Valeriya Komyakova

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Valeriya Komyakova


IMAS Salamanca , Off-Campus

Dr Valeriya Komyakova is an environmental scientist who aims to understand and manage human impacts on the marine environment and has a strong solution development focus. She has an extensive national and international collaborative network and employs interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches in her work. Dr. Komyakova is a fish-habitat associations expert with over 15 years’ experience in this field. She has developed artificial reef designs that have demonstrated potential to elevate reef performance as habitats. Dr Komyakova targets highly applicable and innovative research directions. For example, her research was the first to demonstrate potential ecological trap formation due to artificial reef deployments and pathways towards mitigation of this impact through improved reef design options. Valeriya has worked on projects investigating recruitment dynamics of commercially important fish species, impacts of pollution on invertebrate and fish populations and co-lead a National Environmental Science Program (NESP) project that reviewed current state of knowledge on microplastic pollution and provided policy and management advise on future directions.


Fish-habitat associations

Dr. Komyakova has developed a strong interest in investigating fish-habitat associations and has worked on projects addressing this field of interest in tropical and temperate environments. Her highly cited research provides an increased understanding of the thresholds of coral cover and coral diversity past which, declines in coral reef fish communities are observed. Valeriya’s work further provided an evaluation of coral species based on their ability to support the most diverse and abundant fish communities to aid in setting conservation priorities.

Ecological engineering

Dr. Komyakova has a strong interest in developing ecologically friendly, nature-based designs of marine infrastructure. Her research focuses on development of designs to enhance productivity and functioning of artificial reefs, reduce or remove negative impacts associated with artificial reef deployment and allow for twin functioning of marine infrastructure that has not traditionally been designed to act as marine habitat.Through increased habitat complexity and diversity and consideration of the habitat requirements of the local taxa, Dr. Komyakova has demonstrated the potential to improve recruit survival and increase fish species richness on artificial structures. Valeriya also played a lead role in the development of a framework for effective artificial reef deployments.

Ecological traps

Dr. Komyakova’s research was the first to demonstrate potential ecological trap formation due to artificial reef deployments and pathways towards mitigation of this impact through improved reef design options. She continues to explore topics of ecological trap formation in the marine environment due to anthropogenic habitat modifications and possible pathways of mitigation of these impacts.

Marine pollution

Dr. Komyakova is involved in both the practical and policy spheres of managing marine pollution that has culminated in a National Environmental Science Program (NESP) project that reviewed current state of knowledge on microplastic pollution and provided policy and management advise on future directions as well as being a contributing author to the State of the Environment Report.

Population connectivity and recruitment dynamics under climate change pressures

Dr. Komyakoave has participated in, and co-led, several projects investigating marine population connectivity. Marine population connectivity is an important factor requiring consideration in fisheries management for site-attached and pelagic species, especially under differing climate change scenarios. Furthermore, understanding population connectivity and recruitment dynamics can be vital in site selection and design of artificial infrastructure.

Currently, Dr. Komyakova is an integral part of the Recruitment dynamics of commercially important fish species in changing NE Atlantic ecosystems (RECNOR) project where she investigates maternal influences on the recruitment success of Norwegian spring-spawning herring larvae (NSSH) and investigates potentially impacts of future climate change on NSSH recruitment dynamics. Through her work Valeriya has developed strong partnerships between national and international partners, including government and industry representatives.

“During her time at IMR Valeriya has demonstrated ability to think critically and creatively, and to develop novel ideas. She was one of the main contributors to developing a new investigation under RECNOR umbrella that used microchemistry techniques to track Norwegian spring-spawning larvae migration in order to estimate percent contribution of each spawning ground to 0-age herring group in Barents Sea. She has set up a successful collaboration with an international partner in Australia in order to conduct this work and was the main party conducting all data collections and the actual microchemistry analysis” (Prof. Arild Folkvord, University of Bergen, Norway 2018)
“Valeriya’s in-depth understanding of contemporary marine science, her ability to develop innovative but effective solutions and communicate findings makes her a highly-valued collaborator…. I am always impressed at the quality and sophistication of the solution that Valeriya will settle upon, as have been our clients” (Dr. Craig Blount, Senior Environmental Scientists, CARDNO, Sydney, Australia, 2020)

Career summary



Thesis Title



Date of Award

Graduate Diploma in Applied Statistics

Swinburne University of Technology




Do anthropogenic changes to marine ecosystems result in the formation of ecological traps?

University of Melbourne



Masters of Science by Research

Habitat characteristics as determinants of the local diversity and structure of coral reef fish communities

James Cook University



Graduate Diploma ofResearch Methods

Habitat structure as a determinant of the diversity ofdamselfishes on a coastal coral reef, Orpheus Island, GBR, Australia.

James Cook University



Bachelor of Science (Biological Science)

James Cook University




Teaching expertise

Dr. Komyakova is an award-winning educator. She has over 15 years’ experience in Tertiary Education and has taught at four Universities in Australia, across multiple disciplines. Dr. Komyakova’s teaching philosophy comprises two primary principles: feedback-based scaffolded learning and adaptive student-centred learning with a diversified engagement approach. At UTAS in 2020 Dr. Komyakova led a re-design of two core Master level units (KSA405 and KSA726) that resulted in high-level of student satisfaction despite pressures of COVID pandemic. Her student-centred and collegial approach, as well as excellent teaching skills resulted in multiple award nominations from staff and students. In early 2021, Dr. Komyakova was Awarded Teaching Merits certificate for Excellence in online transition, student pastoral care with constructive, progressive feedback that facilitated student learning and maintained student enrolments during the COVID pandemic. Later in 2021, Dr. Komyakova was also awarded a Citation for excellence in the provision of feedback-based, student-centred, highly engaging learning of broadly applicable skills to a diverse group of Master students by the University of Tasmania. Associate Professor Leonie Ellis, Chair of the Teaching Awards assessment panel, in her congratulation letter to Dr. Komyakova, highlighted that the panel noted: ”You are a ‘force for good’ having a positive impact within the College.” Dr. Komyakova has also given multiple guest talks at several schools (Russia, New Zealand) and is an active member of “Skype a Scientist”.

Current and previous teaching experience:

  • Marine and Antarctic Environments (KSA726) (UTAS)
  • Research Methods in Marine and Antarctic Science (KSA405) (UTAS)
  • Quantitative Methods in Ecology (KSM309) (UTAS)
  • International Marine Management (KSA302) (UTAS)
  • Integrated management and conservation of Antarctica (KSA722) (UTAS)
  • Introduction to Marine and Antarctic Science A & B (KSA101 & KSA102) (UTAS)
  • Ecology (Melbourne University)
  • Ecology in Changing Environments (Melbourne University)
  • Animal Structure and Function (Melbourne University)
  • Experimental Marine Biology (Melbourne University)
  • Marine Environment (General education course) (UNSW)
  • Introductory Marine Science (UNSW)
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (UNSW)
  • Coastal Resource Management (UNSW)
  • Evolutionary and Functional Biology (UNSW)
  • Functional Biology of Marine Organisms (JCU)
  • Marine Ecology and Environmental Assessment (JCU)
  • Marine Conservation Biology (JCU)
  • Evolution and Biogeography of Marine Organisms (JCU)
  • The Diversity of Animal Life (JCU)
  • Introductory Marine Science (JCU)

Teaching responsibility

Unit Coordinator


Research Invitations

Invitations to present

  • “Floating Artificial Reefs” at Blue Economy CRC 2021 Participant Workshop, Australia.
  • 2016 Komyakova, V., Swearer, S. and Jones, G. “Home is where the heart is: implications for the design of artificial reefs” at workshop on 'Understanding the productivity, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services of marine artificial structures' hosted by O. Langhamer and PE Reefs, Flekkefjord, Norway.
  • 2015 Komyakova, V., Swearer, S. and Jones, G. “Ecological traps in the marine environment: implications for the design of artificial reefs” at workshop on 'Mitigation measures of human induced impacts on marine ecosystems” hosted by O. Langhamer and P. Rodewald at CBD, Trondheim and guest presentation in IMR, Flødevigen Research Station hosted by E. Moland.

View more on Dr Valeriya Komyakova in WARP


  • Green-marine engineering
  • Fish-habitat associations
  • Ocean sprawl
  • Artificial reefs
  • Anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment
  • Ecological traps
  • Environmental rehabilitation and restoration
  • Management of marine pollution
  • Fisheries management
  • Fish population connectivity
  • Recruitment dynamics of pelagic fish species
  • Spatial ecology of fishes


Dr. Komyakova has an extensive, well-established, strong national and international collaborative network which is evident through her publications, having co-authored peer-reviewed papers with 42 different researchers and industry partners from 16 institutions in 9 countries.

Dr. Komyakova is a member of the Centre for Marine Socioecology (CMS), which is a joint collaboration between the University of Tasmania, CSIRO and the Australian Antarctic Division and brings together disciplinary expertise in physics, law, economics, biology, sociology, and governance.

Dr. Komyakova is currently involved in two international projects, which are primarily aimed at green-marine engineering and design of artificial infrastructures, as well as investigation of the recruitment dynamics of the commercially important pelagic fish species. She also collaborates with colleagues from DHI, Singapore on artificial reef projects in an advisory capacity. Combined, these collaborations involve national and international partnerships with industry, government, and Universities, including collaborations with partners in Norway, New Zealand and Singapore.

Dr. Komyakova also maintains collaborations with industry consultancies around developing artificial reef deployment frameworks and successfully co-led the NESP project “Microplastics in the Australia Marine Environment”, providing advice to the Australia government on the management and mitigation options of microplastic pollution in the Australian marine environment. This has led to commissioned work for the State of Environment 2021 report.

Current projects

Dr. Komyakova is involvedin the following projects:

Recruitment dynamics of commercially important fish species in changing NE Atlantic ecosystems (RECNOR, FFA funds).

Goal: The primary objective of the project is to increase the understanding of the recruitment dynamics of Norwegian spring-spawning herring in order to make significant improvements to the accuracy of the prediction of new cohorts entering the fishery, both today and in the future under current climate change projections.

Fields of Research

  • Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) (310305)
  • Conservation and biodiversity (410401)
  • Environmental management (410404)
  • Pollution and contamination (410599)
  • Fisheries management (300505)
  • Fish physiology and genetics (300504)
  • Environment policy (440704)
  • Ecosystem function (410203)
  • Maritime transportation and freight services (350904)
  • Ocean engineering (401503)
  • Gender studies (440599)
  • Environmentally sustainable engineering (401102)
  • Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation (410102)
  • Drama, theatre and performance studies (360403)
  • Social and personality psychology (520599)

Research Objectives

  • Assessment and management of terrestrial ecosystems (180601)
  • Marine biodiversity (180504)
  • Rehabilitation or conservation of marine environments (180507)
  • Coastal and estuarine systems and management (180299)
  • Rehabilitation or conservation of coastal or estuarine environments (180206)
  • Measurement and assessment of estuarine water quality (180205)
  • Fisheries - wild caught (100399)
  • Environmentally sustainable manufacturing activities (240699)
  • Fisheries - recreational marine (100302)
  • Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems (180501)
  • Fisheries - aquaculture (100299)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences (280102)
  • Expanding knowledge in human society (280123)
  • Port infrastructure and management (270409)
  • Expanding knowledge in psychology (280121)
  • Management of solid waste from transport activities (270204)
  • Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts) (190504)
  • Environmentally sustainable construction activities (120699)
  • Communication (130299)


Dr. Komyakova has published papers on a range of topics including the importance of habitat characteristics in structuring fish communities, impacts of pollution on marine environments, ocean sprawl and green-marine engineering and ecologically-friendly management practices. Over 90% of her publications have been published in high impact, international journals ranked within the top 25% of their field according to their Impact Factor (e.g. Science of the Total Environment, Marine Environmental Research, PlosOne, Scientific Reports). Moreover, Dr. Komyakova has authored and co-authored multiple scientific reports, including providing leadership in the development of key reports for NESP project “Microplastics in the Australia Marine Environment”. This has led to commissioned work for the State of Environment 2021 report.

Dr. Komyakova is a strong contributor to the global scientific community, typically reviewing seven journal submissions per year placing her in the top 10th percentile of verified reviews for the past 12 months (Publons). Dr. Komyakova is also a member of the editorial board as a Review Editor Marine Ecosystem Ecology in the Frontiers in Marine Science journal.

Total publications


Journal Article

(10 outputs)
2022dos Santos Schmidt TC, Berg F, Folkvord A, Pires AMA, Komyakova V, et al., 'Is it possible to photoperiod manipulate spawning time in planktivorous fish? A long-term experiment on Atlantic herring', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 552 Article 151737. ISSN 0022-0981 (2022) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2022.151737 [eCite] [Details]


2021Allan BJM, Ray JL, Tiedemann M, Komyakova V, Vikebo F, et al., 'Quantitative molecular detection of larval Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) in stomach contents of Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus) marks regions of predation pressure', Scientific Reports, 11 Article 5095. ISSN 2045-2322 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-84545-7 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 4


2021Blount C, Komyakova V, Barnes L, Smith ML, Zhang D, et al., 'Using ecological evidence to refine approaches to deploying offshore artificial reefs for recreational fisheries', Bulletin of Marine Science, 97, (4) pp. 665-698. ISSN 0007-4977 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.5343/bms.2020.0059 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2021Komyakova V, Chamberlain D, Swearer SE, 'A multi-species assessment of artificial reefs as ecological traps', Ecological Engineering, 171 Article 106394. ISSN 0925-8574 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoleng.2021.106394 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 3


2019Komyakova V, Chamberlain D, Jones GP, Swearer SE, 'Assessing the performance of artificial reefs as substitute habitat for temperate reef fishes: implications for reef design and placement', Science of The Total Environment, 668 pp. 139-152. ISSN 0048-9697 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.357 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 29Web of Science - 28


2019Komyakova V, Munday PL, Jones GP, 'Comparative analysis of habitat use and ontogenetic habitat-shifts among coral reef damselfishes', Environmental Biology of Fishes, 102 pp. 1201-1218. ISSN 0378-1909 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s10641-019-00903-5 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 8


2018Komyakova V, Jones GP, Munday PL, 'Strong effects of coral species on the diversity and structure of reef fish communities: a multi-scale analysis', PLoS ONE, 13, (8) Article e0202206. ISSN 1932-6203 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202206 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 29Web of Science - 26


2018Komyakova V, Swearer SE, 'Contrasting patterns in habitat selection and recruitment of temperate reef fishes among natural and artificial reefs', Marine Environmental Research, 143 pp. 71-81. ISSN 0141-1136 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2018.11.005 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 18Web of Science - 16


2017Castro-Sanguino C, Bozec Y-M, Dempsey A, Samaniego BR, Lubarsky K, et al., 'Detecting conservation benefits of marine reserves on remote reefs of the northern GBR', PLoS ONE, 12, (11) Article e0186146. ISSN 1932-6203 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186146 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 12


2012Dafforn KA, Simpson SL, Kelaher BP, Clark GF, Komyakova V, et al., 'The challenge of choosing environmental indicators of anthropogenic impacts in estuaries', Environmental Pollution, 163 pp. 207-217. ISSN 0269-7491 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.envpol.2011.12.029 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 79Web of Science - 78



(2 outputs)
2022Komyakova V, Jaffres JBD, Strain EMA, Cullen-Knox C, Fudge M, et al., 'Conceptualisation of multiple impacts interacting in the marine environment using marine infrastructure as an example', The Science of The Total Environment, 830, (article 154748) pp. 1-18. ISSN 0048-9697 (2022) [Substantial Review]

DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154748 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Strain EMA; Cullen-Knox C; Fudge M; Wilson E; Haward M


2017Heery EC, Bishop MJ, Critchley LP, Bugnot AB, Airoldi L, et al., 'Identifying the consequences of ocean sprawl for sedimentary habitats', Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 492 pp. 31-48. ISSN 0022-0981 (2017) [Substantial Review]

DOI: 10.1016/j.jembe.2017.01.020 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 130Web of Science - 121


Contract Report, Consultant's Report

(2 outputs)
2020Komyakova V, Vince J, Haward M, 'Primary microplastics in the marine environment: scale of the issue, sources, pathways and current policy', National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub, IMAS, University of Tasmania, Milestone 3, V6 (2020) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Vince J; Haward M

2020Komyakova V, Vince J, Haward M, 'Microplastics and the Australian Marine Environment: Issues and Options', National Environmental Science Program, Marine Biodiversity Hub, IMAS, University of Tasmania, Milestone 6 (2020) [Contract Report]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Vince J; Haward M

Grants & Funding

Dr. Komyakova has been successful in securing a range of funding opportunities totaling $70,000 AUD.

  • Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment ($5000-7000; 2013-2015)
  • F.H. Drummond travel award ($1000, 2015)
  • Institute of Marine Research Internal Funding Scheme 290,000 NOK (equates to approx. $46,800, 2018)
  • UTAS COSE Research Grant Application Incentive Scheme ($3,800, 2021)

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Microplastics pollution from ports and shipping activities in the Indo-Pacific: Potential risks and mitigation strategies (2022 - 2023)$99,904
Project purpose:To examine microplastic pollution associated with ports and shipping activities and to assist maritime industry stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific in finding practical and viable solutions for reducing ocean plastic contamination.Project aims:1.To explore differences in the levels of microplastic contamination in port and non-port sites across two geographical locations using a range of techniques.2.To develop policy imperatives and microplastic pollution mitigation strategies for the maritime industry based on literature review, scientific evidence obtained from data collected from the Indo-Pacific region, and an international stakeholder workshop.3.To raise awareness of microplastics pollution caused by ports and shipping activities and to promote best practices among maritime industry stakeholders including, but not limited to, governments, regulators, maritime industry associations, port authorities, ship operators, maritime workers and the scientific community.4.To progress the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) through collaboration and engagement between researchers and maritime stakeholders in Australia and India, and the wider Indo-Pacific maritime community.
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade ($99,904)
Australia-India Indo-Pacific Oceans Grant
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Bhaskar PR; Chen S; Nguyen H-O; Komyakova V; Majumdar A; Phadke A
2022 - 2023
Identifying the potential of floating artificial benthic ecosystems to underpin offshore development (2021)$48,294
Offshore developments are essentially artificial systems operating in the open ocean. Developing floating benthic artificial systems that act similar to inshore systems for offshore development have the potential to enhance global ecosystem services from marine environments as well as supporting offshore developments through wave attenuation, nutrient recycling, carbon sequestration and, where applicable, provision of marine products. Given the societal concerns over offshore developments, encapsulating these developments in an ecosystem framework that can demonstrate positive ecosystem attributes is more likely to lead to social acceptance of offshore developments.The project aims to:Identify the potential for floating benthic artificial systems to support marine products.Assess the current state of knowledge on environmental and economic (market and non-market) benefits of incorporating artificial ecosystems into the design of integrated offshore developments.Assess current design opportunities and constraints in the construction of floating artificial benthic ecosystems suitable for offshore developments. Assess alternative mooring/anchoring systems.Identify current regulatory and policy issues with respect to development, deployment and operation of artificial ecosystems, and how these systems can assist in demonstrating responsible management of offshore developments.The project has the capacity to develop new activities and engage with new partners for the BE CRC as its moves from research and feasibility to demonstration activities.
Blue Economy CRC Co ($48,294)
General Projects
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Haward MG; Komyakova V; Abdussamie N; Arzaghi E; Baalisampang T; Garaniya V

Dr. Komyakova is currently recruiting honours and Msc students who have an interest in green-marine engineering, anthropogenic impacts in the marine environment and human-impacts mitigation and management.


MSc ‘Quid pro quo: reciprocal learning opportunities between climate-driven species redistribution and species invasion’ Commenced 2021

Supervisors: Prof. Gretta Pecl (IMAS, CMS), Dr. Valeriya Komyakova (IMAS, CMS), Assoc. Prof. Cascade Sorte (University of California), Assoc. Prof. Morgan Tingley (University of California)

MSc ‘Climate and fishing impacts on Southern Ocean food-webs: a size and trait-based modelling approach’ Commenced 2021

Supervisors: A/Prof Julia Blanchard (Primary) & Dr. Valeriya Komyakova (Co-supervision).