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Associate Professor Emma Jackson

PhD Seagrass Landscape Ecology
Director - Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre
Research Division
Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre
Gladstone Marina
604 - 1.03
Gladstone Marina Campus
About Me

My research expertise are in the areas of fisheries ecology, seagrass landscape and restoration ecology, impacts on marine species, coastal marine habitats and ecosystem health indicators. My research is driven by the idea that coastal development is an ever-increasing human activity, but that there are ways in which this development can work with nature rather than against it to maintain ecosystem health, in turn supporting our health and wellbeing as humans. Currently I lead a research program on the construction of a science-based framework for seagrass restoration in Queensland, but my past and present research areas include marine conservation management, ecosystem services, marine ecology and marine angiosperms.


Director of the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre

CQUniversity Australia’s Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) has been established to work with coastal industries and communities to develop practical and sustainable solutions for our unique coast and marine environments.

Our goal is to undertake research that works with nature to build an economically and environmentally sustainable future to enrich our coastal communities. To achieve this, CMERC is taking a holistic approach that recognises the place of the communities and industries that live and work along our coastlines. This means our work entails far more than just monitoring the condition of our environments – CMERC is undertaking proactive applied research from coastal catchments to sea to develop practical solutions to the challenges facing coastal and marine ecosystems.

Practical solutions require multidisciplinary approaches and our researchers include ecologists, economists, engineers and social scientists to ensure this work accounts for all aspects of the interaction of the community and industry with coastal and marine ecosystems. They pride themselves on conducting their research where it matters most by living and working in the communities they serve.

Universities Studied At

2003 PhD The importance of seagrass landscapes as fishery species habitat. Plymouth University, UK.
1997 BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology (2:1), University of Stirling, Scotland.

1998 MSc (Distinction) in Marine Resource Development and Protection. Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. Thesis on modelling the distribution and value of seagrass in the Orkney Isles.

Universities Worked At

Marine Institute, Plymouth University, UK

Marine Biological Association of the UK

Media Citations

Previous teaching

Undergraduate teaching

· 2019 Honours preparation (CQU): Course coordinator.

· 2018 Marine and Coastal Resources (CQU): Lecturer.

· 2017 Marine and Coastal Resources (CQU): Lecturer.

· 2016 Invertebrate Zoology (CQU): Course coordinator and lecturer.

· 2015- 2016 Science Investigation (CQU): Course coordinator and lecturer.

· 2016 Marine and Coastal Resources (CQU): Lecturer.

· 2008-2012 Aquatic Ecology (Plymouth University): Lecturer.

· 2011 GIS (Plymouth University): Lecturer

Professional Experience

· Fieldwork and Laboratory skills: Experience of operating sub-littoral remote sampling gear and in situ observations. Good marine macro-invertebrate and vertebrate identification skills.

· Diving: PADI Dive Master, HSE Part 4 (Theory).

· Boat Skills: RYA Powerboat Level 2 (planing and displacement craft, inshore and offshore over 500 helming hours), Competent Crew Certificate and RYA Dinghy Instructor; use of navigational equipment such as GPS, plotters, digital echo-sounder systems and basic radar skills; VHF Licence.

· Full UK and Queensland driving licences

· First Aid at Work Certification.

Professional Memberships

• The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom (MBA) – Associate Fellow

• Australian Marine Sciences Association (AMSA)

• Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association (ECSA)

Professional Interests

  • Seagrass dynamics: landscape ecology, patch dynamics, restoration and faunal habitat modelling;
  • Marine conservation management: vulnerability mapping (recovery and resistance), marine protected area (network design, assessing ecological coherence of MPA networks, stakeholder involvement)
  • Ecosystem services: evaluation, relationships with biodiversity and ecosystem function, interactions and cost benefit analysis (in collaboration)
  • Marine Protected Areas and Reserves: establishment, performance assessment and efficacy;
  • Marine community ecology: fractal patterns, landscape ecology, human impacts, metapopulation ecology; and
  • Marine angiosperm, invertebrate and vertebrate taxonomy.

Key Achievements

2019 Invited Member of the Local Maine Advisory Committee for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

2018 Invited Port of Gladstone Maintenance Dredging Technical Advisory Consultative Committee

2017 Invited Associate Editor for Elsevier Journal Estuarine Coastal Shelf Science

2016 Invited onto the steering committee for the Boyne Calliope Capricornia Catchments Inc.

2015 Invited panel member for the Australian Marine Science Associations Public Forum

2015 Invited Keynote at the Australian Marine Science Association (Geelong, Vic) for a special session on Marine Restoration sponsored by The Nature Conservancy.

2015 Invited Speaker. Griffiths University Australian Rivers Institute Seminar series.

2015 Gold Coast Seagrass Resilience Workshop, Griffiths University. Invited expert.

2014 The Nature Conservancy workshop on marine restoration. Invited expert.

2014 Port Curtis Integrated Management Programme. Invited on to the Technical Sub-Committee.

2014 Environment and Heritage Protection Marine Water column classification workshop, Brisbane – invited expert.

Computer Software

  • Mapping: ESRI ArcGIS, ERDAS ImagineTM, Biosonics DT Analyser, FRAGSTATS.
  • Statistics: Microsoft Excel, PRIMER, WinGMAV5, StatGraphics, Statistica;
  • Modelling: WEMo, Netica, MaxEnt, R.
  • Databases: Microsoft Access, Endnote, Reference Manager;
  • Presentations/Reports: Microsoft Word and Power Point, Adobe Photoshop.

Industry Reports

Jackson, E.L., Maher, D.T., Brooks-English, N. B. & Irving, A. D., 2019. Assessing the feasibility of identifying sediment provenance within dredged channels: a pilot study. Report by CQUniversity Coastal and Marine Ecosystem Research Centre for the Gladstone Port Corporation, Contract number CS18000043, p 24.

Skillington, A. and Jackson, E.L. (2019). Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program Biological Monitoring: Seagrass metal contaminants 2018. Report to PCIMP, CQUniversity, Gladstone, Australia, March 2019

Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership (2018) Technical Report, Gladstone Harbour Report Card2018, GHHP Technical Report No.5. Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, Gladstone. (PDF) Gladstone Harbour Report Card 2018 - Technical Report.

Flint, N., Anastasi, A., Irving, A., De Valck, J., Chua, E., Rose, A., French, K. and Jackson, E.L. (2018). Fish Health Indicators for the Gladstone Harbour Report Card, Final Report to the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership. CQUniversity, Queensland.

Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership (2017) Technical Report, Gladstone Harbour Report Card2017, GHHP Technical Report No.4. Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, Gladstone. (PDF) Gladstone Harbour Report Card 2017 - Technical Report.

Flint, N., Anastasi, A., De Valck, J., Chua, E., Rose, A., and Jackson, E.L. (2017). Developing mud crab indicators for the Gladstone Harbour Report Card. Report to the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership. CQUniversity Australia, Queensland. 62pp.

Jackson, E.L., Davies, J., Rasheed, M.A., Irving, A.D. (2016). Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program Biological Monitoring: Seagrass metal contaminants. Report to PCIMP, CQUniversity, Gladstone, Australia, September 2016.

Connolly RM, Dunn RJK, Flindt MR, Jackson, EL, Kristensen E, McKenna S, Olds AD, Rasheed MA, Schlacher TA, York PH, (2016) Assessment of the effects of foreshore nourishment and mitigation projects on seagrass ecosystems (SRMP-004). Report to Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia, December 2016.

Connolly RM, Dunn RJK, Jackson E.L., Kristensen E, Maxwell PS, Pearson RM, Rasheed MA, York PH (2015) Gold Coast Seagrass Sensitivities and Resilience (SRMP-003). Report to Gold Coast Waterways Authority, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia, June 2015.

Flint, N., Jackson, E.L., Wilson, S., Verlis, K., Rolfe, J. (2015). Synthesis of water quality influences in ports of the Fitzroy region, Queensland. A report to the Fitzroy Basin Association for the Fitzroy Water Quality Improvement Plan. CQUniversity Australia, North Rockhampton, Queensland.

Luisetti, T. and Jackson, E.L. (2014). Blue Carbon Case study. In: Dickie, I., Cryle, P. & Maskell, L. (2014) UK National Ecosystem Assessment Follow-on. Work Package Report 1: Developing the evidence base for a Natural Capital Asset Check: What characteristics should we understand in order to improve environmental appraisal and natural income accounts? UNEP-WCMC, LWEC, UK.

Foster, N. L., Sciberras, M., Jackson, E. L., Ponge, B., Toison, V., Carrier, S., Christiansen, S., Lemasson, A., Wort, E. and Attrill, M. (2014). Assessing the Ecological Coherence of the Channel MPA Network. Report prepared by the Marine Institute for the Protected Area Network Across the Channel Ecosystem (PANACHE) project. INTERREG programme France (Channel) England funded project, 156 pp

Thomson, M. & Jackson, E.L., with Kalkonen, J. (2014). Seagrass (Zostera) beds in Orkney. Scottish Natural Heritage Commissioned Report No. 765.

d’Avack, E.A.S., Tillin, H., Jackson, E.L. and Tyler-Walters, H. (2014). Assessing the sensitivity of seagrass bed biotopes to pressures associated with marine activities. JNCC Report no. 505. Peterborough, Joint Nature Conservation Committee.


Editorial Reviews and Peer reviews

Associate Editor for Elsevier Journal Estuarine Coastal Shelf Science

Reviews for Journals

• Aquatic Botany
• Austral Ecology
• Biological Conservation
• Biologia Marina Mediterranea
• Botanica Marina
• Bulletin of Marine Science
• Estuaries and Coasts
• Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
• ICES Journal of Marine Science
• Marine Biology
• Marine Ecology Progress Series
• Marine Pollution Bulletin

Examined University Thesis, Dissertations, Confirmations
• Plymouth University

• CQuniversity

Peer Review for Government and Non-government Agencies
• Department of the Environment Fisheries and Rural Affairs (UK)
• Natural England (UK)
• Natural Environmental Research Council (UK)
• Maryland Sea Grant, NOAA (USA)
• National Science Foundation (USA)

Consultancy Work

Research Supervision

I am currently accredited for supervision in the following:

  • Ecological Applications
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science and Management

At the level of Principal Supervisor

Current Capacity
I am currently available to supervise more research candidates
No Supervisions to display.
Research Interests
Biological Sciences

Ecology - Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)

Biological Sciences

Plant Biology - Plant Developmental and Reproductive Biology

Environmental Sciences

Ecological Applications - Ecological Impacts of Climate Change

Environmental Sciences

Ecological Applications - Ecosystem Function

Environmental Sciences

Ecological Applications - Landscape Ecology

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