Dr. Kookana is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO and has had more than twenty year’s experience as a research chemist, focusing on the environmental fate of organic contaminants including pesticides and endocrine disrupting chemicals. His studies have included: the fate of micro-pollutants during aquifer storage and recovery of reclaimed water; the role of soil organic matter chemistry on pesticide sorption (i.e. attachment to another substance), mobility and bioavailability, and risk based approaches for minimising off-site impacts of pesticides.

Dr. Dichmont is a Stream Leader in the Northern Fisheries and Ecosystems Research Program at CSIRO. She has a national and international reputation in stock assessment, modeling natural systems, natural resource management, shared fisheries stocks, and management strategy evaluation and has been a principal investigator in numerous collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects over her career.

Through participatory scenario planning with Torres Strait and Papua New Guinean communities and stakeholders, informed by integrated ecosystem and climate modelling, this project aims to explore potential future scenarios for the region, and identify ‘best bet’ strategies to protect livelihoods and achieve sustainable economic development. This will respond in part to the 2010 Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee Inquiry, which recommended an analysis of the vulnerability of the Torres Strait to climate change and other future pressures.

The broad goal of this project is to identify strategic priorities for protection and restoration of coastal ecosystems that support the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, in the context of changing land use, expanding infrastructure, and climate change. More specifically, the project will address three limitations of previous research and application in conservation planning. First, conservation planning has focused principally on snapshots of biodiversity and land uses, as if planning regions were static.

The objective of this project is to assess how management of local stressors such as land runoff can help improve the resilience of coral reefs to global stressors (climate change) which are more difficult to manage.

A key policy to minimising the effects of climate change on tropical marine organisms (e.g. coral bleaching and loss of seagrass cover) is to improve water quality, thereby reducing the potential for pollution to exacerbate the effects of thermal stress (Reef Plan, 2009).  While pesticides are thought to contribute to stress on nearshore habitats, little is known of their chronic effects on tropical species or their persistence in tropical waters.

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