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
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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 112+ 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.

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

Southern Expansion of Mackay-Whitsunday Ambient Marine Monitoring Program.

Indicative Funding
$450,790 over 10 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 and in collaboration with Paula Cartwright (TropWater)
Keywords
Water Quality; Marine Ecosystems; Seagrass; Corals

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Water security for Northern Australian - Implementation Phase

Indicative Funding
$3,672,588 over 3 years, in partnership with the Central Queensland University ($295,833) and the Charles Darwin University ($295,833)
Summary
This Water Security for Northern Australia program has identified 4 key focal nodes where pressure for increased water utilisation is high - Ord (WA), Daly-Katherine (NT), Gilbert (QLD) and lower Fitzroy (QLD) - to be the focal nodes for this research program. To determine the most appropriate research questions for each focal node, we undertook a co-design phase with relevant regional stakeholders in each focal node. This co-design phase and its outcomes have resulted in the generation of 15 research projects that are now proposed for funding under the Water Security for Northern Australia program -implementation phase outlined in this research program.
Investigators
Damien Burrows, Nathan Waltham, Dylan Irvine and John Rolfe (TropWater, Charles Darwin University and Central Queensland University)
Keywords
Northern Australia; Ord catchment; Water Security; Daly Catchment; Gilbert Catchment; Lower Fitzroy Catchment

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

NESP 3.8 Carbon abatement & biodiversity enhancements through controlling feral ungulate disturbance in wetlands.

Indicative Funding
$64,292 over 3 years (administered by Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Summary
Ungulates (pigs, buffalo, cattle) damage the landscape in northern Australia. This impact is particularly evident in coastal wetlands, that provide a range of ecosystem services such as carbon abatement, biodiversity and water quality. Attempts to control ungulates have required expensive mitigation action, with mixed levels of success. In this project we examine the carbon and biodiversity services that controlling ungulates has in coastal areas. Importantly, this research contributes to the development of new methodologies to attract market investments from big businesses, such as blue carbon and biodiversity certificates.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham, Catherine Lovelock and Valerie Hagger (TropWater and The University of Queensland)
Keywords
Marine ecosystems; Blue carbon; Fisheries; Water quality; Estuaries; modelling

Greening Australia Limited - Contract Research

Mungalla ecosystem service restoration.

Indicative Funding
$321,061 over 3 years
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

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

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

NESP 3.4 Better management of catchment runoff to marine receiving environments in northern Australia.

Indicative Funding
$95,011 over 1 year (administered by Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Summary
Runoff from catchments in northern Australia has the potential to carry large amounts of sediment and nutrients. These available nutrients are important in driving coastal and estuary productivity, including many commercially and recreationally targeted species. Water resource development in northern Australia could reduce the supply of freshwater flow to the coast, thereby limiting supply of nutrients. This research project will examine the potential risks water resource development presents to Gilbert (QLD), Daly (NT) and Ord (WA) marine and coastal areas. We will complete a literature review, undertake flood plume modelling and examine vegetation damage along these coastal areas.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham, Mohammad Jahanbakht and Paula Cartwright (TropWater)
Keywords
Marine ecosystems; Water resource development; Fisheries; Water quality; Estuaries; modelling

CSIRO - Contract Research

Water resource development assessment in northern Australia.

Indicative Funding
$90,000 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

Alluvium Consulting - Contract Research

Russell River Sustainability Plan

Indicative Funding
$9,000
Summary
Runoff from catchments in northern Australia has the potential to carry large amounts of sediment and nutrients to the Great Barrier Reef. This project will build a overall catchment management plan for the Russell River catchment, in partnership with State Government, Jaragun Ecoservices, industry, community and indigenous partners. The plan will set out state, condition and opportunities for restoration and protection of the catchment, aligning with the Governments new policies and plans in this space.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWater)
Keywords
Marine ecosystems; Water Quality; Water resource development; Estuaries; Fisheries; Modelling

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

NESP 3.7 Barriers to Restoration and NbS

Indicative Funding
$90,000 over 1 year (administered by University of Tasmania)
Summary
Coastal and marine restoration in Australia has been hindered by the ability for project managers to obtain approval. This project examines the barriers and challenges presenting project managers keen to begin restoration projects. The project will work through a series of case studies from SA, Tasmania, NSW and QLD focusing on oyster and tidal ingress project approaches. The outcomes of this research will outline areas in policy requiring changes and identify a consistent approach for project managers working in several states across Australia.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham (TropWater)
Keywords
wetlands; restoration; Blue carbon; marine; shellfish

CRC for Developing Northern Australia - Grant

Co-design phase, Water Security for Northern Australia Program

Indicative Funding
$225,000 over 1 year
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

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
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, habits, and functional roles of nocturnal fishes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Checking the pulse: Dynamic prey resources and trophic relationships in coastal ecosystems. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Investigating the challenges and needs of small island developing states to develop improved processes for the monitoring of fouling marine invasive species (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The implications of climate changes on the ecology of small pelagic fish (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Life history strategies of barramundi (Lates calcarifer) in heavily modified Floodplains (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Understanding the services provided by marine built infrastructure and designing them to maximise their utility in tropical seascapes (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Mangrove restoration trajectories: trends & lessons from Guyana (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The functional diversity, utilisation and size structure of fish in mangrove habitats in Queensland, Australia (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Exploring the return of nursery function in recovering tropical seagrass meadows using capture methods and eDNA Metabarcoding. (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Saltmarsh Connectivity in Tropical Seascapes: An Eco-hydrological Perspective (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Enabling accessible technology for more effective conservations of coastal systems (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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