Humans no matter where they live, leave behind detrimental impacts on the environment. These footprints include: water and atmospheric pollution, land clearing, rubbish and unsustainable resource use. Many environments are now so populated with people they require constant management intervention to prevent large scale degradation and species loss. Rottnest Island, with over 550 000 visitors each year and a rich cultural history, is a perfect microcosm in which to study the effects of humans on their environment and the success of management interventions and education strategies. Success at Rottnest, will provide invaluable lessons for many other islands with increasing visitor numbers, both big and small. This research will focus on three major impacts: marine debris, habitat loss and climate change with the view to mitigating or reducing these impacts.
Meet the Scientists
Research Manager, Earthwatch
Chris Gillies graduated with honours from University of Technology, Sydney in 2004 and has since worked consistently in the environmental industry for the NSW EPA, Biotrack Australia, Institute of Water and Environmental Resource Management and the Australian Antarctic Division before joining Earthwatch in May 2011. Chris has a diverse expertise in freshwater, terrestrial and marine invertebrate ecology, riverine and landscape assessment and Antarctic coastal ecology. During his PhD studies on shallow water food webs of coastal Antarctica spent three seasons living and working in Antarctica and Macquarie Island and was a member of the of the 2009 Davis dive team. His current research interests include human impacts on coastal ecosystems, including marine debris and climate change. As research manager, Chris coordinates the science and development of new Earthwatch projects, liaises with the scientific community and is part of the ClimateWatch development team