Towards Sustainable Environmental Quality: Priority Research Questions for the Australasian Region of Oceania

Thumbnail Image
File version

Version of Record (VoR)

Gaw, Sally
Harford, Andrew
Pettigrove, Vincent
Sevicke-Jones, Graham
Manning, Therese
Ataria, James
Cresswell, Tom
Dafforn, Katherine A
Leusch, Frederic DL
Moggridge, Bradley
Cameron, Marcus
Chapman, John
Coates, Gary
Colville, Anne
Death, Claire
Hageman, Kimberly
Hassell, Kathryn
Hoak, Molly
Gadd, Jennifer
Jolley, Dianne F
Karami, Ali
Kotzakoulakis, Konstantinos
Lim, Richard
McRae, Nicole
Metzeling, Leon
Mooney, Thomas
Myers, Jackie
Pearson, Andrew
Saaristo, Minna
Sharley, Dave
Stuthe, Julia
Sutherland, Oliver
Thomas, Oliver
Tremblay, Louis
Wood, Waitangi
Boxall, Alistair BA
Rudd, Murray A
Brooks, Bryan W
Griffith University Author(s)
Primary Supervisor
Other Supervisors
File type(s)

Environmental challenges persist across the world, including the Australasian region of Oceania, where biodiversity hotspots and unique ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef are common. These systems are routinely affected by multiple stressors from anthropogenic activities, and increasingly influenced by global megatrends (e.g., the food–energy–water nexus, demographic transitions to cities) and climate change. Here we report priority research questions from the Global Horizon Scanning Project, which aimed to identify, prioritize, and advance environmental quality research needs from an Australasian perspective, within a global context. We employed a transparent and inclusive process of soliciting key questions from Australasian members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Following submission of 78 questions, 20 priority research questions were identified during an expert workshop in Nelson, New Zealand. These research questions covered a range of issues of global relevance, including research needed to more closely integrate ecotoxicology and ecology for the protection of ecosystems, increase flexibility for prioritizing chemical substances currently in commerce, understand the impacts of complex mixtures and multiple stressors, and define environmental quality and ecosystem integrity of temporary waters. Some questions have specific relevance to Australasia, particularly the uncertainties associated with using toxicity data from exotic species to protect unique indigenous species. Several related priority questions deal with the theme of how widely international ecotoxicological data and databases can be applied to regional ecosystems. Other timely questions, which focus on improving predictive chemistry and toxicology tools and techniques, will be important to answer several of the priority questions identified here. Another important question raised was how to protect local cultural and social values and maintain indigenous engagement during problem formulation and identification of ecosystem protection goals. Addressing these questions will be challenging, but doing so promises to advance environmental sustainability in Oceania and globally.

Journal Title

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management

Conference Title
Book Title




Thesis Type
Degree Program
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement

2019 The Authors. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry (SETAC). This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)

Chemical sciences

Environmental sciences

Biological sciences

Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine


Environmental Sciences & Ecology

Persistent link to this record

Gaw, et al., Towards Sustainable Environmental Quality: Priority Research Questions for the Australasian Region of Oceania, Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, 2019, 15 (6), pp. 917-935