Pathways to impact for aquatic conservation science via multi-modal communication and stakeholder engagement

Mae M. Noble*, Christopher J. Fulton*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    Translating scientific evidence into practical actions is a primary goal of scientists working to inform evidence-based policy and decision-making, but how can authors best facilitate new conservation interventions following publication of their research? This case study used two articles in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (AQC) to examine the mechanisms and barriers to translating published aquatic science into social, ecological and policy interventions for the conservation of threatened Murray crayfish (Euastacus armatus). These articles revealed how steep declines in Murray crayfish abundance arose from the loss of in-stream and riparian habitats preferred by crayfish, and demonstrated the social reasons for conserving Murray crayfish to protect the wellbeing of a diversity of people (e.g. Traditional Owners, landholders, ecotourism operators). Following publication of these articles in AQC the authors used multi-modal communication (e.g. written briefs, personal discussions, seminars, magazine articles, media broadcasts) to translate their findings to stakeholders and the general public. Analysis of relevant documents (e.g. management plans, public information leaflets) and stakeholder interviews uncovered a range of interventions arising from the two AQC articles. Social interventions (e.g. new public signage, ecotourism briefings) were the quickest to occur after publication (1–2 years). Although some changes in management were apparent (e.g. revised Murray crayfish action plans, monitoring programmes), systemic barriers (e.g. policy/funding timeframes) have prevented some ecological and policy interventions from being realized. Diverse communication strategies can help rapidly translate published science into new conservation actions by giving stakeholders the right evidence in the right way to inform their particular practice. Open-access summaries that explain findings within readily shareable media (e.g. graphical/video abstracts) can be particularly effective in raising early awareness. Some types of intervention, however, may require a long-term perspective and assistance from boundary-spanning knowledge brokers with an aptitude for evidence-based policy development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1791-1797
    Number of pages7
    JournalAquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


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