Heidi Alleway

Heidi Alleway

Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research)

Division of Research and Innovation

Drawing on experience in public policy and natural resource management my research concentrates on the complex nexus of science and societal action. Part science, part storytelling and part application, I work on issues associated with the human use of marine and coastal ecosystems and resources, and build collaborations to address them.

I am exploring the role of aquaculture to support ecosystem function and deliver ecosystem services, including approaches to provide climate benefits and support climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Passionate about retaining historical understanding in research and practice (historical ecology) I also investigate ways that historical information and knowledge of past environments may be used to inform and inspire species and habitat restoration.

As an experienced policy practitioner, having worked for nearly two decades in government and industry management, I am increasingly motivated by the challenge of connecting global ideas and science through time to some of the world's most pressing ocean challenges, including food and ecosystem security, with local solutions that deliver genuine social, environmental and economic values.

Learning from the past

Change in ecosystems over time can be vastly underestimated, and underappreciated. Marine and coastal environments have endured centuries of human use and exploitation, but where the past cannot be vividly recalled or a new baseline for 'normal' has already been accepted, these impacts can be overlooked. The shifting baselines syndrome has a stubborn influence on the way people view and interact with nature, and, as a result, the way manage our activities. Historical records, such as archived reports, letters, journals and photographs, as well as museum collections and geological records, can be used to recreate a more accurate understanding of past environments and human activities.

> I research post-colonial human interactions with marine and coastal resources, and use and build a range of materials and methods to establish historical baselines that can be readily adopted in contemporary natural resource management (e.g. environmental policies, stock assessments).

Uncovering past baselines to understand people and nature.


Designing our future

Aquaculture is the fastest growing primary production sector in the world. This industry provides a unique opportunity to grow a sustainable, socially equitable and accessible, low greenhouse gas emission source of protein. But new and more effective solutions to overcoming the historical and ongoing negative impacts from industrial-scale activity are needed.

Additionally, the positive influence that aquaculture can have on surrounding ecosystems is not well understood. Services beyond solely the production of food (e.g. water filtration, nutrient removal, carbon sequestration) can, under certain circumstances, be associated with a wide range of activities and sectors, particularly the farming of shellfish and algae, but also finfish. New knowledge and primary data on the full range of effects (positive and negative) and ecological and societal values associated with aquaculture are needed.

> I am working with industry and environmental NGOs to understand the positive impacts that aquaculture can have on marine and coastal ecosystems, and to resolve operational and governance approaches that could be used to design and intentionally support aquaculture's delivery of ecosystem services.


Collaborating on grand challenges

A fundamental, and increasingly important, part of my work is supporting collectives to address common needs or issues. Collaboration can be an emotional and exhausting endeavour, but the complexity and scale of the challenges people and nature now face means they cannot be overcome by individuals alone.

> I am assisting industry, government, researchers and communities to understand and appreciate each others values and guiding processes, and enabling collaborations by connecting people and knowledge.

Windara Reef restoration project - finalists in 2018 SA Science Excellence Awards


  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2018 - ongoing Executive Officer, Research Engagement University of Adelaide
    2015 - 2018 General Manager, Aquaculture Policy and Environment Primary Industries and Regions South Australia
    2015 - 2015 Program Leader, Fisheries Enhancement Primary Industries and Regions South Australia
    2009 - 2015 Senior Advisor, Aquatic Pests Biosecurity SA
    2007 - 2009 Policy Officer, Fisheries and Biosecurity Primary Industries and Resources South Australia
    2004 - 2005 Coastcare Facilitator Natural Resources Kangaroo Island
    2003 - 2004 Fisheries Statistician Department of Fisheries Vanuatu
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2018 Award Finalist, SA Science Excellence Awards - Excellence in Research Collaboration South Australian Government Australia
    2016 Award Young Tall Poppy Science Award, South Australia Australian Institute of Policy & Science Australia
    2016 Research Award Dean's Commendation for Doctoral Research Thesis Excellence University of Adelaide Australia
    2005 Award Young South Australian of the Year SA Great Australia
    2005 Award 50 Most Inspiring Young People SA Great Australia
    2004 Award South Australia Young Achiever of the Year, Environment Awards Australia Australia
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2012 - 2015 University of Adelaide Australia PhD
    2006 - 2006 University of Adelaide Australia BSc (Honours)
    2000 - 2002 Flinders University Australia BSc (Marine Biology)
  • Research Interests

Connect With Me
External Profiles