• Speaker Spotlight #5

    by  • April 17, 2015 • Announcements, Events, Research

    In the lead up to our Annual Marine Science Forum on the 2nd and 3rd of May,Buy_Ticket_Button_Blue we will feature a post about each of the scientists presenting this year.

    This week we would like to introduce you to:kathys_2

    Mrs Katherine Schmutter 

    PhD Candidate, The Australian National University

    Forum presentation: What can we do about ocean acidification on the South Coast?

    I will be speaking about my research into the challenges that are occurring as a result of our changing oceans. I will touch on issues such as climate change, pollution and over fishing with the main focus of my presentation being ocean acidification. I believe that ocean acidification is now the biggest threat facing ocean life and one that we will have to adapt to if we are to avoid problems and make the most of opportunities.

    In order to adapt to ocean acidification first we must better understand the hazards that we face.  Once we understand these hazards we must understand our exposure to hazards and what risks or opportunities might arise from them. With this new knowledge we can we begin to develop adaptation strategies to deal with the changing oceans.

    My research is focussing on communities of the South Coast. I will try to understand what difficulties they may have to deal with. I will then explore how they might need to change as the oceans they depend upon change.


    As an undergraduate I studied Marine Science at the University of Sydney. Since then I have worked in Local and Australian Governments developing policy and programs largely focussed on science and marine science. In 1996 I travelled to Japan to complete a Masters of Public Policy.

    More recently, while working on fisheries policy I became interested in the issue of ocean acidification. I consequently worked with scientists and policy makers to better understand this issue and then joined with other authors to prepare a synthesis of Australia’s scientific research into ocean acidification. This publication was used by the CSIRO to inform their 2012 Climate Change Report Card.

    I am now based at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University, where I am working to better understand how we can respond to increasing ocean acidification. I am hoping to undertake a case study of the Narooma catchment area, working with local people to understand their exposure to this risk and what steps can be taken to respond to hazards arising in the future. I am particularly interested in ideas for the aquaculture industry as it faces both threats and opportunities from ocean acidification.


    Marine Education Officer for the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. A qualified marine scientist and educator with a Bachelor degree in Global and Ocean Science obtained from the Australian National University and a Graduate Diploma in Science Communication.