Climate Adaptation in Action 2012

Two special marine sessions will be part of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility's "Climate Adaptation in Action 2012" conference in Melbourne on 27 June 2012. 

Session themes and key topics are outlined below. A draft program is available here.

To submit an abstract for these sessions please go to:

Abstract submission closes on 17th February 2012

1. Strategies for Supporting Reef Ecosystem Resilience (Sponsored by the Australian Institute Marine Science)

Convenors: Dr Ken Anthony and Dr Katharina Fabricius (AIMS)

The World's coral reefs are under growing threat due to the cumulative effects of global, regional and local-scale stressors. Major global-scale threats to coral reefs are driven principally by carbon emissions resulting in (1) ocean warming, leading to increased risk of coral bleaching events and fuelling the formation of cyclones with potentially increasing severity, and (2) ocean acidification, lowering the capacity for coral reefs to maintain their 3-dimensional structure and habitat richness. Importantly, these global-scale threats grow against a background of regional and local-scale disturbance regimes, including terrestrial runoff, fishing pressures, outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) and coral diseases. Recent studies indicate that local-scale stressors are likely to exacerbate the pressures of changing climate and ocean chemistry to coral reefs. While the warming and acidification of the world's oceans can only be tackled through reductions of global carbon emissions, the reduction of local and regional disturbances may provide opportunities for effective science based management and adaptation measures.  The purpose of this symposium session is to develop and discuss these opportunities to advance ecosystem research into climate and ocean change adaptation. Specifically, the session will invite speakers to present options for how reef ecosystem resilience might be enhanced in order to buy coral reefs time in an era of climate and ocean change. Examples could include (1) development of resilience and vulnerability projections for reef ecosystems, (2) assessments of how mitigation of local-scale stressors can enhance resilience/lower vulnerability, (3) assessments of the feasibility of strategic COTS control programs building on spatial and temporal forecast models of primary outbreaks, and (4) innovative and strategic management programs that integrate spatial data on ecosystem resilience and climate risks into zoning plans.  

Professor Hugh Possingham, Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED)and the NERP Environmental Decision Hub (EDG) will be a keynote speaker in this session and will participate in an associated panel session. 

2.  Managing Australia's marine ecosystems and resources for a warmer climate (Sponsored by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)

Convenors: A/Prof. Neil Holbrook,  A/Prof. Marcus Haward, Prof. Keith Sainsbury (Marine Biodiversity and Resources Adaptation Research Network) and Dr Paul Marshall (GBRMPA)

Changes in climate variability and extremes, as well as climate change trends, are expected to impact on Australia's marine ecosystems and resources – with, for example, biophysical consequences for the marine environment, and distributional changes to fish stocks. Climate change impacts are also expected to have social and economic consequences that are likely to influence debates over management options and outcomes. This symposium welcomes presentations that discuss or address issues related to managing marine ecosystems and/or resources in a warming world. Example issues might include: future harvest strategies; adaptation of cross-jurisdictional management arrangements associated with changing species and/or stock distributions; or ecosystem-based management approaches.

In addition, A/Prof Marcus Haward will chair a special marine Panel session on the same day.