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Environment, Research Development

CDU researcher named National Geographic Explorer

Charles Darwin University 2 mins read
CDU PhD candidate Lulu Middleton has recently been named a National Geographic Explorer in support of her interdisciplinary nutrition research and will receive funding, support, and professional development.

A Charles Darwin University (CDU) PhD candidate has been named a National Geographic Explorer in recognition of her exceptional work researching upstream solutions to food and nutrition insecurity in coastal communities.  

CDU researcher Lucinda (Lulu) Middleton received this prestigious title as part of a National Geographic Society grant.

The grant will provide Lulu with funding, support and professional development to support her PhD research in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

The research will endeavour to foster a stronger understanding and appreciation of the role of mangroves and their ecosystems play in supporting gendered food and nutrition security.

Lulu said her research aims to identify the extent to which coastal communities depend on mangrove food systems for nutrition in Indonesia.

“My research aims to highlight how food sourced from mangroves, such as finish and shellfish, increase income and dietary diversity and boost micro and macronutrient intake,” Lulu said.

“This is particularly important for low- and middle-income countries such as Indonesia where micronutrient deficiencies are extremely prevalent, particularly for women and children under the age of five.”

The research will also help to provide a case study on the extent to which coastal communities are dependent on mangrove food systems and expand our understanding of how vital these ecosystems are globally.

Lulu, from CDU’s Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) has been working for many years as an interdisciplinary nutritionist researching food systems, the environment, fisheries, gender and public health. 

She began her career by championing female aquaculture farmers and fishers in Zambia and Malawi to establish sustainable food systems to improve food and nutrition security.  

Lulu said she aspires to create a better future for our planet and people.

“I hope that my research can highlight the importance of considering food and nutrition and uplifting the concerns of local communities to ensure a sustainable future for our people and our planet”

“I am so excited to be named a National Geographic Explorer and I look forward to continuing my work to find solutions for a food-secure future.”

CDU’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation Steve Rogers said Lulu's achievement of being named as a National Geographic Explorer shows the calibre of researchers CDU has.

“I congratulate Lulu on being named as an Explorer. Her research work is incredibly important and has the potential to make a significant difference,” Professor Rogers said.

“It is wonderful to see one of our researchers recognised in this way and shows the high quality of work being done by CDU researchers.” 

The National Geographic Society supports more than 3000 explorers with Lulu Middleton joining an elite group of people who are on the frontline of conservation.

Contact details:

Emily Bostock
Acting Research Communications Officer
T: +61 8 8946 6529
M: 0432 417 518



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