Dr Natalie Ban obtained a Bachelor’s (honours) and Master’s degree from McGill University, Canada. She held a research and conservation position at a non-profit organisation (the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society) for four years (1999-2003). She received her Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2008, and joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in November 2008. Natalie’s research focuses on applied conservation questions, with a particular focus on large-scale conservation planning issues of direct relevance to sustainable use and protection of marine ecosystems. Her current research incorporates spatial and temporal dynamics into conservation planning. Previously, she investigated how to achieve conservation results whilst minimising the impacts of those actions on people. Her Ph.D. research incorporated traditional ecological knowledge and community preferences into marine protected area design. She was recently awarded an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Australian Research Council.
With expanding anthropogenic threats in the ocean and commitments by many nations to establish marine protected areas (MPAs), improving the design and implementation of MPAs remains a key priority. This seminar will review past and current research into two elements of this priority: socioeconomic considerations, and incorporating patch dynamics – here defined as elements that change in space and time – into marine conservation planning. Conservation planning has focused mainly on biodiversity patterns (e.g., habitats and species records that can be mapped and regarded as static). Planners have done less well at (1) incorporating spatially explicit socioeconomic data, and (2) identifying the spatial requirements of a myriad of biodiversity processes operating across a range of temporal and spatial scales. Understanding and incorporating such issues into conservation is particularly important if we are to design implementable plans and mitigate biodiversity losses due to climate change.