Coastal and marine ecology & management

Australia’s tropical northern seas and remote coastlines are some of the most intact in the world. Adjacent to the Indo-Malay global epicentre of tropical biodiversity, and the Coral Triangle region, the near-pristine catchments, coastal and marine ecosystems of the region are globally significant. Containing some of the healthiest populations of tropical species, and a multitude of habitats -- from coastal wetlands (mangroves, saltmarshes, seagrasses) to coral reefs -- the region is home to many species and habitats, many of which are regionally threatened or critically endangered, particularly in South East Asia. This coastal and marine biodiversity underwrites the livelihoods and the cultural and spiritual health of many Indigenous communities.

Many of these habitats and species are undergoing rapid decline globally and regionally -- particularly in South East Asia. Climate change is affecting all of them, with the Arafura and Timor seas exhibiting among the fastest rates of warming in the world, and relatively rapid rates of sea level rise. With healthy populations of species, high species biodiversity and intact habitats, northern Australia is likely to become a critical refuge for many tropical marine species and increasingly, play a crucial role in maintaining this regional (and global) biodiversity.

The coastal seas of northern Australia’s and the Coral Triangle region are also the subject of an increasing conservation planning and policy focus to conserve their rich biodiversity and cultural values, through spatial planning and the establishment of Marine Protected Areas and Indigenous Marine Protected Areas. Understanding coastal and marine biodiversity (including processes and patterns of connectivity), threats and impacts, from the genetic level up to whole seascapes, and the vital role of coastal communities in the management of these ecosystems, will be essential to inform integrated coastal and ocean policy in this globally significant region.

Research is also critical for the minerals, oil and gas industries, crucial for the local and national economy, in their efforts to improve environmental responsibility and develop more sustainable technologies. RIEL hosts two complementary consulting entities: the Environmental Analytical Chemistry Unit provides commercial research in environmental chemistry; and Bioscience North Australia is a molecular facility that provides research, training and consultancy services in molecular and environmental ecology and diagnostics.

RIEL will also be an active partner in NAMRA, the North Australian Marine Research Alliance, a partnership between Charles Darwin University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian National University and the Northern Territory Government.

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Our people

Professor

Coastal and marine ecology & management

Senior Research Fellow

Ecologist, Senior Lecturer - Zoology
Senior Research Fellow

Research Fellow

NAMRA Postdoctoral Fellow
Research Fellow

Adjunct

Research Associate

Research Associate
Research Associate
Research Associate - Environmental Chemistry & Microbiology Unit
PhD Student

PhD Student

PhD Student
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PhD Student
PhD Student
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Administration

EACU & BNA Administrative Leader

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