Dayanitha Damodaran

Dayanitha is a marine biologist with an interest in shellfish – particularly their cellular structure, responses to stress and causes of mortality.

She has a Bachelor of Science degree from Victoria University of Wellington, with majors in marine biology and ecology and biodiversity. During her studies, Dayanitha spent an internship at the University of Washington Tacoma focussed on identifying the larvae of Olympia oysters as part of a project to help cultivate and restore their beds.

Dayanitha completed a Masters degree with first class honours, also from Victoria University, in 2020. [Her thesis] examined the responses of cockles and tuatua to different environmental stressors. She was supported by a Bowen Eye Clinic scholarship and worked part time as an ophthalmic technician.

She is starting a PhD in 2021 at the Cawthron Institute in partnership with Macquarie University. Her research will develop and identify the features of artificial substrates that promote recruitment and growth of native species (like green-lipped mussel) while reducing the growth of invasive species.

People around the world depend on bivalves (shellfish) for food but they are wildly underrated. These animals are often ecosystem engineers and have cultural, economic and ecological importance to the communities where they are found.