Australian Society For Fish Biology

Dr Alistair Hobday

Born in Melbourne, Dr Hobday received his Ph.D  from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California in 1998. A veritable font of achievements in his field of Biological Oceanography followed as he entered into a post-doctoral fellowship at the Scripps Institution (1998-1999). After a tenure at CSIRO Marine Research in Hobart (1999-2003), Dr Hobday lectured at the School of Zoology at the University of Tasmania (2004-2008) with a continuing 50% appointment at CSIRO for the duration of his lecturing, rising to the position of Senior Research Scientist in Sustainable Pelagic Fisheries and Ecosystems. He continued a meteoric rise through positions at CSIRO, and was recently appointed Research Director of Marine Resources and Industries, at CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere.

Dr Hobday has demonstrated exemplary leadership across the entirety of his career through not only his supervision of a total 27 Honours and PhD students across 14 years of education but his editorial positions for various journals including Fisheries Oceanography, Global Change Biology and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. He maintains memberships across multiple scientific societies including the Australian Society for Fish Biology, Ecological Society of Australia and Australian Marine Science Association. Furthermore Dr. Hobday has provided national service to the AFMA ERA Expert Panel, the FRDC National Priority 1 Committee as well as international service to the International IMBER Program and the International CLIOTOP program.

Dr. Hobday’s areas of research span a broad range of topics including climate impacts and adaptation for marine species and industries, environmental variation and influence on marine populations, ecological risk assessment for fisheries and the spatial dynamics of highly migratory pelagic species. His publication history is extensive, boasting over 200 journal articles and 10855 citations with over 20 highly cited articles (>100 cites).  He is able to produce manuscripts with such speed that he makes his co-authors dizzy at times. His research has had broad impact internationally and importantly, he works closely with industry and stakeholders, ensuring the best science is directly applied to make a real difference. He has championed the idea that a multidisciplinary team is needed to tackle complex problems such as maximising benefits from fisheries to fishers, society and consumers, and he has led several groups of multidisciplinary researchers working on solutions to big and global problems.   

Described by his colleagues as an exciting, dynamic and productive researcher, his nerves of steel have proven time and again to be his greatest scientific tool. To the point of once passionately debating whether to take on an elephant blocking the road on a visit to a South African nature reserve. But back in Tasmania he has worked hard to improve the safety of roads for animals and humans alike, based on long-term roadkill (also termed bitumen butchery) analyses. His innovative nature sets him apart from others in his field as his expansive contributions to the landscape of Australian Science continue to revolutionise the industry. Dr. Alistair Hobday is a most deserving recipient of the KRA award and has the full support of his colleagues.

For his outstanding contributions to Ichthyology Dr Alistair Hobday was awarded the K. Radway Allen Award for 2018 by the ASFB. 


Prepared by Harry Balcombe (Griffith University), Gretta Pecl (University of Tasmania), Eva Plaganyi (CSIRO)


Selected publications

Oliver, E.C., Donat, M.G., Burrows, M.T., Moore, P.J., Smale, D.A., Alexander, L.V., Benthuysen, J.A., Feng, M., Gupta, A.S., Hobday, A.J. and Holbrook, N.J., 2018. Longer and more frequent marine heatwaves over the past century. Nature communications, 9(1), p.1324


Cvitanovic, C. and Hobday, A.J., 2018. Building optimism at the environmental science-policy-practice interface through the study of bright spots. Nature communications, 9(1), p.3466.


Heupel, M. R., J. M. Semmens and A. J. Hobday (2006). Automated animal tracking: scales, design and deployment of listening station arrays. Marine and Freshwater Research. 57(1): 1-13.


Smith, A. D. M., E. J. Fulton, A. J. Hobday, D. C. Smith and P. Shoulder (2007). Scientific tools to support practical implementation of ecosystem based fisheries management. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64: 1-7.


Game ET, Grantham HS, Hobday AJ, Pressey RL, Lombard AT, Beckley LE, Gjerde K, Bustamante RH, Possingham HP, Richardson AJ (2009) Pelagic protected areas: the missing dimension in ocean conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution24, 360-369.


Poloczanksa, E. S., A. J. Hobday and A. J. Richardson (2008). Global database is needed to support adaptation science. Nature 45: 720.


Last, P. R., W. T. White, D. C. Gledhill, A. J. Hobday, R. Brown, G. J. Edgar and G. T. Pecl (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, 58-72 DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00575.x.


Hobday, A. J., A. D. M. Smith, I. Stobutzki, C. Bulman, R. Daley, J. Dambacher, R. Deng, J. Dowdney, M. Fuller, D. Furlani, S. P. Griffiths, D. Johnson, R. Kenyon, I. A. Knuckey, S. D. Ling, R. Pitcher, K. J. Sainsbury, M. Sporcic, T. Smith, T. Walker, S. Wayte, H. Webb, A. Williams, B. S. Wise and S. Zhou (2011). Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing. Fisheries Research, 108, 372–384.


Ling, S. D., C. R. Johnson, K. Ridgway, A. J. Hobday and M. Haddon (2009). Climate driven range extension of a sea urchin: inferring future trends by analysis of recent population dynamics. Global Change Biology15(3): 719 - 731.


Robinson L, Elith J, Hobday AJ, Pearson RG, Kendall BE, Possingham HP, Richardson AJ (2011) Pushing the limits in marine-based species distribution modelling: lessons from the land present challenges and opportunities. Global Ecology and Biogeography, DOI: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00636.x.


Hobday AJ, Lough J (2011) Projected climate change in Australian marine and freshwater environments. Marine and Freshwater Research62, 1000-1014.


Hobday, A. J. & Pecl, G. T. (2014) Identification of global marine hotspots: sentinels for change and vanguards for adaptation action. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 24, 415-425. DOI 10.1007/s11160-013-9326-6.


Hobday, A. J., Hartmann, K. (2006). Near real-time spatial management based on habitat predictions for a longline bycatch species. Fisheries Management & Ecology13(6): 365-380.


Bell, J. D., Ganachaud, A., Gehrke, P. C., Griffiths, S. P., Hobday, A. J., Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Johnson, J. E., Le Borgne, R., Lehodey, P., Lough, J. M., Matear, R. J., Pickering, T. D., Pratchett, M. S., Sen Gupta, A., Senina, I. & Waycott, M. (2013) Mixed responses of tropical Pacific fisheries and aquaculture to climate change. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1838