Our research

We work on balancing the conservation of marine ecosystems with human uses of the oceans.

The future of ocean and coastal biodiversity is uncertain. This uncertainty threatens humanity's place on the blue planet. We urgently need to adapt human uses of the ocean to conserve its ecosystems and ensure it continues to provide us with food, energy, recreation, clean water and clean air.

We are marine scientists who use quantitative tools to inform environmental decisions in the oceans. We do this by bringing ecological complexity to the planning tools used to inform decision making. We work with decision makers to provide quantitative advice on ocean and coastal conservation and fishery management. Our tools of choice are computer programming, mathematical models and statistical analysis. These tools allow us to work with complex datasets to find solutions for ocean management.

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

Read more about our research team or our research on our blog or check out our publications.

Future research opportunities

We are currently seeking applicants for PhD projects to study quantitative marine conservation science.

Current projects

Predicting coastal ecological futures in an era of unprecedented change

Chris is currently funded by the Australian Research Council (2021-2025) Future Fellowship. His project aims to study how we can predict unprecedented ecological futures

Multiple stressors of marine ecosystems

We are currently funded by the Australian Research Council (2018-2021) on a project Predicting interactive effects of multiple stressors on marine ecosystems. We aim to develop new models that can make predictions reliable enough to inform management of ecosystems, and that are effective when data are limited.

Team: Dr Chris Brown (lead), Professor Rod Connolly (Simon Fraser University), Professor Isabelle Cote, Dr Mischa Turschwell, Ms Olivia King, Ms Laura Griffiths

Global wetlands project

The Global Wetlands Project is a global research program looking at mapping the health of seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh to inform on conservation actions.

Team: Professor Rod Connolly, Dr Chris Brown and many others, see the GLOW project page

Improved monitoring and management of Pacific tuna fisheries

We are helping The Nature Conservancy improve management of Pacific tuna fisheries, through the use of electronic monitoring systems. Our team is analysing trial monitoring data and demonstrating how it can be used to inform tuna management and mitigate bycatch.

Team: Dr Chris Brown and The Nature Conservancy

Risks & Opportunities for the Blue Economy

This project will deliver an integrative characterisation of risk across engineering and technology, production, energy, sustainability and policy. The resulting integrated registry will identify the multidimensional envelopes of risk relevant to the Blue Economy activities.

Team: Dr Mischa Turschwell, Dr Chris Brown, Dr Beth Fulton (CSIRO), Dr Myriam Lacharite (UTas), and many others

Past projects and outcomes

Economic environmental accounting

We worked with the National Environmental Science Program Northern Hub to develop Economic-Environmental accounts for Northern Australia and Coastal ecosystems

Team: Dr Jim Smart (economics), Professor Sue Jackson (social science), Dr Chris Brown and Ms Chantal Saint Ange

Tools to assess cross-sector interactions in the Blue Economy

We worked with the Blue Economy CRC to identify tools that can assess opportunities and risks for cross sector interactions in the blue economy. These include biodiversity, fisheries, aquaculture and offshore renewable energy.

Team: Dr Mischa Turschwell (lead), Dr Chris Brown, Dr Beth Fulton (CSIRO) and many others

Predicting fisheries change from cumulative impacts to aquatic habitats.

2016-2019

Dr Chris Brown's Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award fellowship. Click this box to read about some of the key project outcomes

Fishscape: a global database of fish habitat associations

2016-2019

As part of Dr Chris Brown's Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Award fellowship we created a global database of fish-habitat associations

Ridge to reef fisheries management

2014-2016

The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis funded us to work on ridge to reef fisheries management. We helped inform management of catchments on Pacific Islands to improve coastal water quality, marine habitats and fisheries.

We were able to link deforestation to pollution and its impacts on coastal ecosystems. Using modelling tools, we could then conduct assessments of how land-use change and forest protection could benefit coastal fish stocks

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Predicting trade-offs between marine conservation and fisheries

2012-2014

Dr Chris Brown's University of Queensland post-doctoral research fellowship. We showed how marine reserves and fisheries management can be optimized to balance trade-offs between biodiversity and fisheries objectives.





Contact: Chris Brown

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