I am an environmental social scientist, and my research focuses broadly on understanding the interactions between people and marine environments. Specifically, my research seeks to improve livelihood outcomes in vulnerable small-scale fishing communities experiencing social and ecological change. My work to date has centred on three drivers of change currently dominating international policy agendas offering potential avenues for small scale fishing communities to reduce their vulnerability to global threats such as climate change and fisheries decline; tourism, conservation, and small-scale aquaculture. 

My work occurs at the interface of humans and fisheries resources, which means that I tend to work very closely with interdisciplinary teams comprised of natural and social scientists. My research generally has a strong applied element, which means that I prioritize taking measures to ensure the work I produce results in practical, sustainable outcomes for end-users. This necessitates a participatory approach to research, which means that I collaborate closely with local communities, local partners and NGOs, and decision-makers. 

I have diverse international experience, which has allowed me to build a portfolio of comparative research. Following several years working in Central America and the Caribbean during my PhD I held a postdoctoral position in Spain, where I worked mainly in the Mediterranean region. Since I moved to Australia to take up my current position, my research has been mainly in Asia and the Pacific. These include completed projects in Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Ecuador, and current ones in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Australia.

Learn more about the work that my students and I are doign via my Lab Webpage at www.livelihoodslab.com



  • EV3020: Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • EV3201: Coastal and Marine Management and Conservation (Level 3; CNS & TSV)
  • EV5020: Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • EV5701: Coastal and Marine Management and Conservation (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • SC5009: Postgraduate Internship (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • SC5900: Special Topic (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5901: Special Topic 1 (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5902: Special Topic 2 (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5903: Literature Review (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5909: Minor Project and Seminar (Level 5; TSV)
  • Small-scale fisheries
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Marine tourism
  • Small-scale aquaculture
  • 2017 to present - Senior Lecturer, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2013 to 2017 - Lecturer, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2012 - Lecturer, The School for Field Studies (Bocas del Toro, Panama)
  • 2009 to 2012 - Lead Researcher, Division of Strategic Issues and Applications for Society, Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (Spain)
  • 2006 to 2008 - Postdoctoral Researcher, Mediterranean Institute of Advanced Studies (Balearic Islands, Spain)
  • 2002 to 2003 - Doctoral Research Assistant, Coastal Resources Centre, University of Rhode Island (USA)
  • 2001 to 2002 - Program Assistant, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, UNESCO (Paris, France)
Socio-Economic Objectives

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 48+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Amy Diedrich from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Fisheries Society of the British Isles - Research Grant Fund

Impacts of a volcanic eruption on coral reef fisheries in a co-managed fishery-system

Indicative Funding
$12,186 over 2 years
In January 2022, a massive submarine volcanic eruption occurred in the Kingdom of Tonga, causing widespread damage from both ashfall and tsunami waves. For 20 years prior to this eruption, the Tongan government has worked closely with local communities to manage and conserve the countries coral reef ecosystem and reef fisheries. In the wake of this acute disturbance, I aim to: 1)understand how coral reefs and their fisheries respond to massive acute disturbances, and 2)investigate whether local marine management measures can mitigate observed impacts. Ecological surveys of fish and reef health will be conducted across the country?s coral reefs, both within and beyond managed areas, at varying distances from the eruption epicentre.
Lucy Southworth, Andrew Hoey, Patrick Smallhorn-West and Amy Diedrich (Research Division and College of Science & Engineering)
Small scale fisheries; Fisheries co-management; Volcanic eruption; Habitat degradation; Food security; Fisheries productivity

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - DFAT Administered (aid) Simple Grant Agreement

Building Capacity of Civil Society Organisation in Southeast Asia to Collaborate with Governments to Equitably and Sustainably Secure Fisheries and Support Maritime Security

Indicative Funding
$981,448 over 2 years
The purpose of the project is to partner with selected Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Philippines and Indonesia in order to build capacity to implement Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures (OECMs) in coastal communities. More broadly this project will contribute to building the capacity for CSOs to engage with policy processes and partner with governments to strengthen maritime policies and local level implementation. This grant will cover phase one of the program for activities to be delivered over the first two years.
Amy Diedrich and Meira Mizrahi (College of Science & Engineering)
Civil Society engagement; Asia-Pacific; Marine Resource management

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Fisheries Program - Small Research Activity

Spatially integrated Portfolio Approach to support a portfolio of livelihoods.

Indicative Funding
$248,458 over 3 years
The Integrated Livelihoods Approach (ILA) provides an approach to diagnose and help navigate interrelated and cumulative impacts, trade-offs and co-benefits of interacting livelihood activities occurring in spatially defined coastal areas. Participatory and interdisciplinary research, integrated governance, negotiation, trust-building, ongoing conflict management, and cross-sectoral and political engagement are central to the ILA. This project will establish the mechanisms for achieving the strengthened networks, integrated governance and policy, and improved planning required to implement an ILA in Western Province, Solomon Islands, with the potential to scale-up to other locations.
Amy Diedrich, Jacqueline Lau, Tiffany Morrison, Nicholas Murray, Stephanie Duce, Claire Holland, Faye Siota and Bethany Smith (College of Science & Engineering, Research Division, College of Business, Law & Governance and WorldFish Solomon Islands)
Sustainable livelihoods; Solomon Islands; Pacific Islands; Participatory research approach; Natural Resource Management

Crawford Fund - Crawford-in-Queensland Student Awards

Assessing risk within social-ecological systems. Using capacity building to operationalise a spatial decision support tool, guiding resilient livelihood development in Solomon Islands

Indicative Funding
$4,500 over 1 year
Rural coastal communities in the Solomon Islands are experiencing increasing impact from food insecurity, poverty, and global change. To help inform negotiations and decision making in relation to resilient livelihood development a risk-based spatial decision support tool (SDST) has been developed. SDST outputs identify the key environmental, socioeconomic, and institutional factors that contribute to community-level risk. To build the long-term impact of the project, a capacity building model has been developed which focuses on training in-country partners to independently operationalise the SDST within Solomon Islands. This supports the broader application of the SDST within the region, advancing its potential to contribute to resilient livelihood development.
Bethany Smith and Amy Diedrich (College of Science & Engineering)
Capacity building; Spatial Decision Support Tool; Risk Assessment

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Research Grant

Improved productivity and efficiency of the culture based fishery for giant freshwater prawn in Sri Lankan reservoirs.

Indicative Funding
$2,100,000 over 4 years
Productivity of the fisheries resources of Sri Lankan reservoirs has been improved through application of culture based fishery (CFB) practices. In addition to a variety of finfish that serve to provide protein to local communities, the addition of stocked giant freshwater prawn (GFP)-Macrobrachium rosenbergii, has added significant value, due to high market price, 10 times higher than that of finfish. Currently, the GFP are captured as a bycatch to finfish and the stocking practices are ad-hoc, resulting in very low yield per seed prawn stocked. The fishery is managed as a single multi-species fishery, and although the project will focus on research of GFP, some aspects of the research will involve the entire fishery, particularly modelling of stocking and yields. This will provide benefits for production of all species, with an emphasis on enhancement of GFP production through specific research of stocking practices, production dynamics, harvest and socio-economic aspects 0of the fishery and the supply chain.
Clive Jones and Amy Diedrich in collaboration with Asanka Jayasinghe, Dileepa De Croos and Asoka Jayasinghe (College of Science & Engineering, University of Ruhuna Faculty of Science, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka and National Aquaculture Development Authority)
Macrobrachium rosenbergii (Palaemonidae); reservoir fisheries; Aquaculture; culture-based fishery

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Marine Resources Initiative, US and Indo-Pacific Strategy Division

Assessment of Community Livelihood needs to support Australia?s Marine Resources Initiative in the Asia-Pacific Region

Indicative Funding
$179,768 over 1 year
The global community has committed to increasing the economic benefit that Small Island Developing States and less developed countries derive from marine resources by 2030 (UN 2015). This commitment was reflected in the Prime Minister?s statement at the November 2020 ASEAN-Australia Summit where he announced the Marine Resources Initiative (MRI), and pledged to support maritime states in Southeast Asian countries to ?develop their marine resources sustainably and address challenges through enhanced training, technical advice and cooperation? (https://www.pm.gov.au/media/investing-our-southeast-asian-partnerships). This project will conduct an assessment of coastal community livelihood needs to inform DFAT?s policy on maritime resource development and support the MRI in selected southeast Asian countries. The project will focus onWestern Philippines and Northern Indonesia and will culminate in recommendations on interventions to support coastal communities to develop their maritime resources sustainably. More broadly, this will contribute to supporting regional maritime states to achieve more equitable and sustainable maritime resource development.
Amy Diedrich (College of Science & Engineering)
Marine Resource Development; Asia-Pacific; Coastal Communities

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Improved education and training models to futureproof the aquaculture industry need for skilled staff to 2050

Indicative Funding
$128,155 over 1 year, in partnership with LMC Training Pty Ltd ($1,000) and the Fisheries Research & Development Corporation ($18,200)
By evaluating industry workforce needs currently and into the future and analysing the gaps between industry need and educational output, we aim to highlight gaps in careers pathways to meet future industry requirements. These careers pathways will form the basis of promotional tools created to highlight education and skills development options that lead secondary students into the aquaculture industry. Cost-effective delivery models for training will be key to the outcomes of the project and a pilot project to up-skill existing industry employees in biosecurity will be used to develop and de-bottleneck new training delivery models.
Leo Nankervis, Kelly Condon and Amy Diedrich (College of Science & Engineering)
aquaculture; Careers; educational models

The Rufford Foundation - Rufford Small Grants (RSG)

Local People, Nature-Based Tourism and Protected Areas in Nepal: Implication for Conservation

Indicative Funding
$16,950 over 2 years
Importance of protected areas (PAs) are well recognized around the world for its role in biodiversity conservation. Apart from conservation role, they also meet socio-economic development objective and offer opportunity for nature-based recreation and tourism. However, local and indirect cost of protected area management and over visitation in some protected areas remains a challenge and Nepal is no exception to it. The relationship between local people, nature-based tourism and protected area is complex. This study aims to characterise and understand the relationship between local people, nature-based tourism and protected areas from two geographical region of Nepal.
Kamal Thapa and Amy Diedrich (College of Science & Engineering)
Protected areas; Benefits and costs; Local people; Perceptions and attitudes; Nature based tourism; Environmental impacts

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Expressions of Interest

Northern Aquaculture Industry Situational Analysis

Indicative Funding
$202,117 over 1 year
This project will identify key challenges and opportunities facing the North Australian aquaculture sector and explore potential solutions and/or identify the most strategic research projects for further investment. This will include and not be limited to: infrastructure, policy, investment, environmental, production, knoweldge, training and human capital gaps and the research or alternative solutions to address them. The project will be delivered through a literature review, development of the 'Northern aquaculture industry vision 2028' in consultation with indigenous and non-indigenous stakholders, desktop study and SWOT analysis, and the situational analysis report.
Dean Jerry, Jennifer Cobcroft, Kyall Zenger, Jan Strugnell, Amy Diedrich, Chaoshu Zeng, Rocky de Nys and Sandra Hughes in collaboration with Matthew Cook, Robert Bell, Jane Lovell, Wayne Hutchinson, Kim Hooper and Jo-Anne Ruscoe (College of Science & Engineering, JCU Singapore, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Blueshift Consulting, Seafood Industry Australia, Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, Australian Prawn Farmers Association and Australian Barramundi Farmers Association)
Northern Australia; Aquaculture

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.

  • Oil, Fisheries and Coastal livelihoods: A Political Ecology of Coastal Governance in Niger Delta, Nigeria (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Understanding the use and potential of hukum adat (customary law) for marine resource management in Indonesia: building a knowledge-base for the implementation of Other Effective Conservation Measures (OECMs). (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Morality and climate change adaptation in coastal communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Monitoring tropical freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Impact of Fisheries Interactions on the Foraging Behaviour of Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) along the Sindhudurg Coast of Maharashtra, India (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Strengthening stakeholder engagement and collaborations in marine resource management (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Applying vulnerability assessments within social-ecological systems: Developing a dynamic integrated vulnerability assessment (DIVA) in the Solomon Islands (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.


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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