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 identify socio-economic and cultural factors that influence sustainable 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. 

Although the interdisciplinary nature of my work leads me to draw on a diversity of social science theories, I draw most heavily on the theories of social-ecological systems, common-pool resource management, and sustainable livelihoods. A common element of these theories, which has become increasingly relevant in my research, is the role of social capital and equity in influencing how people adapt to, and hence benefit, from change. I employ a multi-method ethnographic approach to collecting data, with an emphasis on quantitative analysis, substantiated by qualitative data.

My work focuses strongly on the interface between 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-up 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 and Ecuador, and current ones in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Myanmar, Australia.

Learn more about my Lab at www.livelihoodslab.com



  • EV3020: Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation (Level 3; TSV)
  • EV5009: Foundations of Natural Resource Management (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • EV5020: Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation (Level 5; TSV)
  • EV5209: Principles and Practices of Protected Area Management (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5009: Professional Project (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)
  • SC5912: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (1 of 2) (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5913: Minor Project, Seminar and Literature Review (2 of 2) (Level 5; TSV)
  • Small-scale fisheries management
  • Marine Protected Areas
  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Marine tourism
  • Small-scale aquaculture
  • 2013 to present - 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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by Dr Amy Diedrich from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life - Marine Conservation Action Fund

Understanding the ecological significance of fisheries-dolphin interactions along the Sindhudurg coast in Maharashtra, India

Indicative Funding
I aim to study the ecological significance of interactions between coastal fisheries and Indian Ocean humpback dolphins (Sousa plumbea) along the Sindhudurg coast of Maharashtra, India. I will use a multi-methods approach to record dolphin foraging behaviour and fisher perceptions towards their operational interactions with dolphins. This study will provide key insights on dolphin foraging strategies, space-use and the impact of dolphin interactions on the socio-economics of coastal fisheries to inform a holistic and inclusive conservation management strategy for S. plumbea. This project will be the first in India, to understand how dolp0hins survive and adapt to a fishery-dominated landscape.
Ketki Jog, Helene Marsh, Amy Diedrich and Dipani Sutaria (College of Science & Engineering and Division of Tropical Environments & Societies)
Indian Ocean Humpback dolphins; operational interactions; lmarine mammal ecology; Human Dimensions; coastal ecology; small scale fisheries; Sousa plumbea

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Expressions of Interest

Northern Aquaculture Industry Situational Analysis

Indicative Funding
$202,117 over 2 years
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 if Cid Harbour regarding shark smart behaviours

Indicative Funding
$40,492 (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 2 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

ACIAR - 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.

  • 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)
  • Conservation Targeting and Prioritization in the Prairie Pothole Region (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Local People, Ecotourism 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 the social dynamics of tilapia pond aquaculture in a rural developing pacific islands context (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A holistic approach to shark fisheries science and management: The role of contempory indigenous knowledge (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Maximising Potential Impact of Marine Protected Area Placement: An Integrated Socioeconomic Perspective. (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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


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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