Alice Jones

Dr Alice Jones

Senior Lecturer (Resilience Ecology)

School of Biological Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.

I am a lecturer and researcher in ecology with a special interest in the impacts of environmental change on marine and coastal systems. I am motivated by working on projects with real-world applications, which improve our understanding of how species and ecological communities respond to change, so that we may better manage and protect them. Until recently I was working in a joint position between the University of Adelaide (School of Biological Sciences) and the SA Department for Environment and Water (Science Partnerships Team). This position enabled me to develop a strong understanding of state and national policy, governance and management frameworks for biodiversity and conservation.

Most of my research is focused on the effect that human activities and environmental change have on the distribution and function of populations, communities and ecosystems - and the impact that this has on their ability to persist in our changing environment. I am also driven to undertake research that has social benefits in terms of supporting healthy, diverse ecosystems for people to enjoy in the future, and supporting the sustainable and resilient provision of ecosystem services. I approach research in a very collaborative way, having developed many partnerships across government (state and federal), NGOs and industry, as well as with other academics across Australia and internationally. I was awarded the Faculty of Sciences Dean's Award for Research Partnership in 2019, I won a Winnovation (Women in Innovation) Award in 2020 for my research on blue carbon (see details below) and recently had the honour of being named a South Australian Young Tall Poppy in Science (2021). I am an Associate Editor for the journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation, which is published by the Zoological Society of London and is open access. I have been invited to serve on technical reference panels on blue carbon for both the South Australian state government, the Commonwealth government Department for Agriculture Water and Environment and the Australian Clean Energy Regulator.

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 (UK).

My primary research focus is around coastal or 'blue' carbon ecosystems (mangroves, seagrasses and saltmarshes), and more broadly the adaptive capacity and resilience of coastal ecosystems to environmental change.

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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.  By protecting and restoring these ecosystems, we can boost their resilience to stress and support their important role in the carbon cycle, which helps mitigate against climate change. 

I led a grant  (2018 - 2021) from the Hermon Slade Foundation on developing methods to monitor long-term changes in coastal ecosystems using environmental DNA extracted from sediment cores, which can be thought of as 'muddy time capsules'. Nicole Foster  (recently completed PhD student) led a recent review on this topic (here) and has developed some novel molecular methods for recovering eDNA from coastal sediments (here). More papers from this research are currently in review, so watch this space!

I have also been working with Dr Heidi Alleway and others on a project funded by The Nature Conservancy (USA) looking at restorative aquaculture systems and climate change. We recently published an article on this work in BioScience, which assessed the carbon footprint of different types of marine aquaculture and identified opportunities for emissions reduction and carbon sequestration. We have further papers from this collaboration coming soon. 

A image showing the cover of the journal BioScience from the Feb 2022 issue. The photo on the front shows racks of cultured seaweed drying and the text reads: Climate Friendly Seafood

I recently completed a collaboration with Assoc. Prof Damien Fordham (University of Adelaide), Dr Tim Jessop (Deakin Uni) and researchers from the Komodo Survival Program and Komodo National Park, which looks at Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) range and population dynamics. We used coupled niche-population model 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 - you can read our (open access) 2020 paper on this here and a recent Australia Geographic article on this work here

A Komodo dragon swims through shallow coastal water with a background of tropical islands

 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.

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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. You can see our open-access paper on expert risk assessment here, and a further open-access paper on methods to deal with uncertainty from expert risk assessments when mapping cumulative impacts here. We now have a PhD student (Jackson Stockbridge) who is doing further research on methods for assessing cumulative impacts in marine ecosystems. Jackson has recently published two papers on his research (see here and here), with another in the publication pipeline. 

Graphical abstract for Jones et al (2018) Capturing expert uncertainty in spatial cumulative impact assessment. Scientific Reports 8, Article number: 1469.

I have Hons projects available on blue carbon topics including monitoring mangrove, saltmarsh and seagrass ecosystems from the air (using satellite and drone-based imagery), as well as using image data collected with Automated Underwater Vehicles (AUV) for monitoring deep seafloor habitats. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss doing your Honours with me. I am eligible to supervise PhD students and have a project available crested tern population dynamics, as well as multiple options for blue carbon and coastal restoration projects.

Major Research Grants:

  • Green Adelaide's blue carbon C-scape (April 2022 - June 2023). Grant from Green Adelaide Landscape Board: $83,575. CI: Jones, A.R. Investigators: Mosley L., Reis- Santos, P., Gillanders, B.M., Russell, S. With in-kind support from DEW and EPA Marine Science teams. 

  • Accelerating Adoption and Implementation of Blue Carbon in Australia (Nov 2021 - Jan 2024). Grant from CSIRO: $130 K. CI: Jones, A.R.

  • The role of law in advancing carbon abatement technologies and markets to support Australia’s transition to net-zero emissions (Jan 2022 - June 2023). Grant from the University of Adelaide FAME Digi+ grant scheme: $14,702. CIs: Brent, K, Jones, A.R. Investigators: McCormack, P., Wawryk, A.

  • Industry Fellowship (June 2020 - July 2022). Grant from the SA Department for Environment and Water to set up a joint position: $154 K. CI: Jones, A.R.

  • Advancing the mapping of Green Adelaide’s blue carbon (May 2020 - June 2021). Grant from Green Adelaide Landscape Board: $35,000. CI: Jones, A.R. Investigators: Gillanders, B.M., Raja-Segaran, R., Mosley L., Russell, S., Dittmann, S.

  • Mapping coastal wetland blue carbon potential in the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resource Management region (Feb - June 2020). Grant from Natural Resources Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Blue Carbon Futures Fund: $77,950 (with additional cofunding of $10 K from DEW and $ 25 K from UoA). CI: Jones, A.R., Investigators: Gillanders, B.M., Mosley, L., Dittmann, S., Beaumont, K.

  • Potential for Zostera seagrass recovery and rehabilitation to enhance blue carbon in SA (Feb - June 2020). Grant from Natural Resources Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Blue Carbon Futures Fund: $64.5 K (with additional co-funding of $10 K from UoA, $5 K from EPA and $25 K from SA Water). CIs: Tanner, J., Jones, A. R. Investigators: Raja Segaran R., Fernandes M., Clarke K., Gaylard S., Turner A., van der Linden L.

  • A blue carbon future through introducing tidal flow to salt ponds and stranded saltmarsh for Dry Creek and the Samphire Coast (Mar - June 2020). Grant from Natural Resources Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges Blue Carbon Futures Fund: $99.5 K (with additional co-funding of $20 K from Flinders University and $10 K from DEW). CI: Ditmman, S. Investigators: Clarke, B., Mosley, L., Jones, A. R., Beaumont, K., Raja Segaran, R.

  • 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. CIs: Jones, A.R., Young, J., Waycott M., Foster, N., Gillanders, B.M.

  • 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., Raja Segaran, R. Investigators: Clarke, K., Fernandes, M., 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. CIs: Gillanders, B.M., Jones, A.R. Waycott M., Lavery, P. Investigators: Baldock, J., Koh, LP., Cavagnaro, T., Masque, P., Fernandes, M., Gaylard, S., Serrano, O., Clarke, K., Raja-Segaran, R., Kilpatrick, A., Asanopolous, C.  

Other Grants:

  • Optimising reef restorations to enhance blue carbon habitats (March 2022 - May 2023). Grant from the Green Adelaide Blue Carbon Futures Fund: $13,773. CI: McAffee, D., Connell, S. Investigators: Jones, A.R., Tanner, J.

  • Assessment of blue carbon stocks in coastal ecosystems at two sites on western Eyre Peninsula (Oct 2021 - May 2022). Grant from the SA Coast Protection Board: $10,000. CI: Jones, A.R.

  • Carbon fingerprinting pilot study (2021). Grant from the University of Adelaide Environment Institute small grants fund: $1,500. CI: Jones, A.R.

  • Emissions Reduction Fund blue carbon abatement model development (May - June 2021). Grant from the Commonwealth Government Clean Energy Regulator: $27,272. CIs: Jones, A.R., Mosley, L.

  • Seagrass drone monitoring (June 2021 - July 2022). Grant from SA Water: $40 K. CIs: Raja Segaran, R., Jones, A.R. Clarke, K.

  • Western Eyre Peninsula blue carbon assessment (April 2021 - Dec 2021). Grant from the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board: $10,540. CI: Jones, A.R.

  • Measuring and monitoring saltmarsh blue carbon along eastern Eyre Peninsula (2020). Grant from the South Australian Government Department for Environment and Water (Climate Change Branch): $26,180 (funding associated with the South Australian Blue Carbon Strategy and Saltmarsh Threat Abatement and Recovery Project). CI: Jones A.R. 

  • Blue Carbon research synthesis and research agenda (April 2019 - June 2019). Grant from the Goyder Institute for Water Research, Climate Action Fund: $31 K. CIs: Jones, A.R., Dittmann, S., Gillanders, B. M., Mosley, L.

  • Aquaculture, Ecosystem Services and Shellfish Reef Restoration’ (March – Dec 2019).Grant from The Nature Conservancy $40 USD (approx. $56 K AUD). CIs: Alleyway H., ​​​​​​​Jones, A.R., Gillanders, B.

  • 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. CI: 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): CIs: Jones, A.R., Waycott, M., Gillanders, B.M.

  • Pearson Island expedition feasibility study (June 2016 - July 2016). $15 K grant from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). CIs: Jones, A.R., Gillanders B.M.

I have just recently transitioned to a balanced academic role, and will begin teaching in second semester of 2022. Previously, I was employed on research-only contracts. However, I have contributed to taught courses as opportunities have arisen:

  • I have lectured on the 3rd year course Frontiers in Marine Biology (coordinated by Prof. Bronwyn Gillanders and Dr Patrick Reis-Santos) for 6 years, giving lectures titled 'Marine Monitoring in the 21st Century' and 'Blue Carbon, what is it and why should we care?'
  • I lectured on the 3rd year course Earth Observation in 2019 and 2020 (coordinated by Dr Ken Clarke). I presented a lecture titled 'Remote Sensing for Marine Science'
  • I have delivered tutorials on 'Presentation Skills' to 3rd year undergraduates (2016 - 2020)
  • I contributed to the Research Methods in Ecology 3rd year undergraduate course. For this course, I prepared and ran a 4-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)
  • In 2018 & 2019 I helped to coordinate and deliver the 2-week long marine biology overseas study tour to Timor Leste. This trip has not run in the period between 2020 and 2022, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. However, I will be taking on the coordination of the course from 2023. 
  • In 2019 and 2020 I was a trainer onboard the Australian national research vessel, RV Investigator, for 2-week long postgraduate at-sea training cruises. These are part of the Collaborative Australian Postgraduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN). I was selected for this role through a competitive process and the work involved:
    • Delivering lectures on ‘Population Connectivity in Marine Systems’ and ‘Ecological Monitoring in the 21st Century’
    • Taking part in panel discussions on post-university work options and dealing with large datasets
    • Coordinating the student’s plankton sampling whilst at sample sites
    • Running the wet-clean lab onboard the ship and teaching plankton analysis methods and identification
    • Coordinating and running the seabird and marine mammal observations from the ship.
    • Coordinating and supporting the students in preparing a cruise report.
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2023 Principal Supervisor Effect of seagrass restoration on fish populations Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Upeksha Swarnamalie Maddumage
    2022 Principal Supervisor Blue Carbon in South Australian Coastal Ecosystems Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Sophie Kate Russell
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2018 - 2022 Co-Supervisor Evaluation of Common Assumptions in Marine Cumulative Impact Assessment Models Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jackson Stockbridge
    2017 - 2021 Co-Supervisor Changing community composition of coastal and marine vascular plants–towards an independent evidence base on coastal environmental change through time Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Nicole Rianne Foster
  • Position: Senior Lecturer (Resilience Ecology)
  • Phone: 83131475
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Darling, floor First Floor
  • Room: 103
  • Org Unit: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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