Professor Anthony Richardson

Professor

Mathematics
Faculty of Science
a.richardson1@uq.edu.au
+61 7 3833 5958

Overview

Professor Anthony J. Richardson uses mathematical, statistical and computational tools to investigate human impacts on our oceans - and to find solutions. By developing models of marine ecosystems based on differential equations and cutting-edge statistical approaches using high-performance computing, we aim to better understand key system drivers, conserve biodiversity, and ensure productive fisheries under climate change.

Anthony did an undergradulate degree in Mathematics and Biology at the University of Queensland, followed by an Honours degree there. He was awarded a PhD degree from the University of Cape Town in 1998, modelling the dynamics of marine ecosystems. Since 2005, Anthony has held a joint position between the School of Mathematics and Physics at UQ and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia’s national science provider.. He has previously held positions at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation of Ocean Science (UK).

Anthony runs a dynamic lab at the nexus between mathematics/statistics/computation and marine ecology. His focus is on using mathematical tools to better conserve biodiversity, predict impacts of climate change, and understand the functioning of marine ecosystems. There is a collegial atmosphere in the lab and a critical mass of researchers working on similar problems.

If you have a background in mathematics/statistics and want to apply your skills to real-world problems, of if you have a background in ecology and are interested in developing your quantitative skills, then doing postgradulate work with Anthony might be the future for you.

Research Interests

  • Ecosystem modelling: Fisheries
    Using systems of partial differential equations to understand the energy flow through marine systems. This allows us to better estimate fisheries and carbon sequestration now and in the future under climate change.
  • Computational science: Biodiversity and conservation
    Using mathematical and computational tools to better conserve biodiversity. I am particularly interested in designing climate-smart marine protected areas at different depths in the ocean. And in generating global habitat maps using all biodiversity information available.
  • Biostatistics: Impacts of climate change on marine systems
    Using advanced statistical techniques to analyse large ecological datasets to understand the impacts of climate change and other human stresses such as ocean acidification, fishing, habitat destruction and pollution on marine systems.

Research Impacts

Anthony is a 2018 highly cited researcher in Ecology. His research is recognised internationally for significant contributions in the fields of impacts of global change (climate, fishing, ocean acidification, eutrophication) on marine systems. Anthony is the author of >190 peer-reviewed papers. He enjoys teaching mathematics and statistics to ecologists. For more informaiton on my research, see my Google Scholar page https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=RLeJq98AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

I was the first to show that the timing of marine events in the ocean - such as blooms - are becoming earlier because of climate change. I have also co-led the global working group that has provided the most comprehensive synthesis of the impacts of climate change on marine systems. My work on climate impacts has been heavily cited in the IPCC 4th and 5th Assessment Reports. It culminated in me being co-authoring Chapter 30 The Ocean in the IPCC 5th Assessment. This Chapter has helped raised the profile of the impact of climate change on our oceans and has motivated our world leaders to act on climate change.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Cape Town

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Master Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • Currently about 8% of the ocean is in protected areas. There is a strong push to increase this to 20% or even 30% by 2030. How this could affect fishing – both positively and negatively – is an open question. And how might different fisheries and countries be impacted? This project will use state-of-the-art conservation planning approaches combined with ecosystem modelling to estimate the impact on fisheries. We are looking for a student interested in mathematical ecology and be keen to improve their programming, mathematical and ecological skills.

  • Currently about 8% of the ocean is in protected areas. There is a strong push to increase this to 20% or even 30% by 2030. How do we make these new protected areas climate safe? More specificially, how do we ensure that protected areas are resilient to climate change and retaining species within their area of protection? As climate change will impact species differently at different depths in the ocean, can we design new protected area networks that are coherent across ocean depths? We are looking for a student interested in conservation and wants to improve their programming skills.

  • Climate change is expected to lead to the decline of phytoplankton production in the ocean, and thus a decline in fisheries in the future. However, our recent work on better-resolving zooplankton in ecosystem models using ZooMSS (Zooplankton Model of Size Spectra) has challenged this idea. This work suggests that changes in zooplankton in response might mitigate future impacts on fisheries. This work will explore the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems and ultimately how fisheries globally will be affected. We are looking for a motivated student with a strong background in mathematics and coding to work on this project.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Richardson, A. J. (2019). Plankton and climate. Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. (pp. 464-472) edited by .Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-813081-0.00659-5

  • Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M., Richardson, Anthony J. and Coughlan, Alex (2017). Marine phytoplankton bioregions in Australian seas. Handbook of Australasian Biogeography. (pp. 47-57) edited by Malte C. Ebach.Boca Raton, FL United States: CRC Press. doi:10.1201/9781315373096

  • Richardson, Anthony J. (2016). How climate change makes me feel. Systemic crises of global climate change: intersections of race, class and gender. (pp. 327-327) edited by Phoebe Godfrey and Denise Torres.Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315737454

  • Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, Poloczanska, Elvira and Richardson, Anthony (2013). Australia’s marine resources in a warm, acid ocean. Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World. (pp. 84-100) edited by . Taylor and Francis. doi:10.4324/9780203370476-14

  • Heckbert, S., Costanza, R., Poloczanska, E. S. and Richardson, A. J. (2011). Cimate regulation as a service from estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Ecological Economics of Estuaries and Coasts. (pp. 199-216) edited by .Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elseiver. doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-374711-2.01211-0

  • Hobday, Alistair J., Game, Edward T., Grantham, Hedley S. and Richardson, Anthony J. (2011). Missing dimension: Conserving the largest habitat on Earth: protected areas in the pelagic ocean. Marine protected areas: a multidisciplinary approach. (pp. 347-372) edited by .Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139049382.019

  • Le Borgne, Robert, Allain, Valerie, Griffiths, Shane P., Matear, Richard J., McKinnon, A. David and Richardson, Anthony J. (2011). Vulnerability of open ocean food webs in the tropical Pacific to climate change. Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. (pp. 189-250) edited by Johann D. Bell, Alistair J. Hobday and Johanna E. Johnson.New Caledonia: Secretariat of the Pacific community.

  • Richardson, A. J. (2010). Plankton and Climate. Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. (pp. 455-464) edited by . Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/B978-012374473-9.00659-7

  • McKinnon, A. D., Richardson, A. J., Burford, M. A. and Furnas, M. J. (2007). Vulnerability of Great Barrier Reef plankton to climate change. Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment. (pp. 121-152) edited by Johnson, J. E. and Marshall, P. A..Townsville, Australia: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • McGregor, Frazer, Richardson, Anthony J, Armstrong, Amelia J, Armstrong, Asia O and Dudgeon, Christine L (2019). Reef manta ray cut measurements. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/uql.2019.869

  • Richardson, A. J. (2008). Plankton and climate.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Currently about 8% of the ocean is in protected areas. There is a strong push to increase this to 20% or even 30% by 2030. How this could affect fishing – both positively and negatively – is an open question. And how might different fisheries and countries be impacted? This project will use state-of-the-art conservation planning approaches combined with ecosystem modelling to estimate the impact on fisheries. We are looking for a student interested in mathematical ecology and be keen to improve their programming, mathematical and ecological skills.

  • Currently about 8% of the ocean is in protected areas. There is a strong push to increase this to 20% or even 30% by 2030. How do we make these new protected areas climate safe? More specificially, how do we ensure that protected areas are resilient to climate change and retaining species within their area of protection? As climate change will impact species differently at different depths in the ocean, can we design new protected area networks that are coherent across ocean depths? We are looking for a student interested in conservation and wants to improve their programming skills.

  • Climate change is expected to lead to the decline of phytoplankton production in the ocean, and thus a decline in fisheries in the future. However, our recent work on better-resolving zooplankton in ecosystem models using ZooMSS (Zooplankton Model of Size Spectra) has challenged this idea. This work suggests that changes in zooplankton in response might mitigate future impacts on fisheries. This work will explore the impact of climate change on marine ecosystems and ultimately how fisheries globally will be affected. We are looking for a motivated student with a strong background in mathematics and coding to work on this project.

  • Many migratory marine species move over large distances in the ocean, from spawning to feeding regions via migration pathways. During various times in their lifecycle, species are impacted by a suite of anthropogenic stressors. To date, the design of marine protected areas has focused on static information on the distribution of biodiversity, but has generally not included dynamic information on critical habitats, including migratory pathways. This project will design a global network of MPAs that best protect the major feeding, spawning and migration pathways (“ocean highways”) of marine species. We are looking for a student interested in conservation and wants to improve their programming skills.

  • Plankton form the base of the marine food web. There is very little information about how climate change has altered Australian plankton communities. Using the largest dataset of marine plankton in Australia - collected by the Integrated Marine Observing System - this project will investigate the seasonal, interannual, and decadal varaition in phytoplankton and zooplankton communities around Australia. This information will be combined with ecoystem models to understand flow-on effects on higher trophic levels. How plankton will respond to climate change will determine the productivity of Australia's marine systems in the future.