Project number: 2010-542
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $663,596.18
Principal Investigator: Stewart Frusher
Organisation: University of Tasmania (UTAS)
Project start/end date: 30 Jun 2011 - 29 Jun 2013


Meeting the challenge of preparing and adapting for climate change is arguably the most important task confronting the management of our national marine resources. Climate change is expected to result in significant impacts for marine ecosystems with flow on social and economic implications for resource users and communities. Importantly, coastal rural communities have greater dependency on marine industries that provide social and economic benefits through fishing, aquaculture and tourism (e.g. recreational fishing and diving). The success of adaptation decisions in terms of meeting objectives, capturing opportunities and overcoming barriers, being cost effective and minimising negative flow on effects will be influenced by the level of understanding of the needs, priorities, perceptions and attitudes of stakeholders including knowledge of the social and economic consequences of adaptation options. Without such information, our ability to make timely and effective adaptation decisions will be limited. Developing the tools that provide the relevant information to reduce risks and increase capacity to cope with, and benefit from, change is urgently needed for these coastal communities. These tools need to cross discipline boundaries and provide linkages between the vulnerabilities of the biological system with the adaptive capacity and vulnerabilities of the human system.
To meet this need, this project brings together leading marine multi-disciplinary researchers with proven expertise in inter-disciplinary, participatory research approaches to engage stakeholders in the process of developing a suite of strategically targeted marine adaptation tools that will represent a blueprint for marine stakeholders nationally. The blueprint will facilitate these tools being readily adopted by different marine communities, industries and individuals enabling them to make informed decisions based on a range of climate change adaptation options designed to minimise impacts and maximise opportunities. The project focuses on NARP themes 2 and 4, and addresses areas 2 and 3 of the regional programs.


1. Develop and trial a "blueprint" using three marine community case studies in southeastern, western and northern Australia, that objectively integrates a suite of adaptation assessment and evaluation tools for the provision of best choice marine climate change adaptation options to these coastal communities.
2. Compare and synthesise potential adaptation options across case studies to develop a) an understanding of the context dependence of adaptation in marine communities, and b) a portfolio of generic adaptation options for sub-tropical to temperate coastal and regional marine communities in Australia.
3. Based on the outcomes of 1 and 2, determine the broad representativeness of the blueprint to address the needs and priorities of coastal rural communities throughout Australia.
4. Develop capacity for inter-disciplinary research by training and mentoring two early career researchers.

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