Australian Society For Fish Biology

Gretta Pecl

While many know Dr. Pecl for her outstanding academic career, Gretta has also been a positive mentor to students and junior staff and an exemplary role model for women in science. To date her numerous achievements have focused on innovative research which has been pioneered in Tasmania and is now being adopted and adapted nationally and internationally.  Dr Pecl has a career total of 65 publications with over 130 co-authors from more than 40 institutes around the world. Her publications are all in journals ranked in the top quarter for both fisheries and marine biology, with impact factors above the median for these fields.

Over the last 7 years Dr Pecl’s research has focused on the impacts of climate change on the marine domain and adaptation options for users. Tasmania lies within one of the fastest warming regions globally resulting in rapid change. Recognising the urgency to understand how both the biological ecosystems are being impacted as well as the implications for users (e.g. recreational fishers and divers and commercial fishers) and managers of the sea, Dr Pecl used her national (CSIRO) and International linkages (Rhodes University, South Africa) to form the strategic and international Global Marine Hotspots Network (GMHN) initiative (http://www.marinehotspots.org/). This initiative identified the other global regions that were rapidly warming to enable learnings and experience to be shared to advance our understanding of impacts and adaptation options. This initiative has led to GMHN workshops being a regular component of key international climate change and fisheries symposia. Additionally, an internationally funded project that brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from 16 institutions based in 10 countries builds on the GMHN to undertake research into the vulnerability of coastal communities in five “hotspot countries” in the southern hemisphere. The species vulnerability framework developed by Dr Pecl is a key component of this research and this framework is also being adapted by USA and Canada to understand the vulnerability of their marine species and ecosystems.

Dr Pecl also conceptualised, developed and led the highly successful Range Extension Database and Mapping (Redmap) project (www.redmap.org.au). This innovative citizen science project has spread from a Tasmanian initiative to Australia’s largest marine citizen science project that engages thousands of Australians in scientific discovery and involves over 80 scientists from 25 institutes around Australia. The project has also been at the forefront of developing robust scientific processes that enables citizen science to be a crucial part of mainstream scientific research. Testament to the scientific excellence of Redmap is the multiple high ranking papers (see attached CV), funded international invitations, a 2010 Whitley Award from the Royal Zoological Society and recognition via the Tasmanian Excellence in Science Awards.

The success and international interest in these initiatives has led Dr Pecl to instigate a major international conference, Species on the Move, which was held in Hobart in February 2016. This conference brang together both the global terrestrial and marine communities to highlight the latest research in range extending species. Additionally, Dr Pecl also incorporated a public lecture by world leading scientists and also an indigenous section that demonstrated the linkages between traditional knowledge and science.

I have highlighted the above projects as they are examples of Tasmanian initiatives that are leading the world.  However, they are only part of Dr Pecl’s stellar career that has included a Fullbright fellowship, regular invites to contribute to international workshops (and Dr Pecl is often the only Australian or Southern hemisphere invitee), success in nearly $6M in external funding, appointment as Editor in Chief of the highly respected international journal, Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries (ranked third highest fisheries journal) and currently holds a prestigious Australian Research Centre Future Fellowship that will enable her to continue to make significant inroads to narrowing the gap between theoretical and applied research in climate change ecology and adaptation.

At the University of Tasmania, Dr Pecl is highly regarded for her mentoring of both PhD and early-career researchers and her students and ECRs are highly regarded and all have found employment at the completion of their research training and fellowships. Dr Pecl has been recently promoted to Associate Professor for her excellent academic achievements and is the Deputy Associate Dean of Research at IMAS. Dr Pecl’s career trajectory is certainly leading to her being one of Australia’s prominent marine scientists and a scientist likely to move into the distinguished fellows and laureate categories within the next two decades. Importantly, Dr Pecl is also a passionate and talented science communicator and dedicates considerable time and energy to engaging the public on important scientific challenges, which extends the impact of her work beyond the purely academic domain.

Selected publications:

Pecl GT & Moltschaniwskyj NA (1999). Somatic growth processes: How are they altered in captivity? Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B 266: 1133-1139.

Pecl GT, Moltschaniwskyj NA, Tracey S & Jordan A (2004). Inter-annual plasticity of squid life-history and population structure: Ecological and management implications. Oecologia 139: 515-524.

Pecl GT, Tracey SR, Semmens JM & Jackson GD (2006) Use of acoustic telemetry for spatial management of southern calamary, Sepioteuthis australis, a highly mobile inshore squid species. Marine Ecology Progress Series 328: 1-15 (FEATURE ARTICLE)

Pecl GT & Jackson GD (2008). The potential impacts of climate change on inshore squid: biology, ecology and fisheries. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 18: 373-385.

Last P, White W, Gledhill D, Hobday A, Brown R, Edgar G, Pecl G (2011). Long-term shifts in abundance and distribution of a temperate fish fauna: a response to climate change and fishing practices Global Ecology and Biogeography 20(1): 58-72.

Pecl GT, Tracey SR, Danyushevsky L, Wotherspoon S, Moltschaniwskyj NA (2011). Elemental fingerprints of southern calamary reveal local recruitment sources and allow assessment of the importance of closed areas, Canadian Journal of fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 68: 1351-1360.

Pecl GT, Ward T, Doubleday Z, Clarke S, Day J, Dixon C, Frusher S, Gibbs P, Hobday A, Hutchinson N, Jennings S, Jones K, Li X, Spooner D, and Stoklosa R (2014). Rapid assessment of fisheries species sensitivity to climate change in south east Australia. Climatic Change, DOI 10.1007/s10584-014-1284-z

 

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Gretta enjoying another day of fieldwork in Great Oyster Bay, Tasmania.