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 87+ research outputs authored by A/PROF 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

CSIRO - Contract Research

Water resource development assessment in northern Australia

Indicative Funding
$35,000 over 2 years
Summary
This project investigates the potential for water resource development in several catchment areas in northern Australia. Specifically, we will provide technical expertise in estuarine habitat ecology analysis, modelling and provide regional context to analysis outcomes and scenario analysis. Working in a large multidisciplinary team, we will also attend workshops and assist the project team more broadly to deliver the final reports to the Australian Government.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetland Restoration; Ecosystem Services; Water Quality; Blue Carbon; Fish

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

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

Comparing the use of underwater video and unmanned aerial vehicles for assessing use of tropical estuaries by marine fauna

Indicative Funding
$1,800 over 1 year
Summary
Remote underwater video (RUV) is considered an established method for elucidating fish community structure but little work has been done to assess the optimal number of cameras required to precisely assess species richness. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), on the other hand have remained completely untested for this purpose. Using the two methods in tandem (RUVs and UAVs), this project aims to compare established (RUV) and novel (UAV) methodologies for determining fish community structure and determine how may cameras are required to accurately and precisely assess the use of large woody debris by fish.
Investigators
Sophie Walker and Nathan Waltham (College of Science & Engineering and TropWATER)
Keywords
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); Estuary; Remote underwater video (RUV); Conservation; Coastal; Fish

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

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

National inventory of implemented nature-based solutions

Indicative Funding
$2,000 over 1 year (administered by University of Tasmania)
Summary
This project will undertake a national inventory revie of implemented nature-based solutions that have been completed to mitigate coastal hazards. The aim of this project is to collate the information, build a repository of data and to provide end user groups access to the data and information to inform future planning decisions.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetland Restoration; Ecosystem Services; Water Quality; Blue Carbon; Fish

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Co-design phase, Water Security for Northern Australia Program

Indicative Funding
$225,000
Summary
This project will organise the collective expertise of 3 north Australian-based universities (James Cook University, Charles Darwin University and Central Queensland University) who have recently formed the Northern Australia Universities Alliance (NAUA). The NAUA partners will collaborate on undertaking a program of stakeholder engagement and research needs analysis in 4 focal catchments (Nodes) in order to design, develop and cost a cohesive and impactful 3.5 year research program that delivers on the core priorities of those stakeholders in those 4 focal catchments.
Investigators
Damien Burrows, Nathan Waltham and Yvette Williams (TropWATER)
Keywords
Water Security; Northern Australia; Regional Development; Gilbert River; Ord River; Fitzroy River

Greening Australia Limited - Contract Research

Mungalla ecosystem service restoration

Indicative Funding
$55,000 over 1 year
Summary
Coastal wetland restoration is critical and necessary in response to lost values and services, and to increase climate change resilience. Working with Birdlife Australia, Greening Australia and Mungalla Aboriginal Corporation for Business, we will undertake a series of works to improve restoration outcomes for the wetland on the station. The focus is on blue carbon, though other services include water quality and biodiversity outcomes.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWATER)
Keywords
Wetland Restoration; Ecosystem Services; Water Quality; Blue Carbon; Fish

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
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)
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies: Environmental Impact Assessment of Resource Consumption (Rare Earth Elements Flows) in High Technology and Energy Devices in Australia to Reduce Potential Environmental Impacts (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Life History strategies of Barramundi, Lates calcarifer, in heavily modified Landscapes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Mangrove restoration trajectories: trends & lessons from Guyana (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Enabling accessible technology for more effective conservations of coastal systems (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The functional diversity, utilisation and size structure of fish in mangrove habitats in Queensland, Australia (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Natural tropical oysters as ecosystem engineers; implications for enhancing ecosystem goods and services (PhD , 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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