TESS Seminars


TESS seminars feature international, Australian, and local JCU researchers whose work falls within Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Sciences. Speakers are typically established or postdoctoral researchers.

Where: JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield (Crowther Lecture Theatre A03-003)

COVID-19 check in required on entry

When: Wednesdays on the advertised date and time

Who:   All welcome!

Time: 4 pm to 5 pm (AEST)

Followed by Refreshments

*The seminars is also live streamed on Zoom and YouTube:

- Zoom: https://bit.ly/3andH7s

- YouTube: https://bit.ly/37hpJ0v

If you are hosting a visitor or would like to give a seminar, please contact the seminar coordinator, Dr Yoko Ishida by email to yoko.ishida@jcu.edu.au

2021 TESS ANNUAL CONFERENCE is confirmed! Please save the dates of 3 and 4 of  November.

More details coming soon.

Next seminar

28th July, 2021| 4pm (AEST) |  Prof Robert Wasson and Dr Sourav Das (JCU)

Where: JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield (Crowther Lecture Theatre A03-003)



Economic damage caused by floods in India is a serious problem that has disrupted development and the fight against poverty in some parts of the country. It is therefore important to mitigate the effects of floods as effectively as possible. To this end, an analysis of economic damage in the categories of crops, housing and utilities in six Indian States from 1953 to 2011 is presented using rigorous statistical methods. The analysis presented here shows that increasing mitigation efforts since Independence have not produced a corresponding reduction in damage. However, the overall damage may have been greater without the mitigation measures, a possibility that cannot be known. Andhra Pradesh has the highest total damage followed by in order Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam, and Gujarat. The reasons for this ranking are unclear because the only readily available measure of economic activity, Gross State Domestic Product, a potential proxy for damage, is only weakly correlated with damages in the three categories. Similarities in the damage profile between some States suggest that inter-State learning may be of value despite what appear to be on face value large differences in hydrology, landscape and economic activity. Despite the deficiencies in the data and its spatial resolution, there is sufficient evidence to inspire new thinking and action about flood mitigation in India, for which hydrologic data will be essential along with at least District-level analyses and, ideally, catchment-based analyses. New approaches to mitigation must be evidence-based if they are to have any chance of success.


Robert Wasson: Professor Robert (Bob) Wasson is a geomorphologist who has studied desert dunes, palaeoenvironmental change on centennial to millennial timescales, fluvial systems, mass movements, cross-disciplinary methods, and extreme flood histories and flood mitigation strategies. He has held senior positions in Australia’s CSIRO, and at the Australian National University (Head of Geography, Director Centre for Environmental and Resource Studies, Dean of Science) and Charles Darwin University (Deputy Vice Chancellor Research). He joined the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2011 where he carried out research in India and Thailand on flood history and mitigation policy. He has also done research in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, China, and Myanmar.

Dr Sourav Das:  Sourav is a lecturer in Data Science and Statistics. After a PhD from University of Manchester (UK) he did a couple of post docs at University of Bristol, the National University of Singapore followed by research consultancy at the Royal Melbourne hospital-University of Melbourne, as a biostatistician. In 2019 Sourav joined James Cook University. Sourav’s main interests are in modelling natural hazard and events that evolve over space and time.

Coming up

4th August, 2021| 4pm (AEST) |  Dr Nicholas Murray (JCU)

Where: JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield (Crowther Lecture Theatre A03-003)