The Global Wetlands Project

informing coastal wetland conservation

science for action at the ocean’s edge

The world needs coastal wetlands. Seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and saltmarshes are important, high-value habitats that provide many benefits to humanity.

Unfortunately, we’re losing these important places. Over 50% of coastal wetlands are already gone and the rest are at risk from a range of serious threats.

There’s an urgent need to limit and reverse the loss of coastal wetlands in order to arrest biodiversity loss, protect communities and tackle climate change.

The Global Wetlands Project (GLOW) aims to meet this challenge by informing and empowering coastal wetland conservation.

Our goal is to elevate scientific understanding of critical issues and build online tools to help address these issues more effectively and efficiently.

PhD applications are now open. We hope you can join us in delivering rigorous and relevant science for conservation at the ocean’s edge.

The world needs coastal wetlands. But, we’re losing these important places. Over 50% are already gone and the rest are at risk.

We’re setting out to help address this problem. Our team is building a new index to assess coastal wetland health. We’ll use it to highlight threatened sites and urgent conservation needs.

The goal is to guide investment and action, for better protection and restoration of coastal wetlands at the global scale.

We hope you can join us in delivering great science for real conservation at the ocean’s edge.

Step 1: assess data

Use existing information to assess coastal wetland health at each partner site.

Step 2: develop the index

Evaluate effectiveness of health assessments using additional field data from each site.

Step 3: scale the index

Test and validate indicator tools to work globally in areas with different levels of data.

Step 4: use the index

Inform action and investment priorities for wetland protection and restoration.

Measuring wetland health

What is a ‘healthy’ wetland? How can we measure it efficiently? We’re answering these questions, with new analyses and tools.

Improving conservation action

We’ll be mapping current action and guiding potential future actions to protect and restore coastal wetland habitats globally.

Engaging authenitically

We’ll be working with communities and managers to help them care for coastal wetlands in ways that support biodiversity and human livelihoods.

Global Partner Sites

GLOW will be testing the new health index in these six coastal wetland habitats.

Sundarbans, India

Ria de Aveiro, Portugal

Eastern Cape, South Africa

Pearl River, China

Moreton Bay, Australia

Tanna Island, Vanuatu

PhD opportunities

We are seeking PhD students for the following projects.

The ideal student will be motivated to conduct research in one or more of the fields of: biodiversity conservation, field ecology, ecological modelling, biogeography or wetlands ecology. Interested candidates should read the project descriptions below and contact the relevant staff member in the first instance. Please also read the guidelines below before contacting GLOW staff. Successful PhD applicants will receive $10,000 additional funds to support field work and collaborative travel. Further details on Griffith University’s application process can be found here.

  • Promoting the resilience of coastal wetlands to land-based threats

    This project will expand Dr Tulloch’s models of land-based stressors to coastal ecosystems. The student will use the models at a large scale to prioritise actions on land that can protect coastal wetlands. Contact: Dr Viv Tulloch-McShane

  • Trade-offs among the coastal ecosystem services provided by wetlands

    This study can involve modelling and/or field components to study synergies and trade-offs in the delivery of ecosystem services from coastal wetlands. Contact: Dr Viv Tulloch-McShane

  • Global shifts in grazer functions under multiple stressors

    This experimental study will aim to sample marine grazers from multiple locations internationally to understand functional responses of grazers to multiple stressors. Contact: Ryan Pearson

  • Finding function among structure: developing and validating indicators of ecosystem health in coastal wetlands

    Most environmental assessments are static, structural descriptions of ecosystem components. Although important, functional processes are also critical in shaping ecosystems, yet we don’t often work this understanding into environmental assessments. This project will aim to assess the relationships between structural and functional responses within coastal wetlands to guide monitoring and management. Contact: Dr Michael Sievers

  • Habitat suitability models for prioritisation of global action in coastal wetlands

    This project aims to model current and future habitat suitability of wetland plants and animals. Current records of species occurrence (macroinvertebrates, fish, etc) would be supplemented field surveys. Models will be used to generate predictions and maps of biodiversity response under various scenarios, and to prioritise cost-effective management actions that promote the health of coastal wetlands. Contact: Michael Sievers

  • Validating multi-stressor null models on coastal seagrass habitats

    Marine systems are under increasing threat from a number of human activities. This project will aim to use a combination of field and experimental studies to quantify the types of interactions found between a range of stressors impacting seagrass habitats. These findings can help improve and inform management practices for conservation. Contact: Mischa Turschwell

  • Automation of environmental monitoring

    Environmental monitoring is on the brink of a step change in effectiveness. Building on GLOW’s automated fish identification system, the student will use ecological and statistical frameworks to determine how best to automate the gathering, quality assurance, and analysis, of environmental data. Contact: Professor Rod Connolly

  • Mapping the world’s mangrove ecosystem services

    Mangroves are one of the most valuable ecosystems on Earth, providing us with a range of services including carbon sequestration, coastal protection, fisheries, and water quality improvement. The ultimate goal of the project is to develop a global map of ecosystem services of mangrove which could aid in the better management, conservation, and restoration of these valuable ecosystems. Contact: Dr Fernanda Adame or Chris Brown

Australian students

Australian citizens and permanent residents should have been awarded a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. Masters by research) in a relevant field. Ideally, they will also have published a lead authored paper in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed journal.

International students

International applicants must have been awarded a 1st Class Honours degree or equivalent (e.g. Masters by research) in a relevant field. They must be lead author on at least one publication in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed journal. To be considered, journals should be internationally recognized, for instance they should have an Impact Factor rating from ISI.

Applications are due 2nd October 2018.