Melissa Nursey-Bray

Associate Professor Melissa Nursey-Bray

Interim Head of Social Sciences

School of Social Sciences

Faculty of Arts

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

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 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:

  • 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.

  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2015 Associate Professor University of Adelaide
    2010 - 2014 Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    2005 - 2009 Lecturer and Senior Lecturer Australian Maritime College, UTAS
    2004 - 2005 Senior Research Officer CSIRO, Centre for Sustainable Ecosystems
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2017 Award Beacon Commendation for Excellence in HDR Supervision University of Adelaide Australia $2000
    2017 Recognition Australian Ambassador for Regional Studies Association Regional Studies Association United Kingdom
    2017 Achievement Handling Editor, Australian Journal of Environmental Management University of Queensland Australia
    2017 Award Co-winner best paper award World Symposium on Climate Change Communication Australia
    2016 Recognition Chief Editor, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, South Australia Royal Geographical Society, South Australia Australia
    2016 Award Co-winner of Pete Hay Environmental Award for best paper Australian Political Studies association Australia
    2012 Award White Paper Award Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide Australia
    2011 Research Award ECR Award for Research Excellence Faculty of Arts, University of Adelaide Australia
    2009 Award Office of Learning and Teaching Citation Universiyt of Tasmania Australia
    2009 Fellowship Honorary Tyndall Fellow Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research United Kingdom
    2008 Award Vice Chancellors Award for Outstanding Contribution to Teaching and Learning University of Tasmania Australia
    2001 Fellowship Winston Churchill Fellowship James Cook University Australia $30,000
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2008 University of Tasmania Australia Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning
    2006 James Cook University Australia PhD
    1992 University of Adelaide Australia Masters Degree in Environmental Studies
    1989 University of Adelaide Australia Bachelor of Arts (Hons)
  • Research Interests

Date Project Name/ Number Investigators Funding Body Amount
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


  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Principal Supervisor Resilience and Indigenous Rights: From Right to Food to Food Security in Nunavut, Canada and West Greenland, Denmark". Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Georgette Matthews
    2019 Principal Supervisor Resilience in Indigenous Communities Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Ms Ariane Sophia Gienger
    2019 Co-Supervisor Environmental Change of Lakes in New Zealand Doctor of Philosophy under a Jointly-awarded Degree Agreement with Doctorate Full Time Miss Julia Elizabeth Short
    2019 Principal Supervisor Understanding Human-Nature (re/dis) Connections to the Coast and Marine Environment: a Case Study of Byron Bay Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Ms Vera Theresa Storp
    2019 Co-Supervisor Environmental governmentality and the role of environmental NGOs in South Australia: moving towards sustainable societies? Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mrs Meagan Rosaghna Magnusson
    2019 Principal Supervisor Towards Fair and Equitable Climate Change Adaptation: Perspectives in Indigenous Communities in Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Daisy Ofori
    2019 Principal Supervisor Marriage of Necessity: the Nexus Between Climate Change and Urban Resilience Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr George Babington Amegavi
    2018 Principal Supervisor Climate Finance in Wetland Areas of Bangladesh: Mechanisms, Impacts and Effectiveness Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Syed Mohammad Aminur Rahman
    2016 Principal Supervisor Grass-root Social Resistance Movements: Considering the Influence of Conflict Narratives in Relation to Mining policy Development Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Bridie Meyer-McLean
    2015 Principal Supervisor Co-ordinating Adaptation to Climate Change: Building an adaptive governance framework for Strengthening the roles of institutional actors Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Barry Garth Lincoln
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Mining, Power and Sustainable Development: Micro-Politics of Benefits Sharing in Ghana Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jerome Jeffison Yaw Ofori
    2016 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Exploring the Nexus Between Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Regulatory Oversight in Ghana's Upstream Petroleum Industry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Derrick Martin Adjei Sowa
    2016 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Building Adaptive Capacity to Climate Change Through NGO-Initiated Community-Based Adaptation: Insights from Southeast Coastal Communities in Bangladesh Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Md. Masud-All- Kamal
    2015 - 2019 Co-Supervisor Smallholder Farmers' Perceptions of Climate Change, Vulnerability and Adaptation in the Context of Multiple Factors in the Tigray region of Ethiopia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Rahwa Gebremedhine Kidane
    2015 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Migration from South Africa to Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Romy Wasserman
    2015 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Climate Variability and Farm-households in the Sudan Savannah Zone of Ghana Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Gerald Atampugre
    2013 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Gender Vulnerability to Climate Change and Livelihood Security in Urban Slum Communities in Accra, Ghana Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Mensah Owusu
    2012 - 2016 Principal Supervisor Staying on the Map: An Analysis of the Immediate Outcomes OF Amalgamation of Palestinian Local Government in the West Bank Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Majida Awashreh
    2011 - 2013 Co-Supervisor "Challenges and opportunities for an integrated coastal management (ICM) approach in Jakarta Bay, Indonesia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Evi Siti Sofiyah
    2011 - 2013 Co-Supervisor An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Management of Reef-Based Scuba Dive Tourism: A Case Study of Koh Tao, Thailand Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Panwad Wongthong
    2011 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Risky Environments: Governance and Adaptation for Future Flood Risk Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Rhiannon Niven
    2010 - 2017 Co-Supervisor Challenges for Integrated Coastal Management in the Australian Federation Understanding Intergovernmental Tension: A Case Study of South Australia Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Ms Nicole Sheree Pelton
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2018 - 2021 Member The Wilderness Society Management Board The Wilderness Society Australia
    2016 - ongoing Council Royal Geographical Society of South Australia RGSA Australia
    2013 - 2013 Board Member Conservation Council of South Australia CCSA Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2018 - ongoing Member University Enrolment Policy Working Group University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member Marine Biosecurity Forum SA Deprtament of Primary Industries Australia
    2018 - 2018 Member Faculty of Arts Research Committee, Social Sciences Representative University of Adelaide Australia
    2018 - ongoing Member World Commission Protected Areas UNWCPA Belgium
    2018 - ongoing Member Marine Biosecurity Taskforce Collaboration across States Australia
    2018 - ongoing Director SA Board, The Wilderness Society Wilderness Society Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member College of Reviewers Teaching and Learning University of Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Advisory Board Member Executive Committee, NCCARF Vulnerable Communiites Network University of Adelaide Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member School of Social Sciences Teaching and Learning Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    2014 - ongoing Advisory Board Member Advisory Board, Masters of Planning University of Adelaide Austria
    2013 - ongoing Chair REDMAP Communiyt Engagement Committee University of Tasmania Australia
    2013 - 2013 Member Management Board Conservation Council of South Australia
    2011 - 2013 Member Management Committee Australia HERDSA Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2018 - ongoing Director Adaptation, Community, Environment (ACE) Research Group Australia
    2015 - ongoing Member Regional Stiudies Association Australia
    2014 - ongoing Member Royal Geographical Society Australia
    2010 - ongoing Member Institute of Australian Geographers Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2016 - ongoing Other Environmental Conservation Measures (OECMs) Taskforce IUCN Conservation and environment Switzerland
    2015 - 2016 Oxfam Environment/Indigenous section Civil rights activities Australia
    2015 - 2016 Griffith University NCCARF Conservation and environment Australia
    2010 - ongoing World Conservation Protecetd Areas (WCPA) WCPA Conservation and environment Australia
  • Editorial Boards

    Date Role Editorial Board Name Institution Country
    2015 - ongoing Editor Royal Geographical Journal of South Australia Australia
    2015 - ongoing Associate Editor Helyion Australia
    2012 - ongoing Associate Editor GEOView: Online Undergraduate Review of
    Geography and Environmental Studies
    2008 - ongoing Associate Editor Journal of Research Practice
  • Offices Held

    Date Office Name Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Head of Department, Geography, Environment and Population University of Adelaide Australia
  • Position: Interim Head of Social Sciences
  • Phone: 83133497
  • Email:
  • Fax: 8313 3772
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Napier, floor G
  • Room: G 36
  • Org Unit: Geography, Environment and Population

Connect With Me
External Profiles

Other Links