WAMSI’s governance structure includes at its highest level, an independent Governing Board for strategic oversight of all programs and operations.

Executive support and all day-to-day operations, finances and program development are managed by a Secretariat at WAMSI, led by the CEO.

The Board approves all research programs and projects. A rigorous system of reporting and accountability is embedded in the research agreements. Quality control is maintained through the Committees of the Board, internal processes of the research providers, through periodic reviews of research program results and through rigorous and well-established peer-review processes for publication in scientific journals.

Project design requires all projects to be multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research thus fostering collaboration and joint publications.


Dr Paul Vogel AM – Chair

WAMSI Board member since 2020
Non-executive board director and strategic consultant

Dr Paul Vogel was chair of Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) from 2007 – 2015. Prior to that he was the inaugural chief executive and chair of the South Australian EPA from 2002 – 2007. He has also held senior executive positions in the WA Departments of the Premier and Cabinet and Environmental Protection.

Dr Vogel is chair of the national Cooperative Research Centre for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He was appointed to the Northern Territory (NT) EPA in January 2016 and became Chairman of the NT EPA and a member of the NT Planning Commission in November 2016.  Dr Vogel holds a PhD in chemistry from The University of Western Australia.

Dr Deb Cousins

WAMSI Board member since 2020
Executive Director, Science and Innovation, Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation.

Dr Debra Cousins has extensive experience in working at the interface of government, universities and industry in agriculture and food, public health and other sectors. She has a sound understanding of, and experience working in biosecurity and regulation over many years, including at the national level. Deb is well regarded for her strengths in policy, strategic thinking and stakeholder engagement and has held executive leadership roles in the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, and in the public sector in WA and Victoria. She has international experience providing advice to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Organisation for Animal Health.

Deb holds a PhD in Microbiology from UWA, has almost 100 publications in international journals, and is a Graduate of the AICD.

Dr Ian Cresswell

WAMSI Board member since 2020
Environmental Scientist

Dr Ian Cresswell has extensive experience working in environmental and sustainable development both nationally and internationally, including oceans governance, fisheries, wildlife regulation, protected areas and biodiversity discovery. Ian has worked within the Australian Government leading the National Oceans Office, sustainable fisheries assessments, international wildlife management, and the Australian Biological Resources Study.

Ian worked as the Science Director for the CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship and most recently led CSIRO’s terrestrial biodiversity and freshwater ecology science program focused on the management and protection of Australia’s biological resources, while also contributing to broader economic and social benefit. He also championed the development of Indigenous-led science in CSIRO. He maintains an ongoing research interest in multiple-use management and coastal systems.

Dr Rod Lukatelich

WAMSI Board member since 2020
Non-Executive Director and Consultant

Rod Lukatelich’s career has spanned academia, environmental consulting and industrial environmental management. As a lecturer/research officer (1982–89) at the Centre for Water Research at The University of Western Australia his research included studies on the impacts of eutrophication on algae and seagrasses in lakes and estuaries; development of ecological models; and the relationships between hydrodynamics and water quality in reservoirs, rivers and estuaries. In 1989 Rod joined Kinhill Engineers as Senior Aquatic Ecologist and in 1990 joined BP Refinery Kwinana as Environmental Manager.

Rod has broad experience in regulatory systems, having completed major contaminated site remediation projects in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East. He retired from BP in 2014 and now works part time as an environmental consultant. He has published more than 50 refereed papers and book chapters in environmental science. He has been a director of CRC CARE since its inception and director of Perth Racing since 2017. He is a member of CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere Strategic Advisory Committee. He chaired the Great Australian Bight Research Program Management Committee and was a member of the Environmental Protection Authority of WA (2009–14). Rod was appointed to the Northern Territory Environmental Protection Authority in January 2019.

Ms Shirley McPherson

WAMSI Board member since 2020
Member of the official Australian Delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.

Shirley McPherson is a Yamatji and Nyoongar woman from the Perth and Murchison regions of Western Australia. She has experience in program delivery and business development at the regional, national and international levels of government. Ms McPherson is a Chartered Accountant and has held senior positions in the private, government and university sectors. She is a former national business development and engagement manager for AFL SportsReady. Ms McPherson has been a consultant to the mining industry in negotiating land use agreements in Western Australia and held roles as a group manager of Indigenous strategy and business with Leighton Contractors. She was a member of the Australian Government delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Libby HowittMs Libby Howitt

WAMSI Board member since May 2021
Environmental Consultant

Libby Howitt has worked within the oil and gas industry in Australia for more than 20 years. She has a research background in marine ecology and a working history of applying marine science to the assessment of human activities in the marine environment, most extensively with regards to the challenges of exploring, developing, operating and decommissioning offshore petroleum facilities in proximity to environmentally sensitive areas whilst engaging with a broad range of stakeholders and regulatory authorities. Libby has previously held positions with the University of Sydney, the Australian Museum and The Ecology Lab.

Libby sits on the National Decommissioning Research Initiative (NDRI), APPEA Marine Environment Science Working Groups, APPEA Seismic Working Group and NESP Marine Biodiversity Hub

Executive Support

Dr Luke Twomey

CEO, WAMSI (2017-current)

A former BMT Oceanica Director, Luke is a phytoplankton ecologist with experience across the fields of environmental impact assessment, management, research and teaching in estuarine, nearshore and offshore environments, both in Australia and internationally. He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and holds a Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Science, Honours (Class 1) from Curtn University.