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We work on balancing the conservation of marine ecosystems with human uses of the oceans. We aim to bring ecological complexity to the planning tools used to inform decision making.


Management should aim to sustain healthy ecosystems and balance conservation with human uses. Pictured are a school of sweetlips in a protected area in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Sweetlips are also a popular food-fish.

We are also interested in the impacts of climate change to marine ecosystems.


Our research applies both mathematical models and statistical analysis.

We specialise in integrating ecologically complex models with tools for informing decision makers. We also work with large databases of the marine environment.

We use the R programming language and teach R to others. Chris' teaching resources are on this site and are open-access.

Fisheries and conservation

The global biodiversity crisis requires new science and approaches for sustainable management of marine ecosystems. We have studied how fishing alters food-webs, sometimes even improving the productivity of fisheries.

We also study how decision makers can meet compromises between achieving productive fisheries and conserving functioning ecosystems. My recent work has focussed on the use of marine reserves in the conservation of ecosystems and the trade-offs reserves create with fisheries.

Climate change ecology

We are interested in how climate change has affected ocean ecosystems globally. We published a comprehensive meta-analysis of ocean climate change studies that was subsequently used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their latest assessment report. We reviewed studies that had at least 2 decades of observations of marine life and found widespread impacts of climate change to marine life have already occurred.

I also research the ecological processes that will drive future responses of ecosystems to climate change. These include species range-shifts and the responses of food-webs to productivity change.

Publications on conservation, fisheries and climate change