Ecohydrology, mine environmental management, water resources management 

Robynne Chrystal has a PhD in engineering specialising in ecohydrology and focussed on understanding the biophysical functioning of the St Lucia estuarine-lake system in South Africa. This system forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Ramsar site of importance, however it has undergone significant anthropogenic impacts due to floodplain alterations and management strategies.  A water and salt balance model was developed to investigate what-if scenarios in terms of past anthropogenic interventions and determine the occurrence and persistence of adverse conditions. Robynne collated enough data to perform ecological network analysis in order to estimate ecosystem indices that would help to understand how the ecosystem responds to different physico-chemical conditions and mouth state. 

Robynne has also been involved in research projects including coastal modelling, hydropower and algal biofuels. She enjoys working with specialists from other fields on multi-disciplinary projects and looking at ways to integrate knowledge to provide a more holistic understanding and solution to problems. 


Before joining The University of Queensland, Robynne held positions within industry and the research sector. Robynne started off her career in the research sector where she held a lecturing position in the Civil Engineering Department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. During this time she was involved in research projects including ecohydrology and estuarine and coastal modelling. Robynne has spent the last 5 years in consulting, most recently with Hatch, where she worked as a water resources engineer on a variety of projects ranging from urban drainage to mine environmental and water management.   


During her time in industry, Robynne has worked on a wide array of projects including drainage design and assessments, mine environmental and water management, creek diversions, mine closure and rehabilitation, estuarine modelling, green urban development and water quality assessments.