About the EICC

The EICC logo

Experimental work in coastal habitats has provided insight into the way species respond to disturbances. Before we can understand the ecology of coastal habitats, we need to link together knowledge about life-histories, interactions and patterns of change in the diverse sets of species which live with us on the coast. Most of this work has been done at a small scale and does not integrate patterns and dynamics from one habitat to another, even though the animals and plants often live across wide ranges of habitats. We need new types of research to solve the problems that arise in managing pollution, building, fishing and all of the other problems caused by coastal cities.

The Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities is doing the necessary research to improve our understanding of the ecological processes affected by coastal changes so that we can make better progress in our protection and use of coastal habitats. The research focuses on the development of new methods to assess ecological changes and on procedures for interpreting changes when they occur. Both require long-term, large-scale studies in disturbed and other habitats. We are using modern experimental techniques to test theories about responses to disturbances, so that predictions will be improved for our future responses to environmental changes.

By bringing together expertise from a range of ecological disciplines (including experimental design, statistical analysis, genetics, population processes and modelling), the Centre has created a new focus for understanding natural changes in addition to those changes brought about by coastal development. By focusing on the core ecological processes that maintain diverse systems of species, the Centre's work provides new opportunities for improved management of habitats that are increasingly threatened by our coastal activities.

History of the EICC

The Centre for Research on Ecological Impacts of Coastal Cities was established in 1997 by a Special Research Centre grant to Professors A. J. Underwood and Dr. M. G. Chapman. Their vision was for a research centre that linked high quality research and research training for graduate students on marine ecology with the needs of society and managers to manage changes in the marine environment associated with urbanization.

Over the life of the ARC funding (1997-2005) the EICC was very successful. From 1997 to 2005 the EICC produced over 440 publications, earned over $.8.3 million in research grants and supervised 24 PhD students and 9 Masters students.

In 2005 the ARC Special Research Funding ceased and Associate Professor Ross Coleman was appointed to be Director upon the retirement of Profs Underwood and Chapman in 2008. The EICC became part of the School of Biological Sciences in January 2009, with a new Directorial team of A/Prof Coleman, A/Prof Ashley Ward and Dr Will Figueira, building on the outstanding achievements of Tony Underwood and Gee Chapman. This success was built on the development of new techniques, engagement with end-users of research to solve real ecological problems associated with the urbanization of coastal waterways.