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

Understanding and influencing human behaviour to bolster conservation of coral reefs


Monday, August 5 2019, 09:30 to 10:30 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Brock Bergseth
Brock Bergseth


Conservation relies largely on the ability to influence behaviours and ensure rule adherence. Yet, noncompliance in conservation contexts is common. For instance, poaching regularly negates the effectiveness of the world’s marine protected areas. Influencing and curtailing behaviours such as poaching necessitates gaining a thorough understanding of the problem; upon which targeted behavioural and management interventions can be designed. Yet, assessing and understanding poaching is inherently difficult considering its illegal, cryptic, and often socially undesirable nature. During his seminar, Brock will describe how an inter-disciplinary research approach in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park addressed three critical research gaps for influencing and curtailing poaching behaviours: 1) reliably measuring and estimating poaching levels; 2) understanding the influences or behavioural drivers of poaching; and 3) engaging the latent surveillance and enforcement capacity of fishers. Lastly, he will describe how this approach and body of knowledge can be further developed and expanded to tackle the emerging research frontier of applying behaviour change tools and interventions to influence and encourage pro-environmental behaviours.



Brock Bergseth has always been captivated by both the natural world and human behaviour. Growing up in rural Minnesota encouraged his love for the outdoors, the natural world, and the role that humans can play as environmental stewards. This grounding shapes his research interests, which focus on understanding and influencing human behaviour to bolster the effectiveness and resilience of conservation and management practices. As an interdisciplinary scientist, Brock combines biological, ecological, and multiple social science disciplines to understand the nature and implications of human interactions with coral reef ecosystems, and critically, how coral reef stewards can influence these behaviours to increase the effectiveness of management practices. Brock completed a PhD in Marine Biology at James Cook University in 2018 and has since worked in both industry and philanthropic sectors.


Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

Partner Partner Partner Partner
Coral Reef Studies