Steering committee

Professor Gretta Pecl
ARC Future Fellow, IMAS. Co-convenor of the Global Marine Hotspots Network. Chair, Redmap Australia.
Research areas: Assessment of species, population and fishery responses to environmental change, Interdisciplinary approaches to developing and evaluating adaptation options in marine systems, and Using citizen science approaches for ecological monitoring and engagement (e.g.
Dr Beth Fulton
Senior Principal Research Scientist and Team Leader-Marine ecosystems modelling, CSIRO.
Research areas: Development of whole of system socioecological models for marine and coastal systems, with the best known being the Atlantis modelling framework. Understanding complex adaptive systems and applying systems based thinking to sustainable multiple use management of complex coastal socioecological systems.
Dr David Smith
Research Director, Marine Resources and Industries Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, CSIRO
Research areas: Providing research that supports the balanced use of marine resources, including sustainable marine industries (fisheries, offshore oil and gas) and biodiversity conservation. Provision of science advice for resource management through the interplay of science and policy.

CMS members

Dr Heidi Auman
Adjunct Lecturer, IMAS/Publications Officer

Heidi has worked as a biologist for most of the past 25 years, focusing mainly on seabird ecology.  Her research is global in nature with a preference for isolated islands, including those of the US Great Lakes, sub-tropical Midway Atoll, sub-Antarctic Heard Island, and Tasmania.  Research areas: human impacts on seabirds, including plastic debris ingestion, toxicology, human disturbance, physiology, urbanisation, and diet.  She has demonstrated that our ecological footprint as reached the farthest corners of the Earth, often with disturbing consequences.

Dr Asta Audzijonyte
Research Fellow

My current research focuses at developing and applying marine ecosystem models to understand impacts of climate change, species redistributions and fish life-history changes on the function, productivity and resilience of marine ecosystems in Australia and globally

Dr Narissa Bax
Adjunct researcher, IMAS

Dr Narissa Bax's PhD work focused on Antarctic continental shelf and slope biodiversity, biogeography, connectivity, phylogenetics and conservation, primarily on deep-sea corals, at IMAS. This work extends post-PhD to collaborate with the Antarctic Seabed Carbon Capture Change project which aims to understand the role of polar and subpolar seabeds in the carbon cycle 'Antarctic blue carbon', particularly in response to climate change. She is part of a multi-disciplinary team working with the women of the Australian Antarctic program to improve gender equity in STEMM research cultures and is one of many researchers working on the Marine Ecosystem Assessment of the Southern Ocean, the Collaborative East Antarctic Marine Census Atlas project and the CMS Future Seas Project, Grand Challenge: ‘Ocean resource use: building the blue economy’.

Associate Professor Julia Blanchard
Ecology and Fisheries, IMAS, University of Tasmania
Research areas: Factors influencing the resilience of fish populations, marine communities and ecosystems (from shelf seas to deep seas), Effects of climate change on marine ecosystems and global fisheries (historical data analyses and modelling future scenarios), Development of robust methods to support an ecosystem-based management (ecological models and indicators)
Professor Richard Coleman
Director, ARC SRI for Antarctic Gateway Partnership, IMAS
Current research activities are in ice shelf dynamics, fracturing/calving processes, ice shelf-ocean interaction; global sea level from satellite altimetry, tide gauges and GPS.My main research activities are linked to the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre research programs.
Dr Chris Cvitanovic
Lecturer, Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University

Dr Chris Cvitanovic is an environmental social scientist at the Australian National University, Canberra, specialising in knowledge exchange, stakeholder engagement and the governance of marine resources. In doing so Chris draws on almost ten years of experience working at the interface of science and policy for the Australian Government Department of Environment, and then as a Knowledge Broker in CSIROs Climate Adaptation Flagship

Dr Jeffrey Dambacher
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Qualitative modelling of complex biological and social systems. Using qualitative modelling to identify robust indicators for Australia's marine bioregions. Theoretical role of positive feedback in long-term recovery dynamics of perturbed ecosystems, with applications to identifying alternative persistent states in natural and human systems such as coral and rocky reefs, and Eucalypt forest and fire dynamics.
Dr Julie Davidson
Adjunct Senior Researcher, Geography & Environmental Studies, UTAS
Dr Julie Davidson is a social scientist with interests in environmental planning and management. Her main area of research is environmental governance, particularly governance of natural resources and marine systems. She is interested in the resilience of coupled social-ecological systems in the face of heightened global change. She has also investigated the adequacy of marine biodiversity governance arrangements in the face of climate-induced changes in Australia's marine environment.
Dr Pedro Fidelman
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Policy Futures, The University of Queensland

Pedro's research focuses, in a broad sense, on policy, institutions and management in the context of environmental governance. Its overall goal is to provide information and tools to enable society to respond and adapt to environmental change and, ultimately, transition towards more sustainable futures. Areas of experience include coastal and marine social-ecological systems, climate change adaptation and natural resource management in Australia, Brazil and Southeast Asia.

Dr Aysha Fleming
Social scientist, Adaptive Social and Economic Systems program, CSIRO
Research areas: Application of educational theories to climate change in agriculture, fisheries and health, particularly theories of extension, decision making, and science and environmental communication. She is particularly interested in language and engaging communities with learning and change and specializes in qualitative research methodologies, including thematic coding and discourse analysis of interviews.
Professor Stewart Frusher
Adjunct Professor, University of Tasmania
Research areas: Impacts and adaptation to marine climate change, anthropogenic impacts on marine systems, trans-disciplinary approaches to link biophysical and human systems for sustainable and optimal utilisation of marine resources and biodiversity, food security and innovative marine production systems.
Assoc Prof Fred Gale
Politics and International Relations Program, School of Social Sciences, CALE, UTAS

Fred Gale is a political economist of sustainability who researches how public and private governance institutions mediate values and interests. His empirical studies of governance institutions include community forestry, certification and labelling, environmental assessment, competitive party politics, international organisation and sustainability metrics.

Dr Britta Denise Hardesty
Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Team Leader Pelagic Spatial Dynamics
Research Areas: Understanding sources and drivers, dynamics and distribution, impacts on biodiversity, humans and economics; and management/policy responses and governance around marine litter. Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing: enabling enforcement opportunities through improved use of monitoring information to support surveillance activities, particularly through low-cost technologies. Engaging with citizen scientists for ecological monitoring and management; Human behaviour decision making and ecological implications therein.
Professor Marcus Haward
Political scientist, Cross-disciplinary Theme Leader - Ocean & Antarctic Governance, IMAS, UTAS
Professor Marcus Haward is a political scientist specialising in oceans and Antarctic governance and marine resources management. He is currently working on knowledge systems in coastal management, marine biodiversity conservation in a changing climate and Australia's regional fisheries interests.
Dr Alistair Hobday
Team Leader – Marine climate impacts and adaptation research, CSIRO; Co-Chair of the Climate Impacts on Top Ocean Predators (CLIOTOP) program
Research areas: Investigating the impacts of climate change on marine biodiversity and resources, and developing, prioritising and testing adaptation options to underpin sustainable use and conservation into the future.
Associate Professor Neil Holbrook
Associate Professor of Climatology and Climate Change Deputy Head, Oceans and Cryosphere, IMAS, UTAS President of the International Commission on Climate of IAMAS/IUGG; Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (AMOS)
Research areas: Understanding the ocean’s role in climate, ocean and climate dynamics, climate variability, extremes and climate change, social-ecological systems.
Dr Sarah Jennings
Natural resource economist, adjunct professor UTas
A natural resource economist, with extensive research, teaching, and leadership experience in the university sector, Sarah is recognized for her sound economic thinking and analysis informing natural resource and environmental management, and more broadly areas of social policy; and for working in interdisciplinary teams to address complex system-level problems such as climate change. Sarah has a strong ongoing commitment to working in areas that capitalize on her experience to contribute to sustainable and equitable economic, social and ecological outcomes at all scales.
Dr Peat Leith
Senior Research Fellow, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania
Research areas: social and institutional dimensions of natural resource management; institutional design; the roles of science and technology in sustainability; climate change adaptation in agriculture, fisheries and coastal zone management; social learning and collective knowledge production. Over the last decade Peat has been involved in and led a variety of inter- and trans-disciplinary research projects across the social and biophysical sciences in areas ranging from fisheries, coastal zone management, agriculture, to terrestrial natural resource management.
Professor Libby Lester
Professor, Journalism, Media and Communications. Depute Head, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania
Professor Libby Lester's current research areas are public debate over land use and environmental risks; transnational trade and environmental protest; media and environmental politics; social licence and environmental conflict
Dr Rich Little
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Research areas: Modelling population dynamics, economics, and management decision-making in natural resource and marine environmental science. This includes development of computer-based decision support tools (e.g. ELFSim), modelling tradeable permit markets for fisheries quota, artificial intelligence mechanisms (Bayesian Belief Networks) for simulating fishing behaviour, and the economics of marine protected areas. Exploring the use of computer-based biophysical process-models for understanding financial risk management.
Dr Leo X. C. Lutra
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO. Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University of the South Pacific

Leo's  research areas include analysis of social-ecological systems, coastal and adaptive management, ecosystem modelling, stakeholder engagement, governance mapping and decision-making processes. Leo has led and participated in project teams that have tackled complex ecological and management issues in Brazil, East-Timor, Australia and Fiji.

Professor Jan McDonald
Associate Dean (Research), President of the National Environmental Law Association, Faculty of Law, UTas
Professor of environmental law, Jan McDonald, is exploring the role that law can play in helping us to adapt to the impacts of climate change, including urban planning and coastal management, liability and insurance issues, and the application of resilience thinking to law. Professor McDonald is President of the National Environmental Law Association and was a Contributing Author to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report.
Associate Professor Catriona Macleod
Deputy Head-Fisheries and Aquaculture Centre, IMAS, University of Tasmania
Research areas: Evaluation of system-wide impacts in the marine environment, including the ecological and functional effects of a range of contaminants, improving our understanding and management of environmental interactions with aquaculture operations, ecosystem remediation, and defining the relationships between environmental condition and stakeholder/ community values.
Dr Jason Major
Adjunct researcher, IMAS

My research interests cover the broad realms of rural sociology, science communication, risk communication and extension theory. My PhD research explored how farmers interpret complex science that is supposed to underpin agronomic management strategies that farmers are being encouraged to adopt. I explored how their interpretation of the science and the meaning they attributed to the science and the scientific messages being communicated to them affected their knowledge construction and decision making.

I have extensive practical experience with and understand the social context and communication theories that inform and affect science and societal issues. These include how the public perceive and interpret the science that underpins controversial technologies or scientific issues such crop breeding technologies and food production, sustainable agriculture or environment. I consult on communication and public engagement with science, and evaluation and measurement of the impact of these engagement activities.

Dr Jeffrey McGee
Senior Lecturer in Climate Change/marine/Antarctic Law, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania
Dr Jeff McGee is focused on strategies that can help us respond to climate change. He is an expert in global environmental law and governance. Dr McGee analyses the strategies and structures of global and regional institutions that seek to solve problems like climate change and the international laws that affect them. He provides critical analysis and commentary on the development and policy of institutions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and the legal frameworks that bind them.
Dr Emily Ogier
Program Manager – Fisheries Research and Development Corporation’s Social sciences and Economics Research Coordination Program, IMAS, UTas
Social and governance elements of marine systems.
Dr Sean Pascoe
CSIRO, Marine Resource Economics Team Leader
Sean Pascoe is a marine resource economist with nearly 30 years of experience in the economic analysis of fisheries. Dr Pascoe has worked on capacity and efficiency analysis in fisheries, assessment of maximum economic yield in fisheries, spatial management (including modelling fisher location choice), as well as multicriteria decision analysis and elicitation of social, economic and environmental objectives of management. More recently he has worked in the area of the economics of marine biodiversity conservation, including the assessment of offsets and economic valuation of the impacts of coral bleaching.
Dr Eva Plaganyi-Lloyd
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Research areas: Stock assessment and ecosystem modelling including management strategy evaluation (MSE). Development of Models of Intermediate Complexity for Ecosystem assessments (MICE) and integrating with Social-ecological frameworks.
Professor Benjamin J. Richardson
Research areas: ecological restoration, environmental law and policy; climate change law; corporate social responsibility; environmental aesthetics and ethics; fisheries governance; global law; Indigenous peoples and environmental management; social licence.
Dr Justin Rizzari
Adjunct Fisheries Scientist, IMAS, University of Tasmania; Fisheries Scientist, Deakin University
Assessment of wild fish stocks, predicting the impact of different future management strategies, and understanding how biological and ecological information can better inform stock assessments; Fleet dynamics and drivers of change in fishing livelihoods and communities in response to different management objectives such as fisheries privatisation or the implementation of quota systems.
Professor Keith Sainsbury
Director, SainsSolutions Pty Ltd, Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of the Marine Stewardship Council, Commissioner with the Australian Fisheries Management Authority
Research areas: Research areas: Governance, management and numerical modelling of human uses of marine population and ecosystems. Ecosystem-based management and triple-bottom-line reporting. Quantitative evaluation of management strategies for sustainable use of marine resources and coasts, including adaptive feed-back strategies. Effective linkage of science with conservation and sustainable use of marine ecosystems through government, non-government and market-based mechanisms.
Dr Janette Shaw
Associate, IMAS, University of Tasmania

Research areas: Environmental governance of oceans and coasts, sustainability of marine environments, adaptation and resilience thinking related to climate change, food security and conflicts between different uses of natural resources. Jan has led large natural resource management projects combining science and other disciplines covering the areas of catchment management, sustainable energy, wetlands and environmental water in several states of Australia. Including novel and innovative approaches to community engagement and social licence has been a key feature of this work.  Committed to finding solutions to the human dilemma of the marine environment and its resource use.

Dr Tony Smith
Chief Research Scientist, Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, CSIRO
Research areas: Adaptive management, management strategy evaluation, and ecosystem based fisheries management. He is interested in how to model socio-ecological systems as simply as possible, and how to incorporate institutional dynamics in such models.
Dr Cara Stitzlein
Postdoctoral Fellow, Data 61, CSIRO

Recently rejoined the CSIRO as a postdoctoral fellow on the Cognitive Informatics Team (Data61). Supporting a number of projects within the Agricultural domain with Human Factors Expertise and User Experience. Specific project interests around developing digital tools and decision support aids that benefit Australian land managers (e.g on-farm changes that include options to implement Carbon Farming).

Dr Geoff Syme
Syme & Nancarrow Water

Research areas: interdisciplinary research, incorporation of social, economic and institutional considerations into natural resource management including the marine and coastal environments.  

Dr Dugald Tinch
Lecturer in resource economics - Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, University of Tasmania
Research Areas: Environmental and resource economics, ecosystem functions and services, stated and revealed preference environmental valuation, energy economics, ecological economics, ecological modelling, the economics of climate change and natural resource management.
Dr Rowan Trebilco
Research fellow, ACE CRC

Rowan's work aims to support society in making well-informed decisions regarding interactions with marine ecosystems, to meet current needs without compromising those of future generations. To do this, he focuses his research on disentangling what drives ecosystem structure and function and engages at the interface between science, decision-making and environmental stewardship. His specific research foci include theoretical ecosystem ecology, statistical and mechanistic modelling, fisheries and natural resource management, and applications of biochemical tracers to quantify trophic linkages. Much of this work has a quantitative focus, and it is grounded by several years of fieldwork above and below temperate, tropical, and southern oceans.

Dr Ingrid van Putten
Marine economist, CSIRO
Research areas: Development, implementation and application of quantitative models of human behaviour in the context of ecosystems models for the marine environment and climate change, understanding how social drivers of behaviour can be integrated into marine ecosystem models and how to best use and analyse spatial social and economic information to understand the impact of human behaviour on the marine system.
Dr Cecilia Villanueva
CMS Executive Support Officer, IMAS, University of Tasmania

Cecilia provides admin support within the centre, manages the website, organises events, and also collaborates with CMS researchers in several projects. Her research interest is the use of GIS and spatial analysis in interdisciplinary and conservation research projects. Research areas: coastal communities vulnerability to climate change, global effects of climate change, satellite image analysis, GIS, and anthropogenic impacts on seabirds.

Dr Joanna Vince
Lecturer in the School of Social Sciences, Politics and International Relations Program, UTas
Dr Joanna Vince is a social scientist specialising in international, domestic and comparative oceans governance; marine resource management; marine plastic pollution management, policies and governance; IUU fishing and third party certification.
Professor Reg Watson
IMAS, University of Tasmania
Research areas: fisheries, food security, ecological modelling, environment, resources and sustainability.
Dr Dirk Welsford
Section Leader, Fisheries Ecology and Management, Antarctic Conservation and Management Program, Australian Antarctic Division
Research areas: Life history plasticity in marine fishes, Quality control systems for data collected on fishing vessels, Use of novel technologies to visualise the behaviour and impact of fishing gear on benthic habitats, Use and abuse of science and logic in developing resource management strategies, Influence of interpersonal dynamics on decision making in conservation and fisheries management
Dr Chris Wilcox
Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO
Chris is a Quantitative Marine Ecologist and his research covers a wide range of topics in population management including control of invasive species, conservation of threatened biodiversity, and management of commercial and recreational harvesting. His work integrates field data, statistical analysis and predictive models to synthesise information to support decision-making. Chris currently co-leads two large research programs, focused on the ecological impacts of marine debris ( and the development of analytical tools for tackling illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (
Dr Satoshi Yamazaki
Senior Lecturer, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics
Dr Yamazaki's research interests include: ocean fisheries and their management, the development of coastal communities in Asia and Pacific regions, bioeconomic modelling and applications of econometric methods to environmental issues.

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