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The short history of research in a marine climate change hotspot: from anecdote to adaptation in south-east Australia

Abstract

Climate change is not being felt equally around the world. Regions where warming is most rapid will be among those to experience impacts first, will need to develop early responses to these impacts and can provide a guide for management elsewhere. We describe the research history in one such global marine hotspot—south-east Australia—where a number of contentions about the value of hotspots as natural laboratories have been supported, including (1) early reporting of changes (2) early documentation of impacts, and (3) earlier development and promotion of adaptation options. We illustrate a transition from single discipline impacts-focused research to an inter-disciplinary systems view of adaptation research. This transition occurred against a background of change in the political position around climate change and was facilitated by four preconditioning factors. These were: (1) early observations of rapid oceanic change that coincided with (2) biological change which together provided a focus for action, (3) the strong marine orientation and history of management in the region, and (4) the presence of well developed networks. Three case studies collectively show the critical role of inter-disciplinary engagement and stakeholder participation in supporting industry and government adaptation planning.

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Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the large number of stakeholders who have participated in the research described in this paper, and the funding agencies who have supported the research approaches, in particular DCCEE, FRDC, the NCCARF Marine Network, NCCARF, DAFF, and SEAP. We are grateful to a large number of colleagues who have also been a part of this learning in south-east Australia and elsewhere. Support from Toni Cracknell in preparation of the manuscript is greatly appreciated.

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Frusher, S.D., Hobday, A.J., Jennings, S.M. et al. The short history of research in a marine climate change hotspot: from anecdote to adaptation in south-east Australia. Rev Fish Biol Fisheries 24, 593–611 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11160-013-9325-7

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Keywords

  • Engagement
  • Inter-disciplinary
  • Fisheries
  • Climate change