Scarla's particular expertise lies in ecosystem-scale applications of satellite data to biophysical oceanography. Her research interests include the link between climate change, oceanography and the biological response, with a focus on regional to local processes. Applications include the impact of mesoscale oceanography and climate change on the Great Barrier Reef and coastal ecosystems, and on marine megafauna and seabirds in both Australian and international waters. Scarla works in close collaboration with the NASA Ocean Biology Processing Group in developing the application of satellite data to coral reef and coastal waters. A current focus is the development of improved tools for comprehensive monitoring of water clarity and light availability in coral reef ecosystems. Scarla actively participates in Queensland Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) collaborations, and serves on the IMOS National Working Group on Bio-optical Observing. Scarla is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Queensland, where she teaches and leads the Biophysical Oceanography Group.