Jacqui is an environmental social scientist and DECRA Fellow. Her research is interdisciplinary and draws together a range of social science disciplines—including human geography, development studies, sociology, and conservation—to examine issues of environmental justice and change in coastal communities.

She has worked collaboratively in the Pacific, East and West Africa to examine ecosystem services, the impact of shocks like COVID-19 on coastal communities, perceptions of fairness about the customary management of coral reefs, and issues of equity (including gender) in conservation and climate change policy.

Her current research seeks to help coastal communities navigate just and sustainable futures by understanding how moral values shape adaptation to environmental change. Her 2023 ARC DECRA project will investigate the role of morals and moral framings in decisions about environmental change along the Great Barrier Reef coast.   

Jacqui is currently a Lecturer in the College of Arts, Education & Social Sciences. From 2019-2022 she held a joint Research Fellow position with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and WorldFish. Previously, she studied sociology at the Australian National University (2012), an MPhil in Environment, Society and Development at the University of Cambridge (2014), and a PhD in environmental social science at James Cook University (2019). Her PhD project investigated the multiple values of coral reef ecosystem services and perceptions of environmental justice in Papua New Guinea.

Potential Honours, Masters and PhD students with aligned interests, please email a short cover letter describing your background, research interests and proposed topic, and a CV with contact details for two referees.

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*See Googlescholar for full list

Mason, J., Eurich, J., Lau, J., et al., 2022. Operationalizing resilience to climate change in fisheries. Fish and Fisheries. 23(3): 522-544

Lau, J., Kleiber, D., Lawless, S. & Cohen, P. 2021. Gender equality in climate policy and practice hindered by assumptions. Nature Climate Change. 11:186-192

Lau, J., Song, A., Morrison, T., Fabinyi, M., Brown, K., Blythe, J., Allison, E. & Adger, N. 2021. Morals and climate change decision-making: Insights from behavioural and social sciences. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 52:27-35

Lau, J., Gurney, G. & Cinner, J. 2021. Environmental justice in coastal systems: perspectives from communities confronting change. Global Environmental Change.66:102208

  • Reviewer for Environment International; Ecology and Society; Global Environmental Change; Geoforum; Humanities and Social Sciences Communications; Marine Policy; People and Nature; Climatic Change; Maritime Studies
  • Subject Editor Ecology & Society
  • How morality shapes adaptation to climate change in the Great Barrier Reef region.
  • Equity and justice in coastal governance and the socially-stratified ways that people value, access and coproduce coastal ecosystem services
  • Social dimensions of human-wildlife conflict (shark depredation)
  • Intersection between identity (incl. gender) and natural resource use and governance
  • Social dimensions of conservation and environmental management (e.g., gender and development, ecosystem services, environmental justice)
  • Supervision of topics related to the social dimensions of environmental change, development, fisheries and coastal communities.
  • 2023 to present - Senior Research Fellow, CASE, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2019 to 2022 - Postdoctoral research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies (Townsville)
  • 2017 - Casual Officer, CSIRO, Dept. of Land and Water (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2021 - ECR Green Open Access Award, JCU Library
  • 2020 - Dean’s Award for High Degree by Research Excellence, James Cook University
  • 2020 - Glenn Almany Memorial Prize for research beyond traditional academic boundaries, ARC COE in Coral Reef Studies
  • 2019 - A MARE best student paper award
  • 2018 - Crawford Award
  • 2018 - International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) best student talk award
  • 2012 - Vice Chancellor's letter of commendation, The Australian National University
  • 2011 - Vice Chancellor's letter of commendation, The Australian National University
  • 2023 to 2026 - ARC DECRA Fellowship
  • 2022 to 2023 - IOC UNESCO & AXA Research Fund Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (rescinded to take up DECRA)
  • 2022 - PECs working group: Ocean Equity
  • 2021 - Australian Coastal Society
  • 2018 - Society for Conservation Biology
  • 2018 - The Institute of Australian Geographers
  • 2021 to 2024 - CESAB working group: Blue Justice
  • 2021 to 2022 - ARC CoE Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion commitee
  • 2020 to 2022 - SNAPP working group: Operationalizing Resilience in Fisheries

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 26+ research outputs authored by Dr Jacqueline Lau from 2018 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 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

Sharks Pacific - Contract Research

Coastal Communities Adapting to Change in the Asia-Pacific

Indicative Funding
$58,870 (administered by Sharks Pacific)
This project aims to better understand equitable pathways to supporting adaptation to environmental change in coastal communities the Asia-Pacific. It seeks to identify the limits and opportunities for people to cope with and adapting to cases of environmental change, and explore how to better account for people?s moral values. This particular part of the project focuses on human-wildlife conflict at sea?increasing rates of shark depredation?in Niue. Outcomes include increased understanding of local perspectives on the issue of shark depredation and recommendations to equitably govern this growing conservation issue.
Jacqueline Lau (College of Arts and Society & Education)
Shark depredation; Human-wildlife conflict; Morality; Conservation; Fisheries

Crawford Fund - International Engagement Award

Beyond Food and Money: Uncovering the hidden values of gleaning in the Asia-Pacific

Indicative Funding
$12,000 over 1 year
Gleaning, the activity of collecting of marine organisms from inter-tidal habitats, is a common fishing strategy and provider of food and income. Yet, it remains poorly understood, and is persistently underrepresented in statistics and narratives about small-scale fisheries. Despite some emerging research on the importance of gleaning for household food security in vulnerable coastal areas in developing countries, the voices and values of gleaners often remain unheard in coastal management and development decision-making. To address this, we propose a collaborative project to investigate and begin to address the invisibility of gleaning in the Asia- Pacific through a capacity building workshop.
Jacqueline Lau and Ruby Grantham (Research Division and University of Exeter)
Gleaning; Asia-Pacific; Gender; Capacity building; Environmental Values

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.

  • Equity in marine conservation: from global to local (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Collaborative marine resource management: The role of civil society organisations (CSOs) (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Morality and climate change adaptation in coastal communities (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Evaluating shocks: a panel study of impacts of and responses to COVID-19 in coastal small-scale fishing communities (2024, PhD , Secondary 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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  • 4.104, Social Sciences (Townsville campus)
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