Beth Fulton, Ph.D.

CSIRO Science Leader
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
GPO Box 1538
City, State, Zip
Hobart, Tasmania 7001
Award Year


Project Details

The diverse but vulnerable systems in the tropics and poles are under severe threat. They are challenged by a combination of direct exploitation, contamination and the environmental impacts of climate, including shifts in temperature, rainfall patterns and increased ocean acidification. These impacts affect specific elements as well as the system's biological diversity (biodiversity), which is essential to the functioning of all natural, healthy ecosystems. Presently, measures of changes used to support management decisions evaluate specific impacts but they do not explicitly evaluate impacts on biodiversity. As the tools do not allow for shifting biodiversity, they are limited in their ability to capture the broader implications of the pressures on marine ecosystems. To gain full appreciation of what the main stressors on marine and coastal ecosystems may mean for biodiversity and ecosystem function, and in turn the priorities for sustainable management and conservation investments, it is important that models of biodiversity are developed and integrated into the existing decision-making process.

Beth Fulton's Pew Fellowship project will facilitate the development of biodiversity models that can contribute to management decisions in the poles and tropics. Her project will support field work to fill gaps in understanding and to work with the holders of long-term benthic, fish and plankton biodiversity datasets. These biodiversity models will ultimately be integrated with existing ecosystem modelling frameworks, which are currently used to support marine resource and environmental management decisions around the world.

The approaches developed during the project will be used to improve understanding of the dynamics of biodiversity in the tropics and poles using a common framework. In particular, they will be used to give explicit guidance regarding the potential impacts of global change on the biodiversity of Antarctic ecosystems and to provide strategic prioritization of the threats to marine biodiversity in Indonesia.


Beth Fulton is a science leader at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), where she runs a marine ecosystem modelling team. She developed the Atlantis computer model, which has been employed in 19 systems around the world and has been used to provide strategic advice to management bodies like the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Fulton also co-developed the InVitro modelling framework, which allows users to explore the impacts and management of the myriad pressures on marine and coastal environments. These models were amongst the first end-to-end (or whole-of-system) models and were amongst the first marine models to give equal attention to biophysical and human components of marine ecosystems.

Fulton began her science career with a B.Sc. (obtained with first class Honours jointly in Mathematics and Marine Biology) from James Cook University in Townsville in 1997. In 2001 she received a Ph.D. on "The effects of the structure and formulation of ecosystem models on model performance" from the University of Tasmania. She joined CSIRO in 2001 as a Post Doctoral Fellow, looking into robust indicators of the ecological effects of fishing. It was at this time she applied the lessons learnt in her Ph.D. to begin developing the ecosystem model Atlantis and co-developing InVitro. She was appointed to CSIRO as a research scientist in 2004, eventually taking up leadership of the ecosystem modelling and development team.

Fulton is also an honorary associate at the Centre for Marine Science, University of Tasmania, where she lectures to post-graduates. She received the 2007 Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, the 2004 Royal Society of Tasmania's Ph.D. award, the 2002 Dean's Commendation for outstanding Ph.D. by research, and the 1997 James Cook University Medals in Marine Biology and Mathematics & Statistics.



Ph.D., University of Tasmania, School of Zoology and Tasmanian Aquaculture and Fisheries Institute
2001: Ecosystem modeling, model complexity, Hobart, Australia

Bachelor of Science with Honours (Class I), James Cook University
1997: Marine Biology, Mathematics and Statistics, North Queensland, Townsville, Australia


2005–Present: Senior Research Scientist

CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric
2001–Present: CEO Science Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, Hobart, Tasmania, AUSTRALIA


CEO Science Leader Award and Fellowship
2008: CSIRO

Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year

Outstanding Ph.D.
2004: Royal Society of Tasmania

Dean's commendation for outstanding Ph.D. research
2002: University of Tasmania


Royal Society of Tasmania

Modelling and Simulation Society of Australia and New Zealand

International Association for Mathematics and Computers in Simulation


  • Fulton, E.A. and Hayes, D., 2008. Atlantis-INFORMD: Scoping and potential of a regional ecosystem model. CSIRO Report.
  • Fulton, E.A., 2008. Scoping report of Example Management Strategy Results for Seabed Mining off New South Wales. CSIRO Report
  • Harvey, C.J., Jamieson, G., Livingston, P.A., Zhang, C.-I., Dulepova, E., Fluharty, D.L., Jin, X., Kishida, T., Lee, J.B., Mitsutaku, M., Perry, I., Radchenko, V., Tang, Q., Yeon, I. and Fulton, E.A., 2008. National approaches used to describe and delineate marine ecosystems and subregions in the North Pacific. In: G. Jamieson, P. Livingston and C.-I. Zhang (ed), Report of Working Group 19 on Ecosystem-Based Management Science and its Application to the North Pacific. PICES Scientific Report.
  • Hayes, D., Fulton, E., Condie, S. and Sporcic, M., 2008. Support Tools for Regional Marine Planning in the South-west Marine Region: The South-west Ecosystem Model. CSIRO Report
  • McDonald A.D, Little L.R., Gray R., Fulton E., Sainsbury K.J. and Lyne, V.D., 2008. An agent-based modelling approach to evaluation of multiple-use management strategies for coastal marine ecosystems. Mathematics and Computers in Simulation, 78: 401–411
  • Perry, I., Livingston, P., and Fulton, E. 2008. Ecosystem Indicators. In: G. Jamieson, P. Livingston and C.-I. Zhang (ed), Report of Working Group 19 on Ecosystem-Based Management Science and its Application to the North Pacific. PICES Scientific Report
  • Fulton E.A., Morato T. and Pitcher T.J., 2007. Modelling seamount Ecosystems and their fisheries. In: Seamounts: Ecology, Fisheries and Conservation, T.J. Pitcher, T. Morato, P.J.B. Hart, M.R. Clark, N. Haggan and R.S. Santos (Eds) Fish and Aquatic Resources Series, Blackwell, Oxford, UK
  • Smith A.D.M., Fulton E.A., Hobday A.J., Smith D.C. and Shoulder, P., 2007. Scientific tools to support practical implementation of ecosystem based fisheries management. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 64: 633–639
  • Jackson, G., Bustamante, P., Cherel, Y., Fulton, E.A., Grist, E., Jackson, C., Nichols, P., Pethybridge, H., Phillips, K., Ward, R., Xavier, J., 2007. Applying new tools to cephalopod trophic dynamics and ecology: perspectives from the Southern Ocean Cephalopod Workshop, February 2-3, 2006. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. 17: 79-99
  • McDonald A.D., Fulton E., Little L.R. Gray R., Sainsbury K.J. and Lyne, V.D., 2006. Multiple-use Management Strategy Evaluation for coastal marine ecosystems using InVitro. In: Complex Science for a Complex World: Exploring Human Ecosystems with Agents, P. Perez and D. Batten (eds). Anu E Press, Canberra.
  • Fulton E. A., Smith, A. D. M., and Punt, A. E., 2005. Which ecological indicators can robustly detect effects of fishing? ICES Journal of Marine Science 62:540–551
  • Fulton E.A. and Smith A.D.M., 2004. Lessons learnt from the comparison of three ecosystem models for Port Phillip Bay, Australia. African Journal Marine Science 26: 219–243
  • Fulton E.A., Parslow J.S., Smith A.D.M. and Johnson C.R., 2004. Biogeochemical Marine Ecosystem Models II: The Effect of Physiological Detail on Model Performance. Ecological Modelling 173: 371-406
  • Fulton E.A., Smith A.D.M and Johnson C.R., 2004. Effects of spatial resolution on the performance and interpretation of marine ecosystem models. Ecological Modelling 176: 27–42
  • Fulton E.A., Smith A.D.M. and Johnson C.R., 2004. Biogeochemical Marine Ecosystem Models I: An Integrated Generic Model of Marine Bay Ecosystems. Ecological Modelling 174: 267-307
  • Fulton E.A., Smith A.D.M and Johnson C.R., 2003. Mortality and predation in ecosystem models: is it important how these are expressed? Ecological Modelling 169: 157–178
  • Fulton, E.A., Smith, A.D.M. and Johnson C.R., 2003. Effect of complexity on marine ecosystem models. Marine Ecology Progress Series 253: 1–16
  • Fulton E., Kault D., Mapstone B. and Sheaves M., 1999. Spawning season influences on commercial catch rates: computer simulations and Plectropomus leopardus, a case in point. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 56: 1096–1108
  • Allen J.I. and Fulton E.A. in press. Top Down, Bottom Up or Middle Out? Avoiding extraneous detail and over-generality in marine ecosystem models. Progress in Oceanography.
  • Brown, C.J., Fulton, E.A., Hobday, A.J., Matear, R., Possingham, H.P., Bulman, C., Christensen, V., Forrest, R.E., Gehrke, P.C., Gribble, N.A., Griffiths, S.P., Lozano-Montes, H., Martin, J.M., Metcalf, S., Okey, T.A., Watson, R. and Richardson, A.J. in press. Ecological interactions within marine ecosystems determine winners and losers under climate change. Global Change Biology
  • Fulton, E.A. in press. Approaches to end to end ecosystem models. Journal of Marine Systems
  • Smith A.D.M. and Fulton E.A. in press. Ecosystem Modelling and Fisheries Management. In: R.Q. Grafton, R. Hilborn, D. Squires, and M. Tait (ed). Handbook of Marine Fisheries Conservation and Management. Oxford University Press
  • Worm, B., Hilborn R., Baum J., Branch T., Collie J., Costello C., Fogarty M., Fulton E.A., Hutchings J., Jennings S., Jensen O., Lotze H., Mace P., McClanahan T., Minto C., Palumbi S., Parma A., Ricard D., Rosenberg A., Watson R., Zeller D. In press. Rebuilding global fisheries. Science.