Posted on 16 June 2020

Interview with Josie Crawshaw

Dr Josie Crawshaw is an Environmental Scientist at Bay of Plenty Regional Council, with a focus on marine ecology. She is helping co-develop the new ‘Ecological responses to cumulative effects’ project led by Simon Thrush and Kura Paul-Burke, and was previously involved with the ‘Tipping points’ project in as a PhD student. 


“I wanted to co-develop the Ecological responses project for many reasons. Firstly, because it’s building on the Tipping Points (TP) work and I wanted to keep seeing that through. Tauranga was one of the TP sites, so I am keen to keep related research in this area. As a co-developer, the Council provides in-kind cofunding and can expand on the Sustainable Seas research through our own work, as well as provide opportunities for students.

I’m also excited to work with Kura Paul-Burke who has done a lot of fascinating Bay of Plenty Regional Council-funded research that is driven by the local iwi and hāpu, working through the Ōhiwa Harbour Implementation Forum on starfish predation and mussel restoration dynamics.

The timing of this new Ecological responses project is excellent for the Council – we are in the early stages of implementing the Motiti Protection Areas, so it’s perfect timing to incorporate findings from different aspects Sustainable Seas research into our giant experiment. For example, I was recently out using drones to survey kelp and kina populations in the protection areas – the Defining rocky reef tipping points in Kaikōura project gave us confidence that drones can be used to effectively survey and monitor shallow coastal areas.

I’m working with Kura to develop a mātauranga Māori research programme for Motiti, so I’m particularly interested in the Ecological responses project’s planned work around assessing recovery potential of degrading ecosystem, and how that brings together Western science and mātauranga Māori.

We need to partner with tangata whenua to develop management strategies for Motiti Protection Areas and there hasn’t been specific public consultation yet, so I anticipate that the social science work that Sustainable Seas has done around participatory processes and intangible marine values will also be very relevant to us.

Councils and others all struggle with the lag time between research happening and the results becoming accessible, so being directly involved with what Sustainable Seas is doing is extremely helpful in keeping abreast of where things are up to and what information we can use.”

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