Postdoctoral Research Associate
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Sciences
Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD (as Co-Supervisor) - email supervisor to discuss availability.
I am a quantitative ecologist with a particular interest in marine systems. Much of my research is focused on the effect that human activities and environmental change have on the distribution of species, populations and ecosystems - and the impact that this has for their survival and ability to provide ecosystem services.
I have a strong focus on applied research. I am motivated by doing work that has real-world application through providing information that improves our understanding of, and ability to manage and protect, species and habitats. I am also driven to undertake research that has social benefits in terms of supporting healthy, diverse ecosystems for people to enjoy into the future, and supporting the sustainable provision of ecosystem services.
I undertook my PhD at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton (UK). Prior to my PhD, I completed a Masters in Aquatic Resource Management at Kings College London and a B.Sc. (Hons) in Zoology at Manchester University.
These coastal, vegetated ecosystems have an important role in reducing the impacts of climate change by accumulating and storing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and the oceans. This carbon may be stored within the vegetation ('above-ground' carbon) and sediment ('below-ground' carbon) for hundreds or thousands of years. By protecting and restoring these ecosystems, we can support their important role in the carbon cycle, which helps mitigate against climate change. However, if these ecosystems are damaged or cleared, the carbon they have stored for many decades can be released back to the atmosphere in the form of greenhouse gases; contributing to climate change. In addition to their ability to store carbon, these coastal ecosystems provide numerous other ecosystem services (also referred to as 'co-benefits') including providing fish habitat, improving coastal water quality and coastal protection from waves, storms and sea level rise. You can view a write up of our Goyder Institute-funded project here.
I previously worked on (and continue to be involved in) the Spencer Gulf Ecosystem and Development Initiative (SGEDI). With competing priorities – from fishing to mining, agriculture, energy and community values – management of the Spencer Gulf ecosystem may be compared to walking a tightrope between commercial and environmental interests. The overall aim of the SGEDI project is to develop the science and understanding for world class decision making; proactively maintaining Spencer Gulf's unique ecosystem rather than engaging in a costly restoration should damage occur due to human activities.
My role in this project was to develop maps of the Gulf's habitats and the potential threats to them from human activities, including the cumulative impacts from multiple activities. These maps provide baseline information about the cumulative impacts on the marine habitats of the Spencer Gulf and can be used to assess the potential impacts of further development or industries in the region. I also explored issues stemming from uncertainty in data derived from expert-elicitation (surveys and workshops etc.). You can see our open access paper on expert risk assessment here. I went on to investigate the effect that this uncertainty can have on the outputs of spatial cumulative impact assessments and developed a method to deal with this in a quantitative way, which generates outputs that are easy to interpret and apply in a management context. You can read our open access paper on this here and also check out the graphical abstract below!
I am also involved in a collaboration with Dr Damien Fordham (Climate Ecology and Evolutionary Dynamics lab at Adelaide University) and Dr Tim Jessop (Deakin Uni), which looks at Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) range and population dynamics. We have used coupled niche-population models to project how population dynamics and changes in habitat availability will influence the species' survival and distribution under changing climatic conditions over the next few decades - look out for a paper on this coming soon! We hope to extend this modelling to test the efficacy of potential management scenarios for conserving the Komodo dragon into the future.
Research InterestsApplied Statistics Biological Oceanography Carbon Sequestration Science Climate Change Processes Conservation and Biodiversity Ecological Applications Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Ecology Ecosystem Function Environment Policy Environmental Impact Assessment Environmental Management Environmental Monitoring Geospatial Information Systems Global Change Biology Landscape Ecology Marine and Estuarine Ecology Natural Resource Management Oceanography Ornithology Population Ecology Programming Languages Soil Chemistry
Major Research Grants:
- A muddy time capsule: Using environmental DNA and geochronology from sediment cores to reconstruct past coastal vegetation dynamics and inform future ecosystem management (July 2018 - July 2021). Grant from the Hermon Slade Foundation: $89 K. CI: Jones, A.R., Young, J., Waycott M., Foster, N., Gillanders, B.M.
- Coastal Carbon Opportunities: demonstrating additionality and potential for future offsets in South Australia (April 2017 - April 2019). Grant from the Goyder Institute for Water Research's 'Climate Impact' research funding: $400 K from Goyder + $165 K partner cash and $1.3M in-kind support from partner organisations. I am a Chief Investigator on the grant, which will fund my salary for 2 years. I wrote the first full draft of the grant proposal (including a pitch presentation to potential research partners) and the initial research questions and experimental design. Investigators: PI: Gillanders, B.M., CI: Jones, A.R., Waycott M., Lavery, P., Baldock, J., Koh, LP., Cavagnaro, T., Masque, P., Fernandes, M., Gaylard, S., Serrano, O., Clarke, K., Raja-Segaran, R., Kilpatrick, A., Asanopolous, C.
- Assessing the feasibility of using drone technology to monitor seagrass (Dec 2018 - Dec 2019). $82 K (including cash contributions of $35 K from SA Water and $25 K from The University of Adelaide and Environment Institute). A collaborative pilot study between the University and SA Water. CI: Jones, A.R., Clarke, K., Raja Segaran, R., Fernandes, M., Gillanders, B.M.
- Seagrass, macroalgae, sediment and micro-plastic sampling from Pearson Isles Sanctuary Zone and South West Commonwealth Marine Reserve for genetic connectivity and contamination studies (May 2018). $5.3 K grant from the Department of Environment and Water SA. PI: Jones A,R.
- Assessing connectivity in South Australia’s marine parks network (May 2017 - October 2017). $30 K grant from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR): . PI: Jones, A.R., CI: Gillanders, B.M., CI: Waycott, M.
- Pearson Island expedition feasibility study (June 2016 - July 2016). $15 K grant from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). Invesitgators: PI: Jones, A.R., PI: Gillanders B.M.
I am a employed on a research-only contract at the University, so am primarily research-focused. However I have contributed to some taught courses on an as-needed basis:
- I have lectured on the 3rd year course Frontiers in Marine Biology (coordinated by Prof. Bronwyn Gillanders) for 3 years. I present a lecture titled 'Marine Monitoring in the 21st Century' and also take a tutorial on presentation skills.
- In 2016 I contributed to the Research Methods in Ecology III (ENV BIOL 3510) course, coordinated by Prof. Sean Connell. For this course, I prepared and ran a 3-hr computer lab practical session on species distribution modelling. This involved giving a lecture of ~45 mins and then leading the class through a computer-based practical session using R (which I had prepared the scripts and data for).
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