Abstract: Environmental managers face difficult decisions when it comes to investing in conservation management. With insufficient staff and funds to deal with all management problems, where should they invest limited resources to achieve the best outcomes? These conservation decisions must be made in the face of spatially heterogeneous and dynamic threats and within a constrained budget. This problem – complex, dynamic and multifaceted – describes the reality of much conservation decision-making, and defines the problem faced by many managers of islands. With limited resources for such types of activities, it is crucial to prioritize how the resources are spent to increase the probability of achieving conservation objectives. Importantly, the data underpinning decision making must be reliable and of suitable resolution to enable appropriate management plans to be put into place. Amelia will discuss the twists and turns of amassing data for 200 islands in the Great Barrier Reef and 600 islands in Western Australia. She will show how basic and applied research can be used to guide actual conservation decisions being made in these two regions.
Bio: Amelia Completed her PhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in 2013. Her PhD research focused on the effects of suspended sediment on early life history stages of coral reef fish. Seeking to learn more about conservation decision making, Amelia spent the last three years working at the Centre as a postdoctoral researcher, focusing on the prioritization of management actions on islands in Western Australia and Queensland. The aim of this work is to create a decision support software to aid managers in objective decision making about where to allocate resources to achieve the greatest gains in biodiversity protection. Amelia’s broader research focuses on connecting ecological and spatial data to assess responses of coastal and marine systems to threats, in order to determine ecological ramifications of ecosystem degradation. She uses this ecological information to aid in decision making about management interventions. Amelia is now commencing a postdoc at the University of Queensland, where she is examining the ecological and economic trade-offs between logging and fisheries.