Eight CMS members from Hobart attended the Marine Socio-Ecological Systems Symposium (MSEAS) in Yokohama, Japan, from June 5-7. The MSEAS meeting, which has been endorsed by the UN as a UN Ocean Decade event, was eagerly awaited, having been delayed from 2020 by COVID19. It more than lived up to the anticipation!

The tagline for MSEAS was ‘navigating global change in the marine environment’. It bought together contributions from 250+ of our research colleagues from 30+ countries, on topics such as the integrated assessment of multiple ocean uses across sectors, including fisheries, renewable energy, coastal development, oil and gas, transport, and the need for conservation and stewardship. Emphasis was on the methodological and empirical challenges involved in including the human dimensions in integrated approaches to modeling and assessments to support stewardship of social-ecological systems. Over half the attendees at the Symposium identified as Early Career, and they bought exciting energy to the meeting. It also made the meeting a great venue for connecting with the next generation of research leaders and building their awareness of the exciting work being led through CMS.

CMS’s leadership in marine social-ecological systems and integrated ocean stewardship shone brightly throughout the symposium, with opening remarks from Alistair Hobday, plenary presentations by Jess Melbourne Thomas and Emily Ogier, and contributed talks from CMS members throughout the week. Research from CMS also featured prominently in several of the plenaries from international colleagues and was recognised as being at the leading edge of best practice in modelling and assessment to operationalise ecosystem-based management of marine socio-ecological systems.

Sessions were lively and interactive, with thought-provoking discussion about equity and expectations for the development of the Blue Economy in increasingly crowded oceans.  There are many different views across the blue planet, and our approaches in Australia will need to avoid mistakes made elsewhere as we develop solutions to ocean crowding.

Photo caption: CMS members from Hobart at MSEAS 2024 in Yokohama. Back (L-R) Stewart Frusher, Rowan Trebilco, Kelly Hoareau, Alistair Hobday, Front (L-R) Rosa Maria Canedo Apolaya, Jess Melbourne-Thomas, Brigette Wright, Emily Ogier

Congratulations to CMS Director Prof Gretta Pecl on being recognised in the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List!

The Order of Australia recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service of exceptional achievements.

Gretta has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her significant service to science, particularly ecological research, and to tertiary education.

This is a wonderful achievement, and recognition of someone truly dedicated to her work in climate and marine science. Well done and congratulations!

See all the King’s Birthday 2024 Honours List here: https://www.gg.gov.au/kings-birthday-2024-honours-list

Congratulations to CMS student Olivia Dove, who was the winner of the Heather & Christopher Chong Community Service & Volunteering Award at the Tasmania Young Achiever Awards!

Olly Dove is a dedicated advocate for science communication in lutruwita/Tasmania, having volunteered across four years in fostering engagement and celebration of STEMM professionals and students. As host and co-manager of That’s What I Call Science and co-founder of not-for-profit, STEMM Communicators Australia Ltd, Olly spends her free time working hard to produce episodes, with the show now having passed 225 episodes. In 2023, the team excitingly received national recognition with a prestigious Eureka Prize. Alongside the show, Olly also volunteers at other science events, performing and presenting for school groups and the public.

See all award recipients here: https://www.awardsaustralia.com/young-achiever-awards/tas/current-winners

CMS member Dr Aysha Fleming co-authored on a recent publication for The Conversation We’re helping farmers access future climate projections as easily as checking the weather

Brief extract:

"How often do you check your local weather forecast? How about your local climate projections for 2050? For many farmers, the answer to the first question is all the time. But the answer to the second is almost certainly less than that, even though this information is crucial for understanding climate-related risks and opportunities on their patch.

We know climate change could slash Australian farm profits by as much as 32% if agriculture continues as usual. Fortunately, farmers are very good at adapting to other challenges. Developing a better understanding of how the climate will change over the coming decades will help farmers prepare and adapt.

The decision-making process will vary depending on the location and the nature of the business, but it will become increasingly important to engage and respond to climate-related risks. These may include drought, flood, fire, extreme heat or greater rainfall variability. The changing climate can also present opportunities, such as being able to branch out into growing crops or varieties not previously suited to that area.

We wanted to present this information to farmers in a more engaging and meaningful way. So we designed a free tool called My Climate View."

CMS members Dr Kathryn Willis and Dr Denise Hardesty co-authored on a recent publication for The Conversation, If plastic manufacturing goes up 10%, plastic pollution goes up 10% – and we’re set for a huge surge in production

Brief extract:

"In the two decades to 2019, global plastic production doubled. By 2040, plastic manufacturing and processing could consume as much as 20% of global oil production and use up 15% of the annual carbon emissions budget. Most of the plastic we make ends up as waste. As plastic manufacturers increase production, more and more of it will end up in our landfills, rivers and oceans. Plastic waste is set to triple by 2060.

Producers often put the onus back on consumers by pointing to recycling schemes as a solution to plastic pollution. If we recycle our plastics, it shouldn’t matter how much we produce – right? Not quite. The key question here is how close the is relationship between plastic production and pollution. Our new research found the relationship is direct – a 1% increase in plastic production leads to a 1% increase in plastic pollution, meaning unmanaged waste such as bottles in rivers and floating plastic in the oceans."

In response to early career researcher (ECR) requests for leadership training and advice to be made available at an earlier point in their career development than usually offered, CMS developed a unique research leadership training course in 2023 for our emerging ECR cohort. The aim of the CMS Future Ocean Leaders training was to equip our emerging interdisciplinary researchers with the skills, relational awareness, and personal/interpersonal insights needed to become and to be effective leaders across different levels of research, collaboration, and career stage.

The training brought together over 20 CMS ECRs from diverse backgrounds – including ecology, social science, economics, and psychology - to connect and learn about theirs’ and others’ leaderships styles in an open collaborative environment. Participants developed leadership skills and confidence and connected with a growing cohort of ECRs who will continue to meet and host training events regularly over 2024.

The three-module course was delivered over October-December 2023, allowing ECRs time to absorb and apply their training, and to reflect and learn together over a longer period:

1 – Leadership Fundamentals

2 – Working in teams

3 – A) Leadership and character

B) Leadership panel session

The final module included an interactive research leader panel session, with several senior research leaders and lots of opportunity for Q & A. The opportunity to ask questions of senior leaders was requested by ECRs to deepen connections made through their training, facilitate networking opportunities, and cement shared learning amongst the CMS ECR cohort and with more senior CMS researchers.

CMS ECRs expressed very positive feedback on the Future Ocean Leaders course content and training overall. Their reflections highlighted the value of these kinds of interdisciplinary interactions, particularly peer-to-peer learning and increased self-awareness.

Together, the cohort has established key aims and a schedule for furthering their leadership understanding and practice in 2024, including:

Image: Leadership panellists, Dr Alistair Hobday (CSIRO and CMS Steering Committee member), Prof Melissa McHenry (UTAS) and Prof Gretta Pecl (CMS Director), with Dr Rachel Kelly (CMS Knowledge Broker) and some of the CMS ECR cohort in December 2023.

CMS Director Prof Gretta Pecl co-authored on a recent article in Alternator. The English title is “Artificial underwater reefs during the wave of change” (and you can translate the page to English).

Introduction:

"Divers place a concrete structure measuring 5.5 × 3.5 × 3.0 m on the seabed of the Sečovlje breeding area in the Bay of Piran. It is a modular unit in the form of a pedestal, on which growth plates are loaded one above the other, separated by spacers of different heights. At the moment, a distinctly artificial structure will become a scene of rich marine life in a few years. It is a pilot action for the development of innovative multitrophic aquaculture and, at the same time, an attempt to restore the marine environment. The unit is supposed to attract the establishment and growth of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, algae and many other marine organisms. The sea oasis Piran wishes to offer refuge and home to disappearing inhabitants of the sea, who have been unable to suit them every year with the silty bottom of the Bay of Piran for a long time now."

View full article here: https://www.alternator.science/sl/daljse/umetni-podvodni-grebeni-med-valom-sprememb-in-nadaljevanjem-okoljske-degradacije/

CMS member Dr Andrew Constable co-author on the recent article for The Conversation, These extraordinary Australian islands are teeming with life – and we must protect them before it’s too late

Brief extract:

In the Southern Ocean about 4,000 kilometres from Perth lies a truly extraordinary place. Known as the Heard Island and McDonald islands, they are among the most remote places on Earth: a haven for marine life amid the vast ocean, virtually undisturbed by human pressures.

But as our report released today reveals, this special place in Australia’s territory is at risk. In particular, climate change is warming the waters around the islands, threatening a host of marine life.

More than 20 years ago, a marine reserve was declared over the islands and parts of the surrounding waters. At the time, it was a significant step forward in environmental protection. But since then, science has progressed and the threats have worsened.

Our report reviewed these protections and found they are no longer adequate. The marine reserve surrounding the Heard and McDonald islands must urgently be expanded.

View article here: https://theconversation.com/these-extraordinary-australian-islands-are-teeming-with-life-and-we-must-protect-them-before-its-too-late-226513

CMS members Dr Chloe Lucas, Prof Gretta Pecl, Dr Kim Beasy, and Dr Rachel Kelly co-author on the recent article for The Conversation, ‘How long before climate change will destroy the Earth?’: research reveals what Australian kids want to know about our warming world.

Brief extract:

"Every day, more children discover they are living in a climate crisis. This makes many children feel sad, anxious, angry, powerless, confused and frightened about what the future holds. The climate change burden facing young people is inherently unfair. But they have the potential to be the most powerful generation when it comes to creating change.

Research and public debate so far has largely failed to engage with the voices and opinions of children – instead, focusing on the views of adults. Our research set out to change this. We asked 1,500 children to tell us what they wanted to know about climate change. The results show climate action, rather than the scientific cause of the problem, is their greatest concern. It suggests climate change education in schools must become more holistic and empowering, and children should be given more opportunities to shape the future they will inherit."

Bringing climate science and Indigenous knowledge systems together promises to produce better results for heritage protection as the climate changes. CMS member Dr Jess Melbourne-Thomas co-developed a climate change “toolkit” for World Heritage properties with site managers and Traditional Owners, to address these threats to Australia’s unique and special places of global significance, so their World Heritage values can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Read 'The Conversation' article co-authored by Dr Melbourne-Thomas: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-strike-australias-precious-world-heritage-sites-and-indigenous-knowledge-is-a-key-defence-222393

Read the related research paper:

Melbourne-Thomas J, Lin BB, Hopkins M, Hill R, Dunlop M, MacGregor N, Merson SD, Vertigan C, Donegan L, Sheppard M, Meyers J, Thomas L, Visschers L, McNeair B, Syme L, Grant C, Pedrocchi N, Oakley P, Stevens A, Rose D, Rose E, Gould J, Locke J, Maybanks L & Ireland T (2024). Building capacity for climate adaptation planning in protected area management: Options and challenges for World Heritage. Biological Conservation, 290. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2024.110459

University of TasmaniaInstitute of Marine and Antarctic StudiesCSIRO Department of the EnvironmentGEOS
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