Manager of the Heron Island research station, University of Queensland, Australia
Adjunct position at the University of South Pacific, Fiji
Coral Reefs are the foundation of life in the Pacific. Fiji has a vast array of coral reefs spread over an extensive archipelago. In general these are in very good condition although over fishing continues to reduce the resilience of the system. The majority of the corals have been spared temperature induced bleaching but in one case bleaching was averted with a category 5 tropical cyclone. Fiji like most of the Pacific island states does not have a regular monitoring program and relies strongly on the efforts of the NGOs. The Fijian national government is pushing for a 30% MPA by 2030 which is highly ambitious but potentially feasible.
Stuart is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Marine Studies teaching Coral Reef Ecology and Marine Spatial Planning. In 2011 he was awarded a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Queensland under the supervision of Professor Hugh Possingham. This thesis explored the role of networks in the ecology and conservation planning of coral reefs. He has over 20 years of field experience in marine and coral reef ecology. Stuart’s research focus is based on trying to understand the complex interplay between social and natural systems. To disentangle the drivers in the system he uses techniques such as emergent properties in networks and conditional probabilities in Bayesian networks. He still has active ongoing collaborations at Stockholm Resilience Centre examining the way resilience theory can be applied to socio-ecological systems.