Kirsty Nash

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Kirsty Nash

Kirsty L. Nash

Research Fellow

Room 113.22, IMAS Waterfront, Hobart CBD Campuses

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Dr Kirsty Nash is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Marine Socioecology in the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. She is interested in the resilience of marine ecosystems and the functional and spatial ecology of fishes. Her research sits at the nexus between resilience theory and empiricism: she is particularly interested in testing the practical application of theory with empirical data and modelling.


Kirsty is a marine ecologist.  She joined the Centre for Marine Socioecology at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) in February 2016.  Kirsty has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Oceanography with Marine Biology from the University of Southampton, UK.  Her Honours thesis examined the stable isotope profiles of sea urchins from coastal waters of the Galapagos Islands.  In 2002 she moved to Australia and completed a Masters of Applied Science in Tropical Marine Ecology at James Cook University, Townsville, studying the ecology of brown band syndrome in scleractinian corals on the Great Barrier Reef. She then spent a number of years doing field research and teaching field techniques in association with the Marine Park Authority in the Seychelles, and teaching undergraduate courses in marine biology and oceanography in the Caribbean.  In 2009, Kirsty returned to Australia, completing a Masters of Education at Charles Sturt University and a PhD (

Cum Laude) at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.  Her PhD thesis explored the spatial ecology of reef fishes as it relates to ecosystem resilience.  Prior to joining the University of Tasmania, she was a postdoc at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, in Townsville.

Career summary


PhD (Cum Laude)

Scale dependent function in reef fish and application to the evaluation of coral reef resilience.

James Cook University



Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics


Charles Sturt University



Masters of Education (Distinction)


Charles Sturt University



Masters of Applied Science in Tropical Ecology and Fisheries

Aspects of the ecology of brown band syndrome in Acroporids.

James Cook University



Bachelor of Science (Hons) in Oceanography with Marine Biology

Stable isotope profiles in the Echinoid Eucidaris thousarii: a record of ocean variability in the Galapagos Archipelago.

University of Southampton




Professional practice

International Society for Reef Studies

Australian Coral Reef Society

Professional Association of Dive Instructors

Administrative expertise

Managing international working groups


Marine Biology, Oceanography, Statistics

Teaching expertise

Kirsty has taught both postgraduate and undergraduate level courses: 'Intro to R' (Postgraduate), 'Introduction to Marine Biology' (Undergraduate), 'Introduction to Oceanography' (Undergraduate).

View more on Dr Kirsty Nash in WARP


  • Resilience of marine ecosystems
  • Ecosystem structure and function
  • Spatial ecology of fishes
  • Small-scale tropical fisheries

Research Themes

Kirsty's research spans the University's research themes of Marine, Antarctic and Maritime, and Environment, Resources and Sustainability.The overarching theme of Kirsty's research is the resilience of marine ecosystems.  Her research is split into three main areas: i) the cross-scale and spatial resilience of ecological communities, using discontinuity analysis and approaches to elucidate cross-scale patterns; ii) ecological indicators for data-poor, tropical fisheries; and iii) the functional and spatial ecology of fishes.  Important underlying themes of her research are body size distributions, the importance of structural and habitat complexity in driving community composition, and cross-scale patterns, interactions and feedbacks.


Kirsty is involved in a number of international projects exploring the resilience of marine ecosystems, including:

Managing for Resilience Working Group: interdisciplinary, international collaboration among scientists and managers from the US, Canada, Sweden, South Africa, and Australia.  Group working towards bridging the gap between science and management with respect to the monitoring and managing of ecosystems within a resilience framework.Spatial and Functional Ecology of Reef Fishes: collaboration with scientists from Norway, Philippines, UK and Australia exploring how the spatial ecology of coral reef fishes changes in response to habitat condition.


2015 James Cook University Medal for Academic Excellence

2013 Great Barrier Reef Foundation Bommies Award for Science Communication

2012 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Science for Management Award

2011 'My research in 3 minutes' competition - University Winner & National Finalist

2011 Resilience 2011 Conference Poster Award2011-2014 Australian Postgraduate Award

Current projects

Current projects include:

(1) examining the resilience of marine ecosystems through the lens of planetary boundaries; 
(2) exploring methods for setting fishery targets for data poor fisheries using fisheries-independent data; and 
(3) studying how the functional impact of fishes change on reefs of different condition through the interplay between the foraging movements of fishes and their grazing rates.

Fields of Research

  • Ecosystem Function (050102)
  • Fisheries Management (070403)
  • Community Ecology (060202)
  • Aquatic Ecosystem Studies and Stock Assessment (070402)
  • Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology) (060205)
  • Environmental Management (050205)
  • Conservation and Biodiversity (050202)
  • Biostatistics (010402)
  • Environment Policy (160507)
  • Palaeoecology (060206)
  • Environmental Sciences (059999)
  • Ecological Impacts of Climate Change (050101)
  • Food Nutritional Balance (090803)

Research Objectives

  • Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960808)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales (960501)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments (960507)
  • Social Impacts of Climate Change and Variability (960311)
  • Coastal and Marine Management Policy (960701)
  • Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960807)
  • Wild Caught Fin Fish (excl. Tuna) (830204)
  • Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity (960806)
  • Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales (960805)
  • Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change (960305)
  • Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences (970105)
  • Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments (960503)
  • Nutrition (920411)


Kirsty has published papers on a range of topics including the resilience of marine ecosystems, the spatial and functional ecology of fishes, the importance of habitat complexity across ecosystems, and regime shifts in palaeoecological data.  A number of her papers have been ISI Web of Science Hot Papers or ISI Web of Science Highly Cited Papers.  She has published in a wide range of journals, including Ecology, Ecological Applications, Coral Reefs, Conservation Biology and Ecosystems.

Total publications


Journal Article

(36 outputs)
2019Cottrell RS, Nash KL, Halpern BS, Remenyi TA, Corney SP, et al., 'Food production shocks across land and sea', Nature Sustainability, 2, (2) pp. 130-137. ISSN 2398-9629 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41893-018-0210-1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2

Co-authors: Cottrell RS; Remenyi TA; Corney SP; Fleming A; Fulton EA; Watson RA; Blanchard JL


2019Stephenson RL, Hobday AJ, Cvitanovic C, Alexander KA, Begg GA, et al., 'A practical framework for implementing and evaluating integrated management of marine activities', Ocean and Coastal Management, 177 pp. 127-138. ISSN 0964-5691 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2019.04.008 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hobday AJ; Alexander KA; Frusher S; Fudge ME; Fulton EA; Haward M; Macleod C; McDonald Jan; Ogier E; Pecl GT; Plaganyi EE; van Putten I


2018Barichievy C, Angeler DG, Eason T, Garmestani AS, Nash KL, et al., 'A method to detect discontinuities in census data', Ecology and Evolution, 8, (19) pp. 9614-9623. ISSN 2045-7758 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4297 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 2


2018Sundstrom SM, Angeler DG, Barichievy C, Eason T, Garmestani A, et al., 'The distribution and role of functional abundance in cross-scale resilience', Ecology, 99, (11) pp. 2421-2432. ISSN 0012-9658 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ecy.2508 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2


2018Alexander KA, Hobday AJ, Cvitanovic C, Ogier E, Nash KL, et al., 'Progress in integrating natural and social science in marine ecosystem-based management research', Marine and Freshwater Research, 70, (1) pp. 71-83. ISSN 1323-1650 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1071/MF17248 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 2

Co-authors: Alexander KA; Hobday AJ; Cvitanovic C; Ogier E; Cottrell RS; Fleming A; Fudge M; Fulton EA; Frusher S; Kelly R; MacLeod CK; Pecl GT; van Putten I; Vince J; Watson RA


2018Clements CF, Blanchard JL, Nash KL, Hindell MA, Ozgul A, 'Reply to Whaling catch data are not reliable for analyses of body size shifts'', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2 pp. 757-758. ISSN 2397-334X (2018) [Letter or Note in Journal]

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0537-z [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Blanchard JL; Hindell MA


2017Blythe J, Nash K, Yates J, Cumming G, 'Feedbacks as a bridging concept for advancing transdisciplinary sustainability research', Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 26-27 pp. 114-119. ISSN 1877-3435 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1016/j.cosust.2017.05.004 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6Web of Science - 5


2017Clements CF, Blanchard JL, Nash KL, Hindell MA, Ozgul A, 'Body size shifts and early warning signals precede the historic collapse of whale stocks', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1 Article 0188. ISSN 2397-334X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0188 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 9

Co-authors: Blanchard JL; Hindell MA


2017Blanchard JL, Watson RA, Fulton EA, Cottrell RS, Nash KL, et al., 'Linked sustainability challenges and trade-offs among fisheries, aquaculture and agriculture', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1 pp. 1240-1249. ISSN 2397-334X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0258-8 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 17Web of Science - 18

Co-authors: Blanchard JL; Watson RA; Fulton EA; Cottrell RS


2017Cvitanovic C, Hobday AJ, McDonald J, Van Putten EI, Nash KL, 'Governing fisheries through the critical decade: the role and utility of polycentric systems', Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 28, (1) pp. 1-18. ISSN 0960-3166 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s11160-017-9495-9 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 1Web of Science - 9

Co-authors: Cvitanovic C; Hobday AJ; McDonald J; Van Putten EI


2017Darling ES, Graham NAJ, Januchowski-Hartley FA, Nash KL, Pratchett MS, et al., 'Relationships between structural complexity, coral traits, and reef fish assemblages', Coral Reefs, 36, (2) pp. 561-575. ISSN 0722-4028 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-017-1539-z [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 39Web of Science - 35


2017Nash KL, Cvitanovic C, Fulton EA, Halpern BS, Milner-Gulland EJ, et al., 'Planetary boundaries for a blue planet', Nature Ecology and Evolution, 1 pp. 1625-1634. ISSN 2397-334X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41559-017-0319-z [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 15Web of Science - 16

Co-authors: Cvitanovic C; Fulton EA; Watson RA; Blanchard JL


2017Nash KL, Watson RA, Halpern BS, Fulton EA, Blanchard JL, 'Improving understanding of the functional diversity of fisheries by exploring the influence of global catch reconstruction', Scientific Reports, 7 Article 10746. ISSN 2045-2322 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-10723-1 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Watson RA; Fulton EA; Blanchard JL


2017Sundstrom SM, Eason T, Nelson RJ, Angeler DG, Barichievy C, et al., 'Detecting spatial regimes in ecosystems', Ecology Letters, 20, (1) pp. 19-32. ISSN 1461-023X (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/ele.12709 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 14Web of Science - 11


2017Cottrell RS, Fleming A, Fulton EA, Nash KL, Watson RA, et al., 'Considering land-sea interactions and trade-offs for food and biodiversity', Global Change Biology, 24, (2) pp. 580-596. ISSN 1354-1013 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13873 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: Cottrell RS; Fleming A; Fulton EA; Watson RA; Blanchard JL


2016Lefevre CD, Nash KL, Gonzalez-Cabello A, Bellwood DR, 'Consequences of extreme life history traits on population persistence: do short-lived gobies face demographic bottlenecks?', Coral Reefs, 35, (2) pp. 399-409. ISSN 0722-4028 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-016-1406-3 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 10Web of Science - 10


2016Nash KL, Abesamis RA, Graham NAJ, McClure EC, Moland E, 'Drivers of herbivory on coral reefs: species, habitat and management effects', Marine Ecology Progress Series, 554 pp. 129-140. ISSN 0171-8630 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3354/meps11795 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 8


2016Nash KL, Bijoux J, Robinson J, Wilson SK, Graham NAJ, 'Harnessing fishery-independent indicators to aid management of data-poor fisheries: weighing habitat and fishing effects', Ecosphere, 7, (7) Article e01362. ISSN 2150-8925 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1362 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 8Web of Science - 8


2016Nash KL, Graham NAJ, 'Ecological indicators for coral reef fisheries management', Fish and Fisheries, 17, (4) pp. 1029-1054. ISSN 1467-2960 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/faf.12157 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 10


2016Spanbauer TL, Allen CR, Angeler DG, Eason T, Fritz SC, et al., 'Body size distributions signal a regime shift in a lake ecosystem', Royal Society of London. Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 283, (1833) Article 20160249. ISSN 0962-8452 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.0249 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 16Web of Science - 16


2015Angeler DG, Allen CR, Barichievy C, Eason T, Garmestani AS, et al., 'Management applications of discontinuity theory', Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 pp. 688-698. ISSN 0021-8901 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12494 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 22


2015Nash KL, Welsh JQ, Graham NAJ, Bellwood DR, 'Home‑range allometry in coral reef fishes: comparison to other vertebrates, methodological issues and management implications', Oecologia, 177, (1) pp. 73-83. ISSN 0029-8549 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00442-014-3152-y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 43Web of Science - 39


2015Nash KL, Graham NAJ, Jennings S, Wilson SK, Bellwood DR, 'Herbivore cross-scale redundancy supports response diversity and promotes coral reef resilience', Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 pp. 646-655. ISSN 0021-8901 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12430 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 48Web of Science - 40


2014Chong-Seng KM, Nash KL, Bellwood DR, Graham NAJ, 'Macroalgal herbivory on recovering versus degrading coral reefs', Coral Reefs, 33, (2) pp. 409-419. ISSN 0722-4028 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-014-1134-5 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 33Web of Science - 30


2014Graham NAJ, Chong-Seng KM, Huchery C, Januchowski-Hartley FA, Nash KL, 'Coral reef community composition in the context of disturbance history on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia', PLoS ONE, 9, (7) Article e101204. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0101204 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 25Web of Science - 23


2014Nash KL, Allen CR, Angeler DG, Barichievy C, Eason T, et al., 'Discontinuities, cross-scale patterns, and the organization of ecosystems', Ecology, 95, (3) pp. 654-667. ISSN 0012-9658 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1890/13-1315.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 63Web of Science - 58


2014Nash KL, Allen CR, Barichievy C, Nystrom M, Sundstrom S, et al., 'Habitat structure and body size distributions: cross-ecosystem comparison for taxa with determinate and indeterminate growth', Oikos, 123, (8) pp. 971-983. ISSN 0030-1299 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/oik.01314 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 13


2014Spanbauer TL, Allen CR, Angeler DG, Eason T, Fritz SC, et al., 'Prolonged instability prior to a regime shift', PLoS ONE, 9, (10) Article e108936. ISSN 1932-6203 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108936 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 31Web of Science - 27


2014Zhang SY, Speare KE, Long ZT, McKeever KA, Gyoerkoe M, et al., 'Is coral richness related to community resistance to and recovery from disturbance?', PeerJ, 2 Article e308. ISSN 2167-8359 (2014) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.7717/peerj.308 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 8


2013Graham NAJ, Nash KL, 'The importance of structural complexity in coral reef ecosystems', Coral Reefs, 32, (2) pp. 315-326. ISSN 0722-4028 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-012-0984-y [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 232Web of Science - 221


2013Nash KL, Graham NAJ, Bellwood DR, 'Fish foraging patterns, vulnerability to fishing, and implications for the management of ecosystem function across scales', Ecological Applications, 23, (7) pp. 1632-1644. ISSN 1051-0761 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1890/12-2031.1 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 27Web of Science - 24


2013Nash KL, Graham NAJ, Wilson SK, Bellwood DR, 'Cross-scale habitat structure drives fish body size distributions on coral reefs', Ecosystems, 16, (3) pp. 478-490. ISSN 1432-9840 (2013) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s10021-012-9625-0 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 51Web of Science - 46


2012Januchowski-Hartley FA, Nash KL, Lawton RJ, 'Influence of spear guns, dive gear and observers on estimating fish flight initiation distance on coral reefs', Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 469 pp. 113-119. ISSN 0171-8630 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3354/meps09971 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 33Web of Science - 31


2012Nash KL, Graham NAJ, Januchowski-Hartley FA, Bellwood DR, 'Influence of habitat condition and competition on foraging behaviour of parrotfishes', Marine Ecology - Progress Series, 457 pp. 113-124. ISSN 0171-8630 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.3354/meps09742 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 22Web of Science - 23


2012Wilson SK, Graham NAJ, Fisher R, Robinson J, Nash KL, et al., 'Effect of macroalgal expansion and marine protected areas on coral recovery following a climatic disturbance', Conservation Biology, 26, (6) pp. 995-1004. ISSN 0888-8892 (2012) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2012.01926.x [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 42Web of Science - 34


2011Graham NAJ, Nash KL, Kool JT, 'Coral reef recovery dynamics in a changing world', Coral Reefs, 30, (2) pp. 283-294. ISSN 0722-4028 (2011) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1007/s00338-010-0717-z [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 124Web of Science - 111



(1 outputs)
2018Harvey BJ, Nash KL, Blanchard JL, Edwards DP, 'Ecosystem-based management of coral reefs under climate change', Ecology and Evolution, 8, (12) pp. 6354-6368. ISSN 2045-7758 (2018) [Substantial Review]

DOI: 10.1002/ece3.4146 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 1

Co-authors: Blanchard JL


Research Supervision




PhDModelling Biodiversity Related Ecosystem Processes as a Complex Adaptive System2016