We rely on our environment for so much – our food, air quality, fresh water, protection from natural disasters, or even the simplest of things like a weekend walk in the bush or by the sea. Our population is expanding, and as a result, the environment is under increasing stress. That’s where my job comes in. I use maths to help make decisions for managing environmental systems and the ways humans interact with it, without damaging what is left.
For example, many people rely on the Great Barrier Reef for cultural values, food, and livelihoods, but the ecosystem is degrading due to climate change and human disturbances. We use mathematics to project this decline, and then to assess all the management options available to us, to work out which we should invest in now and in the future.
Maths and the environment are a natural pairing. I’m so grateful to have built a career where I can apply mathematics in the real world and help protect the environment for future generations. In the future, I hope to lead large mathematical ecology research programs – and use maths to address some of the most critical environmental issues facing us.