People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution


Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image

Building social-ecological resilience in a coastal-marine environment: the case of Araçá Bay (Brazil)


Thursday, June 7 2018, 12:00 to 13:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Fernanda Terra Stori
Fernanda Terra Stori


Small-scale fisheries communities have been facing major conflicts related to economic development projects around the world. These projects are responsible for marine habitat loss and species decline, affecting fisheries, livelihoods and, consequently, transforming traditional cultures. Innovative scientific paradigms are necessary to understand the complexity of coastal-marine social-ecological systems, contribute to build social-ecological resilience (SER) and foster sustainability of ecosystems goods and services. In this seminar, we will present the case of Araçá Bay social-ecological system (State of São Paulo, Brazil). In 2014, a governmental port expansion project obtained the environmental license to cover Araçá Bay: part of a Marine Protected Area and important livelihood to small-scale fishers. However, stimulated by the Biota-FAPESP/Araçá Project, the network of scientists, community and civil society, won in court the nullification of the license previously given. This study adopted the Biota-FAPESP/Araçá Project’s framework based on the Post-Normal Science paradigm to understand the complexity of Araçá Bay social-ecological system and investigate wich SER features might contribute to foster sustainability of ecosystems goods and services. Combined methods were performed during 3 years of intense research-action (2014-2017). An ethnoecological/oceanographic approach was applied to investigate fishers traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), local practices and social mechanisms that may contribute to Araçá’s marine planning, management and conservation. An analysis of Araçá Bay social-ecological system was conducted to understand how the network was strengthened, social learning was encouraged and SER was promoted in the system. The production of a film-documentary (Pulsating/25’) revealed this scenario, spotlighted the conflict in media and contributed to empowering the community. Preliminary results demonstrate that SER features should be supported by science-based marine planning, management and conservation strategies that consider TEK, nurture collective learning, strengthen co-management and stakeholders’ surveillance for the sustainability of ecosystem services.

*The film documentary “Pulsating: a film about Araçá bay” will be exhibited (25’) during the seminar (https://youtu.be/HtGd2t1YSJ8)


Fernanda is an oceanographer from Brazil and she obtained her Doctoral degree in Ecology and Natural Resources from the Federal University of São Carlos (Brazil) in 2010. Since her MSc, she has been performing ethnoecological research in small-scale fisheries communities embraced by Marine Protected Areas and/or threatened by projects of economic development in the coastal zone. She worked for 5 years in the State of São Paulo government with environmental education, fisheries law and enforcement, management of marine protected areas and coastal zone management policies. Currently, she is a postdoctoral researcher from Institute of Oceanography, University of São Paulo. Fernanda obtained a grant from São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) to undertake an internship at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2017-2018). In her current research, she is pursuing to integrate fishers’ knowledge with marine policies in order to build resilient social-ecological systems.


Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

Partner Partner Partner Partner
Coral Reef Studies