CIE Seminar Series – 2019: Climate change and biodiversity – resilience for an uncertain future

SPEAKER: Prof Stephen Williams, College of Science & Engineering, Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD

DATE: Friday, 12th April 2019

TIME: 1:30pm

LOCATION: Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds – Room ka4.207 (Green room)

Seminar will also be video linked to the following campuses: Melbourne Campus at Burwood –Burwood Corporate Centre and Warrnambool Campus, Room J2.19 (Fishbowl)

External visitors – wish to join us and connect to our seminars?
External parties may connect to the live seminar via *N SEBE VMP LES Seminars [ID.36958] via the methods listed below:

  • For external guests, you can connect as a web guest by clicking HERE. If using Chrome you it will prompt you to install the Cisco Jaba Plugin, then it will prompt you to download the extension which you will need to install. Once this has been installed, you will have a black screen with a call button. You will just need to click call and it should connect into the VMP.
  • For Deakin staff and students, please join via Skype for Business (Lync) – if you have office installed you may already have Skype for business or Lync installed. You just need to look for it on the start menu. If you find it, you can log into skype using your Deakin email and password and then dial 36958.
  • Could not log in? More info on how to connect is available HERE or HERE.
  • From a mobile phone or landline: call +613 92517000, wait for the prompt,then enter the five digit VMP number (36958)
  • Please note that connection is only available while a seminar is taking place.

As a courtesy, we request that when connecting to the seminar that you mute your microphone unless you are required to speak, this would ensure that the sound from the speaker to the audience is not disrupted by feedback from your microphone – thank you!


The Australian Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is the highest biodiversity region in Australia (45% of all vertebrate species) and was recently described as the second most important World Heritage Area in the world because of the unique concentration of endemic, rare and ancient species. The vertebrate fauna of the Wet Tropics has outstanding and exceptionally high levels of endemism and diversity with the highest concentration in the mountain rainforests.

Unfortunately, the amazing biodiversity of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area is in trouble. Long-term monitoring demonstrates that many species have already declined in both distribution area and population size and these trends are continuing. Declines are particularly obvious in the endemic, rare, ancient and rainforest specialized species that are the key components of the regions outstanding value. Climate change is already causing significant impacts with many species disappearing at the lower elevation, warmer part of their range – Ringtail Possums and approximately 50% of the rainforest birds already show changes in abundance and distribution in accord with expectations associated with climate change. In fact, impacts are happening earlier and faster than predicted. There is a very real potential for significant biodiversity loss, especially of the high conservation value species that the region was originally protected to preserve.


I founded the Centre for Tropical Biodiversity & Climate Change research (CTBCC) at James Cook University in 2006 and was the inaugural Director for six years (2006-2012) and subsequently the program leader for the Global Change Program. I was the convenor/director of the NCCARF National Adaptation Research Network – Terrestrial Biodiversity (2009-2013) and then directed the Natural Ecosystems Network under NCCARF II (2014-2017). I was the founding Chair of the IUCN Climate Change & Biodiversity Specialist Group and Chaired the Wet Tropics Management Authority Science Advisory Committee for five years.

My research is focused on understanding biodiversity, assessing the vulnerability of ecosystems to global change and using this knowledge to maximise the positive benefits of natural resource management and policy.

Appointments with speaker may be made via John Endler (

For more info: