This is a Pitch funding project within Corrine's PhD project


Using Tasmania as a case study, this project is concerned with how communication can be used to mediate conflicts in aquaculture. It will investigate which communication strategies are critical to mediating the debate in this highly contested, strongly negative and polarised communication space. Social influence modelling will then be used to understand how these communication strategies reciprocally impact on one another in non-linear ways.

The pitch funding will be used to conduct a Tasmania wide self-administered stakeholder survey of 550 participants to identify the causal mechanism of conflict, the potential to reduce this conflict, and current communication networks. The survey results will form the base for the development of a communication framework to support effective management and policy decision-making within the new paradigm of complex communication networks, transnational debate, and increasing public unrest.

This is a Pitch funding project within Di and Malcolm's PhD projects

Successful environmental and conservation outcomes are largely dependent on understanding and integrating the social dimension into planning and management.   However, social data is often difficult to collect and translate into existing management decision models. Public participatory GIS (PPGIS) provides a means for collecting individual and community-based data that can readily support spatial planning. PPGIS can identify spatially explicit information for a range of planning needs - such as place values, management preferences, ecosystem services – that can be easily incorporated with biophysical data layers to support decision making.

The Landscape Values Mapping Platform (LVMP) was developed as a tool to facilitate the collection of spatially explicit social data to aid place-based environmental planning efforts. The primary function of this tool is to enable researchers to administer quantitative, scale-based questionnaires alongside PPGIS mapping segments. Researchers can use a range of survey question types and adapt PPGIS mapping to their particular research needs, including specifying what information to map, what mapping categories to include, how terms are defined, and the scale at which participants can map points, amongst many other features

With this tool, environmental scientists and decision makers can effectively map the social or human components of natural resource management, land use planning, marine spatial planning, and conservation management towards successful place-based outcomes.

Antarctica holds a special place in the hearts of many around the world. Due to this and its remoteness, it has been spared many of the human pressures the marine environment faces around the world. However, humans have a far-reaching influence, and the Antarctic peninsula is the focus of the majority of human interactions with the Antarctic Continent. The Antarctic Peninsula is changing rapidly, it’s one of the fastest warming regions in the world, species are shifting south, temperate plants are taking hold, fishing and tourism are increasing year on year and this is on a backdrop of industrial removal of seals, then baleen whales which reduced many populations to near zero. Most are yet to fully recover.

Fortunately, in the mid part of last century it was agreed that Antarctica be persevered for peace and science. In the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctic most marine mammal and seabirds are now protected and fishing is managed by CCAMLR an organisation which endeavours to set krill catch limits that minimise the effect on the ecosystem, rather than the more traditional approach - maximising the total catch. Monitoring predator populations is a critical part of this ecosystem approach, and since the mid 90s predator monitoring has been focused on land-based krill predators; penguins and seals, mainly due to the relative ease of access. Less attention has been placed on baleen whales which as a group are likely the greatest consumer of Krill in the Southern Ocean and their recovering populations have been shown to exert a greater influence over penguin and seal populations than krill fishing itself. The lack of baleen whale monitor is largely due to the significant logistical and financial outlay that is required is currently unachievable in the vast and remote Southern Ocean. However, most of the krill fishing occurs in a very concentrated region surrounding the Antarctic peninsula. A region regularly and repeatedly by accessed by tourist vessels. We have developed a relationship with a tour company to put observers on their vessels to collect whale data that will allow us to complete the predator puzzle and accurately set krill catch limits that reflect the needs of the ecosystem.

CMS works at the interface between humans and nature, to develop multi-disciplinary research to understand and manage our oceans. CCAMLR is one of the only high seas management bodies that considers the needs of the ecosystem, and arguably effectively manages exploited natural recourses. The lessons learned through this project in providing research that targets specific management needs to an international management body will be applicable and relevant for the larger CMS community.

Project summary:

The aims of this PhD project will be to apply a novel mix of behavioural economics and qualitative/quantitative methods to explore and expand knowledge of:

1.Domain and place-based risk and perceptions of the trade-offs relating to climate, the environment and perceived impacts related to the Blue Economy (BE). For example, there are increasing set of emerging challenges, risks and hazards associated with long term climate change and more immediate issues relating to energy security in the National Energy Market. This research component will look at Australian perceptions more broadly of the risks presented by the BE.

2.Place-based risk that relate directly to Tasmania’s BE (current and emerging) offshore industries. For example, food security and environmental impacts of aquaculture and energy security (including emerging renewables, offshore oil and gas explorations and potentially how one may colour perceptions of the other). As risk and hazard becomes closer to communities, perceived risk may be different and may require analysis from a number of perspectives including gender and culture.

3.Social Licence to Operate within communities through a place-based investigation into BE industries and how culture and demographic factors, such as age and gender may/may not play a role in decision-making outcomes that influence these core business decisions. This will be compared with more diverse BE nations and their industries.

There are well established methods for analysing risks and hazards quantitatively from an engineering or economic perspective. The emergence of new opportunities in the BE requires insights into how individuals and communities perceive different risks, policies and institutional arrangements that are potentially acceptable to manage these risks. A gender perspective and overlay will provide a more holistic perspective.

Photo credits: Miranda Nieboer and Maree Fudge

Peters and Steinberg’s radical material, ‘hypersea’ or more-than-wet ontology opens up material and inherently spatial, perspectives of the ocean itself that can be used to rethink oceans governance. In this project Miranda and Maree adopt their ontological perspective on the solid-liquid, layered and beyond-wet materiality of ocean which acts as a provocation for their interdisciplinary experiment in which they are asking: how does a radical more-than-wet ontology extend our thinking about MSP? Marine spatial planning (MSP) is used as a tool to bring the marine environment to the center of the governance imperative. Over the past 15 years, MSP has become widely adopted as an ecosystem-based approach to settling human exploitation and uses of marine places, flora and fauna, and protecting ecosystems. Application of MSP, particularly by governments, has been promulgated by the UN and the marine science community as an integrated management approach to overcoming sector-based management. Miranda and Maree suggest that despite the intentions, MSP lacks a material perspective of/from the ocean itself.

Through a speculative approach appropriated from spatial design studies and by introducing the materiality of ocean, Miranda and Maree are probing and reimagining the influential work of Ehler and Douvere (2009) “Marine Spatial Planning: A Step-by-Step Approach Toward Ecosystem-Based Management” (UNESCO). Through this project, Miranda and Maree will share their insights and questions from attempting to liquify this terrestrial based document through a critical iterative oceanic exploration into governance.

Bios of researchers

Dr. Miranda Nieboer is an affiliated researcher at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) in spatial and cultural studies and a lecturer in Architecture. Her research interests are at the intersections of spatial studies, cultural geography, environmental humanities, and science. Miranda’s investigations include the human presence and activities in glacial and oceanic environments. Her focus is on the spatialities, materialities and mobilities of these ‘extreme’ milieus.  Miranda has been researching, writing, exhibiting, and lecturing on human inhabitation in extreme environments for more than 20 years. For her PhD research ‘Antarctic Interiors’ (2020), she joined a logistical traverse towards the continental interior. This expedition allowed her to develop an embodied understanding of inhabiting the Antarctic environment.

Dr. Maree Fudge is an early career postdoctoral researcher in social research, public policy and governance (marine and oceans). Her research interests include social and political factors influencing oceans governance, integrated marine and coastal governance, ecosystem-based management, citizen and stakeholder participation, democratic legitimacy, and institutional analysis.  Maree recently completed her doctoral research into the limits and constraints of participatory governance of marine based socio-ecological systems, comparing the experience in Canada and Australia. Maree brings to her ‘early career research’ a wealth of experience in governance (research, corporate, nonprofit and clinical), executive management, project management and consulting from her private sector career prior to entering academia.

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.

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