Project summary: This project will examine key similarities and differences between climate-driven species shifts and species introductions from the perspective of both individual species and recipient communities, with the aim of uncovering opportunities for reciprocal learning between these two fields. By comparing concepts, hypotheses and theories of both invasive ecology and climate-driven range shifts, we may provide recommendations for how to combine theories to improve research links and strengthen the conceptual pillars of both fields.

Supervisors: Gretta Pecl , Valeriya Komyakova, Cascade Sorte and Morgan Tingley

My project aims to estimate the economic values held by local people for coastal and marine ecosystem (CMEs) that are predicted to arise from adopting emerging forms of sustainable fin-fish aquaculture in Tasmania. Examples of emerging forms of aquaculture include Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA), Offshore and Onshore farming etc. The systematic pre-design qualitative research using expert elicitation and Q-methodology aid the researcher to design a discrete choice experiment (DCE) for monetary valuation of costal and marine ecosystem services associated with fin-fish aquaculture. This study will provide information for policy evaluation by investigating the economic values held for coastal and marine ecosystem services that are predicted to arise from adopting emerging forms of sustainable fin-fish aquaculture in Tasmania. This information can also assist operators planning for these types of aquaculture operations to understand community preferences.

Clare’s PhD project is a multidisciplinary collaboration exploring interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of individuals with climate change anxiety. The core aim of her project is to develop, implement and evaluate an evidence-based intervention. The findings of this project will contribute to empirical literature as well as practice in the area of climate change anxiety. 

The West Coast of Africa and their marine protected areas are currently warming at four times the global average rate. The overall objective of this Ph.D. Project is to identify and prioritize cost effective climate adaptation policy options that will support effective MPA management in West Africa. This will enhance livelihoods and protect communities.

Science communication or public engagement with science (PES) has become a part of contemporary human societies. Today, PES is essential for enabling interactions between researchers, policymakers, and various publics. It is a transformative process that does not merely serve as a pure means of information exchange. Instead, it is necessary for conveying knowledge as facts and equipping the public to make versed decisions. In practice, however, it is a complex challenge influenced by socio-cultural, political, and institutional interests. This variability precludes researchers and practitioners from using a one-size-fits-all approach to engaging other societal actors on issues that might affect them, including responding to global environmental change. A fundamental gap in scholarship and the focus of this research remains on how best researchers and practitioners can engage the various publics in meaningful - debates on, for example, climate change or declining fisheries. This research, particularly, examines how interactive engagement might enable researchers to see the value in listening to, learning from, and working together with the public to find solutions to our changing global environments. In response to this gap, the research builds on current literature on boundary-spanning and public engagement, drawing on multiple theories to examine and inform how best researchers and practitioners can engage other societal actors (herein, publics) on global environmental change.

Bianca's PhD thesis is about Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) and their potential engagement with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 14 - life below water. Bianca explored the potential of these organizations to support the achievement of SDG 14 and highlighted challenges but also opportunities for a potential engagement with SDG 14.

This PhD project will explore the influence attachment to Place has on climate change adaptation in coastal communities. The project will map individual place attachments along the East Coast of Tasmania towards informing climate change policy development, natural resource management and climate change communication.

Project outline:
Climate intervention’ refers to deliberate human intervention in the earth system to lessen human induced climate change.

Solar radiation management is a form of climate intervention that might be used at various scales to increase the planet’s albedo and thereby reduce temperature increase. Prominent proposals include marine cloud brightening and using marine based reflective agents to lessen coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. Governance of research, testing and implementation of climate intervention at domestic and international levels are at a very early stage. However, over the past sixty years Australia and the United States have used law to govern weather modification activities, such as cloud seeding, aimed at increasing regional or local rainfall patterns. This PhD project will analyse the history of weather modification law in Australia and the United States to identify what lessons might be drawn for the governance, public participation and social acceptability of proposals for regional climate intervention.

Project outline:

Tasmania is experiencing escalated development of its coastal regions, with greater use of coastal waters for industry and recreational activities, as well as the value placed on the pristine nature of our coasts. A greater understanding of community values regarding the marine environment is required so that increased seafood production and marine-based livelihoods can be generated from a public resource to meet the needs of current and future generations. In addition, procedural justice is a key component underpinning conflict in this arena. It is not enough purely to understand community values, it is imperative to understand how such values can be incorporated into a ‘just’ decision-making process. This project will use the Tasmanian coast as a case study to investigate potential means by which to incorporate natural resource values into public decision-making processes relating to commons-resource use.

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Desirable skills/experience:

Project outline and objectives:

Humans are a fundamental component and a driving force of marine ecosystems.

Understanding the complex interplay between human-induced ecological changes and their feedbacks on societies is a crucial step towards an integrated ecosystem assessment and management that takes into account conservation and societal objectives. Ecosystem models are powerful tools to explore and predict such interactive mechanisms.

This project will evaluate current approaches and develop new methodologies for representing human behaviour with size-spectrum ecosystem models, with the final aim of clarifying interdependence of humans and their role in shaping ecosystem structure, function and dynamics, and thus improving integrated ecosystem assessment and management in the oceans. The first main task of the project is the development of a data driven size-spectrum ecosystem model for the South-East Australia region, where data on populations abundance at size and fishing effort through time are available. Then, the South-East Australia model will be extended to include the human part of the combined socioecological system, with a specific focus at incorporating fleet dynamics. This is to improve understanding of fishers’ response to changes in biological and economic conditions of a fishery and in management regulations, and to predict the consequences that such behaviour might have on ecosystem functioning. Last, the methodology developed will be stretched from the South-East Australia to a global context, thus contributing to ongoing global scale modelling work.

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