Professor Emma Johnston Children’s Book Profiles


“It has been a pleasure to be part of this series of children’s fiction books which serves to promote reading and inspire the next generation of scientists and inventors,” said Professor Johnston. “I am a passionate environmental scientist and an advocate for greater diversity in our research community. I hope this book helps open the door to a career in research for a wide range of children across the country.

“I haven’t shared my life story yet. It reveals a strong marine theme, from early childhood growing up in a peninsula town, swimming, snorkeling and sailing, to my adventures diving under the Antarctic ice floe, and subsequent efforts to translate the marine sciences in marine solutions. This collaboration with author Dee White is part of why I love research so much and how people can use research to inform the restoration and conservation of our precious marine environments.

About Professor Johnston’s STEM research

Professor Johnston’s research focuses on global change, including marine debris, microplastics, the impacts of bushfires on marine ecosystems and securing the environmental future of Antarctica. This is research that is carried out in field environments as diverse as Sydney Harbour, Antarctica, the Great Barrier Reef and temperate Australian estuaries. While at UNSW, his research group studied the ecology of human impacts in marine systems, combining the diverse disciplines of ecology, microbiology and ecotoxicology to expand fundamental understanding and provide management recommendations.

She has led major research projects for industry, government, the Australian Research Council and the Australian Antarctic Science Program and contributed to the development of international and national research strategies, priorities and plans. She is a champion of sustainability and diversity and the lead author of Australia’s State of the Environment Report 2021. She is also a trusted advisor working for various government and industry bodies.

Professor Johnston is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Sciences (AAS), the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) and the Royal Society of New South Wales. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honors for “distinguished service to higher education, in particular marine ecology and ecotoxicology, as a scholar, researcher and administrator, and to scientific institutes”.

She is a regular media commentator and, as co-presenter of the Foxtel/BBC Coast Australia television series, has helped bring Australian marine science to international audiences.

The book’s author, Dee White, has written over 20 books published in the US, UK, Canada, Israel, Australia and New Zealand. She has three generations of scientists in her family, cares deeply about the environment, and is fascinated by how things work. Ms. White loves writing books that empower readers and inspire them to explore the world outside of their own experiences.


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