • School of Science - Research Excellence 2020-12-08


  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Water Pollution Assessment
  • Environmental Health
  • Environmental Management
  • Water and Wastewater Management

Organisational Unit (School / Division)

  • Life Sciences


  • Blacktown City Council Environment Advisory Committee


Phone: (02) 4570 1493
Location: M15.G.15

PLEASE NOTE: obtaining information from this Directory must be for the legitimate purposes of doing business with and within Western Sydney University, and must not be used for unsolicited bulk e-mailing (spamming) or similar purposes.


Previous Teaching Areas

  • 300789 Urban Environment, 2019
  • 300789 Urban Environment, 2020
  • 300821 Environment and Health, 2018
  • 300821 Environment and Health, 2019
  • 300860 Urban Environment, 2018
  • 300931 Integrated Science, 2018
  • 300931 Integrated Science, 2019
  • 300931 Integrated Science, 2020
  • 301271 Environmental Issues and Solutions, 2020


Journal Articles

  • Ross, G., Horn, S., Macdonald, C., Powell, J., Reynolds, J., Ryan, M., Cook, J. and Nielsen, U. (2020), 'Metabarcoding mites : three years of elevated CO2 has no effect on oribatid assemblages in a Eucalyptus woodland', Pedobiologia, vol 81-82 .
  • Paciuszkiewic, K., Ryan, M., Wright, I. and Reynolds, J. (2019), 'Variations in illicit compound discharged from treated wastewater', Water, vol 11, no 5 .
  • Wright, I., Khoury, R., Ryan, M., Belmer, N. and Reynolds, J. (2018), 'Laboratory study of impacts of concrete fragment sizes on wetland water chemistry', Urban Water Journal, vol 15, no 1 , pp 61 - 67.
  • Wright, I. and Ryan, M. (2016), 'Impact of mining and industrial pollution on stream macroinvertebrates : importance of taxonomic resolution, water geochemistry and EPT indices for impact detection', Hydrobiologia, vol 772, no 1 , pp 103 - 115.
  • Ryan, M., Burgin, S. and Wright, I. (2015), 'Effects of wetland water source on a population of the Australian eastern long-necked turtle Chelodina longicollis', Water, Air and Soil Pollution, vol 226, no 12 .
  • Burgin, S. and Ryan, M. (2008), 'Comparison of sympatric freshwater turtle populations from an urbanized Sydney catchment', Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Research, vol 18, no 7 , pp 1277 - 1284.
  • Ryan, M. and Burgin, S. (2007), 'Gone Walkabout? Movement of the Eastern Long-necked Turtle Chelodina Longicollis from Farm Dams in Northwest Peri-urban Sydney (australia)', Journal of Biological Research, vol 8 , pp 119 - 127.

Conference Papers

  • Webb, B., Morrison, K., Wright, I. and Ryan, M. (2021), 'The effect of water quality, macroinvertebrate assemblages and habitat suitability on the distribution of Platypuses : a pilot study in Cattai Catchment, North West Sydney', Australian Stream Management Conference, online.
  • Morrison, K., Reynolds, J., Ryan, M. and Wright, I. (2021), 'Challenges for management of treated sewage in NSW Southern Highlands rivers : drinking water catchment, World Heritage Area and platypus habitat', Australian Stream Management Conference, Online.
  • Ryan, M. and Morrison, K. (2021), 'The use of citizen scientists to confirm the presence of platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus) in north-west Sydney', Australian Stream Management Conference, Online.
  • Wright, I., Morrison, K., Ryan, M., Cusbert, S. and Reynolds, J. (2019), 'Elevated sodium concentrations in Australian drinking water supplies', International Conference on Water Resource and Environment, Macao, China.
  • Rowlands, T., Ryan, M., Estreich, A. and Wright, I. (2019), ''Swimmability' : a key element for communities to safely engage with Australian urban rivers', International Conference on Water Resource and Environment, Macao, China.
  • Reynolds, J., Russom, B. and Ryan, M. (2018), 'The presence of illicit compounds in the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system', Australian Stream Management Conference, Hobart, Tas..
  • Wright, I., Morrison, K., Hurst, E. and Ryan, M. (2018), 'Water quality and ecological recovery of a mountain stream after 60 years of receiving sewage effluent', Australian Stream Management Conference, Hobart, Tas..

Current Projects

Title: Platypus in Mulgoa Creek
  • Mulgoa Valley Landcare Group Inc.
Western Researchers: Michelle Ryan
Years: 2024-03-01 - 2024-12-31
ID: P00029178
Title: Platypus populations in Figtree Hill/Gilead
  • Lendlease Communities (Figtree Hill) Pty Ld
Western Researchers: Michelle Ryan
Years: 2023-03-01 - 2024-05-31
ID: P00028593

Previous Projects

Title: From Fires to Drought: Creating Citizen Science and Community Conservation Programs to Restore Hunter River Turtles
  • Australia's Wildlife Ark Inc
Western Researchers: Ricky Spencer and Michelle Ryan
Years: 2020-09-01 - 2022-08-31
ID: P00026866
Title: Threats to the long term viability of the Eastern long necked turtle
  • University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury Foundation Limited
Western Researchers: Shelley Burgin and Michelle Ryan
Years: 2007-07-30 - 2011-12-30
ID: P0016109
Title: Platypus Keepers - The Hawkesbury-Nepean Riverkeepers as guardians of the platypus populations of the Hawkesbury Nepean Catchment
  • NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service Incorporated
Western Researchers: Michelle Ryan and Katherine Warwick
Years: 2021-12-03 - 2022-12-02
ID: P00027644


Title: Hawkesbury Post
Description: Saving Our Platypus
Title: ABC
Description: Platypuses confirmed living near development in Sydney's north-western Hills District
Title: Hawkesbury Post
Description: eDNA testing confirms presence of Platypus in Kurrajong and Bilpin
Title: Hawkesbury Gazette
Description: River Snap - Hawkesbury residents called to snap river pics to help monitor its health
Title: Future-Makers
Description: Assessing microplastics in our rivers
Title: Hawkesbury Post
Description: We???re going on a eDNA Platypus hunt ??? calling residents to help find them in the Hawkesbury
Title: Hills to Hawkesbury News
Description: Bluey the Platypus
Title: WSU Media
Description: Penrith platypus population to be conserved through new gran
Title: The Hawkesbury Gazette
Description: Western Sydney University researches microplastics in Hawkesbury River
Title: The Hawkesbury Gazette
Description: Western Sydney University researches microplastics in Hawkesbury River
Title: ABC News
Description: Platypus in the Sydney Basin
Title: The Conversation
Description: A tale of 2 Rivers
Title: The Conversation
Description: Your drinking water could be saltier than you think
Title: The Conversation
Description: I've always wondered are water crystals bad for the environment
Title: The Hawkesbury Gazette
Description: Local platypus project needs your help
Title: WSU Media
Description: Water, health and community at forefront of Lucknow student trip
Title: WSU Media
Description: Fishing line bins in the Hawkesbury
Title: WSU Media
Description: Koalas returning to north west Sydney
Title: WSU Media
Description: Blue Mountains Air Quality

Western Sydney University

Locked Bag 1797
Penrith NSW 2751

ABN 53 014 069 881
CRICOS Provider No: 00917k