Professor of Marine Conservation
Director Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean
School of Biological Sciences
University of Western Australia (UWA)
Prior to joining the University of Western Australia, Dirk was a Senior Scientist and the Executive Director of the Sea Around Us – Global at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada. He directs research activities of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean related to the Indian and Pacific ocean regions. Dirk and his team also closely collaborate on marine biodiversity and conservation issues with FishBase and SeaLifeBase and with colleagues at UWA, and on global Sea Around Us activities with the UBC-based team of Sea Around Us – Global, and the Philippines-based team of Quantitative Aquatics,. Dirk jointly develops global research and strategic funding decisions with the Sea Around Us – Global Principal Investigator, Daniel Pauly and Project Manager and database team leader, Deng Palomares.
Dirk leads research on the impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems at the large spatial scale, including reconstruction of historic catch, fishing effort and other fisheries time series, and engages in research on strategic ocean governance, fisheries policy and economics. He collaborates widely with colleagues around the world, e.g., with the Fisheries Economics Research Unit (feru.oceans.ubc.ca) on issues in resource economics, with the Changing Ocean Research Unit (coru.oceans.ubc.ca) on issues of climate change and fisheries, and with legal scholars on issues related to international maritime boundary law and the UN Law of the Sea Convention.
Dirk has an established publications profile (Google Scholar) and publishes both in the primary literature (Nature, Science, PLoS ONE, Marine Policy, Frontiers in Marine Science, Fish and Fisheries, Fisheries Research etc.), and in books (e.g., Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries) and dedicated book chapters and research reports. Dirk was awarded the 2017 Ocean Awards for Science (jointly with Daniel Pauly), and co-awarded the 2012 UBC Innovative Dissemination of Research Award and the 2011 Ecological Society of America Sustainability Science Award. He collaborates with scientists in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. He represents the Sea Around Us at conferences and workshops throughout the world.
Dirk has a background in tropical marine biology and fisheries ecology from James Cook University, Australia. He has professional interests in global marine conservation, fisheries and sustainability, as well as strategic and global policy developments, resource economics and coral reef ecology.