PROJECT 2.11: Establishment of the National Centre for Coasts and Climate – Phase 1
This project ran from 1 July 2016 until 30 June 2019
Despite considerable knowledge about climate change and its impacts on marine and terrestrial habitats in coastal ecosystems, there has been very little change in the way coasts are governed in Australia. The local governments responsible for coastal management do not always get the science-based information at the scales they require.
We’ve established the National Centre for Coasts and Climate (NCCC) at the University of Melbourne to work with stakeholders to identify the best ways of addressing climate change impacts in Australian coastal ecosystems. Through the NCCC we have investigated how coastal vegetated habitats store carbon, and how climate change is likely to impact on coastal erosion. We have used this knowledge to develop and trial ecological engineering solutions to enhance the capacity of coastal ecosystems to adapt to climate change.
This work has assisted in the development of nationally coordinated policies and approaches for adapting Australia’s coast to climate change.
Outcomes from this project will be used in the current Hub Project 5.9 – Natural habitats for coastal protection and carbon sequestration.
Key project achievements include:
- Identified major knowledge gaps in the wider implementation of nature-based coastal defence, and established on-ground Victorian case studies and trials to determine when and where nature-based coastal defence is effective
- Produced guidelines on how to adapt current sediment carbon measurement methods to improve accuracy of blue carbon stock estimates
- Identified coastal erosion hot spots on the Victorian Coast at scales relevant to management, and improved predictions of future erosion through on-ground evidence of climate change
For more information
Prof. Stephen Swearer, University of Melbourne
Watch the Project 2.11 summary video
Publications and papers
- Barnett J, Head L, Konlechner T, Swearer S, Leitch A. 2017. Report on the Climate Change Adaptation workshop for the Tiwi Land Council. University of Melbourne Report.
- Kennedy DM, Konlechner T, Zavadil E, Mariani M, Wong V, Ierodiaconou D, Macreadie P. 2017. Invasive cordgrass (Spartina spp.) in south-eastern Australia induces island formation, salt marsh development, and carbon storage. Geographical Research, 56(1), 80-91, doi:
- Kennedy DM, McInnes K, and Ierodiaconou D. 2019. Understanding Coastal Erosion on Beaches: A guide for managers, policy makers and citizen scientists. National Centre for Coasts & Climate, The University of Melbourne| Brochure
- Konlechner TM, Kennedy DM, Cousens RD and Woods JL. 2019. Patterns of early-colonising species on eroding to prograding coasts; implications for foredune plant communities on retreating coastlines. Geomorphology, 327, 404-416, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2018.11.013 | Pre-print version. An edited version of this paper was published by Elsevier Ltd. Copyright 2018 Elsevier Ltd | Abstract
- Morris RL, Bilkovic DM, Boswell MK, Bushek B, Cebrian J, Goff J, Kibler KM, La Peyre MK, McGlenachan G, Moody J, Sacks P, Shinn JP, Sparks EL, Temple NA, Wlaters LJ, Webb BM, Swearer SE. 2019. The application of oyster reefs in shoreline protection: are we over-engineering for an ecosystem engineer? Journal of Applied Ecology, doi: 10.1111/1365-2664.13390 | Full paper
- Morris RL, Konlechner TM, Ghisalberti M, Swearer SE. 2018. From grey to green: Efficacy of eco-engineering solutions for nature-based coastal defence. Global Change Biology, 1-16, doi: 10.1111/gcb.14063 | Pre-print version. An edited version of this paper was published by 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Copyright 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd | Abstract
- Morris RL, Strain EMA, Konlechner TM, Fest BJ, Kennedy DM, Arndt SK, Swearer SE. 2019. Developing a nature-based coastal defence strategy for Australia, Australian Journal of Civil Engineering, doi:10.1080/14488353.2019.1661062 | Full paper
- O’Connor, JJ, Fest, BJ, Sievers, M, Swearer, SE. 2019. Impacts of land management practices on blue carbon stocks and greenhouse gas fluxes in coastal ecosystems—A meta‐analysis, Global Change Biology, 1– 13, doi:10.1111/gcb.14946 | Pre-print version. An edited version of this paper was published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Copyright 2019 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. | Abstract
- Oliver TSN, Kennedy DM, Tamura T, Murray-Wallace CV, Konlechner TM, Augustinus PC, Woodroffe CD. 2018. Interglacial-glacial climatic signatures preserved in a regressive coastal barrier, southeastern Australia, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 501, 124 – 135, doi:10.1016/j.palaeo.2018.04.011 | Full paper
- Understanding coastal erosion on beaches: A guide for managers, policy makers and citizen scientists – Hub researchers, through the National Centre for Coasts and Climate, have developed an introductory guide to the dynamics of beach erosion and the impacts of beach movement on human infrastructure.
- Eco-engineering and restoration of coastal habitats in Australia – synthesises the latest understanding of nature-based coastal defence, including how nature-based solutions can deliver more sustainable and adaptive methods to protect the coast.
- Coastal erosion under a changing climate – ESCC Hub and NCCC researchers are improving the understanding of the underlying drivers of coastal erosion which will lead to improved predictions of future erosion.
- Climate change and blue carbon in Australia – ESCC Hub and NCCC researchers have developed methods to reduce uncertainty in determining blue carbon accumulation rates, which will support the inclusion of blue carbon ecosystems in emission trading schemes.
This project is contributing to meeting the following climate challenges:
This project establishes a means to engage directly with coastal managers and develop useful information and tools they can use in their work. Our research into blue carbon and coastal erosion will inform management practices and adaptation activities.
Our investigation of blue carbon (carbon stored in marine and coastal habitats) will reduce uncertainty in regional carbon accumulation rate estimates and improve our understanding of the impact of coastal vegetation on the carbon cycle.