Author: Laura Griffiths
Emergent is a five-part blog series that takes a fresh look at ARI’s early career researchers – a group of driven, passionate people with a shared sense of responsibility about our changing world. These emerging scholars are developing skills and applying them to real world issues. Some are even taking opportunities to fulfil their life-long ambitions and dreams.
Today, we focus on Majid Bakhtiyari, an ecosystem modeller who’s striving to find a better balance between the environment and growing industrial and social demands. Majid started his PhD at ARI in 2015. Majid’s research is about developing conceptual and quantitative models to value mangrove ecosystems that takes into account the important services they provide to humanity.
What brought you to ARI?
I wanted to work with Joe Lee who was my ex-supervisor and a member of ARI at Griffith University.
What is your favourite aspect about your research?
My favourite part about my work is understanding how dynamic and resilient ecosystems can be and the different ways they compensate for pressures imposed by human activities.
I have found indicators in mangrove habitats that are sensitive to human activities and thus capable of being used as an early warning system. The indicators come from the properties of the mangrove plant as well the surrounding sediment. An early warning system will help managers to better protect the habitat before it is too late.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration for my research grew from my experience working in aquaculture (fish and prawn farming) and agriculture for the insurance industry in Iran.
Environmental activists exposed me to environmental concerns of aquaculture through criticisms, which had no clear alternative solutions. This drove me to want to learn about more environmental issues and more sustainable development practices.
Why does your work matter?
I have found indicators in mangrove habitats that are sensitive to human activities and thus capable of being used as an early warning system. The indicators come from the properties of the mangrove plant as well as the surrounding sediment. An early warning system will help managers to better protect the habitat before it is too late.
Where do you see your career taking you or where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would like to continue my research to develop projects which provide benefits to both natural resources and industries such as agriculture and aquaculture. I believe this is really important due to increasing coastal urbanisation and industrial demands.
What are the main issues you see that need addressing in your field?
Scientists and students are growingly focusing on journals and impact factors.
I believe we need to address people and taxpayers’ real demands by undertaking more applied projects that have tangible results.
The public and stakeholders need to know that we as scientists care about the health of the environment and how we are trying to find solutions.