A World of Oysters: Protecting Their Future

Image of oysters, by Ana Rubio
Wednesday 20 October 2021
4.00 - 5.30pm (AEST)

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Online (Zoom)


Marine Studies Institute
Spanish Researchers in Australia Pacific
Eat Spanish
Signature Oysters
Geocoastal Research Group

A panel of farmers, chefs and researchers discuss the vital role of oysters within Australia’s marine biodiversity and culinary culture.

Do you like Oysters? Do you know why are they important? Oysters are part of our heritage and have been an important natural resource for Australia’s First Nations for tens of thousands of years. However, most natural oyster reefs around Australia have disappeared, which is important as they provide structure and habitat for marine biodiversity. Oysters remain an important part of Australian culture and cuisine, with oyster farming occurring in most of NSW estuaries, supporting coastal economies.

Join the Marine Studies Institute for their first multidisciplinary event, partnered with the Sydney Environment Institute and Spanish Researchers in Australia Pacific, to learn about these fascinating creatures where you are invited to listen to different perspectives on oysters from researchers, farmers, chefs and Australia’s First Nations. The event will include an afternoon of discussions followed by an online BYO oyster tasting. Details will be provided once you are registered.


Mitchell Gibbs, a Dunghutti man through Kinship from Kempsey near Port Macquarie, NSW, has recently completed his PhD at the University of Sydney School of Life and Environment Science on the transgenerational effect of climate change on oyster larvae. His research focuses on oysters – especially oyster and oyster habitats on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales. Mitchell has a particular interest in traditional Aboriginal oyster farming practices – practices that protected and enhanced oyster habitats and promoted sustainable harvesting.

Ana Bugnot is a Senior Research Associate at the University of Sydney and Project Manager for the Sydney Harbour Research Program at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science. In collaboration with industry and environmental managers, she is investigating the use of oysters in developing nature-based solutions to remediate excess nutrients.

Rubén López Mesa is a Spanish chef living in Orange NSW. He is a founder of Eat Spanish, the first Spanish non-profit gastronomic association in Australia. He owns the catering business A Table of 10. He is passionate about using local products and regional influences in his cooking and shining a light on Spanish culture and cuisine.

Ewan McAsh is a marine scientist, and oyster farm industry trailblazer. He is a Nuffield Farming Scholar (2012) and a NSW farmer of the year finalist (2018). Ewan is the founder of Signature Oysters (2015) and SmartOysters (2018), and OysterLife Share Farm (2019). Over the past 16 years Ewan has expanded his family farm to include a nationally recognised marketing brand and a global software company.

Ana Vila Concejo (Chair) is an Associate Professor in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. Ana is co-leads the Geocoastal Research Group the Deputy Director of One Tree Island Research Station and Co-Director of the Marine Studies Institute. Ana’s research is on the geomorphology of coasts in temperate and tropical environments including beaches, specially those in estuaries and bays, and coral reefs and how they are affected by climate change. She has had two ARC fellowships, including a Future Fellowship, and is part of an ARC-Linkage project studying oyster reefs. Ana is a founding member of the Spanish Researchers in Australia Pacific, she also co-founded and co-chairs Women in Coastal Geosciences and Engineering. She co-hosts the science podcast Coast2Cast.