CIE Seminar Series 2022: Assessing resilience in Australian abalone fisheries experiencing rapid environmental change

SPEAKER: Dr. Owen Holland, EcoGenetics Lab, Deakin University.

DATE & TIME: Thursday 29th September 2022 @ 4pm.

LOCATION: Via Zoom. Click HERE to connect (Meeting ID: 812 5556 2274, Password: 89428618).

Scroll down for more options on how to connect.


Climate change induced ocean warming, ocean acidification, reduced oxygen solubility, and shifts in oceanic currents are pushing species beyond their physiological limits, causing changes in species distributions, and decoupling critical trophic interactions that regulate marine biodiversity and ecosystem function.

These effects are especially pervasive in south-eastern Australia, a region prone to marine heatwaves and where temperatures are rising at four times the global average. Here, the largest abalone (Haliotis spp.) fisheries in the world operates, providing substantial value for the national economy.

These fisheries have suffered declines in recent history as a result of elevated sea surface temperatures, overexploitation and disease, and are expected to face increasing pressures that could compromise the future viability of fishing stocks in this climate change hotspot.

Characterising the likely responses of abalone experiencing rapid changes in the environment is therefore critical for developing adaptive management strategies, particularly in response to ocean warming, shifts in resource availability, and disease.

Here, I will describe how I aimed to disentangle the direct and indirect effects of ocean warming on south-eastern Australian abalone fisheries, and the potential for adaptive responses relating to pressures associated with shifts in trophic interactions, disease, and thermal stress.

Overall, I demonstrate that the effects of climate change on abalone fisheries are likely to be complex involving both direct and indirect effects, but that rapid evolutionary responses to some environmental challenges are indeed possible. The management implications of the findings for each research chapter and scope for further research is discussed in detail.

It is hoped that the emergent outputs from this thesis will help inform future adaptive management strategies and Australian abalone fisheries, as well as global fisheries threatened by climate change.


Owen is a postdoc with the Warrnambool branch of the EcoGenetics Lab, investigating patterns of stock connectivity in Southern Ocean crab fisheries (Pseudocarcinus gigas and Leptomithrax gaimardii) using population genomic techniques.

His research aims to provide managers with a resource for establishing sustainable management programs that account for patterns of stock connectivity and the sensitivities of individual stocks to environmental disturbance and fishing pressure.

He also continues to work with an extended network of collaborators on a suite of other genetic and genomic research projects, with a particular interest in investigating how both terrestrial and aquatic taxa are likely to adapt and evolve in response to climate change and other environmental changes, to better inform conservation, restoration and industry efforts.

Additionally, Owen works alongside an extended group of collaborators applying technical genetic skills to multiple fields within the ecological sciences.

Follow Owen on Twitter

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.

Thanking you in advance!

More options on how to connect:

One tap mobile
+61370182005,,81255562274# Australia
+61731853730,,81255562274# Australia

Dial by your location
+61 3 7018 2005 Australia
+61 7 3185 3730 Australia
+61 8 6119 3900 Australia
+61 8 7150 1149 Australia
+61 2 8015 6011 Australia
Meeting ID: 812 5556 2274
Find your local number:

Join by SIP

Join by Skype for Business