Associate Professor Carissa Klein

ARC Future Fellow

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
c.klein@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56074

Overview

Carissa Klein is an ARC Future Fellow at The University of Queensland and Deputy Director of The Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science. She is a conservation scientist and leads a research group called The Ocean Conservation Team, a group of students and post-doctoral researchers focused on developing science to support marine and coastal conservation. Her team's research is motivated by real-world conservation management and policy problems and is done in partnership with numerous non-government organisations (e.g. Wildlife Conservation Society), government departments (e.g., Sabah Parks in Borneo), and foundations (e.g., Minderoo) around the world. Her research group specialise in integrating social, economic, and ecological information to develop solutions that improve outcomes for nature and people. Their generally falls into three themes: land-sea conservation planning, marine spatial planning (ocean zoning), and sustainable seafood.

Carissa has degrees in Chemistry (BA, 2000), Environmental Science (BA, 2000), Environmental Science and Management (MS, 2006) and Conservation Science (PhD, 2010). Her postgraduate studies were at The University of California, Santa Barbara and The University of Queensland. She has received numerous competitive awards, including two that acknowledge her achievements in setting up successful and lasting international collaborations: The Asia Pacific Economic Corporation Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE) and the American Australia Association Sir Keith Murdoch Fellowship.

Research Interests

  • Sustainable Seafood
    Global per capita seafood consumption has over doubled since the 1960s. Fisheries and aquaculture provide more than 3.1 billion people with ~20% of their animal protein. Although aquaculture is a rapidly increasing seafood source, fisheries remain important not only as a direct source of seafood, but indirectly, providing fishmeal required for many types of aquaculture. This reliance on fishing has caused widespread declines in fisheries, which comes with severe ecological and socioeconomic consequences. Our research focuses on improving the sustainability of the seafood we eat, focusing on seafood trade and consumption.
  • Marine Protected Areas and Ocean Zoning
    Protected areas are the cornerstone of most marine and terrestrial biodiversity conservation strategies worldwide. The principal focus of our protected area work is on developing techniques for designing protected areas that incorporate ecological and evolutionary processes, habitat condition, and socioeconomic knowledge. Given that most protected area design programs involve some form of zoning, like in the Great Barrier Reef, we also develop methods for zoning the ocean for multiple uses (e.g., fishing, energy use, recreation, mining, aquaculture) and multiple types of protected areas (e.g., IUCN I-VI). This work has been pursued in partnership with government and non-government institutions involved in marine zoning exercises in Australia, UK, Papua New Guinea, USA, and Malaysia. For example, we supported the Malaysian government in zoning their first multi-zone marine park (1.02 million hectares). Our zoning work has been supported by many external organisations, including the Australian Government, World Wildlife Fund Malaysia, and The Wildlife Conservation Society
  • Land Sea Conservation Planning
    We produce quantitative models that predict how various land-uses – including oil palm, agriculture, urban development, and forestry – impact seagrass, mangrove, and coral reef ecosystems and marine species. These models were developed to inform conservation and management decisions. Using decision science, we develop methods for determining the most cost- effective strategies for conserving coastal ecosystems, answering questions like: Should we protect or restore the land or sea to conserve sea grass? Where is the best place for developing agriculture or forestry to minimise negative impacts on coral reefs?

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland
  • Masters (Coursework) of Science, The University of California, Santa Barbara

Publications

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Supervision

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Available Projects

  • This project aims to improve the social and environmental sustainability of wild caught seafood globally. This project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of seafood trade and sustainability using interdisciplinary approaches that account for social sustainability concepts and the displacement of fishing impacts. Expected outcomes include innovative approaches that can improve the traceability and sustainability of seafood and new international collaborations. This should provide significant benefits to the ocean, by proposing innovative ways for protecting the ocean through improving the sustainability of trade policies, and to the billions of people that depend on a healthy ocean for their health and livelihood.

    The student would investigate the social, economic, and environmental implications of disparate trade and international fishing scenarios, using Australia as an example. The ideal student will have quantitative modelling skills (or the ability and interest to learn these skills) and interests in environmental policy, environmental economics, biodiversity conservation, or ecosystem services. The project is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship with opportunities to attend international science and policy meetings.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Watts, Matthew E., Stewart, Romola R., Martin, Tara G., Klein, Carissa J., Carwardine, Josie and Possingham, Hugh P. (2017). Systematic conservation planning with Marxan. Learning landscape ecology: a practical guide to concepts and techniques. (pp. 211-227) edited by Sarah E. Gergel and Monica G. Turner. New York, NY, United States: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6374-4_13

  • Wilson, Kerrie A., Cabeza, Mar and Klein, Carissa J. (2009). Fundamental concepts of spatial conservation prioritization. Spatial conservation prioritization: Quantitative methods and computational tools. (pp. 16-27) edited by Atte Moilanen, Kerrie A. Wilson and Hugh Possingham. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

  • Game, Eddie, Carwardine, Josie, Wilson, Kerrie, Watts, Matt, Klein, Carissa and Possingham, Hugh (2007). How to integrate cost, threat and multiple actions into conservation planning for reserves and stewardship. Protected areas: buffering nature against climate change. (pp. 97-99) edited by Martin Taylor and Penelope Figgis. Sydney, NSW, Australia: WWF-Australia.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

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.

  • This project aims to improve the social and environmental sustainability of wild caught seafood globally. This project expects to generate new knowledge in the area of seafood trade and sustainability using interdisciplinary approaches that account for social sustainability concepts and the displacement of fishing impacts. Expected outcomes include innovative approaches that can improve the traceability and sustainability of seafood and new international collaborations. This should provide significant benefits to the ocean, by proposing innovative ways for protecting the ocean through improving the sustainability of trade policies, and to the billions of people that depend on a healthy ocean for their health and livelihood.

    The student would investigate the social, economic, and environmental implications of disparate trade and international fishing scenarios, using Australia as an example. The ideal student will have quantitative modelling skills (or the ability and interest to learn these skills) and interests in environmental policy, environmental economics, biodiversity conservation, or ecosystem services. The project is funded by an ARC Future Fellowship with opportunities to attend international science and policy meetings.