Project Description

“Han investigated the relationships between dams, river flows and the amount of egg-laying habitat for aquatic insects. He found that irrigation flows coupled with excessive algal growth cause catastrophic losses of such habitat. These world-first findings help explain biodiversity losses from dammed rivers and provide new avenues for river restoration.”

Prof. Barbara Downes, The University of Melbourne

As a researcher, I focus on the intersections between fluvial geomorphology, hydrology and freshwater ecology in dammed and free flowing systems. My scientific training began in the highlands of Victoria, where I studied how habitat availability could limit stream fauna reproduction in rocky, upland rivers: see my Yarra River research for more information. 

I completed my doctoral research in the highlands of the Murrumbidgee Catchment, New South Wales. By comparing dammed rivers with their unregulated tributaries, my research tested whether irrigation releases drown egg-laying habitat, thereby limiting stream fauna reproduction downstream of dams. 

My studies showed how altered flows cause catastrophic reproductive failure downstream of dams, by drowning critical habitat during high flows and intensifying algae proliferation during low flows. This is essential information for improved river restoration outcomes, as well as evidence-based management of human-impacted populations and environments.

My PhD was completed with Prof. Barbara Downes and Dr. William Bovill. This research was funded by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE), in close collaboration with Dr. Andrew Brooks from the state’s ecohydrology team.

Further information regarding these studies, and related research from my colleagues at the University of Melbourne’s freshwater ecology research group, may be found at this Pursuit article. Abstracts for my papers can be found here: