Increasingly, societies are dealing with environmental degradation, climatic variability and loss of biodiversity. Effective restoration and conservation relies on detailed data and models of human, geological and ecological landscapes over time, knowledge of basic evolutionary and economic principles, and direct communication between scientists, policymakers and the public.

Our world-renowned researchers convert basic scientific knowledge into strategic solutions for global environmental problems.

UQ Science supports more than 220 biologists, molecular biologists, ecologists, geologists, sociologists and environmental scientists working in this research theme.

Research impacts

Protecting and restoring the Great Barrier Reef

UQ experts are leading global research efforts to monitor, protect and regenerate the Great Barrier Reef. A range of projects with national and international individuals and organisations focus on diverse challenges, including the eradication of destructive crown-of-thorns starfish, helping reefs to recover after bleaching events and cyclones, and using innovative techniques and technology to map the reef to allow for better monitoring.

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The Joint Remote Sensing Research Program

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences researchers have developed a collaborative program that enables scientists, policy-makers and legislators to map and measure changes in the environment. By staying abreast of developments in Earth observational remote-sensing technology, our researchers can apply techniques in the field, share information with the public, and enable governments to measure environmental change in a way that is scientifically and legally defensible.

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Mapping consequences of global wilderness loss

Using a novel, fine-resolution human-influence metric, researchers from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences were able to report on catastrophic loss of wilderness in terrestrial and marine realms. The extensive data now informs new global targets for biodiversity conservation and avoiding carbon emissions from loss of intact vegetation. 

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Mathematical modelling for sustainable fish stocks

School of Mathematics and Physics researchers are collaborating with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to monitor fish stocks and support sustainable fisheries. By developing and applying innovative mathematical and statistical models they have estimated catch numbers and trends in several studies, the results of which can be used to investigate possible future outcomes and improved management strategies.

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Improving pearls using next-gen genomics

School of Biological Sciences researchers and pearl industry leaders are working together to increase the quality and consistency of pearls. The team has combined their respective expertise in marine genomics and pearl propagation to determine the best oysters and conditions to produce the best pearls. The team’s methods have seen a dramatic increase in predicting oysters that will give rise to super-high-quality pearls.

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Monitoring migratory shorebirds

In collaboration with community groups and governments, School of Biological Sciences researchers are helping to implement conservation plans for declining migratory shorebird populations. Data collected by UQ and community partners who monitor the birds has been used to inform conservation action plans in Australia and internationally. The Australian Government recently listed seven species of migratory shorebird as nationally threatened.

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Protecting the springs of the Great Artesian Basin

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Unlocking barriers to fish passage and improving river connectivity

A four-year project saw our researchers improve river connectivity, which is crucial to the reproduction and survival of Australian native fish. By producing tools and strategies to ameliorate the impacts of anthropogenic structures on native fish passage, our researchers were able to install several newly designed and strategically placed passages.

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