The science we do is expected to have an impact. This can be measured in all sorts of ways. Most obviously impact might mean citations of one’s research and ways in which that work has changed thinking in one’s field of science or in science generally. It can also be measured by impacts on society or, in the conservation world, by measurable improvements in conservation policy and efficacy. Impact can also be measured by media interest in the work, or by how public understanding of one’s field of interest has been improved.

The links below indicate some of the impacts the ChownLab, in its various incarnations, has had and is having.

Antarctic Science and Policy

We are deeply involved in evidence-based policy for the Antarctic, delivering both research and implementation information to a range of organisations and agreements. The bulk of our work concerns conservation policy, but we are also involved in science policy for the region. Examples can be found through the following links:

Antarctica In a Warming World; Regional Changes, Global Consequences and Future Commitments

Steven’s talk entitled “Antarctic biodiversity responses to a warming world” starts around 1:06.

Revitalising Informal Settlements and Their Environments

By the middle of this century more than 6.3 billion people will live in urban areas, or 70% of the world’s projected population. Rapid urbanisation and the effects of climate change have a devastating effect on people around the world who live without adequate access to the most vital requirement for a healthy, stable and prosperous community – clean water. Currently 2.3 billion people globally lack basic sanitation and more than one billion of those are living in urban informal settlements.

The ChownLab is leading the environment component of a Monash-led, international research consortium that will significantly advance human health and well-being, along with environmental conditions, in informal settlements. This will be done by transforming water infrastructure, water management, sanitation practices and aspects of the environment. The project is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the Asian Development Bank. Engineers, public health specialists, economists, architects, social scientists and ecologists form part of the team, drawn from Monash, Stanford, Emory, and Melbourne Universities, and involving a range of other public and private sector partners.

Read More about the Water Sensitive Revitalisation of Informal Urban Settlements Project here

Watch the Video:

Policy and Implementation

Beyond the Horizon – SCAR event heald in Millbrook Queenstown, New Zealand

Developing a suite of ecoregions for management of the biodiversity of the Antarctic
Resolution 6 (2012) ATCM XXXV – Click Here 
The original paper  – Click Here

  The Antarctic Environments Portal – 

Social Investment and Education

The Iimbovane Project: Corporate Social Investment, Ants and Secondary Education

Public Understanding of Science

ST Lee Lecture  –  New Zealand 2011

Radio New Zealand – Q&A session 2011

Oslo Science Conference 2010
(Including HSH Prince Albert of Monaco and HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway)

Media Attention

Antarctica has benefitted from extraordinary global cooperation. Are its days numbered? – World Economic Forum –

Antarctic biodiversity increasingly under threat as human activity spreads across continent –

Antarctica has lost 3 trillion tonnes of ice in 25 years. Time is running out for the frozen continent. –

Pristine wilderness? New study suggests poor outlook for Antarctic biodiversity –

International research ship on lap of Antarctica makes Hobart pit stop –

Prof. Steven Chown has been elected for a four-year term as SCAR President –

Monash University to lead expedition examining how climate change affects Antarctic wildlife –

The undiscovered secrets of Antarctica targetted in new scientific expedition –

Antarctica reveals secrets to scientists –

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco supports conservation assessment –

Invading Antarctica –

Australia risks losing our grip on Antarctica –

Australia risks slipping from Antarctic research leadership role –

Life’s origins a focus of polar science –

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Don’t Visit Antarctica (HBO)

Don’t Visit Antarctica – For the Science see ….. Here

Clean Up Before You Come South – ABC RN Bush Telegraph 2014 –

Green Aliens Take Root in Antarctica –

Alien invaders threaten Antarctic fringes –

Global warming to leave Antarctic vulnerable to invasive species: Australian researchers –


Insect Physiological EcologyInsect Physiological Ecology

Mechanisms and Patterns

Insects exhibit incredible physiological diversity, making them ideal model organisms for the purpose of this book. The authors draw together the central issues in physiology (nutrition, water balance, temperature, etc.), treating each in sufficient detail to give researchers a broad update in summary form, as well as senior students a feel for current work in the field. In addition, they examine patterns in physiological variation, and go on to explore the mechanisms underlying this variation as well as the ecological and evolutionary consequences.

Chown & Nicolson (2004). Insect Physiological Ecology. Mechanisms and Patterns. OUP.

Prince Edward IslandsThe Prince Edward Islands

Land-Sea Interactions in a Changing Ecosystem

Free E-book

This book provides a modern, synthetic overview of what is known about the structure, functioning and interactions of marine and terrestrial systems at the Prince Edward Islands. Building on more than 50 years of biological, geological, meteorological, and oceanographic research, it demonstrates not only how inextricably linked marine and terrestrial systems at the islands are, but also how global environmental challenges, such as climate change, biological invasions, and over exploitation, are playing out at the regional and local levels in the Southern Ocean.

Chown & Froneman (2008). The Prince Edward Islands. Land-Sea Interactions in a Changing Ecosystem. Sun Press.

Download the Free E-book and chapters here

Marion cover smallMarion & Prince Edward

Africa’s Southern Islands

This book tells the story of Marion Island and Prince Edward Island, South Africa’s southernmost territories; their fiery origins, their discovery and exploitation, the amazing plants and animals that live and grow there, and their current importance for research and conservation.

The book features various photographs which capture the beauty of these remote and unique environments.


Terauds, Cooper, Chown & Ryan (2010). Marion and Prince Edward. Africa’s Southern Islands. Sun Press.

Gough IslandGough Island

A Natural History

This book provides a well-illustrated, absorbing account of Gough Island’s remarkable plants and animals, and a compelling history of its discovery and exploration.

The authors bring to this work their considerable experience of remote, Southern Ocean islands and conservation in the region, making the book essential reading not only for island and seabird enthusiasts, but also for those concerned with biodiversity and its conservation in remote locations.

Hänel, Chown & Gaston (2005). Gough Island. A Natural History. Sun Press.

Observations on Environmental Change in South Africa

Environmental changes are progressively affecting the future of South Africans through their combined impacts on human livelihood, security and prosperity.

This book is about environmental change in South Africa, its causes, trends, implications, suggested solutions and the technologies and methodologies of observation and analysis. It draws together work from as many scientific disciplines as possible to inform not only the private sector and political decision makers, but also the general public on current environmental issues and challenges.

Observations on Environmental Change in South Africa provides pertinent scientific evidence to assist the people of our country in formulating intelligent and responsible policies and practices for the betterment of our society and to ensure the long-term sustainable futures of South Africans.

Chown, Terauds, Huntley, le Roux, Ramawiela, Shaw, McGeoch (2011) South Africa’s southern sentinel: Terrestrial environmental change at sub-Antarctic Marion Island, in Observations on Environmental Change in South Africa, eds Larry Zietsman, Sun Press