Penny Wurm


Registered to supervise postgraduate research

1987 …2024

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Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Penny Wurm is an applied plant ecologist with a research practice that includes ecological, agricultural and livelihood applications in northern Australia, eastern Indonesia and Timor Leste. I hold a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and PhD (Ecology). Research on the values and ecology of native Australian rices has led to investigations into the development of enterprises based on native rice - in collaboration with Dr Sean Bellairs at CDU, two CRCs, an Aboriginal enterprise and Territory agencies. Knowledge of the ecology and values of native rices, has also led to investigation of threats posed by invasive species, including invasive grasses to native rices. My student supervision includes projects on invasive species on disturbed sites and monsoonal wetlands, cashew horticulture in Timor Leste, irrigated rice systems in eastern Indonesian and soon in Timor Leste, and commercialisation of native species for Aboriginal enterprises, currently Kakadu Plum and native rices.

I have teaching collaborations with Indonesian colleagues, focussed on rural livelihoods, in eastern Indonesia. Collaboratively, I have developed and taught two Indonesian field intensives, in partnership with Indonesian university colleagues. I am passionate about teaching and have won three national and one institutional team teaching awards, and have served an Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching at the College level.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, The population ecology of Oryza meridionalis Ng on the South Alligator River floodplain, Kakadu National Park, monsoonal Australia


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