I am an environmental social scientist and my research seeks to understand perceptions of environmental justice and how morality shapes governance and adaptation to environmental change in coastal communities. My work is interdisciplinary, drawing on human geography, development studies, and environmental sociology. Most of my research to date has focused on small-scale fisheries and coastal communities in Papua New Guinea, and my current work focuses on the Great Barrier Reef catchment. 

I am currently a Research Fellow at the College of Arts, Education & Social Sciences, within the Division of Tropical Environments & Societies. I was awarded a 2023 Discovery Early Career Research Award by the Australian Research Council, and will commence the award in late 2023. My DECRA project investigates how morality influences adaptation to climate change in industries and communities along the Great Barrier Reef. Between 2019-2022 I held a joint Research Fellow position with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and WorldFish. Previously, I 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). My PhD project investigated the multiple values of ecosystem services in Papua New Guinea.

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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
  • How morality influences 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)
  • 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 - 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 - AXA Postdoctoral research fellowship (rescinded)
  • 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 20+ 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.

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 (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and University of Exeter)
Gleaning; Asia-Pacific; Gender; Capacity building; Environmental Values

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, Faye Siota and Bethany Smith (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

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.

  • Political economy of youth-led food system transformations (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Macro and Micro Level Determinants of the Contribution of Fish to Nutritional Security (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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  • 32.120, Sir George Fisher Research Building (Townsville campus)
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