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)

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Systematic conservation planning for fresh waters


10.00am, Monday 7 February 2011

ARC Centre of Excellence Conference Room 114, Sir George Fisher Building, JCU (DB32)
Stephanie Januchowski-Hartley, Ph.D. student


Freshwater ecosystems and their associated biota are among the most endangered in the world. Key threats to these ecosystems include dams and water withdrawals that alter natural flow regimes, modifications of riparian and in-stream habitats, invasive species, and impacts on water quality from sediment, nutrients, and toxic pollutants. Direct habitat alteration and destruction of freshwater ecosystems have resulted from agriculture practices and urban expansion. Subsistence, recreational and commercial fisheries place further stresses on declining species and can alter ecosystem function.  Escalating human pressure on, and disturbances to, water resources requires well-informed decision making and effective on-ground management to conserve and restore freshwater ecosystems. Systematic conservation planning offers the tools needed to address these issues, providing a strategic and scientifically defensible framework.   However, in comparison to the terrestrial and marine realms, the adoption of systematic methods to inform decision making for the protection and/or restoration of freshwater ecosystems remains in its infancy.  In my thesis I addressed the following gaps in systematic conservation planning literature: 1) representation of freshwater ecosystems and dependent species represented under regional terrestrial protected area networks, and the prominent threats impinging upon these systems and species; 2) effectiveness of coarse-filter surrogates (e.g., habitat types) for representing freshwater fish species in conservation planning exercises; 3) effectiveness of invasive species management actions at reducing invasive species abundance; and 4) cost-effectiveness of systematic approaches compared to ad hoc approaches used to prioritise invasive species management. My thesis has not only contributed to the advancement of the theory of systematic conservation planning, my work has also demonstrated the applicability of this framework for solving real-world conservation resource allocation problems.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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