About

I have a deep interest in coastal landscape ecology and processes, in particular, urban ecology.  To achieve this requires cooperation and integration from a multidisciplinary team of scientists, managers and policy makers. 

My working career has focused on understanding fisheries sustainability, nutrient processes, landscape restoration, stormwater quality and quantity, geomorphic processes, erosion and sediment control, and contamination.

I believe that every opportunity to restore river systems should be taken, particularly those small actions which are often completed by community members: it is the accumulative impact of these which leads to the greatest achievements and success in protection and restoration. In doing this, I believe it is important to engage local partners (e.g. land holders, industry, indigenous groups, government agencies) to capture their values, build capacity/trust, and encourage community ownership of the project and to share in the success.

Teaching
  • EV5961: Ecosystem Dynamics - Ridge to Reef (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB3270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Aquatic ecology
Research Disciplines
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 21+ research outputs authored by Dr Nathan Waltham from 2012 onwards.

Current Funding

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

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

Science evaluation of coastal wetland systems repair projects across GBR catchments

Indicative Funding
$371,932 over 3 years
Summary
There is a lack of scientific data to support and give surety that on-ground wetland repair investment achieve water quality and biodiversity returns in the GBR catchments. Most existing and future wetland improvement projects have the objective of reducing invasive aquatic weeks, improving water quality and increasing usable habitat and marine connectivity for aquatic species, however, scientific data evaluating the degree to which this actually happens is not available. This is particularly true for long-term impacts beyond the first few years of remedial management. Scientific data and long term evaluation methods are therefore particularly necessary to track the progress against broader program objectives, in particular those contained in a number of policies and planning documents.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Ross Andrewartha, Laura Dunstan, David Sartori, Mike Ronan, Jacob Cassady, Bart Dryden, Fernanda Adame, Barry Butler, Buddy Cassady, James Wallace, Fazlul Karim, Brett Abbott, Michele Burford and Marcus Sheaves (TropWATER, Greening Australia, NQ Dry Tropics, Lower Burdekin Water, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Mungalla Aboriginal Business Corporation, Terrain Natural Resource Management (Wet Tropics), Griffith University, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation and College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Wetlands; Biodiversity; Water Quality; Ecosystem Services; Ecology; GBR catchments

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Programme (NESP) - Northern Australia Environmental Resources Hub

Defining metrics of success for feral animal management in northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$140,400 over 3 years (administered by CSIRO)
Summary
Feral animals cause significant damage to aquatic ecosystems across northern Australia, affecting biodiversity, ecosystem function and Indigenous cultural values. Funding for feral animal control often focuses on a particular species, ignoring the iterative and cumulative impact of the feral animals. This project will determine the impact of feral animals (pigs, horses, cattle) across aquatic ecosystems in the context of regional and local feral animal control, local aspirations and government priorities. The project will work closely with the Aak Puul Gnangtam and Kalan Aboriginal Development Groups as they continue implementing feral animal abatement strategies across the Archer River catchment.
Investigators
Justin Perry, Pethie Lyons, Catherine Robinson, Eric Vanderduys, Dan Metcalfe, Nathan Waltham, Damien Burrows, J Marshal and Jason Schaffer (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, TropWATER, QLD Department of Science and Information Technology and Innovation)
Keywords
Feral Animals; Wetlands; Water Quality; system repair; Freshwater Turtles

Wet Tropics Management Authority - Student Research Grant Scheme

Dissolved oxygen as a constraint for fish utilising mangrove forests.

Indicative Funding
$3,750
Summary
This project focuses on understanding how dissolved oxygen (DO) impacts mangrove fish utilisation. In heavily vegetated habitats like mangroves, DO undergoes complex changes brought about by biogeochemical demand. The extent of DO depletion depends on many environmental parameters such as tide, time or day or human activities. Substantial DO depletion could limit the value of mangroves as habitats for fish. Consequently, I aim to: (i) develop an understanding of DO dynamics in mangrove forests; (ii) identify environmental parameters that drive these fluctuations; (iii) investigate how depressed DO impacts fish assemblages and behaviour; and (iv) establish DO thresholds for five fish species occupying mangroves.
Investigators
Alexia Dubuc, Marcus Sheaves, Nathan Waltham and Ronnie Baker (College of Science & Engineering and TropWATER)
Keywords
Mangrove; Dissolved Oxygen; Fish; Australia; New Caledonia; Hypoxia

QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries - Tenders

Identification and Restoration of Intertidal Fish Nursery Habitat in the Baffle Catchment

Indicative Funding
$266,456 over 2 years
Summary
This project aims to identify high intertidal fish nursery habitat pools in the Baffle Drainage Basin (BDB), assess their value to fish, evaluate the current state of their functionality, prioritise pools for restoration and identify viable restoration solutions. By involving local stakeholders, local government, regional NRM and State Government scientists and managers, a network of users will gain an understanding of how these habitats function and can be restored, based upon this baseline research.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Nathan Waltham, Martha Brians, Maria Zann and Janine Sheaves (College of Science & Engineering and TropWATER)
Keywords
Estuary; Intertidal; Salt Marsh; Wetlands; Mangroves

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Torres Straits Wetlands, Mangroves and Invasive Species

Indicative Funding
$86,730
Summary
Coastal wetlands and mangrove habitat are important for aquatic communities in the Torres Straits. These water environments also provide important food and cultural values for locals. Torres Straits Regional Authority wishes to continue building Land and Sea Ranger capacity to monitor and evaluate condition of wetlands across the Straits. TropWATER will assist with water quality monitoring, invasive animal management, mangrove condition and health assessment, along with preparation of materials for rangers to continue these monitoring programs.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Norman Duke, Jock Mackenzie and Emma Rooks (TropWATER)
Keywords
Torres Straits; Water Quality; Land and Sea Rangers; Mangroves; Tropical Wetlands

Auctus Resources Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Mungana and Kings Vol REMP Design

Indicative Funding
$11,705
Summary
Auctus Resources has engaged TropWATER to design a Receiving Environment Monitoring Program (REMP) for the Mungana and King Vol Projects in order to enable environmental monitoring for the minesites.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Barry Butler (TropWATER)
Keywords
Water Quality; REMP; Mining; Environmental Management

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - National Landcare Programme

Balclutha Wetland Survey

Indicative Funding
$4,500 (administered by Cape York Natural Resource Management)
Summary
This project will complete an aquatic ecology survey in Balclutha Springs Nature Reserve with Cape York NRM and WALT Aboriginal Corporation. These data are the first for this nature reserve and will assist in conservation of the wetlands and natural springs that exist in the reserve. Data will also assist WALT Aboriginal Corporation to manage he wetlands from impacts of feral pigs.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Jason Schaffer (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetlands; Water Quality; Balclutha; Ecology; Environmental Management; Feral Pigs

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation - Contract Research

Abbot Point Marine Water Quality Monitoring

Indicative Funding
$17,166
Summary
This project will provide near-surface concentrations of non-algal particulates (NAP or sediments) derived from MODIS imagery and the CSIRO bio-optical algorithms developed for the Great Barrier Reef (pixel resolution of 1km) as part of a dredging campaign at Abbot Point. These data will be used by the North Queensland Bulk Ports Cop to report against compliance conditions of approval for this activity. The MODIS imagery will be assessed for the entire dredging activities.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Abbot Point; Dredging; Environmental Management; Marine Water Quality; Modis

Queensland Government - Department of Environment and Heritage Protection-Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Grant Program

Mungalla Wetland System Repair

Indicative Funding
$18,870 over 2 years (administered by Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation)
Summary
Coastal wetlands provide services important for aquatic wildlife. However, human need has contributed to modification and change to coastal wetland function. Government and community projects have commenced across the Great Barrier Reef catchment area to repair and revitalise coastal wetlands to, again, function as productive ecosystems, while still offering services for humans. A project has commenced, supported by Australian Government, to repair natural tidal flow and fisheries value to Mungalla wetland. This project herein will examine wetland aquatic ecology and water quality in response to broader system repair programs underway.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Glenn Morgan and Tony Squires (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetlands; Fish; Water Quality; System repair; Mungalla Wetlands; Indigenous Training

Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation - Research Grant

Mungalla Wetland System Repair

Indicative Funding
$18,870 over 2 years
Summary
Coastal wetlands provide services important for aquatic wildlife. However, human need has contributed to modification and change to coastal wetland function. Government and community projects have commenced across the Great Barrier Reef catchment area to repair and revitalise coastal wetlands to, again, function as productive ecosystems, while still offering services for humans. A project has commenced, supported by Australian Government, to repair natural tidal flow and fisheries value to Mungalla wetland. This project herein will examine wetland aquatic ecology and water quality in response to broader system repair programs underway.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Glenn Morgan and Tony Squires (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetlands; Fish; Water Quality; System repair; Mungalla Wetlands; Indigenous Training

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

Scoping options for low-flying marginal cane land to reduce DIN in priority wet tropics catchments

Indicative Funding
$74,000 over 2 years
Summary
The project will explore alternative land use options to reduce nitrogen losses from marginal sugarcane land in priority wet tropics catchments. The Wet Tropics Water Quality Improvement Plan identified that complete adoption of sugarcane best management practices would be insufficient to achieve the nitrogen load reductions needed to meet the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality guidelines. This project will map low-lying, marginal cane land with community and industry partners, identify possible alternative uses, quantify economic costs and benefits of land transition, identify constraints and opportunities for alternative land uses proposed.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Jane Waterhouse, Carla Wegscheidl, Jim Smart, Adrian Volders and Syezlin Hasan (TropWATER and Griffith University)
Keywords
Water Quality; system repair; Wetlands; Nitrogen; eo-economics; Wet Tropics

Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Feral Pig Impact on Wetlands in Archer River Catchment

Indicative Funding
$37,409 over 3 years
Summary
This project will assess and evaluate the health of wetlands and in channel waterholes within the Archer River catchment. This baseline assessment will provide data to compare future surveys following installation of feral pig exclusion fencing, and also proposed agricultural development in this region. The survey wiolo include assessment of fish, wetland plants, macroinvertebrates, water quality, and terrestrial vertebrate communities that occupy wetlands. The project will also include Traditional Owner education and training during this survey.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Jason Schaffer (TropWATER)
Keywords
Limnology; Freshwater Wetland Assessment; Feral Pigs; Water Quality; Fish; Traditional Owner Education
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
  • Habitat Configuration and Utility of Tropical Estuaries Exposed to Different Extents of Human Development (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Dissolved Oxygen as a Constraint for the Structure of Mangrove Fish Ossemblages Assemblages and Their Patterns of Mangrove Utilisation: A Comparison Between Natural and Disturbed Mangrove Ecosystems Through the Australian and Caledonian Coastlines. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
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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  4. Dr Norman Duke
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