The latest news from the UWA Oceans Institute

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July 2022  

Authored by: Josh Bonesso & Vivienne White

Director's Introduction

Dear Oceans Institute Community,

As we enter the second half of 2022, I am delighted to announce an addition to the Oceans Institute team; Dr Abbie Rogers, who we welcomed on board as the new Deputy Director in mid-July.  

Abbie is Co-Director of the UWA Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy (CEEP) and is currently leading Theme 6 of the WAMSI Westport Marine Science Program (WWMSP). Abbie is an environmental economist with expertise in promoting the integration of social and environmental values in evidence-based decision making for natural resource managers. Abbie is passionate about improving the application, understanding and accessibility of environmental economics to improve policy and decision making across marine, coastal and other natural environments. 

Please join me in welcoming Abbie aboard!

Dr Abbie Rogers

Deputy Director
Oceans Institute

(Photo credit: Abbie Rogers)
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the valuable work of out-going Deputy Director Associate Professor Nicole Jones. Over her 12 month appointment with the OI, Nicole has been instrumental in providing leadership across several OI initiatives including the Go8 Oceans Summit, scheduled for November 2022 at UWA, the recently held IMOS meeting, and coordinating a multi-institutional response to the WA Government’s need to predict marine heatwaves

A big thank you to Nicole for her valued input as part of the OI team!  
Nicole Jones is an experienced physical oceanographer who has worked at The University of Western Australia since 2007. She is an expert on small-scale ocean dynamics (Photo credit: Tina Zhang). 
As usual, this edition highlights key achievements from our OI members and community. This month, we congratulate Dr Ana Sequeria, who was recently announced as a finalist in the 2022 Western Australian Premier's Science Awards. Anna moved from UWA to ANU earlier this year but maintains close linkages with the OI, and continues to lead a team of UWA PhD students and postdoctoral researchers in Shark Bay, WA.  

In early June, the second Ocean Series talk featuring Dr Ana Manero Ruiz was hosted by the City of Perth Library. Ana gave an intriguing talk about the emerging concept of 'surfing economics.' Read more about Ana's presentation to the Perth community below. 

In mid July, the OI hosted a science communications skills workshop for the 2022 Robson and Robertson Awards. Presented by Master of Science Communication Program Coordinator Dr Heather Bray, the workshop is an annual OI event focused on up-skilling the verbal presentation skills of Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students and researchers in order to deliver effective presentations. 

Lastly, I would like to highlight the outreach of some of our OI members. This month, OI members Rachel Austin (UWA School of Biological Sciences) and Josh Bonesso (Oceans Institute & Western Australian Marine Science Institution) brought the world's of seagrass restoration and coral reef sciences into the classroom, presenting their work to highly enthusiastic final year students at Sacred Heart College through the WAMSI 'Thinking Blue' School Outreach Program. Find out more about the program and their presentations below. 

Dr Julian Partridge 
Associate Professor
Director, Oceans Institute


Oceans Highlights 

Dr Ana Sequeira finalist for the 2022 WA Premier's Science Awards 

On July 6, OI member and OI adjunct Associate Professor Dr Ana Sequeira was announced as a finalist in the coveted West Australian Premier's Science Awards for 2022. Ana moved to ANU from UWA earlier this year but maintains strong links to UWA via her OI Adjunct status. She continues to lead a team of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers studying the movement of megafauna in Shark Bay, WA.

About the awards:

The Premier's Science Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution of individuals to scientific research and engagement within Western Australia. The awards play a pivotal role in raising the profile of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the state, with alumni award winners recognised as important ambassadors for the state, helping to inspire future generations to pursue careers in STEM.  

Finalist - HBF Mid-Career Scientist of the Year:

Ana is one of five finalists for the Mid-Career Scientist of the Year division, awarded to an outstanding scientist who completed their highest degree five to fifteen years ago, demonstrating research excellence in a field of science or technological advancement. Ana has demonstrated research excellence in the field of marine spatial planning and conservation, and has been involved in a several high-impact global projects and initiatives over her career.  

The Oceans Institute would like to extend its congratulations to Ana for this outstanding achievement and wishes her best of luck at the awards ceremony! 

Dr Ana Sequeira snorkelling alongside a whale shark at the Ningaloo Reef Marine Park, Western Australia (Photo credit: Sequeria Lab, University of Western Australia). 
Science Communication Skills Workshop 2022
On July 13, the Oceans Institute held a 2 hour communication skills workshop presented by Dr Heather Bray (Masters of Science Communication Program Coordinator, UWA). 

Tailored for Higher Degree by Research (HDR) applicants to the 2022 Robson and Robertson Award, and fellow PhD students, the workshop aimed to  develop skills in verbal presentations, reducing presentation anxiety and structuring presentations that are interesting and captivating to target audiences. 

The workshop was well attended and very well received by all participants, with feedback universally positive. 

About the Presenter:
Dr Heather Bray, UWA

Dr Bray has over 20 years of experience in Science Communication as a practitioner, scholar, teacher, and researcher. Heather currently coordinates the Master of Science Communication and the undergraduate major and minor in Science Communication.  
The OI extends its thanks to Heather Bray for a successful workshop, and look forward to hosting this highly valuable event in the years to come.
Dr Heather Bray (centre) introducing the Science Communications Skills Workshop at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (IOMRC) on the 13 of July (Photo credit: Vivienne White). 
Surf Tourism - OI and City of Perth Library Series

On June 9, the City of Perth Library hosted part two of the Ocean Series talks 'Surf Tourism,' presented by OI member and Adjunct Research Fellow in the UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, Dr Ana Manero Ruiz.

Ana gave a very engaging presentation on the real-world values of surfing, not only to human well-being and lifestyle, but more broadly the local economic benefit to communities. 

Why is surfing important?

Global surf tourism is worth up to $91 billion per year but surfing’s benefits to human well-being is little studied in economics terms. We know surfing can make places more desirable to live in and provides benefits for the local community.

Dr Manero highlighted the importance of  finding strategies for sustainable management of natural resources in a way that accounts for human values and needs, as well as environmental protection, thus allowing all parties to benefit. 

The audience posed excellent questions about the benefit of surfing tourism to local communities, and responded well to Ana's insights.
Dr Ana Manero presenting Part 2 of the Ocean Series talks at the City of Perth Library (Photo credit: Vivienne White). 
WAMSI School Outreach Program 'Thinking Blue,' to feature leading and emerging WA scientists 

'Thinking Blue,' is an initiative through the Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) to connect high school students in their final year to top marine scientists within Western Australia. 

Researchers from a breadth of marine expertise will co-ordinate a series of online sessions designed to inspire and encourage students to consider marine science as a possible career path, as well as connecting them with world-class scientists across the WAMSI partnership, including researchers from the UWA Oceans Institute. 

"'Thinking Blue is a fantastic initiative that connects WA youth with world-class scientists and emerging scientific concepts so they can explore this passion early on and be inspired to plan a career in marine science and environmental conservation"

- Hayley Sims (WAMSI)
From the OI, Research Officer in Seagrass Ecology, Rachel Austin was first to captivate students with her presentation on world-class restoration efforts to preserve critically important seagrass meadows within Cockburn Sound and the Shark Bay World Heritage Area. 

This was followed by OI Researcher Josh Bonesso, who transported students from the Pilbara Coast to the southern Great Barrier Reef, where he discussed research into how coral reefs will respond to future climate change, and the implications for long-term recovery. 

Rachel Austin
Research Officer - Seagrass Ecology

Watch Rachel's presentation 'Seagrass Restoration in Australia' here

Josh Bonesso
Coral Reef Scientist & PhD Scholar

Watch Josh's presentation 'Coral Reef Seascapes in a Changing World' here

Oceans media releases

Podcast: One Ocean, One Climate, One Future - Together

We are all connected by our oceans. We’re all surrounded by breath-taking coastlines and oceans that are home to magnificent marine wildlife. But it’s all increasingly under threat!

Hear from Dr Emily Lester, Dr Danielle Su, and Dr Emily Pidgeon, who are at the forefront of research, protection and conservation of our oceans, discussing the biggest problems facing our oceans, and the solutions having the biggest impact on turning it around.

You’ll also discover how the Oceans Institute serves the needs of the Western Australian community.

Featured articles and news 

New mapping method unearths bigger mangrove area in north west

A new mapping method has increased the size of the known mangrove area in north-western Australia by more than 30 per cent, a finding that will help protect the vulnerable ecosystem.  Read the full article here

PhD and Forrest Scholar working to protect WA coastline

PhD student and Forrest Scholar Thalles Araujo at The University of Western Australia is helping develop an early-warning system to protect Western Australia’s coastline. Read the full article here

Deepest species off mainland Australia

OI researchers at the Minderoo-UWA Deep-Sea Research Centre have uncovered the deepest species of fish off the Australian mainland, more than six kilometres underwater off the southwest coast of Western Australia.  Read the full article here

Shark Bay seagrass restoration project featured on ABC Western Australia 

Rachel Austin, Research Officer in Seagrass Ecology at UWA sheds light on the Shark Bay seagrass restoration project with ABC Western Australia. To watch the video click here

New 'White Paper' - Economics and Australia's Marine Reserves 

Dr Matt Navarro and Dr Tim Langlois from the UWA Oceans Institute have authored a new 'white paper,' on using economics to improve marine reserves and other marine protected areas. Read the white paper here

Utilising seaweeds to replace plastic

OI member and marine scientist Dr Julia Reisser discussed how farmed seaweed can be transformed into a compostable plastic with ABC Perth Radio. Listen to the full interview here

Water under Antarctica sounds warning of faster rising sea levels

Researchers from The University of Western Australia have found that groundwater deep beneath Antarctica could destabilise the continent’s ice sheet causing sea levels to rise faster. Read more here

Seek Opportunities 

OceanOmics Research Fellow

The Minderoo OceanOmics Centre at UWA is seeking an exceptional Research Fellow, committed to applying modern molecular biological methods to marine research.

Located on UWA’s main campus, a key responsibility of this role will be gathering new molecular genetic data, including genomic sequencing and informatics relating to marine vertebrates.

Closing date:

11:55pm AWST, Friday 12 August 2022

This position is open to international applicants with rights to work in Australia.

For more details about how to apply, click the Apply Now button. 


Upcoming Events

August 11


OI and City of Perth Library Series

Kelp Restoration

Kelp forests used to dominate coastlines around the world, but an accelerated loss of kelp is happening globally.  How can we restore these crucial forests at the scales needed, whilst giving them the best chance to survive in a changing ocean? 

Postdoctoral researcher Georgina Wood is trialling restoration techniques using rocks seeded with baby kelp to find the solution. 
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