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Marine Ecology Research Centre

Dr Steven Purcell

Dr Steven PurcellBSc (ANU) (Hons 1A, JCU)
PhD (JCU)

Position: Research Fellow

After his postgraduate research on herbivorous reef fishes and algae, Steve worked on an ACIAR project on a topshell (Trochus) fishery in the Kimberley region of WA and on projects in New Caledonia on sea cucumber stock restoration and invertebrate fisheries assessment and management. Steve works for SCU at the National Marine Science Centre, Coffs Harbour and is currently based in New Caledonia. Recently, Steve has led projects on habitats of threatened and endemic fishes and sea cucumber fisheries of Pacific islands. His current research, funded by ACIAR, is examining the impacts of improving postharvest processing of sea cucumbers by artisanal fishers in Fiji, Tonga and Kiribati. His research spans a range of ecological and biological fields, published in a number of books, book chapters and over 50 scientific research articles.

Key Responsibilities

Steve is responsible for developing and leading research projects and procuring funds for marine research from national and international funding bodies. He coordinated a regional workshop on Pacific sea cucumber fisheries management in 2011. (SCEAM Pacific) and co-organised and co-organised and co-facilitated a similar workshop (SCEAM Indian Ocean) for Indian Ocean fisheries in 2012. He provides service to extension workers and partner agencies in the Pacific and Indian Oceans through advice on aquaculture, stock restoration, and the assessment and management of tropical invertebrate fisheries.

Dr Steven Purcell diving

Areas of Expertise

Stock enhancement, restocking and sea ranching
Sea cucumber ecology and fisheries management
Ecology and restocking of tropical topshell (Trochus)
Tagging methods for marine invertebrates
Sampling and experimental design
Reef fish ecology

Teaching Areas

Fish ecology
Fisheries management
Coastal habitats and ecological processes
Experiments and population surveys in fisheries
Coral reef ecology

Grants

ProjectDonorDurationAmount
Evaluating the impacts of improving postharvest processing of sea cucumbers in the western Pacific regionACIAR2013-20171,244,603 AUD
Fisheries biology and movement of Mangrove Jack Lutjanus argentimaculatus in New South WalesNSW Saltwater Recreational Fishing Trust2011/14169,651 AUD
Pacific workshop on the application of an ecosystem approach to managing sea cucumber fisheriesACIAR201125,509 AUD
Pacific workshop on the application of an ecosystem approach to managing sea cucumber fisheriesFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations UN(FAO)201155,000 USD
Improving income of Pacific island fishers through better post-harvest processing of sea cucumber: scoping study. PARDI/2010/004ACIAR (PARDI program)2011135,125 AUD
Improved knowledge base for sustainable marine resource management (3rd Call): Threatened species researchNorthern Rivers Catchment Management AuthorityDec 2010 - May 201155,222 AUD
Improved knowledge base for sustainable marine resource management (2nd Call): Threatened species researchNorthern Rivers Catchment Management AuthorityDec 2009 - May 201027,860 AUD
Technical Guidelines on the Sustainable Management of Sea Cucumber FisheriesUnited Nations - FAOJun-Dec 200915,000 USD
Assessment and Management of Sea Cucumber Stocks in the Northern and Southern Provinces of New CaledoniaADECAL (ZoNeCo program)Jan-May 20084,100,000 XPF (62,121 AUD)
Sea ranching and restocking sandfish (Holothuria scabra) in Asia-PacificACIAR2007-2011937,548 AUD
Assessment and Management of Sea Cucumber Stocks in the Northern and Southern Provinces of New Caledonia ADECAL (ZoNeCo program) 200716,000,000 XPF (242,424 AUD)
Evaluation and pilot-testing of the co-culture of sea cucumbers with shrimp in New Caledonia Province Sud and Nord, New Caledonia20064,472,693 XPF (67,768 AUD)
Sea cucumber population surveys in the Southern ProvinceProvince Sud, New Caledonia20063,000,000 XPF (45,454 AUD)
Ext: Optimal release strategies for restocking and stock enhancement of the tropical sea cucumber, sandfish (Holothuria scabra)ACIAR2005-2006314,988 AUD
Allozyme electrophoresis techniques for population genetics analysis of sea cucumbersATSE Crawford Fund200310,000 AUD
Strategies optimales de lacher en vue du reensemencement et de l'amelioration des stocks d'holothuries de sable (Holothuria scabra)Government of France - via the French Pacific Funds 2003-2005 86,210 Euros (138,173 AUD)
Strategies optimales de lacher en vue du reensemencement et de l'amelioration des stocks d'holothuries de sable (Holothuria scabra)Northern, Southern and Loyalty Islands Provinces of New Caledonia2002-200436,000,000 XPF (500,000 AUD)

Publications

Books

Purcell, S.W. (2014) Processing sea cucumbers into beche-de-mer: a manual for Pacific Island fishers. Southern Cross University, Lismore, and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Noumea. p. 44. ISBN: 978-982-00-0711-6

Fijian version: Na vakarautaki ni sasalu ni waitui me ivoli: Na ivola dusidusi me ra vakayagataka na dauqoli ena Pasifika. ISBN: 978-982-00-0720-8

Tongan version: Ko hono teuteu'i 'o e mokohunu: Ko e tohi tokoni ma'a´ e kau toutai e ngaahi 'otumotu 'o e Pasifiki´. ISBN: 978-982-00-0719-2

Kiribati version: Aron karaoan ao kamauan te kereboki: Te boki ibukin buokaia taan akawa n te Betebeke. ISBN: 978-982-00-0717-8

Covers of four published books

http://www.spc.int/coastfish/index.php?option=com_content&Itemid=30&id=422
http://aciar.gov.au/publication/cop026

Purcell, S.W., Samyn, Y., Conand, C. (2012) Commercially important sea cucumbers of the world. FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 6. FAO, Rome, 180 p.

Purcell, S.W. (2010) Managing sea cucumber fisheries with an ecosystem approach. Edited/compiled by Lovatelli, A., Vasconcellos, M. and Y. Yimin. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 520. FAO, Rome. 157 p.

FAO. (2010) Putting into practice an ecosystem approach to managing sea cucumber fisheries. FAO, Rome. 81 + vii p. (S.W. Purcell, author)

Purcell S.W., Gossuin H., Agudo N.S. (2009) Status and management of the sea cucumber fishery of La Grande Terre, New Caledonia. WorldFish Center Studies and Review Nº 1901. The WorldFish Center, Penang, Malaysia. 136 p. http://www.worldfishcenter.org/search/publications?keys=Status+and+management+of+the+sea+cucumber+fishery+of+La+Grande+Terre&field_publication_type_term_tid=All&field_publication_language_tid=All

Friedman, K., Purcell, S., Bell, J., Hair, C. (2008) Sea cucumber fisheries: A manager's toolbox. ACIAR Monograph No. 135. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra. 32 p. http://aciar.gov.au/publication/mn135

Lovatelli A., C. Conand, S. Purcell, S. Uthicke, J.-F. Hamel and A. Mercier. (2004) Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 463. FAO, Rome. 425 p.

Book chapters

Kinch, J., Purcell, S., Uthicke, S., Friedman K. (2008) Population status, fisheries and trade of sea cucumbers in the Western Pacific. In: Toral-Granda V., Lovatelli A., Vasconcellos M. (eds.) Sea cucumbers: a global review on fisheries and trade. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 516. Rome, FAO. pp. 7-55

Kinch, J., Purcell, S., Uthicke, S., Friedman K. (2008) Papua New Guinea: a hot spot of sea cucumber fisheries in the Western Central Pacific. In: Toral-Granda V., Lovatelli A., Vasconcellos M. (eds.) Sea cucumbers: a global review on fisheries and trade. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 516. Rome, FAO. pp. 57-77

Purcell, S. (2004) Management options for restocked trochus fisheries. pp. 233-243. In: Leber, K.M., Kitada, Blakenship, H.L, Svåsand, T. (Eds.) Stock enhancement and sea ranching: developments, pitfalls and opportunities. 2nd Edition. Blackwell Pub., Oxford. p. 584

Peer-reviewed articles

Purcell, S.W., Conand, C., Uthicke, S., Byrne, M. Ecological roles of exploited sea cucumbers: a review. In press (2016), Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review

Purcell, S.W., Uthicke, S., Byrne, M., Eriksson, H. (2015). Rotational harvesting is a risky strategy for vulnerable marine animals. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(46): E6263

Purcell, S.W., Pomeroy, R.S. (2015) Driving small-scale fisheries in developing countries. Frontiers in Marine Science 2:44 (1-7). doi: 10.3389/fmars.2015.00044

Purcell S.W., Eriksson H. (2015) Echinoderms piggybacking on sea cucumbers: benign effects on sediment turnover and movement of hosts. Marine Biology Research 11: 666-670

Eriksson H., de la Torre-Castro M., Purcell S.W., Olsson P. (2015) Lessons for resource conservation from two contrasting small-scale fisheries. AMBIO 44: 204-213

Piddocke T.P., Butler G.L., Butcher P.A., Purcell S.W., Bucher D.J., Christidis L. (2015) Age validation in the Lutjanidae: a review. Fisheries Research 167: 48-63

Eriksson H., Conand C., Muthiga N.A., Lovatelli A., Purcell S.W. (2015) Governance structures and sustainability in Indian Ocean sea cucumber fisheries. Marine Policy 56:16-22

Purcell S.W., Clarke K.R., Rushworth K., Dalton S.J. (2014) Defining critical habitats of threatened and endemic reef fishes with a multivariate approach. Conservation Biology 28: 1688-1698

Purcell, S.W. (2014) Value, market preferences and trade of beche-de-mer from Pacific Island sea cucumbers. PLoS One 9: e95075

Purcell, S.W., Polidoro, B.A., Hamel, J.-F., Gamboa, R., Mercier, A. (2014) The cost of being valuable: predictors of extinction risk in marine invertebrates exploited as luxury seafood. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281: 20133296

Purcell, S.W., Lovatelli, A., Pakoa, K. (2014) Constraints and solutions to managing Pacific sea cucumber fisheries with an ecosystem approach. Marine Policy 45: 240-250

Purcell, S.W., Agudo, N.S. (2013) Optimisation of mesh enclosures for nursery rearing of juvenile sea cucumbers. PLoS One 8(5): e64103

Branch T.A., Lobo, A.S., Purcell, S.W. (2013) Opportunistic exploitation: an overlooked pathway to extinction. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28(7): 409-413

Purcell, S.W., Mercier, A., Conand, C., Hamel, J.-F., Lovatelli, A., Toral-Granda, V., Uthicke, S., (2013) Sea cucumber fisheries: global analysis of stocks, management measures and drivers of overfishing. Fish and Fisheries 14: 34-59

Purcell, S.W., Hair, C., Mills, D. (2012) Sea cucumber culture, farming and sea ranching in the tropics: progress, problems and opportunities. Aquaculture 368-369: 68-81

Purcell, S.W. (2012) Principles and science of stocking marine areas with sea cucumbers. pp. 92-103. In: Hair C.A., Pickering T.D. and Mills D.J. (eds) Asia-Pacific tropical sea cucumber aquaculture. ACIAR Proceedings No. 136. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research: Canberra. http://aciar.gov.au/publication/pr136

Rushworth, K.J.W., Smith, S.D.A., Cowden, K.L., Purcell, S.W. (2011) Optimal temperature for growth and condition of an endemic subtropical anemonefish. Aquaculture 318: 479-482

Beger M., Babcock R., Booth D. J., Bucher D., Condie S. A., Creese B., Cvitanovic C., Dalton S. J., Harrison P., Hoey A., Jordan A., Loder J., Malcolm H., Purcell S. W., Roelfsema C. M., Sachs P., Smith S. D. A., Sommer B., Stuart-Smith R., Thomson D., Wallace C. C., Zann M. and Pandolfi J. M. (2011) Research challenges to improve the management and conservation of subtropical reefs to tackle climate change threats. Ecological Management and Restoration 12(1):e7-e10.

Purcell, S.W., Cheng, H.W. (2010) Experimental restocking and seasonal visibility of a coral reef gastropod assessed by temporal modelling. Aquatic Biology 9: 227-238

Baird, A.H., Kospartov, M.C. Purcell, S.W. (2010) Reproductive synchrony in Acropora assemblages on reefs of New Caledonia. Pacific Science 64:405-412

Purcell, S.W. (2010) Diel burying by the tropical sea cucumber Holothuria scabra: effects of environmental stimuli, handling and ontogeny. Marine Biology 157: 663-671

Purcell, S.W., Blockmans, B.F. (2009) Effective fluorochrome marking of juvenile sea cucumbers for restocking and sea ranching. Aquaculture 296: 263-270

Massin C., Uthicke S., Purcell S.W., Rowe F.W.E., Samyn Y. (2009) Taxonomy of the heavily exploited Indo-Pacific sandfish complex (Echinodermata: Holothuriidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 155: 40-59

Bell J.D., Purcell S.W., Nash W.J. (2008) Restoring small-scale fisheries for tropical sea cucumbers. Ocean and Coastal Management 51: 589-593

Purcell, S.W., Simutoga, M. (2008) Spatio-temporal and size-dependent variation in the success of releasing cultured sea cucumbers in the wild. Reviews in Fisheries Science 16: 204-214

Bell J.D., Agudo N.S., Purcell S.W., Blazer P., Simutoga M., Pham D., Della Patrona L. (2007) Grow-out of sandfish Holothuria scabra in ponds shows that co-culture with shrimp Litopenaeus stylirostris is not viable. Aquaculture 273: 509-519

Purcell, S.W., Blockmans, B.F., Nash, W.J. (2006) Efficacy of chemical markers and physical tags for large-scale release of an exploited holothurian. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 334: 283-293

Purcell, S.W., Patrois, J., Fraisse, N. (2006) Experimental evaluation of co-culture of juvenile sea cucumbers, Holothuria scabra (Jaeger), with juvenile blue shrimp, Litopenaeus stylirostris (Stimpson). Aquaculture Research 37: 515-522

Purcell, S.W., Kirby D.S. (2006) Restocking the sea cucumber Holothuria scabra: sizing no-take zones through individual-based movement modelling. Fisheries Research 80: 53-61

Purcell, S.W., Blockmans, B.F., Agudo, N.N.S. (2006) Transportation methods for restocking of juvenile sea cucumber, Holothuria scabra. Aquaculture 251: 238-244.

Uthicke, S., Purcell, S., Blockmans B. (2005) Natural hybridisation does not dissolve species boundaries in commercially important sea cucumbers. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 85: 261-270

Purcell S. (2004) Criteria for release strategies and evaluating the restocking of sea cucumbers. pp. 181-191. In: Lovatelli A., C. Conand, S. Purcell, S. Uthicke, J.-F. Hamel and A. Mercier (Eds.). Advances in sea cucumber aquaculture and management. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 463. FAO, Rome, pp. 425.

Uthicke, S., Purcell, S. (2004) Preservation of genetic diversity in restocking of the sea cucumber Holothuria scabra investigated by allozyme electrophoresis. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Science 61: 519-528

Purcell S.W., Amos M.J., Pakoa K. (2004) Releases of cultured sub-adult Trochus niloticus generate broodstock for fishery replenishment in Vanuatu. Fisheries Research 67: 329-333

Amos M.J., Purcell S.W. (2003) Evaluation of strategies for intermediate culture of Trochus niloticus (Gastropoda) in sea cages for restocking. Aquaculture 218: 235-249

Purcell S.W. (2002) Intertidal reefs under extreme tidal flux in Buccaneer Archipelago, Western Australia. Coral Reefs 21: 191-192

Purcell S.W., D.R. Bellwood. (2001) Spatial patterns of epilithic algal and detrital resources on a windward coral reef. Coral Reefs 20: 117-125

Purcell S.W. (2000) Association of epilithic algae with sediment distribution on a windward reef in the northern Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Bulletin of Marine Science 66: 199-214

Purcell S.W. (1997) Quantifying organic content of material from coral reefs. In: The Great Barrier Reef, science, use and management: a national conference. Proceedings, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Townsville. 2: 61-66

Purcell S.W. (1996) A direct method for assessing sediment loads in epilithic algal communities. Coral Reefs 15: 211-213

Purcell S.W. and D.R. Bellwood. (1993) A functional analysis of food procurement in two surgeonfish species, Acanthurus nigrofuscus and Ctenochaetus striatus (Acanthuridae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 37: 139-159.