About

Adam’s research interests include the ecology and conservation of chondrichthyans (sharks, batoids and chimaeras), teleosts and sea turtles. This includes studying the roles of predators in structuring ecosystems, with a focus on predator-prey relationships, and spatial ecology (i.e. migration, movement behaviour and habitat use).

Other interests include assessing the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas for sharks, identifying essential fish habitats, and evaluating the effects of tourism on animal behaviour and health (e.g. shark provisioning and recreational fishing).

Presently, Adam is involved in a range of research projects along the east coast of Australia, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Mozambique and South Africa.

Research Disciplines
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 55+ research outputs authored by Dr Adam Barnett from 2005 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding to JCU is shown by funding source and project.

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - Research Grant

Movement patterns of dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus around fish aggregating devices (FADs)

Indicative Funding
$16,390 over 3 years
Summary
Dolphinfish Coryphaena hippurus are an economically important fisheries species in both commercial and recreational sectors in Queensland and associate with floating objects on the ocean?s surface including fish aggregating devices (FADs). FADs are often deployed along coasts to provide fishing opportunities for the general public, and dolphinfish represent a key target species at FADs in Queensland. It is not clear, however, the degree to which dolphinfish use devices like FADs, their residency at those locations, whether dolphinfish move between a network of FADs, or whether FADs modify movement patterns relative to existing drivers of dolphinfish distribution (like water temperature). This project aims to address these knowledge gaps.
Investigators
Adam Barnett (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Fisheries; Spatial Ecology; Animal Movement; Dolphinfish; Acoustic Telemetry; Climate Change

Australian Institute of Marine Science - Contract Research

Tracking large scale movements of species with fishery interest and/or conservation concern.

Indicative Funding
$481,299 over 3 years
Summary
State-wide acoustic receiver and transmitter infrastructure covering inshore coastal waters in collaboration with the DAF Queensland Shark Control Program and Fish Aggregating Device Program, will be deployed in order to define the extent and timing of movement of priority species along the east coast of Queensland, and relationships to climate change or other environmental drivers that alter movement or distribution of species.
Investigators
Adam Barnett in collaboration with Leanne Currey-Randall and Marcus Sheaves (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Keywords
Stock Structure; Connectivity; Movement; Shark; Acoustic Tracking; Fish

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Addressing urgent welfare concerns for Blackspotted Croaker (Protonibea diacanthus) populations in Queensland

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 3 years
Summary
The Blackspotted Croaker (also known as black jewfish) is targeted by commercial, recreational, indigenous and charter fishing groups. Since 2017 there has been a rapid increase in targeted commercial fishing effort for Blackspotteed Croaker in Queensland. Given the high value of Blackspotteed Croaker, their vulnerability as aggregating species and the absence of a stock assessment to inform how many populations need to be managed, updated biological/ecological information (Including stock structure) are needed for assessment and protection of Blackspotted Croaker stock(s) in Queensland. The study aims at identifying stock structure and connectivity (including aggregation time) in order to improve management of th species across Queensland.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Adam Barnett, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Population Genetic Structure; Fisheries Management; Epinephelus nigritus (Serranidae); Blackspotted Croaker

Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade - Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)

Building local capacity for aquatic wildlife?s sustainable management: Patagonia, Argentina

Indicative Funding
$11,210 over 3 years
Summary
Patagonia, Argentina, is facing alarming aquatic wildlife resource risks. This project will build local capacity for the sustainable management of Patagonian wildlife resources by skilling scientists at the Patagonian National Centre through a new collaboration agreement with James Cook University.
Investigators
Adam Barnett and Marcus Sheaves in collaboration with Alejo Irigoyen (College of Science & Engineering and Centro Nacional Patagonico (CENPAT))
Keywords
Capacity Building; Education; Animal movement technology; Predators

SeaWorld Research and Rescue Foundation Inc - Research Grant

Determining population structure and connectivity of elephant fish stocks in southern Australia

Indicative Funding
$24,000 over 2 years
Summary
Elephant fish reproductive aggregations are targets of commercial and recreational fisheries. Although stock structure is unkown, Australian populations are currently treated as a single stock by management. A recent study revealed limited movement between different fishing zones (Tasmania and Bass Strait), suggesting limited connectivity between regionals. However, some individuals moved between zones, making it difficult to draw conclusions about broader stock structure and genetic connectivity. In addition, elephant fish may comprise >1 species, as there seems to be different morphologies between Australian and New Zealand fish. This project studies the genetic connectivity of elephant fish across thei8r range to identify the number of populations and possible cryptic speciation, and the mechanisms driving these patterns.
Investigators
Adam Barnett, Christine Dudgeon and Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering and The University of Queensland)
Keywords
Stock Assessment; Genetics; Connectivity; Chimaeras; Fisheries; cryptic speciation

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Demographics and connectivity in elephant fish: obtaining key information to preserve a poorly understood species

Indicative Funding
$79,000 over 1 year
Summary
Elephantfish reproductive aggregations are targets of commercial and recreational fisheries. Although stock structure is unknown, Australian populations are currently treated as a single stock by management. A recent study revealed limited movement between different fishing zones (Tasmania and Bass Strait), suggesting limited connectivity between regions. However, some individuals moved between zones, making it difficult to draw conclusions about broader stock structure and genetic connectivity. In addition, elephantfish may comprise >1 species, as there seems to be different morphologies between Australian and New Zealand fish. This project studies the genetic connectivity of elephantfish across their range to identify the number of populations and possible cryptic speciation, and the mechanisms driving these patterns.
Investigators
Adam Barnett, Christine Dudgeon and Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering and The University of Queensland)
Keywords
Stock Assessment; Connectivity; Fisheries; Genetics; Chimaeras; Cryptic Species

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

Assessing the roles of batoids in coastal sandflats

Indicative Funding
$6,750 over 1 year
Summary
This project will develop and implement innovative data collection methods using drone technology to assess the roles of batoids in coastal sandflats. Specifically, we will be developing methods to map the locations of batoid feeding pits, calculate the volume of sediment turned over, and gain detailed behavioural observations. Results from this research will highlight the important roles batoids play in coastal sandflats and provide a useful tool for assessing the foraging impacts of batoids on sandflats that can be applied on a global scale. Additionally, we will determine if feeding pit counts can be used to estimate the abundance of batoids on a sandflat. If successful, this technique has broad application potential for monitoring batoid populations which will be vital for their conservation.
Investigators
Kevin Crook, Adam Barnett, Marcus Sheaves and Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Batoids; Foraging ecology; Bioturbation; Behaviour; Mapping; Drones

National Geographic Society (USA) - Long-distance animal migration

Drivers of large-scale movements and migrations in apex marine predators: cause and effects

Indicative Funding
$64,308 over 2 years
Summary
Much of the work on animal movement in the marine environment has been centred on where and when animals move. However, a major knowledge gap is why they move. Understanding why animals move provides important information to better determine population trends, the viability of populations, and ultimately improve conservation efforts for migratory populations and species. Furthermore, given that migration as a phenomena is under threat, understanding its drivers is crucial for its preservation. While recent studies have begun to provide insights into scale-dependent movement in marine top predators, like sharks, there remain important gaps in our understanding of drivers of movements for species that do not exhibit directed migrations, and of the potential for variation among individuals. Here, we extend previous studies of tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier as a model top predator to test a priori predictions about the drivers of migration and movement tactics.
Investigators
Adam Barnett in collaboration with Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Drivers of migration; Shark; Migrations; Protected Areas; Movement

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Developing Best Fishing Practices for Fish Welfare and Conservation: Evaluating Stress and Survivorship of Recreational Fish Species

Indicative Funding
$294,000 over 3 years
Summary
Sport fishing is one of the largest recreational activities worldwide. An important component in ensuring sustainable recreational fisheries is promoting ethical catch and release practices. This means it is important to understand the effects of capture and handling recreationally caught fish, so that the best fishing/handling practices can be developed. This project will measure the stress levels from the capture event, quantify post-release survival of key tropical recreational fish species, and use obtained information to develop best-practice guidelines to improve the survivorship and welfare of released fish. Results will be useful to inform a better management of fish stocks.
Investigators
Katya Abrantes, Adam Barnett and Marcus Sheaves in collaboration with Carlo Mattone (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Recreational fisheries; Barramundi; Fish welfare; Stress

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Are We Killing Them With Kindness: Does Tourism Affect Shark Health?

Indicative Funding
$85,000 over 3 years
Summary
Shark tourism is a growing multi-million dollar industry worldwide, with many dive companies marketing trips specifically to feed sharks. Although it encourages conservation by creating public awareness, ecotourism also has the potential to adversely affect a target species by altering an animal`s natural behaviour. Despite being a controversial issue, there is still very limited information on how feeding sharks or tourism in general affects the natural behaviour and health of individuals. This project will use activity loggers and calorie value (i.e. energetic value) of the bait and natural prey to establish what the increase in energy expenditure due to tourism means for long-term health and fitness of the sharks.
Investigators
Adam Barnett and Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Shark Tourism; biologging; Energetics; Reef Sharks

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Culling Sharks: Public Safety or Senseless Slaughter?

Indicative Funding
$90,000 over 3 years
Summary
Commercial catch of tiger sharks remains unrestricted in Australia and shark control operations on the east coast of Australia target tiger sharks (~ 200 - 400 killed in Qld each year). The only form of full protection currently available is provided by the time spent in protected areas. This project will: identify critical areas for tiger sharks, evaluate the effectiveness of protected areas in the Great Barrier Reef, provide information on population connectivity (stock structure) of tiger sharks along the east coast of Australia, and assess the use of beaches and likely interactions with shark control programs. Information from this project will also contribute to the ongoing debate about shark culling programs and can be used for planning public safety.
Investigators
Adam Barnett and Katya Abrantes (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Shark; Migrations; Culling program; Protected Areas

Great Barrier Reef Marathon Research Fund - Research Fund

Megamouths of the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$59,353 over 3 years
Summary
The aim is to understand habitat use and movement patterns of whale sharks and manta rays on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Determine the significance of the GBR for the sustainability of these species. Whale sharks and Manta Rays have a circumtropical distribution through all tropical and warm temperate seas. The north east of Australia is a hole in terms of global knowledge of these two large charismatic plankton feeders. Without basic knowledge on occurrence, habitat use and demography, we can't understand the importance of the GBR to these species. This research contributes to a better understanding of whale shark and manta ray ecology, and key habitats they use on the GBR. Such information contributes to species and ecosystem management and planning for long term sustainability.
Investigators
Adam Barnett and Richard Fitzpatrick (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Whale Shark; Habitat Use; Manta Ray; protected area; Migration; upwellings
Supervision

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Assessing the potential for recreational fishing to contribute to conservation of coastal marine species and habitats (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Drivers of Migration in Elasmobranchs (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Population structure and connectivity of small-bodied benthic shark species: Comparing patterns across the Pacific, a case study of the genus Heterodontus (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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