Private Bag 49, Hobart 7001
Rick studies broad-scale patterns in marine biodiversity. A particular goal of his research within the hub is to identify and refine biodiversity metrics which can be reported from Reef Life Survey monitoring data to provide a cost-effective, but detailed means of tracking condition and function of shallow reef systems around Australia, including in our offshore marine reserve estate.
Following a two year study of the state of Tasmania's inshore marine biodiversity, Rick established the Reef Life Survey (RLS) program with Prof. Graham Edgar, in 2007. Since establishment, Rick and Graham have led the development of the RLS global database of reef biodiversity, contributed to by a team of trained and committed recreational divers and a large network of international collaborators. The RLS database currently contains >10,500 quantitative surveys of rocky and coral reef biodiversity in >50 countries. Ongoing surveys by the Autralian network contribute to monitoring of Australian reefs.
Bachelor of Science in Marine, Freshwater and Antarctic Biology with Honours, 2001 (UTAS)
PhD in aquatic ecology, 2007 (UTAS)
Membership of key national committees
Board (Executive Officer) and Advisory Committee member, Reef Life Survey Foundation
Essential Environmental Measures - Marine
The Marine Hub has created the following two-sided posters from its marine biodiversity research:
Scientists from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies found an average of more than...
Fish Hook Bay at Rottnest Island near Perth, Western Australia. Fish communities found here during the 2011 marine heatwave were equivalent to those normally found 250 kilometres farther north. They had moved south with their climate niche. Image: Rick Stuart-Smith
In a world where fish biodiversity is on the decline, highly vulnerable species have been given a major boost after scientists identified why some species are absent from reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans. Incorporating this knowledge into conservation strategies will help to reduce human impact on species loss.
The findings are the result of an international collaboration involving the Australian Institute of Marine Science, NERP Marine Hub researcher Camille Mellin, and a large...
11 November 2015, London
A new study by University of Tasmania researchers and international collaborators has found that a key element of future changes in the distribution of marine biodiversity resulting from ocean warming is not as closely related to local warming rates as previously assumed.
Published today in the prestigious international journal Nature, the research shows that the proportion of fish and invertebrate species expected to disappear from ...
Australia’s Environment Minister, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, joined University of Tasmania scientists and volunteer divers on a Reef Life Survey at Tinderbox Marine Reserve south of Hobart today.
After the dive, the Minister joined UTAS Vice Chancellor, Professor Peter Rathjen, at Hobart’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies to launch the Marine Biodiversity Hub, one of six hubs funded under the National Environmental Science Programme (NESP).
The NESP is a six-...
From his desktop at Taroona south of Hobart, Nick Perkins has a great view of reef habitats that lie beyond the reach of scuba.
For his PhD with the Marine Biodiversity Hub and University of Tasmania, and his masters’ research before it, Nick has viewed hundreds of thousands of images snapped by the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sirius.
As well as mapping reef communities during these epic stop-motion adventures, Nick is devising ways of analysing AUV imagery...
The 2011-2015 Final Report of the National Environmental Research Program Marine Biodiversity Hub is available online and in hard copy. The dynamic, searchable website includes photos, videos, maps and animations showcasing more than 40 research projects and can be browsed by region or research topic. Read the newsletter...
Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, 11 March 2015
NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub scientists have been evaluating the benefits of no-take protection (ie no fishing) on deep reef systems of Tasmania’s wild southwest coast. Working from the Australian Maritime College's flagship vessel Bluefin, they have just returned from Maatsuyker Island off southern Tasmania. The team of scientists and support staff relied on an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to...
The Marine Biodiversity Hub’s exhibition of images celebrated the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010. It has now become a travelling exhibition at venues around Australia.
The exhibition contains images from Hub partners (and a few more), and was curated by Mark Norman, Head of Science at Museum Victoria.
Our aim is to reach out to the general public (especially school students) and raise their awareness of...
Wednesday 10 December 2014
The Australian Government has announced the successful organisations to lead research hubs under the $142.5 million National Environmental Science Programme (NESP). The programme will assist decision-makers to understand, manage and conserve Australia's environment by funding world-class biodiversity and climate science. This research will ensure decisions about managing Australia's biodiversity and environmental resources are made on the best available...
5 February 2014
A global study by Tasmanian researchers shows what is needed to make marine parks effective, the findings of which were published in Nature.
In collaboration with overseas investigators and skilled recreational divers, University of Tasmania biologists, including researchers from the NERP Marine Biodiversity Hub, counted numbers and sizes of more than 2000 fish species along underwater transect lines set at 1986 sites in 40 countries. They then used this...
26 September 2013
New global patterns of marine fish diversity have been revealed using information collected through a ‘citizen science’ initiative developed in Tasmania. As part of the Reef Life Survey program, committed recreational SCUBA divers are trained and supported to survey numbers of reef animals worldwide. Analysis of information provided by Reef Life Survey volunteers over the past six years has revealed new hotspots of marine biodiversity, including southwestern...
A new tool to help transform raw underwater images into quantitative information useful for science and policy decisions has been developed by a team of scientists from Australian marine organisations, universities, and state and federal governments.
The tool, known as CATAMI - Collaborative and Automated Tools for Analysis of Marine Imagery and video - will help the whole marine community by making it easier to aggregate, annotate and automate imagery thereby...
The theme for this year's Australian Marine Sciences Association Conference is “Marine Extremes - And Everything In Between” and will be held in Hobart, Tasmania, from 1 to 5 July 2012.
The Hub is a bronze sponsor for this year's conference and will also be hosting the evening poster cocktail session on Monday 2 July.
Marine Biodiversity Hub researchers will convene 4 symposia –
Prof Nic Bax, Director NERP Marine Hub
Australia’s Marine Biodiversity Hub is a four-year research partnership established in 2011 by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) National Environmental Research Program (NERP). It links the expertise and resources of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (...