Professor Anthony Richardson

Professor

School of the Environment
Faculty of Science
ajr@maths.uq.edu.au
+61 7 3833 5958

Overview

Professor Anthony J. Richardson uses mathematical, statistical, computational and spatial planning tools to investigate human impacts on our oceans - and to find solutions. Particular foci include:

  • Marine spatial planning - Where best to locate marine protected areas to minimise impacts on people, maximise ecosystem benefits, ensure they are climate-smart and connected, and enable multiple-use zoning of the ocean.
  • Developing models of marine ecosystems - How do lower trophic levels (plankton) regulate fisheries productivity and carbon sequestration, and how will these be impacted by climate change.
  • Long-term change in lower trophic levels (plankton) in the ocean. This includes both field work around Australia and global analyses.

Anthony did an undergradulate degree in Mathematics and Biology at the University of Queensland, followed by an Honours degree there. He was awarded a PhD degree from the University of Cape Town in 1998, modelling the dynamics of marine ecosystems. Since 2005, Anthony has held a joint position between the School of Mathematics and Physics at UQ and CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia’s national science provider.. He has previously held positions at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), and the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation of Ocean Science (UK).

Anthony runs a dynamic lab at the nexus between marine ecology, conservation science and mathematics. His focus is on using mathematical tools to better conserve biodiversity, predict impacts of climate change, and understand the functioning of marine ecosystems. If you have a background in marine ecology and are interested in applying mathematics/statistics/computational science and want to apply your skills to real-world problems, get in touch.

Research Interests

  • Marine spatial planning: Biodiversity and conservation
    Using computational tools to better conserve biodiversity. I am particularly interested in designing marine protected areas that are climate-smart, connected, allow multiple use, and benefit people.
  • Ecosystem modelling, fisheries and climate change
    Developing marine ecosystem models that focus on the role of lower trophic levels (plankton) in productive fisheries and carbon sequestration, now and in the future under climate change.
  • Impacts of climate change on marine systems
    Using advanced statistical techniques to analyse large ecological datasets to understand the impacts of climate change and other human stresses such as ocean acidification, fishing, habitat destruction and pollution on marine systems.

Research Impacts

Anthony is a 2018 highly cited researcher in Ecology. His research is recognised internationally for significant contributions in the fields of global change (climate change, fishing, ocean acidification, eutrophication) on marine systems. Anthony is the author of >250 peer-reviewed papers. He enjoys teaching biostatistics, modelling and oceanography. For more informaiton on my research, see my Google Scholar page https://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=RLeJq98AAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

I was the first to show that the timing of marine events in the ocean - such as blooms - are becoming earlier because of climate change. I have also co-led the global working group that has provided the most comprehensive synthesis of the impacts of climate change on marine systems. My work on climate impacts has been heavily cited in the IPCC 4th and 5th Assessment Reports. It culminated in me being co-authoring Chapter 30 The Ocean in the IPCC 5th Assessment. This Chapter has helped raised the profile of the impact of climate change on our oceans and has motivated our world leaders to act on climate change. Much of my work now is in spatial planning - how to more effectively design marine protected areas in the ocean to make them climate-smart, connected, and to benefit people.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Cape Town

Publications

  • Buenafe, Kristine Camille V., Everett, Jason D., Dunn, Daniel C., Mercer, James, Suthers, Iain M., Schilling, Hayden T., Hinchliffe, Charles, Dabalà, Alvise and Richardson, Anthony J. (2024). Author Correction: A global, historical database of tuna, billfish, and saury larval distributions. Scientific Data, 11 (1) 29, 29. doi: 10.1038/s41597-023-02860-2

  • Fourchault, Léa, Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid, Dunn, Daniel C., Everett, Jason D., Hanson, Jeffrey O., Buenafe, Kristine C.V., Neubert, Sandra, Dabalà, Alvise, Yapa, Kanthi K.A.S., Cannicci, Stefano and Richardson, Anthony J. (2024). Generating affordable protection of high seas biodiversity through cross-sectoral spatial planning. One Earth, 7 (2), 253-264. doi: 10.1016/j.oneear.2023.12.006

  • Dalpadado, Padmini, Roxy, Mathew Koll, Arrigo, Kevin R., van Dijken, Gert L., Chierici, Melissa, Ostrowski, Marek, Skern-Mauritzen, Rasmus, Bakke, Gunnstein, Richardson, Anthony J. and Sperfeld, Erik (2024). Rapid climate change alters the environment and biological production of the Indian Ocean. Science of the Total Environment, 906 167342, 167342. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.167342

View all Publications

Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Master Philosophy

View all Supervision

Available Projects

  • The new agreement to increase area-based protection targets globally to 30% by 2030 (currently 8% in the ocean), combined with the recent UN treaty to help protect the high seas, will likely result in the largest-ever expansion of marine protected areas. Our aim is to provide the marine spatial planning approaches and tools to underpin this expansion.

    We offer various PhD projects in marine spatial planning, focusing on designing protected areas that include:

    • Climate change (climate-smart conservation), including climate connectivity (i.e., how best to protect species that shift their distribution in response to climate change).
    • How to conserve biodiversity in a 3-D ocean 8 km deep.
    • Multiple-use spatial planning (i.e., how to zone the ocean for different uses, such as conservation, fishing, renewable energy, shippping and mining).
    • Maximising ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration, serving as nursery grounds for fisheries, and coastal protection).
    • Assessing the benefits and tradeoffs between fisheries and protected areas.
    • How best to prioritise coastal restoration.
    • How to deliver marine spatial planning in the high seas.
    • Connectivity of marine megafauna in protected area networks.
    • Protecting critical habitats of mobile species.
    • Connectivity of seeds and spawning products (eggs and larvae) transported by ocean currents.

    Our projects address some of the most-pressing challenges in conservation science. We are looking for students interested in conservation and wants to improve their programming skills.

  • Global change is heavily impacting marine systems thorough warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution, eutrophications, mining and invasive species. We are offering projects investigating time series from around the world:

    • How are plankton, at the base of the food web, impacted by climate change?
    • How are global fish populations responding?
    • Are species doing better inside protected areas?
    • How does climate variablity affect populations?
    • Can we develop a global bioregionalisation based on ecological rather than physical data?
    • How are Australia's marine ecosystem responding to climate change?

    We are looking for a students interested in understanding how humans are impacting our oceans and in improving their statistical and programming skills.

  • Understanding the role of zooplankton is arguably the biggest gap in our knowledge of the ocean carbon cycle. Addressing this gap is therefore critical to improving projections of global carbon sequestration under climate change. Zooplankton constitute 40% of total marine biomass and have diverse roles in active and passive vertical carbon transport across the world’s oceans. Yet all these features are poorly resolved in biogeochemical and ecosystem models. Developing new ways to model zooplankton is key to solving this puzzle. In this project we aim to further resolve zooplankton traits and processes in an innovative ecosystem model. We will use the model to explore present and future impacts of climate change on the global ocean’s capacity to regulate carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Working with an international team of zooplankton ecologists, applied mathematicians and climate change scientists, the PhD student will develop a next-generation global marine ecosystem model that resolves important pathways of carbon transport through the zooplankton. Using this model, the student will quantify the role of zooplankton in regulating the biological pump under climate change.

    The ideal candidate would have demonstrated skills in dynamical modelling (e.g., using differential or difference equations), coding experience (in any programming language), and strong written and communication skills. You do not need to have experience in marine ecology, but you must have a keen interest to learn.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Book Chapter

  • Zingone, Adriana, Escalera, Laura, Bresnan, Eileen, Enevoldsen, Henrik, Provoost, Pieter, Richardson, Anthony J. and Hallegraeff, Gustaaf (2022). Databases for the study of harmful algae, their global distribution and their trends. Guidelines for the study of climate change effects on HABs. (pp. 79-103) edited by M.L. Wells, M. Burford, A. Kremp, M. Montresor and G.C. Pitcher. Paris, France: UNESCO-IOC/SCOR.

  • Richardson, Anthony J., Eriksen, Ruth, Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M., Rochester, Wayne, Pitcher, Grant C. and Burford, Michele (2022). Observing changes in harmful algal blooms over time: long-term observations for studying impacts from climate change. Guidelines for the study of climate change effects on HABs. (pp. 13-35) edited by M.L. Wells, M. Burford, A. Kremp, M. Montresor and G.C. Pitcher. Paris, France: UNESCO-IOC/SCOR.

  • Stern, Rowena, Schroeder, Declan, Highfield, Andrea, Al-Kandari, Manal, Vezzulli, Luigi and Richardson, Anthony (2022). Uses of molecular taxonomy in identifying phytoplankton communities from the Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey. Advances in phytoplankton ecology: applications of emerging technologies. (pp. 47-79) edited by Lesley A. Clementson, Ruth S. Eriksen and Anusuya Willis. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/b978-0-12-822861-6.00009-1

  • Dudgeon, Christine L., Kilpatrick, Carley, Armstrong, Asia, Armstrong, Amelia, Bennett, Mike B., Bowden, Deborah, Richardson, Anthony J., Townsend, Kathy A. and Hawkins, Elizabeth (2019). Citizen science photographic identification of marine megafauna populations in the Moreton Bay Marine Park. Moreton Bay Quandamooka and catchment: past, present, and future. (pp. 475-490) edited by Ian R. Tibbetts, Peter C. Rothlisberg, David T. Neil, Tamara A. Homburg, David T. Brewer and Angela H. Arthington. Newstead, QLD, Australia: The Moreton Bay Foundation. doi: 10.6084/m9.figshare.8085668

  • Richardson, Anthony J., Uribe-Palomino, Julian, Slotwinski, Anita, Coman, Frank, Miskiewicz, Anthony G., Rothlisberg, Peter C., Young, Jock W. and Suthers, Iain M. (2019). Coastal and marine zooplankton: identification, biology and ecology. Plankton: A Guide to Their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality. (pp. 141-208) edited by Iain M. Suthers, David Rissik and Anthony J. Richardson. Clayton, VIC Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Roe, Timothy, Richardson, Anthony J. and Suthers, Iain M. (2019). Educating with Plankton. Plankton: A Guide to Their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality. (pp. 209-222) edited by Iain M. Suthers, David Rissik and Anthony J. Richardson. Clayton, VIC Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Suthers, Iain M., Richardson, Anthony J. and Rissik, David (2019). The importance of plankton. Plankton: A Guide to Their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality. (pp. 1-19) edited by Iain M. Suthers, David Rissik and Anthony J. Richardson. Clayton, VIC Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Rissik, David, Ajani, Penelope, Bowling, Lee, Gibbs, Mark, Kobayashi, Tsuyoshi, Pitt, Kylie, Richardson, Anthony J. and Suthers, Iain M. (2019). Use of plankton for management. Plankton: A Guide to Their Ecology and Monitoring for Water Quality. (pp. 37-61) edited by Iain M. Suthers, David Rissik and Anthony J. Richardson. Clayton, VIC Australia: CSIRO Publishing.

  • Richardson, A. J. (2019). Plankton and Climate. Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences, Third Edition: Volume 1-5. (pp. V6-464-V6-472) Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-813081-0.00659-5

  • Richardson, A. J. (2019). Plankton and climate. Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. (pp. 464-472) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-813081-0.00659-5

  • Hallegraeff, Gustaaf M., Richardson, Anthony J. and Coughlan, Alex (2017). Marine phytoplankton bioregions in Australian seas. Handbook of Australasian Biogeography. (pp. 47-57) edited by Malte C. Ebach. Boca Raton, FL United States: CRC Press. doi: 10.1201/9781315373096

  • Richardson, Anthony J. (2016). How climate change makes me feel. Systemic crises of global climate change: intersections of race, class and gender. (pp. 327-327) edited by Phoebe Godfrey and Denise Torres. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315737454-55

  • Hoegh-Guldberg, Ove, Poloczanska, Elvira and Richardson, Anthony (2013). Australia’s marine resources in a warm, acid ocean. Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a Hot World. (pp. 84-100) edited by Peter Christoff. London, United Kingdom: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9780203370476-14

  • Heckbert, S., Costanza, R., Poloczanska, E. S. and Richardson, A. J. (2011). Cimate regulation as a service from estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Ecological Economics of Estuaries and Coasts. (pp. 199-216) Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elseiver. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-374711-2.01211-0

  • Hobday, Alistair J., Game, Edward T., Grantham, Hedley S. and Richardson, Anthony J. (2011). Missing dimension: Conserving the largest habitat on Earth: protected areas in the pelagic ocean. Marine protected areas: a multidisciplinary approach. (pp. 347-372) Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9781139049382.019

  • Le Borgne, Robert, Allain, Valerie, Griffiths, Shane P., Matear, Richard J., McKinnon, A. David and Richardson, Anthony J. (2011). Vulnerability of open ocean food webs in the tropical Pacific to climate change. Vulnerability of Tropical Pacific Fisheries and Aquaculture to Climate Change. (pp. 189-250) edited by Johann D. Bell, Alistair J. Hobday and Johanna E. Johnson. New Caledonia: Secretariat of the Pacific community.

  • Richardson, A. J. (2010). Plankton and Climate. Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. (pp. 455-464) Elsevier Ltd. doi: 10.1016/B978-012374473-9.00659-7

  • McKinnon, A. D., Richardson, A. J., Burford, M. A. and Furnas, M. J. (2007). Vulnerability of Great Barrier Reef plankton to climate change. Climate Change and the Great Barrier Reef: A Vulnerability Assessment. (pp. 121-152) edited by Johnson, J. E. and Marshall, P. A.. Townsville, Australia: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Cooley, Sarah R., Schoeman, David S., Bopp, Laurent, Boyd, Philip, Donner, Simon, Ito, Shin-Ichi, Kiessling, Wolfgang, Martinetto, Paulina, Ojea, Elena, Racault, Marie-Fanny, Rost, Björn, Skern-Mauritzen, Mette, Ghebrehiwet, Dawit Yemane and Richardson, Anthony J. (2022). Oceans and coastal ecosystems and their services. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781009325844

  • Everett, Jason, Richardson, Anthony, Brito Morales, Isaac, O'Connor, Rosemary, Sykes, Patrick, Dyer, Phil, Rafaela de Albuquerque Ribeiro, Arafeh Dalmau, Nur, Rosa Mar Dominguez, Schoeman, David, Richards, Irene, Stansfield, Bryce, Dominguez Martinez, Rosa, Lawson, Christopher, Heneghan, Ryan, Tin Buenafe and Maya Boueiz (2021). Data and scripts of the manuscript: Climate-smart, 3-D protected areas in the high seas. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/34d915e

  • McGregor, Frazer, Richardson, Anthony J, Armstrong, Amelia J, Armstrong, Asia O and Dudgeon, Christine L (2019). Reef manta ray cut measurements. The University of Queensland. (Dataset) doi: 10.14264/uql.2019.869

  • Richardson, A. J. (2008). Plankton and climate.

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Master Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • The new agreement to increase area-based protection targets globally to 30% by 2030 (currently 8% in the ocean), combined with the recent UN treaty to help protect the high seas, will likely result in the largest-ever expansion of marine protected areas. Our aim is to provide the marine spatial planning approaches and tools to underpin this expansion.

    We offer various PhD projects in marine spatial planning, focusing on designing protected areas that include:

    • Climate change (climate-smart conservation), including climate connectivity (i.e., how best to protect species that shift their distribution in response to climate change).
    • How to conserve biodiversity in a 3-D ocean 8 km deep.
    • Multiple-use spatial planning (i.e., how to zone the ocean for different uses, such as conservation, fishing, renewable energy, shippping and mining).
    • Maximising ecosystem services (e.g., carbon sequestration, serving as nursery grounds for fisheries, and coastal protection).
    • Assessing the benefits and tradeoffs between fisheries and protected areas.
    • How best to prioritise coastal restoration.
    • How to deliver marine spatial planning in the high seas.
    • Connectivity of marine megafauna in protected area networks.
    • Protecting critical habitats of mobile species.
    • Connectivity of seeds and spawning products (eggs and larvae) transported by ocean currents.

    Our projects address some of the most-pressing challenges in conservation science. We are looking for students interested in conservation and wants to improve their programming skills.

  • Global change is heavily impacting marine systems thorough warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, pollution, eutrophications, mining and invasive species. We are offering projects investigating time series from around the world:

    • How are plankton, at the base of the food web, impacted by climate change?
    • How are global fish populations responding?
    • Are species doing better inside protected areas?
    • How does climate variablity affect populations?
    • Can we develop a global bioregionalisation based on ecological rather than physical data?
    • How are Australia's marine ecosystem responding to climate change?

    We are looking for a students interested in understanding how humans are impacting our oceans and in improving their statistical and programming skills.

  • Understanding the role of zooplankton is arguably the biggest gap in our knowledge of the ocean carbon cycle. Addressing this gap is therefore critical to improving projections of global carbon sequestration under climate change. Zooplankton constitute 40% of total marine biomass and have diverse roles in active and passive vertical carbon transport across the world’s oceans. Yet all these features are poorly resolved in biogeochemical and ecosystem models. Developing new ways to model zooplankton is key to solving this puzzle. In this project we aim to further resolve zooplankton traits and processes in an innovative ecosystem model. We will use the model to explore present and future impacts of climate change on the global ocean’s capacity to regulate carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Working with an international team of zooplankton ecologists, applied mathematicians and climate change scientists, the PhD student will develop a next-generation global marine ecosystem model that resolves important pathways of carbon transport through the zooplankton. Using this model, the student will quantify the role of zooplankton in regulating the biological pump under climate change.

    The ideal candidate would have demonstrated skills in dynamical modelling (e.g., using differential or difference equations), coding experience (in any programming language), and strong written and communication skills. You do not need to have experience in marine ecology, but you must have a keen interest to learn.