Restoring coastal ecosystems in a time of change

Christopher Hepburn

Department of Marine Science, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

For the last the last 15 years, I has led transformative climate change, aquaculture and fisheries research and teaching programmes in partnership with coastal communities.  Key to this work is building capacity and applying fit-for-purpose research to empower decision-makers to alter public policy surrounding marine management and restoration.  We have currently a number of projects on coastal ecosystem restoration focusing on ecosystem engineers and cultural keystones – working alongside indigenous communities who are strongly connected to productive coastal seas. I am Co-Director of the new marine and climate changed focused national Centre of Research Excellence, Coastal People: Southern Skies.   We have an active and diverse lab group and is committed to supporting the leaders of coastal communities and training the next generation of scientists equipped to gather and share the knowledge we need to traverse an uncertain future. Here, I will present work on the management and restoration of kelp forests and connected ecosystems in southern New Zealand.  Kelp forests are inherently connected to coastal economies and culture.  These values been badly compromised by sedimentation because of poor land management over the last 50 years.