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; TSV)
  • EV5020: Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation (Level 5; TSV)
  • EV5209: Principles and Practices of Protected Area Management (Level 5; TSV)
  • EV5969: Human Dimensions of the Environment - Ridge to Reef (Level 5; 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)
Research Disciplines

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 38+ 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.

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

Spatially integrated Portfolio Approach to support livelihoods

Indicative Funding
$248,458 over 2 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 and Faye Siota (College of Science & Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, College of Business, Law & Governance and WorldFish Solomon Islands)
Sustainable livelihoods; Solomon Islands; Pacific Islands; Participatory research approach; Natural Resource Management

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
$1,950,000 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, 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

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Grant

Survey of users of Cid Harbour regarding shark smart behaviours

Indicative Funding
$40,492 over 1 year (administered by BioPixel Oceans Foundation Limited)
Project will conduct surveys of tourists and recreational users in Airlie Beach to examine their activities and behaviours, knowledge and awareness of 'shark smart' behaviours. Surveys will also examine local and tourism industry knowledge and preceptions about the history of use and behaviour of tourists and recreational users in the Whitsundays. This project is a rapid response project that has arisen directly from community and industry concerns about recent shark incidents in the Whitsundays. The project team will work closely with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, tourism industry representatives, and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and the Local Marine Advisory Committee. JCU is operating under a subcontract from BioPixel Oceans Foundation Limited which won the tender in mid-December 2018.
Amy Diedrich and Andrew Chin (College of Science & Engineering)
Tourism; Safety; Shark; attack

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors - Global Partnership for Sharks & Rays (GPSR)

Maximising outcomes for shark and ray MPAs

Indicative Funding
$740,629 over 3 years
This project will investigate the benefits of using marine protected areas (MPAs) for shark and ray conservation. It will combine work reviewing the current state of knowledge, synthesis or shark and ray movement data to better inform MPA design, identification of socioeconomic factors that affect MPA success, and spatial modelling to identify the areas where MPAs will be of greatest benefit. I will include partnerships with AIMS and Simon Fraser University.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Amy Diedrich in collaboration with Michelle Heupel and Nick K Dulvy (College of Science & Engineering, Australian Institute of Marine Science and Simon Fraser University)
Marine Protected Areas; movement ecology; Shark; Conservation Planning; ray; Spatial Planning

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research - Research Grant

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

Indicative Funding
$709,131 over 5 years
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.
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)
Fish; Ecosystems; Sport Fishing; Estuary; Livelihoods; Food Security

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.

  • Monitoring tropical freshwater biodiversity using environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Conservation Targeting and Prioritization in the Prairie Pothole Region (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)
  • Applying vulnerability assessments within social-ecological systems: Developing a dynamic integrated vulnerability assessment (DIVA) in the Solomon Islands;; (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Local people, nature-based tourism and protected areas in Nepal (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Territorial use rights in small-scale fisheries management and the role of collective governance for sustainable fisheries in Botswana (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Understanding social dimensions of Tilapia aquaculture in rural Solomon Islands (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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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