Melissa Nursey-Bray

Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray

Professor, Deputy Director ISER

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

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

Current roles

- Professor and ARC Future Fellow, Human Geography
- Deputy Director, Institute of Sustainability, Energy and Resources
- Coordinator, FAME Sustainability Strategy

Research Overview

My research investigates the connection between people and the environment. I focus on how to engage communities to be part of environmental decision making, particularly in the context of climate change and biodiversity protection. I have worked with Indigenous, ports, local government and fishing communities on a range of projects. These projects have examined how conflict, social and cultural values, knowledge, social learning and perceptions affect how people become involved in or help drive environmental sustainability.

My most recent work explore how different communities can adapt to climate change. This has included developing adaptation strategies for Indigenous peoples, looking at how urban areas can be ‘greened’ and the ways in which fisheries can be made more resilient and responsive to climate threats.

I am currently working on an ARC Future Fellowship that investigates how different knowledges can work together to address biodiversity and climate change impacts.

I welcome inquiries from Masters and PhD candidates interested in: urban ecology, Indigenous resource management, climate change adaptation, co-management, and fisheries/marine management.

My current projects include:

  • ARC Future Fellowship: : Incorporating Indigenous knowledge into biodiversity and adaptation policy

The goal of this project is to discover Indigenous knowledge innovations at the science-policy interface that will create transformative benefits for biodiversity and climate change adaptation and socially just conservation outcomes for the people living within regions of outstanding cultural and ecological value such as the Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre Basin, Australia.

  • Indigenous Climate Adaptation 

    This research program considers the barriers and opportunities facing Indigenous peoples in relation to climate change. It explores how climate change impacts on and the community driven responses to climate change across the world. In particular the program examines the role of traditional knowledge in informing Indigenous adaptation, and the ways in which Indigenous ways of doing can be incorporated within wider policy frameworks both on Indigenous country and in cities.

  • Community engagement and environmental change 

    This is a research program that undertakes a range of projects that explore the ways in which communities engage with the issue of climate change and biodiversity, in order to strengthen policy and management. The project examines the role of conflict, social learning, knowledge, risk, values and perception in influencing community behaviour about and towards environmental issues. Examples of studies undertaken include a perception study about climate change for the rock lobster fishery, understanding how marine stakeholders feel about the relationship between sharks and aquaculture, and projects on community gardens and trees in cities.

  • Adaptation, Community Environment (ACE) 

    I am the Director of a research group called Adaptation, Community Environment (ACE) that aims to undertake applied research and work with stakeholders and community groups on project they want undertaken on adaptation or environmental management. Examples include consultancy work (a recent one on the social impact of alcohol restrictions on the NT is an example), conduct of research training workshops for local community groups, implementation of citizen science projects (i.e. on marine pollution or climate change, see REDMAP), an annual adaptation seminar series that includes industry and community presentations and the establishment of an artist in residence program on art and public space.

    This project considers the ways in which different groups can work together for a common goal. It also aims to develop a strong partnership between academia and the community, so that project results can be useful to and used by communities to guide their own day to day business. The establishment of ACE creates opportunities for applied research that involves and has positive impacts on community. ACE aims to work with and for not on communities.

Date Project Name/ Number Investigators Funding Body Amount
2023 - 2025 Toys for Turtles, Dhimurru, NT. Wootton, N, Nursey-Bray, M. and Gillanders, B. DCCEEW $279,755
2023 - 2025 Project-level blue carbon ecosystem restoration benefits measurement, verification and accounts Jones, A.  Tanner, J (SARDI),  Wheeler, S., Nursey-Bray, M., Carnell, P (Deakin) DCCEEW $1,146,729.10 
2022 - 2032 One Basin CRC Governance Theme Leader/program Nursey-Bray, M and Aldridge K One Basin CRC TBD/Ongoing
2022 - 2023 Blue Carbon Framework Accounting Nursey-Bray, M and Mandingalbay Yidinji Corporation Department of Climate Change Energy, Environment and Water $275,000
2021 - 2023 Caring for Country: Sea Country Planning Nursey-Bray, M Country Needs People $150,000
2022 SEQ Water Climate Risk Assessment Westra, S and Nursey-Bray, M SEQ Water $26,000
2022 National Park City Adelaide consultation Nursey-Bray, M.  Green Adelaide $8000
2022 - 2026 Pathways for Indigenous and Western knowledge into environmental policy Nursey-Bray, M Australian Research Council $1,038,892
2021 Climate communications to marine and coastal communities, Victoria Nursey-Bray, M Victorian Coastal and Marine Coastal Council $7500
2021 Wellbeing in regions Nursey-Bray, M Legatus Group  $15,000
2021 Normalising climate change communications for coastal communities, Victoria Nursey-Bray, M Coast ans Marine Planning Group, State Government, Victoria $7500
2021 Southern Remarkable Tourism Project Nursey-Bray, M Legatus group  $15,000
2020 - 2022 Finding the Fab Five! Enhancing community values and marine protected areas Nursey-Bray, M, Gillanders, B., Lange, J Commonwealth government, MPA Program $278,000
2020 Reconciliation in Regions Nursey-Bray, M Legatus Group $15,000
2019 Youth Volunteering in regions Nursey-Bray, M Legatus Group $16,000
2018 Social Impact Assessment, Indigenous Supermarkets Alice Springs Nursey-Bray, M BDO Consulting $15,000
2018 More than providing a microphone: Establishing a research cluster for public engagement with STEM research and policy Ankeny R; Braunack-Mayer A; Bray H; Brown H; Burton R; Conduit J; Falkner K; Grutzner F; Michell D; Musgrave I, Nursey-Bray, M, Plewa, C and Street, J FND000166: University of Adelaide - Interdisciplinary Research Funding Scheme $65,000
2018 Humanitarian Emergencies in a Digital World: big data, human networks and the role of situational awareness Skuse A; Nursey-Bray M; Kakare C; Birzer C; Brown H; Szabo C FND000166: University of Adelaide - Interdisciplinary Research Funding Scheme $30,000
2017- 2019 Placemaking and Tactical Urbanism Program Kellett J; Palazzo E; Worrall J; Nursey-Bray M Myers Foundation $132,000
2017- 2019 Goyder Project HE 17 01: Socio ecological assessment of the ecosystems, industries and communities of Spencer Gulf B. Gillanders, P. Cassey & M. Nursey-Bray Goyder Institute $300,000
2017- 2018 Social Impact Assessment, Sea Port, Kangaroo Island Nursey-Bray, M Environmental Projects $27,000
2017- 2018 Academic Plane Travel M Nursey-Bray, R Palmer, T Wanner, C Birzer Ecoversity (UoA) $13,000
2016- 2018 Developing social indicators to improve social license to operate for the Marine Scale fishery Nursey-Bray, M. & Bicknell, N FRDC $52,000
2015- current William and Mary College, Teaching Sustainability Nursey-Bray, M Environmental Projects $27,000 annually
2015- 2017 Climate Change Adaption Research Network (Vulnerable communities including human health) Bi,P., Hanson-Easy, S., Nitscke, M.  Nursey-Bray, M., Pisaniello, D., Tan, Y., Weinstein, P., Zhanh, Y., Hansen, A & Williams, S ORG119308: NCCARF Research Network $300,000
2015- 2017 NCCARF SEI Project Nursey-Bray, M NCCARF SEI  $365,000
2015 Application of tracking technologies to understand space-time explicit patterns of movement, residency and habitat use of pelagic sharks in Spencer Gulf Nursey-Bray, M FRDC $23,000
2014- 2015 Assessing perception of the economic impact of seal-fisher interactions Nursey-Bray, M FRDC $20,000
2014- 2015 Women in Leadership Project Martin, J., Jorgensen, B & Nursey-Bray, M Local Government Association, SA $35,000
2014- 2015 Task 3: Cultural Indicators Project Goyder Lewis, M., White, D. & Nursey-Bray, M SARDI/Goyder Institute $366,581
2014 AW NRM Grant Nursey-Bray, M AW NRM Grant $20,000
2014 FRAGS Community Gardens Nursey-Bray, M, Ankeny, R, Rudd & Bray, H University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $4,500
2014 FRAGS Adaptive Capacity Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $4,500
2014 Teaching and Learning Grant: Developing Online Excel Training for Globalisation Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $2,500
2013- 2015 USC/APN Project on co-management and adaptive capacity (fisheries) Fidelman, P, & Nursey-Bray, M Asia/Pacific Network for Global Research $50,000
2013 SANTS evaluation contract Nursey-Bray, M SANTS $5,000
2013 Subcontract-Eyes-on-the-water:Inspiring Australians through participation in science-A123926 Nursey-Bray, M Inspiring Australia $25,000
2013 Coastal Fisheries Workshop, Vietnamese Officials Nursey-Bray, M University of Sunshine Coast $2,000
2012- 2013

India-Australia Strategic Research Grant

Frusher, S., Hobday, A., Van Putten, I., Pecl, G., Haward, M. & Nursey-Bray, M India-Australia Strategic Grant Scheme $120,000
2012 Local Government Workshops on climate change adaptation /vulnerability for the Mount Lofty NRM Board (internal) Clarke, B. and Nursey-Bray, M ML NRM $10,000
2012 External masters supervision (requested engineering) Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences $3,000
2012 Hosting/coordination of social inclusion and climate change workshop, for Professor Carol Johnson (Politics) Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $5,000
2012 Fay Gale monies for leading theme activities Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $1,000
2012 White paper prize Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $500
2012 Bottom Drawer Fellowship Fay Gale Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $1,000
2011- 2013 NCCARF Climate Change Arabana project Nursey-Bray, M, Fergie, D., Arbon, V., Rigney, L., Tibby, J., Palmer, R., & Harvey. N.


2011- 2012 Winter schools transfers (Internal) Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $11,000
2011 UTAS consultancy (delivering block course for UTAS) (external) Nursey-Bray, M University of Tasmania, AMC $7,100
2010- 2014 CSIRO Coastal Cluster project: I was listed PI in the knowledge (UTAS) and adaptive learning (USC) themes (Cat 1) Nursey-Bray, M 40 researchers across five universities CSIRO

$4,000,000 across Australia

2010 Final payment for the DCCE Climate Change Project (External) Nursey-Bray, M UTAS/DCC $30,000
2010 UTAS consultancy (delivering block course for UTAS) (external) Nursey-Bray, M UTAS $7,100
2010 FRAGS Grant on community vulnerability Nursey-Bray, M University of Adelaide, Faculty of Arts $5,000


Date Course Title Course Level / Code
  Introduction to Geography, Environment and Population Level 1, GEOG 1104
  Geographies of Globalisation Level 1, GEOG 1101
  Environmental Ethics Level 2, GEOG 2156
  Space and Society Level 2, GEOG 269
  Indigenous Peoples and The Environment Level 2, GEOG 2150
  Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment Level 3, GEOG 3921
  Coasts, Conflict and Community Development Level 3, GEOG 2159
  Introduction to Urbanisation Masters, GEOG 5093
  Engaging Communities/Community Engagement Masters, GEOG 5095/ GEOG 5005
  Sustainable Futures Winter school


  • Position: Professor, Deputy Director ISER
  • Phone: 83133497
  • Email:
  • Fax: 83133772
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor G
  • Org Unit: Geography, Environment and Population

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