CASE STUDY: Jess Melbourne-Thomas
Jess Melbourne-Thomas grew up playing among the man ferns in her parent’s stunning Fern Tree garden, in the shadow of kunanyi/Mount Wellington. She fell in love with the ocean when she learned to snorkel and scuba dive with her dad and younger brother.
Then the climate she loved began to change.
“The kelp forests I learnt to dive in as a teenager are now gone in less than 20 years because of ocean warming,” she says. “Reefs are dying, forests are burning, ice is melting, sea levels are rising, farmlands are parched and dry. And all this is set to get much worse.”
Rather than watch from afar, she studied marine science as a Rhodes Scholar in Oxford and completed a PhD in Quantitative Marine Science at the University of Tasmania’s Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies.
“My work is about figuring out what we can do to address these challenges – particularly for our oceans and polar regions.”
Tasmania is one of the best places in the world to do this work, and not only because it’s a leading centre for marine, Antarctic and climate science. It’s also a place where people have come together and inspired positive action.
“I’m really excited about the challenges that my new role with the CSIRO will bring – it’s about connecting science with decision making, action and impact.”