Still time for the Great Barrier Reef

I first dived a coral reef in 2001. Back then, the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area was a poster child for conservation success. Coastal managers I worked with in Fiji, Thailand, the Seychelles and Red Sea saw the GBR governance framework as a blueprint for sustainable coastal environmental management. How, then, has the Australian Government become…

Charles Darwin’s debt to marine science

We were recently lucky to be visited by Dr Alistair Sponsel from Vanderbilt University  in Nashville, Tennessee. Alistair gave a talk in which he described Darwin’s debt to marine science. This debt took the form of an amphibious approach to natural history that shaped his approach to theoretical reasoning and which was developed by working closely with hydrographic surveyors during…

Is science creative?

This post begins with a short story: A couple of months ago I was looking for a venue with a desk and a view for a writing retreat. I rang up the Bundanon Trust on the banks of the Shoalhaven River. The Trust was set up in 1993 when the Australian artist Arthur Boyd gifted…

Women whose research will change the world

One of my favourite things about being an academic is watching postgraduate students grow into intelligent, critical and capable researchers. At the moment, I am lucky to be part of a supervisory team for two excellent students who have been on the receiving end of multiple awards and accolades, while also holding down jobs and carrying…

Mangrove removal in Belize

I attended a workshop on mapping tools hosted by Google in Sydney as part of the World Parks Congress this week.

They introduced me to Google Earth Engine, which hosts more than 3.6 million images from 40 years of Landsat data (which can be downloaded for free). I found it a useful tool for observing coastal change in different areas of the world.

In the spirit of the World Parks Congress, here is a time lapse showing yearly Landsat satellite images from 1984 to 2012 of the Belize coastline. The Belize Barrier Reef system was put on the list of World Heritage in Danger in 2009 due to excessive mangrove removal associated with coastal development.

H_beach

Parenting and conservation

Becoming a parent has made me feel more keenly the need to protect our marine environment. My custodianship grew in ways that I hadn’t anticipated. I was reminded of this Tim Winton quote as Henry had his first splash in the shallows at Lady Elliot Island earlier this year. “This summer just gone I took…