2018 – Speakers

Dr. Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar

Lecturer in Corporate Environmental Management
College of Science and Engineering | James Cook University

Dr. Banhalmi-Zakar is Lecturer in Corporate Environmental Management at James Cook University. An environmental scientist, with experience in corporate environmental management, she has a keen interest in how environmental issues factor into corporate decision-making. Over the last ten years, she studied how environmental issues (impacts) materialise as financial risks and opportunities and currently focuses on how the finance sector responds to the varied challenges represented by climate change.

Prior to joining JCU, Zsuzsa was a research fellow at the Griffith Institute for Tourism and taught environmental assessment and management and planning practicum to urban and environmental planning students. Before arriving in Australia, she was senior environmental consultant at Deloitte in Europe and studied at the Central European University in Budapest and the University of Alberta, Canada.

Christine Coughanowr

Program Director | Derwent Estuary Program

Christine has been obsessed with the Derwent estuary since she first crossed the Tasman Bridge, on her arrival in Tasmania in 1993.  She has investigated and reported on water quality issues affecting the estuary and its catchment for over 20 years, (including four State of the Derwent reports) and established the Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) over 15 years ago in collaboration with a dedicated team of colleagues and program partners. In 2010, the DEP won Australia’s coveted National Riverprize as a recognised leader in science-based river management. Previously, Christine worked for UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in Paris and as a water resources consultant in the United States and France. In 2001, she received a Churchill fellowship to visit estuary management programs in Canada, the U.S. and U.K. She holds a Batchelor of Science degree in geology from Duke University and a Master of Science degree in estuarine geology from the University of Delaware (USA).

Professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) | University of Tasmania

Gustaaf Hallegraeff is a Professor at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies of the University of Tasmania in Australia. He has supervised 40 PhD students and worked on a wide range of Harmful Algal Bloom issues from shellfish toxins, climate change, ship’s ballast water to fish-killing algae. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, and winner of the 2004 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research and 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae.

Britta Denise Hardesty

Principal Research Scientist | CSIRO Ocean & Atmosphere

Britta Denise Hardesty is a Principal Research Scientist for CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere. A broadly trained ecologist, Denise’s work has taken her to all seven continents, studying everything from penguins in Antarctica to hornbills in West Africa, asking questions about the rainforests of central and South America, and looking at plastic waste along the most remote coastlines in Australia. For the last decade her work has increasingly focused on plastic pollution, looking at impacts on wildlife such as seabirds, turtles and marine mammals. She believes strongly the role of science in underpinning policy and decision making, and has served as a scientific expert on a number of international panels. Denise regularly provides advice to governments and international bodies. She is also committed to engaging with communities, having worked with more than 8,000 citizen scientists over the last few years to help tackle the plastic pollution problem.

Raewyn Peart

Policy Director | Environmental Defence Society, New Zealand

As Policy Director, Raewyn currently heads EDS’s environmental policy think-tank group. She has over 20 years professional experience in environmental law and policy having worked as a resource management lawyer and policy adviser to business, government and the not-for-profit sector.

For more than D decade, Raewyn’s work has focused on landscape protection, coastal development and marine management in New Zealand. She has written numerous papers, research reports and guidance material on these issues. Raewyn has published major books on coastal development (Castles in the Sand: What’s Happening to the New Zealand Coast?), marine mammal protection (Dolphins of Aotearoa: Living with Dolphins in New Zealand – which was shortlisted for the New Zealand Royal Society Science Book Prize) and environmental change in the Hauraki Gulf marine area (The Story of the Hauraki Gulf – a coffee table-sized book now on its 3rd print run). She has been a leader in promoting the introduction of marine spatial planning to New Zealand and was a member of the collaborative Stakeholder Working Group which successfully prepared the first marine spatial plan in New Zealand for the Hauraki Gulf.

Raewyn was co-winner of the 2013 Resource Management Law Association Publications Award (for Caring for Our Coast: An EDS Guide to Managing Coastal Development), and recipient of the 2016 Holdaway Award for leadership in and around the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and the 2017 Wyland Foundation Dive New Zealand Magazine Recognition Award. She is a keen sailor, snorkeller, snowboarder and photographer.

Professor Gretta Pecl

Professor of Marine Ecology | Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

Gretta Pecl is a Professor of marine ecology at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), and the incoming Director of the Centre for Marine Socioecology (CMS), both based in Tasmania. She has broad interdisciplinary research interests and a passion for science engagement and communication with the public. Much of her current research centres around understanding climate change impacts in marine systems, and how our marine fisheries and aquaculture industries and coastal communities may best adapt to these changes. Gretta’s research has a particular focus on detecting and understanding the variation in rate and magnitude of climate-driven species redistribution. She developed and leads the very successful National citizen science project Redmap Australia, the Range Extension Database and mapping project (www.redmap.org.au), which invites fishers and divers around the coastline to help monitor changes in species distributions in Australian seas. Candidate or ‘model’ range-shifting species for her experimental work are identified through the out-of-range species observations reported to Redmap, and the citizen science program is then in turn used to disseminate results of this research and other marine climate change projects to the general community. She was the instigator and co-convenor of the inaugural ‘Species on the Move’ conference held in Hobart in 2016 (www.speciesonthemove.com), and is also currently working with international colleagues on a Global Network of Marine Hotspots to facilitate learning and communication among the world’s most rapidly warming ocean regions. Gretta is an Australian Research Council ‘Future Fellow’ and the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries.