About

Helene Marsh is Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and the Dean of Graduate Research Studies at James Cook University.  Her qualifications include BSc (Queensland) and PhD (JCU).  

Helene is a Fellow of both the Australian Academies of Science and Technological Sciences and Engineering and has received several international awards for her research. She currently chairs the national Threatened Species Scientific Committee.

The focus of her research has been dugong population ecology.  Committed to informing interdisciplinary solutions to conservation problems Helene has collaborated widely with colleagues in other disciplines as varied as Anatomy, Economics, Geography, Law and Psychology.

Throughout the course of her academic career, Helene has supervised 55 PhDs and 20 Master’s candidates to successful completions and has a several more candidates in the pipeline.

Helene became Director of Graduate Studies at JCU in 1997 and was the foundation Dean when the Graduate Research School was established in 2003. Helene has been “Top DDOG” (chair of the Australian council of Deans and Directors of Graduate Studies) on two separate occasions. 

Teaching
  • ED5306: Advising Higher Degree Research Candidates (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC1101: Science: Nature, Knowledge and Understanding (Level 1; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Marine conservation biology
  • Marine natural resource management
  • Indigenous marine resource management
  • Methodological problems associated with environmental monitoring
  • Establishing priorities for conservation intervention
  • Marine wildlife population ecology, especially life history, reproductive ecology, population dynamics, diet, distribution, abundance and movements of dugongs and coastal dolphins
  • Committed to informing interdisciplinary solutions to conservation problems and has collaborated widely with colleagues in other disciplines including Anatomy, Anthropology, Botany, Biochemistry, Genetics, Geography, GIS, Law, Psychology, Sociology and Statistics
  • Policy outcomes include significant contributions to the science base for the Dugong Sanctuary established in Torres Strait; dugong management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, especially the Dugong Protected Areas and no-take areas to protect dugongs in various zoning plans; and the establishment of a Commonwealth Ministerial Taskforce to Investigate the Sustainability of Indigenous Hunting of Dugongs and Turtles
  • Provided science base for review of the global status of dugongs by the IUCN, 2006
  • Research has formed a conceptual basis for the ‘Back on Track’ Program conducted by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection
  • Interactions between people and their environments, particularly in tropical regions such as the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait regions
  • Briefed the Global Conference on Oceans and Coasts (UNESCO, Paris 2001) on 'The challenge of conserving marine mammals' in preparation for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg
  • Provided science base for development of Dugong Memorandum of Understanding under the International Convention of Migratory Species, 2005-2007
Honours
Awards
  • 2009 - Aldo Leopald Award, American Society of Mammalogy
  • 2008 - Distinguished Service Award, Society of Conservation Biology
  • 2001 - Award for Contribution to Sirenian Research, Society of Marine Mammalogy
Fellowships
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
  • 2015 - Fellowship of Australian Academy of Science
  • 1998 - Fellowship in Marine Conservation, Pew Charitable Trust
Other
  • Chair, Threatened Species Scientific Committee which reports to the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment
  • Past President, International Society for Marine Mammalogy
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
Book Chapters
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 146+ research outputs authored by Prof Helene Marsh from 1983 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research

An assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugong and in-water large marine turtles along the Queensland coast from Cape York to Hinchinbrook Island

Indicative Funding
$359,077 over 2 years
Summary
This project will meet the requirements outlined in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to provide information to inform the management of dugongs in the Northern Great Barrier Reef region (NGBR) by continuing the time series of standardised aerial surveys conducted since the late 1980s. The project will provide an assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugongs and in-water large marine turtles in the NGBR and contribute to the 30 year time series for temporal comparisons using the latest advances in distribution and abundance analyses.
Investigators
Helene Marsh, Susan Sobtzick and Alana Grech (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, TropWATER and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Keywords
Dugong; Aerial Survey; Abundance; Marine Turtles; Distribution; Long-term Monitoring

Department of the Environment and Energy - Australian World Heritage Grant

Providing natural heritage technical advice on World Heritage

Indicative Funding
$18,955
Summary
To ensure that Australia meets its obligations as a world Heritage committee member by conducting technical natural heritage research and analysis on the sites that are subject to World Heritage inscription and state of conservation decisions in 2018 by: 1) reviewing world Heritage Centre documents that relate to the site inscription nominations and state of conservation assessments; and 2) providing expert natural heritage technical advice to the Australian Government at the 42nd World Heritage Committee Session in Bahrain.
Investigators
Helene Marsh (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
World Heritage; natural heritage

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Ecological valuation tools to protect seagrass during coastal development

Indicative Funding
$490,000 over 4 years, in partnership with the Gladstone Ports Corporation Ltd ($450,000 over 3 yrs)
Summary
Seagrasses provide ecosystem services (fisheries, nutrient cycling, primary productivity) worth trillions of dollars, but this capacity is threatened by coastal development. In Australia, port developments are considered a major threat to seagrass ecosystems, but resource managers lack accurate information about their potential impacts and mitigation measures. Focussing on differences between shallow and deep seagrasses within the Great Barrier Reef, this project seeks to develop a world-first spatial valuation tool that will allow resource managers and policy makers to minimise impact of port development on seagrass ecosystems, thereby ensuring that Australia?s seagrasses continue to provide ecosystem services essential to our well-being.
Investigators
Michael Rasheed, Rod Connolly, Mark Hamann, Peter Macreadie, Helene Marsh and Marcus Sheaves in collaboration with Megan Ellis (TropWATER, Griffith University, College of Science & Engineering, University of Technology, Sydney and Gladstone Ports Corporation)
Keywords
Seagrass; Coastal Development; tropic fate; Ecosystem Services; ports

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research

An Assessment of the Distribution and Abundance of Dugongs and In-Water Large Marine Turtles Along the Queensland Coast From the NSW Border to Port Douglas

Indicative Funding
$325,163 over 2 years
Summary
This project provides information to inform the management of dugongs in the SGBR by continuing the time series of standardised aerial surveys conducted since the late 19802. The project provides an assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugongs and in-water large marine turtles in the SGBR and contribute to the 30 year time series for temporal comparisons using the latest advances in distribution and abundance analyses. In addition the project provides a more detailed spatially explicit assessment of the importance of Shoalwater Bay for these species and their habitats to the GBRWHA by incorporating historical data from other sources.
Investigators
Helene Marsh in collaboration with Mark Hamann, Susan Sobtzick, Rie Hagihara, Christophe Cleguer and Amanda Hodgson (College of Science & Engineering, TropWATER and Murdoch University)
Keywords
Dugong; Marine Megafauna; Relative Abundance; Aerial Survey; Distribution; Long Term Monitoring

Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi - Consultancy

E-Resource Kit

Indicative Funding
$35,669 over 2 years
Summary
The purpose of the E-Resource Kit project is to develop an easily accessible decision-making support tool for Dugongs, Seagrasses and the associated Human Communities. The E-Resource Kit will incorporate decision making for the selection of appropriate methodologies for applied dugong and seagrass research and the associated human dimensions of such studies. The tool is proposed for use by researchers, non-government/civil society managers, and decision-makers in dugong range states.
Investigators
Helene Marsh in collaboration with Christophe Cleguer and Amanda Hodgson (College of Science & Engineering and Murdoch University)
Keywords
Dugong (Dugong dugon); Methodologies; Decision Support Tool; Management and Conservation

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Landcare Programme-Natural Heritage Trust-Whale and Dolphin Conservation Plan-Dolphin Conservation Plan

Progressing a coordinated national research framework to conserve the Australian snubfin dolphin, the newly described Australian humpback dolphin and other tropical inshore dolphins

Indicative Funding
$454,284 over 3 years
Summary
The inshore waters of tropical Australia support two newly-described endemic species of dolphins: the Australian snubfin dolphin (Orcaella heinsohni) and the Australian humpback dolphin Sousa sahulensis), both of which are matters of national environmental significance as listed migratory species. This project will progress a coordinated national research framework to conserve these species and other tropical inshore dolphins by: (a) refining the coordinated research framework to assess their national conservation status, and (b) progressing the implementation research identified as high priority for their conservation management.
Investigators
Helene Marsh (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
research framework; Australian snubfin dolphin; Australian humpback dolphin; tropical inshore dolphins

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Improving historical estimates of abundance and distribution of dugongs and large green turtles in western and central Torres Strait

Indicative Funding
$97,674 over 2 years
Summary
This project will improve the accuracy of aerial survey estimates of the size and distribution of dugong and green turtle populations in western and central Torres Strait by: (1) collecting and analysing data on their movements and diving behaviour, and (2) estimating the proportion of turtles seen during aerial surveys that are the large female green turtles harvested by Indigenous hunters. These data will then be used to (re) estimate the size and distribution of the populations of dugongs and harvestable green turtles in Torres Strait by (re) analysing historical aerial survey data collected in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2011 and 2013.
Investigators
Helene Marsh and Mark Hamann in collaboration with Susan Sobtzick, Rie Hagihara, Frank Loban, Shane Preston and Christophe Cleguer (College of Science & Engineering, TropWATER and Torres Strait Regional Authority)
Keywords
Dugong; Distribution; Turtle; Population Size; Torres Strait; Management

Department of the Environment and Energy - Australian Marine Mammal Centre - Grant Scheme

Improving the time series of estimates of dugong abundance and distribution by incorporating revised availability bias corrections

Indicative Funding
$100,836 over 2 years
Summary
The availability of dugongs for detection by aerial observers is influenced by sighting conditions (eg turbidity, and sea state), and dugong diving behaviour, which varies with water depth. Availability Correction Factors have recently been greatly improved by analysing dive records collected from satellite-tracked dugongs using new statistical models. We will use these improved techniques to reanalyse dugong abundance estimates from archival aerial survey data from Queensland to provide more accurate estimates of dugong population size and spatially-explicit models of dugong distribution and relative density to inform dugong management.
Investigators
Helene Marsh and Alana Grech in collaboration with Susan Sobtzick, Rie Hagihara, Rhondda Jones and Kenneth Pollock (College of Science & Engineering, Macquarie University, TropWATER and Murdoch University)
Keywords
Dugong; relative abundance; Aerial Survey; relative density; Habitat Use; Distribution

Department of the Environment and Energy - Australian Marine Mammal Centre - Grant Scheme

Developing an integrated publically-accessible online database for the 30 year time series of dugong aerial survey data

Indicative Funding
$53,183 over 2 years
Summary
This project will develop an integrated database of spatial data and population size estimates from aerial surveys for dugongs conduced since 1984 in nine regions across Australia. The database will be made accessible to the general community via an open access online data hub based at JCU, and integrated into other knowledge repositories, such as the AMMC and SPRAT databases. The database will facilitate future collaborations and accommodate efficient incorporation of new research findings. Information on dugong distribution, habitat use and relative abundance will be easily accessible to managers and other stakeholders for their long-term use.
Investigators
Susan Sobtzick and Helene Marsh in collaboration with Marianne Brown (TropWATER, College of Science & Engineering and Information & Communications Technology)
Keywords
Dugong; relative abundance; Aerial Survey; Database; Habitat Use; Distribution

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Marine turtles and dugong of Torres Strait

Indicative Funding
$750,000 over 5 years
Summary
This project will investigate the trends, status and condition of marine wildlife populations in Torres Strait. In particular, turtles and dugong.
Investigators
Mark Hamann and Helene Marsh (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Indigenous; Dugong; Management; Torres Strait; Coastal

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Marine wildlife management in the GBRWHA

Indicative Funding
$750,000 over 5 years
Summary
The project will investigate the trends, status and condition of marine wildlife populations in the GBR. In particular, turtles, dugong and inshore dolphins.
Investigators
Mark Hamann and Helene Marsh (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Turtle Frog; Indigenous; Dugong; Management; Dolphin Acoustics; Coastal
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
  • Planning and Managing the Great Barrier Reef: Lessons Learned for the Future Planning of the Reef and Implications for Marine Protected Areas Elsewhere. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Barriers and opportunities for managing anthropogenic impacts to marine wildlife in the Great Barrier Reef (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Effects of Plastic Pollution on Green Sea Turtles in Uruguayan Waters (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Sustainability of the ivory trade inThailand: Demand, supply and control (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Re Thinking The Assessment and Monitoring of Large-Scale Coastal Developments for Improved Marine Megafauna Outcomes. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • Our Environment, Our Future: Integrating Indigenous Knowledge and Western Management Regimes as means to Manage the Torres Strait and PNG Western Coastline Fisheries Resources in the light of Climate Change (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • Ecology and Conservation Status of the Northern Spot-tailed Quoll, Dasyurus maculatus. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Potential of using Data-Logging Acoustic Receivers To Study The Movements and Residency Patterns of Dugongs in Port Environments: A Comparision With Satellite Tracking. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
Completed
Data

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.

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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Email
Phone
Location
  • 17.028, Faculty of Science & Engineering (Townsville campus)
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