Jan 24, 2021

Ocean Eddies in a Changing Climate: Understanding the Impact on Coastal Climates and Worldwide Fisheries Production


Climate change will markedly alter the Earth’s ocean current systems and their productivity, leading to changes in fisheries productivity and localised climatic change for coastal communities.This is significant because fisheries worldwide are valued at US$80 billion a year, provide nearly three billion people with 15% of their animal protein needs, and support incomes for nearly 8% of the world’s population. Ocean eddy systems (meanderings of ocean currents) are especially important in generating nutrient-rich upwellings or retaining nutrients which can drive productivity in ocean ecosystems. While major oceanographic processes have been very much of the focus of climate change research, it will be the finer scale changes in ocean eddy systems off our coasts that will have the major influence in determining the direct climate change impacts on our coastal systems. Therefore, the aim of this project is to improve our understanding of the operation of ocean eddy systems, how they will respond to climate change and the effects those changes are likely to cause in our coastal environments.

Selected outcomes

  • Over 10 research papers published.
  • Hosted workshop on South-East Australian eddy systems and key fisheries at the Sydney Institute of Marine Science, September 2014.
  • Key component of award of NZ$36M from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment for Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge, 2014.
  • Awarded AU$5M from the Australian Research Council (ARC), 2013.