Dr Beth Fulton

Dr Beth Fulton leads an ecosystem modelling group at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart.

Dr Beth Fulton: a world leader in marine ecosystem modelling

Dr Beth Fulton is internationally recognised for her expertise in marine ecosystem modelling.

  • 7 November 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

Current activities

Dr Beth Fulton is an ecosystem modeller with the Wealth from Oceans Flagship.

She leads a marine ecosystem modelling team based at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Dr Fulton is the developer of Atlantis, one of world’s most successful models in the relatively young field of whole-of-ecosystem modelling for the marine environment.

Marine ecosystem modelling supports management that seeks to balance sensible development and resource use with the conservation of biodiversity and functioning marine ecosystems.

Atlantis is used to provide strategic advice to the Australian Fisheries Management Authority concerning the Southern and Eastern Scalefish and Shark Fishery, and has been applied to more than 20 marine ecosystems in Australian, United States, Norwegian, Mexican, South African and Caribbean waters.

As well as developing Atlantis, Dr Fulton is a co-developer of the InVitro modelling framework, which allows simultaneous consideration of multiple uses of the marine environment including:

  • oil and gas
  • transport
  • tourism
  • commercial and recreational fishing.

InVitro is being used to evaluate regional marine plans as part of Australia’s Oceans Policy.

Dr Fulton is the developer of Atlantis, one of world’s most successful whole-of-ecosystem models for the marine environment.

Dr Fulton’s work involves:

  • ongoing development of the Atlantis modelling framework
  • development of the expanded InVitro modelling framework
  • developing tools for ecosystem-based management
  • implementing ecosystem-based models for regional-scale management strategy evaluation in Australia and internationally (primarily in the United States)
  • leading the ecological and ecosystem modelling group at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research in Hobart
  • supervision of two postdoctoral fellows and three graduate students.

Background

Dr Fulton joined CSIRO as a Postdoctoral Fellow in 2001 to identify robust indicators of the ecological effects of fishing and as a developer of regional management evaluation models for southeast and northwest Australian waters.

The indicators she identified have been used as the base set first considered in most ecosystem-based management studies in the Pacific Rim and European countries.

Academic qualifications

Dr Fulton completed a:

  • Bachelor of Science with Honours at James Cook University, Townsville, in 1997
  • Doctor of Philosophy with the University of Tasmania and CSIRO Marine Research in 2001.

Her Honours thesis was on the catch rate determinants of Plectropomus leopardus during the spawning season and the implications of spatial closures for stock management.

Her doctoral work was on the effects of the structure and formulation of ecosystem models on model performance.

Achievements

Dr Fulton is an Honorary Associate at the Centre for Marine Science, University of Tasmania, where she lectures to postgraduates in the field of quantitative marine ecosystem modelling. She has received:

  • a 2010 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation to develop models for assessing how marine biodiversity is affected by pressures such as overfishing and climate change
  • the 2007 Science Minister’s Prize for Life Scientist of the Year for her achievements in marine ecosystem modelling and the impact of her work in regional marine planning, managing the impacts of fishing, and understanding and managing climate change
  • the 2004 Royal Society of Tasmania’s PhD award
  • the 2002 Dean’s commendation for outstanding PhD by research
  • the 1997 James Cook University Medal in Marine Biology and Mathematics and Statistics.

Read more about the research in: Atlantis ecosystem model rated best in the world.