Free Lecture: The Influence of Climate Change on Maritime Australia and Pacific Islands: Biology and Business

Date October 23, 2009

Presented by Professor Michael Kingsford, Head of the School of Marine and Tropical Biology, JCU Australia

Global climate change is the biggest issue facing resource managers and poses a great challenge to businesses. Unless business adapts to changing resources, gives greater attention to sustainable behaviour and reduces the use of fossil fuel then there are risks. Here I review physical changes that are predicted to happen over the next 100 years, the impact of change on marine ecosystems, challenges to fisheries managers and novel approaches to dealing with climate change. Ocean pH, water temperature, currents, nutrient levels, strength of storms and sea levels are all projected to change over the next 100 years as a result of global warming. The impact of these physical stressors will vary by region and among types of organisms. Plants and animals are affected from the level of cell to entire ecosystems. I will present data from temperate and tropical waters of the Pacific on how patterns of growth of fishes and ranges will change. Even fishes that appear resistant to change can be affected by the collapse of key ecosystem functions. Coral reefs, the foundation of fisheries throughout the Pacific, are vulnerable to change and experiments demonstrate that the risk to reefs is greatest where exploitation of fishes is at a high level. Risk is not limited to the coastal belt, many islands of the Pacific are dependent on tuna for protein – changing oceanic currents can take fish away from traditional fishing grounds and nearby infrastructure for processing (e.g., canneries). Control of CO2 is still the biggest issue to reduce climate change. Innovative ways of making carbon neutral fuels and reducing methane emissions is working toward a solution and generating opportunity.

Bio: Michael J Kingsford
Michael is the Head of the School of Marine and Tropical Biology at James Cook University. The School is a recognized world leader in tropical marine science. He has been President of the Australian Coral Reef Society and Director of One Tree Island Research Station. He has published extensively on the ecology of reef fishes, jellyfishes, biological oceanography and climate change. His projects have encompassed a range of latitudes and he has edited two books on tropical and temperate ecology. A major focus of his research has been on connectivity of reef fish populations, environmental records in corals and fishes and deadly irukandji jellyfishes. In addition to research and leadership, he teaches undergraduate students and supervises many postgraduate students.

When: 29th October 2009, 07.00pm to 08.30pm
Where: Block A01-01
James Cook University Australia, Singapore Campus
600 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 577421

Admission is Free! Light refreshments will be served.

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