Regional ecosystem-based coastal management

Project outline and objectives:

The South–East Tasmania provides a ready-made laboratory to undertake research on regional ecosystem-based coastal management. South–East Tasmania has been the focus of over two decades of activities by CSIRO, the University of Tasmania and State and federal governments.

This work can be summarised as:

(i) There are several CSIRO activities and strategic interests in which there is considerable scientific capability for EBM delivery, and while these have made progress they have encountered institutional barriers to uptake. Two such examples, at national and regional extremes, are a national Oceans Policy and EBM for the Hobart Derwent/Huon/Bruny bioregion (INFORMD and IMFORMD2- YMV).
(ii) There is improved application of interdisciplinary capability to understanding the institutional barriers to uptake of scientific capability in EBM, most notably through the model developed by the Coastal Collaboration Cluster Knowledge System Theme.
(iii) CSIRO and local research organisations (especially via University of Tasmania and the Derwent Estuary Program) have engaged in coordinated research for EBM-oriented management in the Hobart Derwent/Huon/Bruny bioregion.

The proposed Postdoctoral fellowship is expected to build on this research – and the data from these projects – in the INFORMD region of SE Tasmania (i.e. the Derwent and Huon rivers, catchments and estuaries, the Storm Bay – D’Entrecasteaux channel and the Bruny bioregion) to focus on the science-policy base for resilient regional multiple use management.

The project’s primary aim is to develop a robust and resilient framework for EBM at a regional level that is repeatable and scalable and as a result be applied in other areas. The multidisciplinary approach suggested for this research position can start to account for how diverse ‘values’ are accounted for within EBM. An overview of socio-ecological interactions will be facilitated through the understanding of ecological, social and economic consideration of the marine environment being developed through research undertaken by members of the Centre for Marine Socioecology.

The project uses reflexive participatory-action research (PAR) methods – individual stakeholder/key informant interviews and (collaborative) workshop(s).

Current research has focused on coordination within individual sectoral issues (e.g. aquaculture development). This project moves to address science-policy-management constraints that have hindered development of an integrated EBM approach.

The key research question is what are the constraints that have prevented implementation of an EBM approach in a region that has been successful in coordinating research and in addressing individual sectoral issues?

What lessons can be learned from this experience?
What model(s) to implement EBM can be developed from this research?
How can this model be evaluated?

Postdoctoral Fellow
Karen Alexander

Mentoring and expertise committee:
Marcus Haward (
Catriona MacLeod, UTas
Emily Ogier, UTas
Jeff Dambacher, CSIRO
Keith Sainsbury, UTas


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