A senior research fellow at The University of Western Australia is one of only two Australians to be awarded a prestigious international grant to address some of the most critical challenges facing the world’s oceans.
Dr Ana M. M. Sequeira from UWA’s Oceans Institute has been selected by The Pew Charitable Trusts to join the Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation.
As one of eight international scientists and conservationists awarded, she will receive a grant of US $150,000 over three years to support her research.
Dr Sequeira’s research focuses on analysing movement data of large marine animals such as whales, sharks and sea turtles, and she is behind a global initiative to coordinate and integrate the tracking data of these species.
The conservation of these large marine animals is challenged by their moving through ecosystems and into the high seas, which make up approximately two-thirds of the global ocean, outside of national jurisdictions.
To address this knowledge gap, Dr Sequeira will develop predictive models and use their occurrence to identify key biodiversity areas and classify threats among different species groups.
In collaboration with a large network of researchers, her work will inform conservation priorities on the high seas and advance global protection for marine megafauna.
“I would like to see real, effective change in the conservation management of marine megafauna species,” Dr Sequeira said.
“Effective protection must include a global perspective on the extent of impacts on these species due to human activities in the ocean, and also consider their movements across jurisdictions.”
UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Tim Colmer said Dr Sequeira’s selection as Pew Fellow was recognition of the significant international impact of her research.
“It’s great to see our researchers getting the support they need to continue their important role in solving the world’s grand challenges, including the conservation of our marine animals,” Professor Colmer said. “Oceans research is a flagship of UWA and we are delighted the PEW Fellowship will be hosted here.”
Dr Sequeira, who has just had a News & Views piece published in Nature, joins Pew’s active community of more than 180 individuals in over 39 countries.
Selected by an independent international committee of senior professionals in marine science and conservation, each fellow is recognised for their outstanding record of applying high-quality, evidence-based research to protect marine ecosystems and wildlife.