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
  • EV5964: Integrated Management of Ridge to Reef Ecosystems (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
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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 52+ 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
$2,380,465 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

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

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Water Quality, eDNA and NRM Management Directions

Indicative Funding
$150,984 over 5 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

Greening Australia Limited - Contract Research

Repair and Restoration of Priority Coastal Habitat and Wetlands

Indicative Funding
$262,440 over 3 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

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environment Science Program (NESP) - Total Water Quality (TWQ)

Restoring ecosystems from catchment to reef

Indicative Funding
$23,115 (administered by Reef & Rainforest Research Centre)
Summary
A range of NESP TWQ Hub funded projects have delivered insights into improved ways of restoring and evaluating ecosystem restoration efforts, from catchments through to the reef and other marine environments. This work has mostly focused on sediments, nutrients and freshwater, estuarine and marine wetland restoration in a wide range of projects. The diversity of approaches and contexts in which restoration has occurred, make it very difficult for anyone not intimately associated with the work to appreciate the overall outcomes and learnings. This synthesis will provide the ability to see across this range of projects and outcomes. Synthesis of the outcomes across these projects will provide easy to access practical recommendations for land and sea managers.
Investigators
Suzanne Long, Nathan Waltham, Ian McLeod, Catherine Collier, Rebecca Bartley, Bruce Taylor and Andrew Brooks in collaboration with Damien Burrows, Rachael Smith, Jessica Sabatino and Mike Ronan (Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, TropWATER, Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, Griffith University, College of Science & Engineering, Department of Environment and Science (Qld) and Reef Catchments NRM)

Hinchinbrook Shire Council - Contract Research

Lower Herbert Drainage Concerns-Mangrove Expansion

Indicative Funding
$29,033 over 2 years
Summary
The Project aims at assessing the effect of removing overhanging mangrove trees that have grown over artificially made channels over the last few decades. The mangrove pose a threat to the water flow, causing the drain to overfill during periods of heavy rainfall and flood the surrounding areas.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Nathan Waltham, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering and TropWATER)
Keywords
Mangrove Forest; Nursery Grounds; Clearance

Department of Environment and Science - Smithsonian Fellowship Program

Coastal wetland restoration techniques and evaluation ready for up-scaling

Indicative Funding
$21,250 over 2 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

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

Scoping land use conversion options for high DIN risk, low-lying sugarcane areas in Burdekin and Mackay Whitsunday region

Indicative Funding
$115,005 over 2 years
Summary
Water Quality Improvement Plans for most NRMs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments recognise that complete adoption of sugarcane best management practices will still not be sufficient to achieve the nitrogen load reductions required to meet the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Guidelines. Thus additional options need to be considered like transitioning agricultural land to other uses. Here we aim to i) identify possible alternate land uses in coastal low-lying land, that has a high DIN loss; ii) quantify the economic costs of changing land use, and market mechanisms to incentivise this transition; and iii) explore benefits of land transition.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham and Jim Smart in collaboration with Jane Waterhouse, Syezlin Hasan, Chantal Saint Ange, Adrian Volders, Christina Buelow and Elodie Ledee (TropWATER and Griffith University)
Keywords
Wetlands; Water Quality; Nutrients; Sediment; Land Use; Restoration

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

Coastal wetland systems repair across GBR catchments - values based causal framework validation

Indicative Funding
$136,000 over 2 years
Summary
Conservation and repair of the coastal wetland ecosystems' in the Great Barrier Reef catchments have come into focus following media converging on the point that the reef health and land use in catchments has been compromised. While on-ground wetland repair investment activities are underway, data to demonstrate water quality and biodiversity return for the investment is not available. Here we continue working with project partners, further contributing to change management practices, consolidate new project partnerships, and road test the Queensland Westland's Values Based Causal Framework using existing and new data.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham, Fernanda Adame and Christina Buelow (TropWATER and Griffith University)
Keywords
Nutrients; Sediment; Restoration; Wetlands; Water Quality; Land Use

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

Evaluating the costs and benefits of agricultural land conversion to wetlands

Indicative Funding
$283,097 over 3 years
Summary
Government and private investors are increasingly interested in nitrogen reduction projects, particularly via conversion of land to wetlands. Investing in such projects requires understanding the environmental benefits to be accrued and cost-effectiveness. The best way to provide these data is to evaluate already constructed land-wetland conversion sites that resemble what future projects might look like. This project will collect data from previously completed land-wetland conversion sites, on construction and ongoing maintenance costs, and the water quality and biodiversity benefits. This project will generate explicit data for government and private investors to make informed decisions on future investments of this kind.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with Barry Butler, James Wallace, Christina Buelow, Jim Smart, Syezlin Hasan and Stephen Balcombe (TropWATER and Griffith University)
Keywords
Water Quality; Ecosystem Services; Wetlands; carbon marets; cane land; synthesis repair

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation - Contract Research

NQBP & JCU Research & Monitoring Partnership - Seagrass and Coral Studies

Indicative Funding
$1,953,094 over 4 years
Summary
This project conducts long term assessments of seagrass and coral in the Ports of Mackay, Hay Point, Weipa and Abbott Point. The work forms part of a research and monitoring partnership between JCU and NQBP to monitor and assess marine environmental health within ports as well as support related research and education opportunities.
Investigators
Nathan Waltham in collaboration with James Whinney, Peter Ridd, Barry Butler, Tony Squires and Glenn Morgan (TropWATER and College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Marine Water Quality; Port Development; Research; Seagrass; Coral

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

Southern Expansion of Mackay-Whitsunday Ambient Marine Monitoring Program

Indicative Funding
$156,725 over 4 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
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
  • Geospatial optimisation of interventions to improve water quality in the Russell-Mulgrave River catchment (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Saltmarsh Connectivity in Tropical Seascapes: An Eco-hydrological Perspective (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Mapping Coastal Wetland Extent, Heterogeneity and use by Aquatic Fauna using Drone Technology (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 the JCU Research Data Catalogue.

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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