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
  • MB3270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Aquatic ecology
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
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 76+ 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.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation - Contract Research

NQBP and JCU Research and Monitoring Partnership ? Ambient Marine Water Quality Studies.

Indicative Funding
$2,470,327 over 5 years
Summary
Ports are essential for economic trade and prosperity, and vital for the day-to-day function of modern society. TropWATER has provided services to complete an ambient marine water quality-monitoring program for North Queensland Bulk Ports (NQBP) at the Port of Mackay and Port of Hay Point since 2014. This program has expanded to include the other two major port facilities (Port of Abbot Point and Port of Weipa) administered by NQBP. The ambient marine water quality program includes deployment, maintenance and analysis of water quality data generated from high frequency loggers positioned on the sea floor, ambient water quality for metals, nutrients and herbicides. Data will be used by the port authority for strategic planning of operations.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Jordan Ilse and Adam Canning (TropWATER)
Keywords
Marine water quality; Seagrass; Port development; Coral

The World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia - Contract Research

Blue carbon and cane land restoration methods development

Indicative Funding
$222,500 over 5 years
Summary
The Project seeks to advance the development of a blue carbon methodology under the Australian government?s emissions reduction fund, by undertaking a project to restore tidal connectivity and wetlands in a selected catchment. The Project team will collect baseline data (GHG emissions, carbon storage, water quality and biodiversity) to inform the blue carbon methodology and undertake post-restoration assessments to quantify carbon and co-benefits arising from the restoration. The Project also seeks to undertake terrestrial restoration on a small section of low productivity farmland, to quantify whether there is a business case for land use change to carbon farming in an intensive farming environment. The Project will then support the farmer/s within the Project boundary to transition to best management practice agriculture, and to quantify whether this transition satisfactorily offsets land taken out of production for the i) wetland restoration and ii) terrestrial revegetation undertaken.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Marcus Sheaves, Michael Bradley and Carlo Mattone (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Water Treatment; Coastal Wetlands Habitats; Wetland Restoration; Wetland Monitoring

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

Southern Expansion of Mackay-Whitsunday Ambient Marine Monitoring Program.

Indicative Funding
$314,590 over 6 years
Summary
TropWATER will provide seagrass assessment and water quality logging/chemistry services to assist regional marine ambient monitoring program administered by Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership. These data will assist Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership with the preparation of a regional report card.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with James Whinney and Peter Ridd (TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Water Quality; Marine Ecosystems; Seagrass; Corals

Queensland Department of Environment and Science - Contract Research

Coastal restoration assessment and case studies to support the uptake of blue carbon.

Indicative Funding
$18,410
Summary
Coastal wetlands are under threat from a range of past land use changes. Efforts to restore the value back into wetlands is underway in many places, and demonstrating the success of these efforts requires access to scientific data. This project will examine a range of restoration approaches and provide a summary matrix of learnings, land use tenure, and pathways to delivery. The outcomes of this project will be used in the preparation of case studies that will feature on the Land Restoration Fund Queensland Government website, so that future project proponents can use these to assist with preparing project funding grants.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Blue Carbon; Restoration; Ecosystem Services; Coastal wetland habitats

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Marine and Coastal Hub (NESP MAC Hub)

Road map to coastal restoration assessment

Indicative Funding
$10,000 (administered by CSIRO)
Summary
Coastal wetlands are under threat from a range of past land use changes. Efforts to restore the value back into wetlands is underway in many places, and demonstrating the success of these efforts requires access to scientific data. This project examines through stakeholder participation the elements of a national road map to coastal and marine restoration. The project outcome will be a framework to implement a national road map for restoration that can be used by stakeholders in planning and completing restoration around Australia.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Marine ecosystems; Restoration; Ecosystem Services; coastal wetland habitats

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Contract Research

Coastal wetland restoration options investigation.

Indicative Funding
$118,388 over 1 year
Summary
Coastal restoration aims to improve and protect sensitive and important wetland areas. While restoration projects are underway most are small scale, and to achieve targets that will help government deliver on the Reef 2050 plan objectives we need to initiate large scale project sites. This project site is set to become the largest restoration site in north Queensland, and our team will be responsible for the collection of background science to support this project site. The data generated will be used to support the development of an options report outlining the full potential of restoration outcomes.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham and Adam Canning (TropWATER)
Keywords
Coastal Wetlands; Water quality; Blue Carbon; Fisheries; Restoration

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

Saltmarshes Connectivity in Tropical Seascapes: An Ecohydrological Perspective

Indicative Funding
$6,180 over 1 year
Summary
Saltmarshes are among the most threatened coastal ecosystems on the planet. Yet, our understanding of their functionality and ecosystem value as productive coastal habitat is derived from only a small number of studies in temperate and subtropical zones, with almost nothing known about tropical saltmarshes. The proposed research aims to address this knowledge gap by providing insights into the importance of seascape connectivity and configuration on saltmarsh patches. The relationships between saltmarsh hydroperiod (frequency, duration and depth of saltmarsh flooding) and elevation on saltmarsh plants are first investigated. This information will then be used to examine the effects of hydroperiod and seascape configuration on the diets of saltmarsh crabs and their role as trophic subsidies supporting broader estuarine food webs. This study also attempts to investigate the vulnerability of saltmarshes to sea level rise and anthropogenic changes. Together, this research will quantitatively assess the importance and mechanisms of some of the drivers of saltmarsh connectivity in tropical seascapes, thus directly contributing to an ecologically meaningful understanding of these virtually unstudied, though under threat, ecosystems.
Investigators
Cecile Vulliet and Nathan Waltham (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
saltmarshes; hydroperiod; seascape connectivity; seascape configuration; Drone; ecosystem values and functions

NQ Dry Tropics - Contract Research

Burdekin wetlands restoration research.

Indicative Funding
$101,567 over 2 years
Summary
Wetlands provide some many services and values, yet are under pressure from continuing and expanding land use change. North Queensland Dry Tropics (NQDT) are implementing a range of restoration projects to improve the Burdekin floodplain, and have engaged TropWATER to complete wetland restoration monitoring to measure and evaluate the success of these works. This monitoring will cover fish sampling, water and sediment chemistry, aquatic plant assessments and hydrology. The data will provide NQDT with information to assist with further works and funding on the horizon.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Adam Canning (TropWATER)
Keywords
Floodplains; Wetlands; Water Quality; coasts; Restoration

Greening Australia Limited - Contract Research

Repair and Restoration of Priority Coastal Habitat and Wetlands

Indicative Funding
$282,437 over 2 years
Summary
Coastal wetlands are under threat from a range of past land use changes. Efforts to restore the value back into wetlands is underway in many places, and demonstrating the success of these efforts requires access to scientific data. Here we will partner with Greening Australia to complete a range of wetland surveys to evaluate the restoration success. Field work will include water quality, aquatic flora and fauna and hydrology (water balance) calculations. These data will assist Greening Australia demonstrate program success, while also educating local communities around the value of coastal wetlands.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Palm Creek; Fig Tree Lagoon; Lake Mary; Coastal wetland habitats; Wetland restoration; Wetland monitoring

Queensland Government - Smithsonian Fellowship Program

Coastal wetland restoration techniques and evaluation ready for up-scaling

Indicative Funding
$26,564 over 3 years
Summary
First component examines how fish move around floodplains that are impacted following land use conversions. The River herring (Chesapeake Bay) needs access to freshwater and the ocean; population numbers are low because of migration barriers (roads, degraded habitat, dams). The project will include a collaborative study with the Smithsonian Institute to understand how fish access critical habitat during life-stages. The river herring is analogous to the barramundi and mangrove jack in north Queensland: both are highly prized and migrate across catchments and floodplains between freshwater and ocean that have been modified following agricultural expansion and urban sprawl. The second involves investigating how catchment nutrients contribute to coastal hypoxia-fish kills. Like the GBR catchments, nutrient loads in Chesapeake Bay is worsening. The project will include collaborative research on coastal hypoxia and determining the susceptibility of coastal oyster reefs and fisheries to diseases and death (a topic of national interest following a large fish kill in Murray Darling Basin).
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
GBR catchments; river herring; wetland restoration; coastal hypoxia; coral reef restoration; coastal oyster reefs

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Water Quality, eDNA and NRM Management Directions

Indicative Funding
$150,984 over 4 years
Summary
Water quality and the threat of invasive species continue to exist in the Torres Straits. This project will continue to provide research services to assist Torres Straits Regional Authority to track restoration and protection of freshwater and marine wetland habitats in the Torres Strait islands. A component of this project includes facilitating training and educational material for Land and Sea Ranger program.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Christina Buelow and Cecilia Villacorta Rath (TropWATER)
Keywords
Torres Strait; Aquatic Habitat; Invasive Species; Environmental Monitoring; cane toads; eDNA

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

NESP Tropical Water Quality Research Plan 7

Indicative Funding
$189,600
Summary
The National Environmental Science Program Tropical Water Quality Hub, funded by the federal government, has funded a wide variety of research projects during its operations from 2015-2021. As this programme draws to a close, there is a need to repatriate the knowledge and learnings from these research projects to relevant stakeholders and end-users. This project will undertake a series of meetings and workshops with end-users to enable the outcomes of research to be adopted. This engagement process will include analysis and synthesis of data collected to date.
Investigators
Damien Burrows, Aaron Davis, Katie Chartrand and Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Water Quality; Great Barrier Reef; Cane Farming; Citizen Science; Wetlands
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
  • Assessing the Movement and Habits of Nocturnal Fishes. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Life History strategies of Barramundi, Lates calcarifer, in heavily modified Landscapes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Enabling accessible technology for more effective conservations of coastal systems (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Comparison of Fish Assemblages in Restored and Intact Mangrove Habitats in Tropical Estuaries (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Oysters as Tropical Ecosystem Engineers: Implications for Urban Mangrove Communities in a Changing Climate (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Pre-, and Post-settlement of Fish Assemblages Occupying mangroves Adjacent to Coral Reefs in the Palm Island Group, Queensland, Australia (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Saltmarsh Connectivity in Tropical Seascapes: An Eco-hydrological Perspective (PhD , Primary Advisor)
Completed
Data

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

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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