Degree Name

Master of Environmental Science (Research)


School of Geography and Sustainable Communities


The conservation of coastal resources and environmental values for current and future generations is challenged by pressure for development in vulnerable coastal locations. Science and the law each provide important contributions to addressing how development is approved on the coast. Coastal decision makers accept that science is crucial for management, providing knowledge about habitats, physical processes and predicted responses to change. Yet, there are many challenges associated with applying science to management decisions. A growing body of scientific research investigates the barriers occurring within environmental governance networks to identify ways to improve the application of science, referred to as ‘science uptake’. The key message from existing research is that improved communication is necessary to overcome science uptake barriers, particularly between scientists, coastal managers, policy-makers, and the local community. One aspect of science uptake that has received relatively little attention in the literature is the role played by the law; this thesis addresses that gap. The law is considered in this thesis to be significant to science uptake because it guides and limits the work of coastal decision makers, including how science is used in decisions impacting the coastal zone.