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 49+ 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.

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
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
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
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 2 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
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
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

SeaWorld Research and Rescue Foundation Inc - Research Grant

Roles of batoids in coastal and reef ecosystems: impacts on predator and prey populations and the potential for energy transfer to adjacent subtidal and offshore communities

Indicative Funding
$25,450 over 2 years
Summary
This study will determine 1) the species composition, abundance, and biomass of batoid fauna in coastal sandflats and reef habitats, 2) the proportion of time different batoid fauna spend in intertidal versus subtidal zones, 3) the ecological importance of batoid utilization of intertidal habitats, and 4) how the above differ between sandflat and reef habitats. Results will contribute to understanding batoid community structure in different habitats and aid in identifying preferred habitat types throughout the year. In addition, understanding the ecological role of batoids in different habitats will stress the need for conservation of these species and development of more effective management strategies to mitigate catches in commercial fisheries.
Investigators
Katya Abrantes, Kevin Crook, Adam Barnett and Marcus Sheaves (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Batoids; Acoustic Telemetry; Movement; Stable Iisotopes; Foodweb ecology; Abundance

ACIAR - Research Grant

FIS/2013/015 Sustainable Management of Sport Fisheries for Communities in Papua New Guinea

Indicative Funding
$709,131 over 5 years
Summary
The project aims to conduct the ecological, fisheries, social, business and tourism research needed to develop a viable local-based sport fishery for Black Bass in Papua New Guinea that can provide alternative livelihoods for local people.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Jacob Wani, Ronnie Baker, Adam Barnett, Amy Diedrich, Murray Prideaux and Katya Abrantes in collaboration with Dean Jerry, Alf Kuilboer, Gianna Moscardo, Anne Swinbourne, Leban Gisawa, Peter Vincent, Jason Yip, Riccard Reimann and Ian Middleton (College of Science & Engineering, National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea, College of Business, Law & Governance, College of Healthcare Sciences, Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, National Department of Health (PNG), Baia Sport Fishing and Ok Tedi Development Foundation)
Keywords
Fish; Ecosystems; Sport Fishing; Estuary; Livelihoods; Food Security

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Research & Development Funding - Research Grant

Life history specific habitat utilisation of tropical fisheries species

Indicative Funding
$300,000 over 3 years
Summary
To determine the stage specific habitat requirements of tropical inshore fish species.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves and Adam Barnett in collaboration with Katya Abrantes, Ross Johnston, T Saunders, Randall Owens and Mark Read (College of Science & Engineering, Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority)
Keywords
Fish; Habitat; Estuary; Great Barrier Reef
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

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)
  • 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)
  • Assessing the Functional Roles of Batoids in Coastal Sandflats (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Measuring productivity of tropical estuarine fisheries: Assumptions of data-limited methods (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Drivers of Migration in Elasmobranchs (Masters , Primary Advisor)
Completed
  • Context dependence in the habitat relationships of coastal and marine fishes (2019, PhD , Secondary Advisor)
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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