Dr David Abrego


Having recently complete his PhD, David is now part of the ‘Understanding Marine Microbes and Symbioses’ team at AIMS working on ‘Inter kingdom communication in the coral holobiont’. David is originally from Mexico, where early ambitions of becoming a marine biologist were easily nourished by many trips to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts with family and friends. After obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Aquatic Biology from the University of California in Santa Barbara, he grabbed his backpack and visited many reefs in the Indo-Pacific before returning home to find funding to study a PhD at JCU. His research looked at the flexibility in the coral-Symbiodinium symbiosis and the physiological attributes of different host-symbiont combinations in order to understand how these associations may change in the future. David was supervised by Professor Bette Willis and Dr. Madeleine van Oppen.

Dr Amélie Augé


Amelie AugeAmélie is originally from France and got her BSc at the University of Rennes including a year spent at the University of Quebec at Rimouski. Then, she migrated to New Zealand where she completed her MSc in Spatial Ecology and PhD in Zoology at the University of Otago. She is a spatial ecologist who combines her original vocation in marine conservation with her interests in spatio-temporal data to work on applied marine and coastal conservation issues. This led her to the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies as a postdoctoral research fellow in mid-2012 where she worked on conservation planning for the Great Barrier Reef coastal zone.  In July 2014, Amélie took up a new position at the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute (SAERI) in the Falkland Islands as a Marine Ecologist within a new governmental initiative towards Spatial Marine Planning.

Dr Bridget Ayling


Bridget grew up in Napier, New Zealand and completed a BSc(Hons) in geology and physical geography at Victoria University of Wellington. Her Honours thesis examined locally-derived aeolian sediments deposited on coastal glaciers in South Victoria Land, Antarctica, as indicators of regional wind regime. She moved to Canberra to pursue a PhD at the ANU with Professors Malcolm McCulloch and John Chappell, reconstructing seasonal climate from two warm interglacial periods of the last 500 thousand years, using the skeletal geochemistry of fossil Porites corals and giant Tridacna clams. She submitted her PhD early 2006, and was employed in the 2006-intake of Geoscience Australia’s 12-month graduate program. During the program she worked in a variety of projects including characterising seabed fluid escape features on Australia’s continental shelf, and the use of predictive modelling in earthquake risk assessment. She graduated with her PhD in December 2006.

Dr Stephen Ban


Stephen’s marine biology background encompasses a broad range of scales, taxa, and ecosystems, ranging from test-tube phytoplankton to coral reefs to ocean-basin pinnipeds (and aquarium belugas). He completed his PhD under the supervisions of Professor Bob Pressey, Professor Sean Connolly, and Dr Nicholas Graham, his thesis looked at the issue of multiple stressors on the Great Barrier Reef from a number of angles, including a metaanalysis of the coral reef literature and using expert elicitation to inform Bayesian belief networks.

Dr Dorothea Bender


Dorothea was originally from Germany, where she completed her MSc in Biology at the University of Bremen. Dorothea was a PhD student at the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab at UQ,  investigated the effect of elevated sea surface temperature and ocean acidification on coral reef algae (supervisors: Sophie Dove and Guillermo Diaz-Pulido). She included various growth forms and taxa her experiments, looked at turf algal communities as well as macroalgal responses to the changed environmental conditions.

Dr Brian Beck


Brian grew up in the US completing a BSc and MSc in geology and paleontology at Nebraska and Iowa (studying with Prof. Ann Budd).
In 2006 he started a PhD under the supervision of Dr John Pandolfi at the University of Queensland. His research was focused on coral ecology/paleoecology looking at accretion and cyclone frequency. He finished his PhD in 2011 and is currently the Coral Reef Ecologist for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation.

Dr Victor Hugo Beltran Ramirez


Victor Hugo born in Mexico City, He completed is BSc with Honors degree in Marine Biology at La Paz Baja California University. His master degree at the National University of Mexico. Hugo has work on coral research projects for over 10 years involving Pacific Ocean reef ecology, physiology of the algae-coral symbiosis and has just submitted his PhD thesis on molecular aspects of the GFP-like proteins on the coral Acropora millepora. Hugo found that coral GFPs are expressed early in embryogenesis, displaying a temporal and spatial specific arrangement. The Functionality of these undoubtedly wide spread proteins is one of the postdoctoral endeavors that he wants to go after. When Hugo is not at work he plays harmonica music and enjoy Australia’s outback landscape.

Dr Anthony Bertucci

Anthony-BertucciAnthony is originally from Corsica (France) and obtained a Master degree in Ecology and Evolution in 2007 at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis. During this period, he started to work on symbiotic cnidarians by studying the effects of global warming on the oxidative stress resistance of the only symbiotic Mediterranean gorgonian: Eunicella singularis. He then started a PhD at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco (2007-2010) during which he used molecular biology, physiology and pharmacology methods to better comprehend the inorganic carbon transport and utilization in reef-building corals. In 2011, he accepted a teaching assistant position in Nice.  From 2011-2014 Anthony joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies as a Super Science postdoctoral fellow in the coral genomics group to study the differential expression of genes and physiological responses of corals to environmental parameters and global change.

Dr Michael Berumen


After finishing his PhD, Michael returned to his home state of Arkansas and spent two years working on as a postdoc and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the biology department of the University of Arkansas. In 2007, he took a position as a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Fish Ecology Lab at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Recently he joined the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology where he is helping to get the Red Sea Research Center up and running. His lab is involved in nutritional ecology of corallivorous fishes, movement ecology of adult fishes within and among reefs, seascape connectivity – large-scale movements of large fish (tunas, sharks, etc), larval connectivity, fisheries studies, including life history, population genetics, and connectivity of targeted reef fishes, evolutionary biology and ecology of Red Sea fishes. In 2008, Michael was named a Sir Keith Murdoch Fellow by the American Australian Association to do several months of fieldwork on the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr. Duan Biggs


Duan is from South Africa and completed his PhD at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia in 2011 on the resilience of coral reef tourism to global change and crises.  Duan holds an MsC in Conservation Biology from the University of Cape Town and has a trans-disciplinary undergraduate training with majors in Economics, Development Studies and Environmental Science. Duan has developed, coordinated and consulted to projects for BirdLife International, Conservational International and WWF among others. Duan is currently working for scientific services in South African National Parks where he is developing a new tourism research program. In March 2012, Duan starts a research fellowship at the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions at the University of Queensland. He also leads specialist nature and wildlife tours to destinations around the world.

Dr Sandra Binning


Sandra was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, where activities involving skiing and snow were far more common than surf and sun. Nevertheless, she developed an interest in tropical ecology early on, and completed her BSc Honours degree in biology at McGill University studying seagrass communities in Barbados. Craving a study system with slightly more personality, Sandra switched her interests to freshwater fish, completing her MSc at McGill exploring intraspecific variation and ecomorphology in East African cichlids. Having cemented her love of fish, Sandra dreamed of returning to the marine realm, and moved halfway across the world to Australia to do it! She completed her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Chris Fulton at ANU where she used techniques in ecomorphology and physiology to explore intraspecific phenotypic variation in coral reef fishes in response to environmental gradients.

Dr Dan Breen


Dan completed his PhD at JCU on systematic conservation planning for marine protected areas (MPAs) with the supervision of Prof. Geoff Jones and Dr Nick Otway. He now works for the New Zealand Department of Conservation in Auckland on MPAs and provides science advice for Maui’s dolphin and other threatened species. He previously worked for the NSW Marine Parks Authority and NSW Fisheries in establishing marine parks and aquatic reserves, for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on the Representative Areas Program, as a consultant in monitoring the impacts of tourism and other activities and as a interpreter with Reef Biosearch in Port Douglas. Dan’s research interests include quantitative marine ecology, spatial and statistical modeling of marine communities and applying GIS based decision support systems (including Marxan, C-Plan and Zonation). Dan, his wife Dr Barbara Bollard-Breen (Auckland University of Technology and WWF), and two children (Jack and Cassie) now live on a vineyard on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, love to have visitors and enjoy working throughout the Pacific.

Dr Kathleen Broderick


Kathleen hails from Western Australia. She has had several careers: first in education; second in in studying the social systems surrounding the Great Barrier Reef and its river catchments with the Centre of Excellence and GBRMPA and in natural resource management. Her passion for restoration and improved management of ecosystems has now lead her on to her new role as Chief Executive Officer of NRM South in Tasmania.

Dr Kate Bromfield

Contact: +64 4 916 2426

Kate grew up in Tasmania before moving to Brisbane early in 2005. She completed a PhD at the Centre for Marine Studies, UQ, supervised by John Pandolfi and John Jell, with input from CSIRO’s Alan Butler. She investigated faunal turnover in reef corals over the Miocene Pliocene boundary in the Indo-West Pacific. When she’s not collecting rocks, she enjoys spending time with her son

Dr Sam Burgess


Sam grew up moving around four States and Territories in Australia before moving to South Australia to complete undergraduate studies in geology and environmental biology at the University of Adelaide. She moved to New Zealand to complete an MSc in marine ecology at the University of Auckland, examining the biogeography and reproductive ecology of deep-sea coral with Russ Babcock. Sam took a break from study for a year to work as a marine consultant for the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). Continuing on with the cold-water coral theme, she started a PhD in 2003 at the Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University with Malcolm McCulloch, Mike Gagan and Tim Ward (from SARDI). The project was investigating the geochemical ecology of a high-latitude species of coral, commonly found in temperate waters around Australia. Sam enjoys spending her spare time outdoors, preferably by the ocean, doing something active such as diving, hiking or mountain biking. She is pursuing a post-doctoral fellowship at Oxford, building on her geochemical and ecological background in paleoenvironmental archives.

Dr Neal Cantin


Neal completed his BSc. Honours degree at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, where he grew up. Neal moved to Townsville to follow his interests in coral biology in 2003. Neal’s PhD project was investigating the impact of photoinhibition on coral reproduction and the influence of genetically distinct Symbiodinium spp. on the physiology of the coral host. This project was supervised by Dr. Andrew Negri of the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Bette Willis from the JCU node of the Centre. Neal plans to pursue a Postdoctoral position Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in North America.

Dr Paulina Cetina Heredia


Paulina studied Oceanography at the Autonomous University of Baja California and obtained a masters degree in Physical Oceanography from CICESE, Ensenada, Mexico. As an oceanographer Paulina is curious of various marine science aspects and developed an interdisciplinary project that deals with larval transport in reef systems. She worked under the supervision of Dr. Sean Connolly, Dr. Peter Ridd and Dr. Richard Brinkman. She used a hydrodynamic model to simulate circulation along the GBR and will be implementing coral and reef fish larval life traits and behaviour to accurately model their transport.

Dr Karen Chong-Seng


Karen comes from the Seychelles and did her BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology at JCU. Her honours thesis investigated coral reef fishes and their consumption of coral disease. She returned to her home country for her PhD and studied the ecological processes aiding and abetting the recovery of Seychelles coral reefs after being hit by the 98 bleaching. She was supervised by Dr. Morgan Pratchett, Dr. Nick Graham and Prof. David Bellwood.

Dr Miin Chua


Miin grew up in Terengganu, a small state in the east coast of Malaysia. After completion of her Bachelor of Science (Marine Biology) and Honors in University Malaysia Terengganu Miin moved to Townsville to undertake her PhD with supervision of Dr. Andrew Baird, Dr. Bill Leggat and Prof. Terry Hughes. Her PhD project ‘Effects of climate change and ocean acidification on the early life history of corals’, aims to investigate  temperature and CO2 stress on fertilization, larval development, survivorship, settlement and growth of juvenile corals. Her research focuses on the synergistic effects of near-future ocean warming and acidification on coral larval and juvenile ecology and how such stresses mediate their behaviour. She has graduated in 2013 and she is currently working on her collaborative research projects with Australian National University and University of Amsterdam.

Dr Philippa Cohen


Pip is from Tasmania where she completed her undergrad, honours and first three years of her career in fisheries research. Pip then escaped the cold of Tassie to the tropical Pacific – Tonga, Fiji and then Solomon Islands. Pip lived and worked in the Pacific for the next 5 years as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development, a consultant on a fisheries and development project and then a coordinator for a regional knowledge management project. In 2013 Pip completed her PhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.  Pip is now employed as a scientist for WorldFish, and is based at the Centre.  Pip’s research focuses on understanding community-based fisheries management for improving food security in the Pacific.

Dr Andrew Cole

Andrew completed his PhD at JCU in 2011 under the supervision of Morgan Pratchett, Shaun Wilson and Geoff Jones. His research examined the functional importance of coral-feeding fishes and assessed the energetic cost that chronic predation has on reef-building corals. In 2012, Andrew began a research fellowship in the Macroalgal Biofuels and Bioproducts project at JCU. Andrew leads the Biomass Scale Up subprogram which aims to optimise macroalgal biomass production and the bioremediation of aquatic waste streams, ultimately providing a cost effective option for nutrient bioremediation and a platform for sustainable and commercially viable macroalgal biomass production.

Dr Tim Cooper


After completing his undergraduate degree at JCU, Tim spent some time applying his skills and knowledge in the environmental consulting industry in Sydney and Brisbane.  He then returned to research and completed his PhD at the JCU node of the Centre, supervised by Ken Anthony and Katharina Fabricius (AIMS). Tim’s project aimed to identify physiological and ecological health/stress indicators of corals on nearshore reefs.  This study was the first to combine information on physiology, population and community ecology of corals to identify indicators responsive to changes in water quality on the Great Barrier Reef. In his spare time, Tim dreams of riding in the Tour de France, so postdoctoral positions in Europe are high on his agenda.

Dr Melissa Cowlishaw


Mel grew up in Brisbane and completed her BSc hons in marine biology at the Centre for Marine Studies, at the University of Queensland and moved to Townsville to complete her PhD at James Cook University under the supervision of Dr Geoff Jones and Dr Mark McCormick. Her PhD investigated the interrelationships between individual living space, habitat quality and abundance in coral reef fishes, with most of her research carried out at the Lizard Island Research Station. When she’s not out on the reef Mel enjoys surfing (when there’s waves around), outdoor adventures and surf lifesaving.

Dr Peter Cowman


Peter is originally from Ireland were he completed a BSc (Hon) degree in Marine Science at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). During his 4th year he studied the use of molecular tools to identify interspecific variation in marine sponges. He enrolled in the Masters of Applied Science program at JCU Townsville in 2007 and promptly upgraded to the Graduate Diploma in Research Methods. For a minor project he used molecular methods and fossil data to date the evolutionary origins of wrasses (Family Labridae). His PhD research investigated the origins of trophic novelty in coral reef fish families and the underlying patterns in trophic evolution on coral reefs

Dr Vivian Cumbo


Vivian grew up in Sydney, Australia and completed her BSc in Microbiology (Hons) and Marine Biology at the UNSW. Her honours thesis investigated the antimicrobial compounds in the scleractinian corals Montipora digitata and Montipora tortuosa. Vivian’s interests in corals and coral reef ecosystems saw her embarking on a PhD on corals and climate change in 2006 under the supervision of Dr Andrew Baird, Dr Madeleine van Oppen and Professor Terry Hughes.  Her PhD research utilized larvae of the genus Acropora to explore initial patterns of association between the host and Symbiodinium spp., and how environmental conditions affected the establishment and development of symbiosis. She tested how competition among Symbiodinium types affects these processes, and whether these competitive effects were mediated by environmental conditions. In addition to this, she investigated the poorly known symbiosis between coral and the recently described alga, Chromera velia. After completing her PhD, Vivian worked as a National Science Foundation postdoctoral researcher at California State University, Northridge.  Her research in Dr Peter Edmunds laboratory focused on the area of global climate change and its effects on the early life stages of coral; specifically the effects of rising temperature and ocean acidification on the physiology of larvae, newly settled recruits and juvenile corals. This postdoctoral position helped build her skill set, and extended her knowledge about the early life stages of coral and their response to climate change.

Dr Ian Craigie


Ian Craigie__imageIan, originally from the UK, works on the performance and costs of protected areas. He completed his PhD in 2010 which was carried out jointly with the University of Cambridge, ZSL London and the UNEP – World Conservation Monitoring Centre. The PhD focussed on assessing the conservation performance of Africa’s protected areas. Prior to the PhD Ian worked for South African National Parks and competed an MSc at Imperial College London. Ian worked as a post-doc at the ARC Coral Reef Centre of Excellence in Townsville working with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to understand the costs of effective protected area management.

Chris Cvitanovic


Chris grew up in Canberra but escaped the cold in 2004 to complete his Bachelor of Science with Honours in Marine Biology at James Cook University. At the end of his Honours Chris took a full time position with the Australian Government as the Science Manager for the Commonwealth Marine Protected Areas program. After three years working in management Chris was returning to Science, undertaking a PhD looking at the ecological energetics of butterflyfishes under the supervision of Dr. Chris Fulton (ANU) and Dr. Morgan Pratchett (JCU). Using study sites along Australia’s east coast including Lizard Island and Lord Howe Island, Chris was investigating how energy acquisition and expenditure within butterflyfishes varies under different environmental conditions.

Dr Débora De Freitas


Débora De Freitas is originally from Brazil. She completed a BSc-honours (2000) and Masters-honours (2003) in Oceanography at the Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil – with complementary studies in Marine Policy at the Center for the Study of Marine Policy, Delaware/U.S.A. She recently completed her PhD in Environment Studies at James Cook University. Her research interests focus on the use of geospatial technology (i.e. GIS) in systematic conservation planning, integrated coastal zone management, and stakeholders’ engagement in the management of natural resources. In October 2010, Débora took up a postdocotral fellowship postion at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources & Security (ANCORS) at the University of Wollongong

Dr Christopher Doropoulos


Christopher Doropoulos Christopher Doropoulos was awarded his PhD from the University of Queensland in November 2013. His thesis was entitled “Disturbance effects to coral recruitment dynamics on the Great Barrier Reef”. Experimental chapters focussed on the effects of ocean acidification on: crustose coralline algae (CCA) community structure, interactions among CCA on coral settlement, and, the post-settlement growth and survivorship of coral recruits when they interact with herbivorous fish. His final chapter focussed on how adult stock and life-history traits affect population dynamics and early recovery in common coral reef habitats. Currently, Christopher is working as a Post-doctoral Research Fellow for Peter J Mumby in the Marine Spatial Ecology Laboratory, UQ ( In collaboration with the Palau International Coral Reef Centre, his current research is focussed on how patterns of coral recruitment are influenced by biological and physical interactions.

Dr Guillermo Diaz-Pulido

Phone: +61 7 3735 3840

Guillermo grew up in Colombia. He completed his BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology in Bogota, in 1995 and his PhD in Marine Botany in James Cook University in 2002. He was postdoctoral fellow in the Centre of Excellence until Decemember 2009. In 2010 he took up a lectureship in the School of Environment at Griffith University. His research focuses on the ecology and diversity of coral reef algae particularly in the context of coral reef degradation and global climate change, coral algae interactions and post-bleaching ecology. Guillermo continues research collaborations with his Centre of Excellence collegues.

Dr Danielle Dixson


Having recently completed her PhD, Danielle is now working as a post-doctoral research candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia. Danielle is originally from Minnesota, a land locked state far from the ocean, but early ambitions of becoming a marine biologist were easily nourished by many trip to the aquariums and the Floridian reefs as achild. After obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Science from the University of Tampa in Florid, she participated in the seahorse and pipefish population dynamics in the Tampa sea grass bed research. Danielle’s PhD thesis investigated the role of olfactory cues played in settlement site selection by coral reef fish larvae, as well as the impact of ocean acidification on fish larval behaviour and sensory systems. Danielle’s PhD was supervised by Professors Phil Munday, Geoff Jones and Morgan Pratchett. Currently, Danielle is investigating marine connectivity and the impacts of anthropogenic activities have on the availability of olfactory cues in the water column for settling juvenile fish and corals

Dr Juan Pablo D’Olivo Cordero


Juan Pablo was born and raised in Mexico City. He obtained a BSc in Oceanology in 2004 and a MSc in Coastal Oceanography in 2008 from the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California in Mexico, and obtained a PhD in Earth Sciences from the Australian National University. Since his MSc studies he has been involved in paleoceanographic studies using the information stored in the skeleton of massive corals to reconstruct past environmental conditions. He has recently started a postdoc position at UWA where he will be working with corals from the GBR particularly combining coral growth information with geochemical data to provide a more comprehensive view of the changes occurring to corals reefs of the GBR in recent times. Part of geochemical analysis will involve the use of the boron isotope composition of corals as an indicator of past seawater pH and Ba/Ca as proxy for runoff.

Dr Maria Dornelas


Maria grew up in Lisbon, Portugal, and wanted to be a “nature scientist” ever since she can remember. She did her BSc (Hons) at the Universidade de Lisboa, and first became interested in tropical ecology during her Honors project in Mozambique. She studied coral biodiversity patterns in the context of neutral theory for her PhD at James Cook University (2006). She continued to work on community ecology and biodiversity in her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, returning to the Centre as a postdoctoral fellow to study morphological and life history diversity of corals from 2008 to 2009.

Dr Simon Dunn


Simon DunnSimon grew up in the UK and obtained a BSc(Hons) in marine and freshwater biology from Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London in 1998. He completed his PhD on cellular mechanisms of symbiont release during cnidarian bleaching at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (2002). This was followed by a short-term position researching cellular pathways in neuroblastoma and medullablastoma cancer at the University of Liverpool (2002-2003). He then moved to Corvallis, Oregon, USA to take up a post-doctoral position in the Weis lab. This work focused on the cellular interactions of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis (2003-2007). His work at UQ will continue to focus on the changes in gene expression and cellular interactions of coral and anemone symbiosis.

Dr Toby Elmhirst

Toby is from Yorkshire in the UK. He was a philosophy and maths undergraduate and got his PhD in maths from Warwick University. Since then he has been an itinerant mathematician, working on “Coupled Cell Systems” at the University of Houston (2003-2005) and adaptive radiation and “Pod Systems” at the University of British Columbia (2005-2007). He is currently using pod systems, bifurcation theory, coupled cell systems and singularity theory to study resilience in coupled social-ecological systems.

Dr Louisa Evans


Louisa Evans

Louisa is a social scientist with interests in governance of marine systems mainly in developing countries. Her PhD at the University of East Anglia (UK) used institutional analysis and political ecology to explore issues of inclusion, knowledge and complexity in governance of marine social-ecological systems in Kenya. Following this, Louisa moved to the WorldFish Center in Malaysia to continue work in resilience thinking and how these concepts can be applied to small-scale fisheries in the developing world. Louisa started as a postdoctoral fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in 2010. Her research investigated the legitimacy and effectiveness of coastal governance and climate change adaptation in Australia, Solomon Islands, and Tanzania.  In 2014 Louisa took up a new position as Advanced Research Fellow, Humanities and Social Sciences Geography, College of Life & Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, United Kingdom.

Dr Richard Evans

Richard grew up on the North Coast of NSW. He completed his PhD at JCU under the supervision of Prof. Garry Russ, Prof. Geoff Jones and Dr. Lynne van Herwerden. Richard investigated the effects of no-take areas on target fishery stocks. Richard is particularly focussed on adult movement and larval dispersal of target species using molecular tools in fished and protected areas on the inshore reefs of the GBR. Richard has worked for several organizations, both in Australia and overseas, monitoring coral reef health status, fishery target stocks and impact assessment studies. These organizations include GBRMPA, JCU, Conservation International, the French Institute of Research Development (IRD), and the Northern Province of New Caledonia.

Claire Farnsworth


Claire is originally from Victoria, but moved to Townsville in 2003, where she completed her BSc in marine biology. In her honours Claire focused on investigating the community structure of gobies (Eviota spp in particular) across the continental shelf of the GBR, under the supervision of Prof. David Bellwood and Dr. Lynne van Herwerden.

Dr David Feary


From New Zealand, David completed a Masters degree at the Leigh Marine Laboratory in Auckland. However, warmer temperatures and exceedingly diverse reef fish communities drew him to Australia where he completed his PhD in 2007, examining the role of coral loss in structuring tropical reef fish communities. At present he is working at the United Nations University-INWEH: a post-doctoral position under Professor Peter Sale, based in Dubai, UAE

Dr Ida Fellegara


Ida is from Italy where she completed her Bachelor of science in marine biology. She moved to Brisbane to do her Master on the ‘ Biology and ecology of the coral-eating gastropode Drupella from Heron Island’. She has just been awarded her PhD on the Ecophysiology of the corals from a high-latitude marginal environment (Moreton Bay, south east Queensland). These coral live under conditions of extreme water temperatures, high turbidity and occasional reduced salinity. There are, in part, able to survive these conditions by hosting a specific Symbiodinium population which, although not exclusive of Moreton Bay, was present in all organisms investigated. Her main interests are biodiversity, coral community dynamics and coral reproduction. She loves any outdoor activity.

Dr Kathryn Ferguson

Kathryn investigates how places accrue various cultural meanings and different social valuations over time. Her current research examines the cultural history and social significance of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Kathryn has never grown up…

Dr Renata Ferrari Legorreta


Renata Ferrari LegorretaAs a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Australian Centre for Field Robotics and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Renata works with a multidisciplinary group to understand the benthic dynamics of the marine habitats inside and outside marine protected areas, as well as their trajectory and change, with an emphasis on spatial and temporal patterns of biodiversity and processes. The multidisciplinary nature of the team translates into working with the most complete data sets gathered through novel technologies, such as AUV stereo imagery. Renata’s research uses accurate underwater 3D models to measure 3D structural complexity, asking ecological questions across multiple scales and understanding how key ecosystems function and change with climate change.

Dr Joana Figueiredo


Joana Figueiredo

Joana Figueiredo grew up in Lisbon, Portugal. She completed a B.Sc. with Honours in Marine Biology in 2003, a Post-Graduation in Statistics Applied to Biology and Health Sciences in 2005, and a Ph.D. in Marine Sciences in 2009, at the University of Lisbon. Joana is a larval biologist with a special interest in marine invertebrates. Her Ph.D. goal was to develop and improve aquaculture protocols of crustaceans to minimize the need for collection of organisms in the wild, and thereby contribute to the advance in the sustainable use of biodiversity. Since then she has been using her larval culture skills combined with mathematical modelling to understand how environmental conditions determine important ecological processes, such larval survival and settlement competence. Her current research focused on the early life-history of corals and its implications coral dispersal and metapopulation connectivity.

Paul Fisher

Paul grew up in the UK. He completed his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, specialising in Zoology, at the University of Reading, UK, in 2001. He later came to Australia, to research Symbiodinium physiology in his PhD at UQ.

Rebecca Fox


Originally from the UK, Becky completed her BSc(Hons) in Marine Biology at James Cook University (JCU) in 2006. Her Honours research project focused on quantifying the impact of herbivorous fishes on an inshore reef of the Great Barrier Reef. Becky is now undertaking her PhD at JCU under the supervision of David Bellwood, where she is examining aspects of the ecology of one particular family of herbivorous reef fishes, the rabbitfishes (f: Siganidae). Her research aimed to expand our knowledge of the trophic ecology, habitat associations and movement patterns of individual species of siganid, with a view to better understanding their functional impact on reef ecosystem processes.

Dr Ashley Frisch


Ashley Frisch_image

Ashley has wide-ranging interests in the ecology and fisheries biology of coral reef organisms, particularly exploited macrofauna such as shark, fish and lobster. In 2007, Ashley completed a PhD in marine biology at James Cook University. He then worked for three years as a fishery manager at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.  At the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Ashley investigated the ecological importance of apex predators to coral reefs. He is particularly interested in how overfishing of reef sharks can influence trophic dynamics of coral reefs, and how reef sharks should be managed to maximise ecological resilience of coral reefs in the face of climate change.

Dr Christopher Goatley


Christopher is from the UK where he undertook a BSc (Honours) degree in marine biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Since completion of this degree he stayed in Newcastle upon Tyne for a short period helping the university to coordinate field trips for visiting school groups and then worked as a freelance scuba instructor in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. He completed a PhD at JCU in Townsville, where he studied the trophic ecomorphology of reef fish assemblages, supervised by Prof David Bellwood.

Erin Graham


Originally from Colorado, USA, Erin completed a BSc(Hons) in Marine Biology at James Cook University in 2007. Her PhD research under the supervision of Bette Willis, Andrew Baird, and Sean Connolly focused on factors affecting the dispersal potential of coral larvae, including energetics, settlement competence, and survival.

Dr Lauretta Grasso


Lauretta is North Queensland born and bred. She did her undergraduate degree with a major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at James Cook University. This was followed by Honours and a PhD at the Australian National University in Canberra, both of which focused on developmental mechanisms in the coral Acropora millepora. Her research interests include the molecular control of coral settlement and metamorphosis, and symbiont recognition.

Georgina Gurney


Georgina is from Tasmania, where she completed her BSc in Marine, Freshwater and Antarctic Science. Preferring tropical rather than Antarctic waters for diving, she headed north to do her Honours research in the Philippines, where she used bio-physical simulation modelling to explore potential reef futures under multiple management and climatic scenarios. Georgina’s experiences in the Philippines inspired her to pursue a PhD in understanding the human dimensions of marine resource management, supervised by Bob Pressey, Natalie Ban, Josh Cinner and Nadine Marshall, her research focussed on how social factors can be incorporated into several stages of systematic conservation planning with two key aims. First, she is investigating how to explicitly integrate fisheries livelihood objectives into spatial prioritization procedures to enable MPA designs to be better aligned with the needs of local stakeholders. Second, to inform the selection of contextually appropriate conservation actions, she will explore the social impacts of MPA management, and the relative role of multiple-scale factors in influencing stakeholders’ engagement in collective MPA management.

Michael Holcomb


Michael HolcombMichael is originally from Nebraska (USA), he obtained a BS in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Idaho in 2004. Michael completed his PhD in 2010 in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in oceanography working on biomineralization in corals. He went on to do a postdoc at the Centre Scientifique de Monaco where he worked on the energetics of coral calcification.  He held a postdoc position at the University of Western Australia where he researched the boron isotope pH proxy in corals.

Vera Horigue


Vera was majoring in Theatre Arts in high school on the slopes of Mt. Makiling, when she suddenly decided to become a Marine Biologist instead. She has a B.Sc. in Biology from the University of the Philippines (UP), and did an honours project on roundscads. An Erasmus Mundus Studentship made it possible for her to earn a joint M.Sc. degree in Water and Coastal Management from Universidad de Cadiz in Spain and University of Plymouth in the UK. Since then she focused on research and management of marine protected areas (MPAs). As a research assistant for various NGOs and the UP Marine Science Institute (MSI), she was able to see how rich her country is in terms of natural resources and how much it is also exploited because of high resource dependence. Vera was supervised by Prof. Bob Pressey, Dr. Simon Foale and Dr. Porfirio Aliño of the MSI. Her research aimed to examine governance systems and processes that contribute to effective local government coordination and collaboration when scaling up to form MPA networks in the Philippines.

Dr Mia Hoogenboom


Mia grew up in Australia and spent some time studying in Indonesia before moving to Townsville in 2001. Mia has recently completed her PhD at the JCU node of the Centre, supervised by Sean Connolly and Ken Anthony. Her research focused on investigating energy allocation strategies of corals, with the aim of establishing how population growth rates are influenced by environmental factors. Mia has recently taken up a research fellowship at the University of Glasgow, moving from Monaco. When she’s not doing field work, she enjoys growing orchids.

Dr Emily Howells


From the southeast of Australia, Emily completed her Bsc and PhD in Marine Biology at James Cook University and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville. Her PhD, supervised by Bette Willis, Madeleine van Oppen and Line Bay, evaluated roles of algal endosymbionts in shaping the thermal tolerance of corals. Her findings demonstrate that symbiont populations are well adapted to their local thermal environments but show little potential to acclimatise to temperatures beyond their current thermal regimes. Emily has been involved in additional projects including population genotyping of corals and symbionts, coral husbandry and juvenile experiments, genetic selection of thermally tolerant algal strains, and monitoring coral disease and bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef. From 2013, she will be based in the United Arab Emirates in a post-doctorate position at New York University Abu Dhabi. Her goal is to identify traits of Middle Eastern corals that enable them to withstand extremely hot temperatures and apply these findings to assess potential climate change responses of corals in other regions.

Dr Akira Iguchi


Akira came from Okinawa, Japan, and he gained his bachelor and master degree at Kyoto University. He is interested in speciation process of marine animals. His PhD was supervised by David Miller, Comparative Genomics Centre. Akira was examining fertilisation mechanism of Genus Acropora to clarify the relationship between fertilisation related genes and the speciation of Genus Acropora.
He returned to Okinawa after completing his PhD to pursue a post-doctoral position at the University of Ryukyu in Okinawa, Japan.

David Jones


Born in Atherton and growing up in Townsville, David has completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology focusing on genetics. He is currently undertaking Honours in the population genetics of a coral reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, looking at connectivity between populations in both the spatial and temporal scale including comparisons between adult and recruitment populations, under the supervision of Dr Line Bay, Dr Mark McCormick and Dr Dean Jerry. Intending to continue with a PhD Project in the coming years.

Dr Jacob Johansen


Jacob is originally from Denmark where he gained his Bachelor at Copenhagen University studying fish ecophysiology. Jacob decided to escape the cold and move to Australia in 2005 where he gained his Masters of Science at James Cook University, Queensland, Australia in 2007. In his masters project Jacob examined the effects of swimming ability and refuging behaviour on coral reef fish ecology and distribution. Jacob was awarded a PhD scholarship by JCU in September 2007 and was studying the resilience of planktivorous coral reef fishes to environmental disturbance such as global climate change and terrestrial run-off. He is interested in the ability of reef fishes to tolerate adverse or extreme environmental conditions on coral reefs.

Dr Charlotte Johansson

Charlotte Johansson smallCharlotte is a research fellow with MACRO – the Centre for Macroalgal Resources & Biotechnology at James Cook University. Charlotte’s work falls within the Biomass Scale Up subprogram within the Macroalgal Biofuels and Bioproducts project. This program works on aquatic waste streams from diverse industries, including aquaculture, agriculture and municipal waste. It aims to optimise macroalgal biomass production and bioremediation for each waste stream at scales that are relevant to industry needs. The overarching goal is to provide a cost effective option for metal and nutrient bioremediation and to provide a platform for sustainable and commercially viable macroalgal biomass production. Charlotte is focusing on identifying biosorbents from algae for the bioremediation of metals and metalloids and developing preparation techniques which can be used by industry partners.

Dr Stacy Jupiter


In April 2008, Stacy bid farewell to the Centre of Excellence to join the Wildlife Conservation Society as an Associate Conservation Scientist for the South Pacific Marine Program based in Fiji. She will be responsible for structuring and supervising the science behind their marine conservation program. By far their largest project, funded largely by the Moore and Packard foundations, involves aiding local communities to establish and maintain networks of marine protected areas (MPAs). They work at 2 main regions on Vanua Levu: Kubulau and Macuata. Kubulau involves cooperation between 10 villages that form a qoliqoli (fisheries management area) to enforce protection in traditional tabu sites as well as 3 established marine reserves. The Macuata region covers a much broader area, including 4 qoliqolis and perhaps a broader range of reef habitat. Their main tasks, in partnership with WWF and Wetlands International, are to assess threats to the reefs from overharvesting, land pollution and climate change, using both biological and socioeconomic surveys. Stacy hopes to maintain strong links to the CoE and invite any interested researchers and students to get in touch about future collaborations.

Dr Jung Ok Kang


Jung grew up in South Korea where she majored in economic geology and geochemistry at Korea University and for her master’s thesis, she worked on the effect of agrochemicals on the shallow groundwater quality and natural processes in South Korea. She also has been studying on determination of oxygen isotope fractionations between rhodochrosite (MnCO3) and water at low temperatures. Having worked in stable isotope laboratory at Korea University, she is quite knowledgeable about a Finnigan MAT 252 isotope ratio mass spectrometer and its automated peripherals, such as a CO2-H2O Equilibrium Device and the H/device. She is currently working for a PhD at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian University supervised by prof. Malcolm Mcculloch. Her research topic is indentifying the impact of anthropogenic increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide and Ocean acidifying and global warming to examine implications for long-term changes in the calcification rate of coral reefs.

Dr Paulina Kaniewska


Paulina comes from Sweden.
She completed her PhD at the Centre for Marine Studies and was supervised by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Ken Anthony.


Dr Sally Keith


Sally is from the UK and studied for her BSc in Zoology at the University of Southampton, MSc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University.  Sally completed her PhD at Bournemouth University on the impacts of environmental change on ecological communities.  From leaving the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies  in October 2013 Sally commenced her new position at the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Cophenhagen.

Dr Ailsa Kerswell


Ailsa Kerswell has recently submitted her PhD thesis entitled “Biogeography and Macroecology of Benthic Marine Algae”. Her research focused on world-wide patterns of maroalgal (i.e. seaweed) diversity and community structure. The major outcome of this research paper was that global contours of algal species richness were documented for the first time. Unlike many other organisms (e.g. corals and reef fishes), macroalgae have diversity hotspots in temperate regions in southern Australia and Japan. This research helps us to understand where biologically important algae communities are located and also what processes underpin global patterns of biodiversity. Originally working for the Department of Environment, Ailsa now runs her own consulting business, Extreme Ecology.

Dr Narinratana Kongjandtre


Narinratana Kongjandtre is originally from Thailand, she prefer to be called “Nong”. She completed a Bachelors degree in Aquatic Science (2000) and a Masters degree in Biological Science (2004) at Burapha University. Her career begins with coral taxonomy and ecology; she did her first coral reef research in taxonomy and spatial distribution of faviid population in the Gulf of Thailand. She is interested in taxonomy and systematics of the corals (in particular the genus Favia). As she believes good taxonomy is the basis for any ecological study. She got a scholarship from the Royal Thai Government for her PhD, started in July 2006 under supervision of Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg at the University of Queensland. She graduated in July 2011 and return to Thailand working as a lecturer at Burapha University.

Dr Joleah Lamb


Joleah completed a BS in Neurobiology at the University of Oregon in the USA. As an undergraduate, she assisted in the investigation of Drosophila central nervous system development for cancer research at the Oregon Institute of Neuroscience and Molecular Biology. Her interest in disease research led her to the Oregon Center for Clinical Investigations where she coordinated clinical pharmaceutical studies for the treatment of neurological diseases and disorders. In 2011, she was awarded an AIMS@JCU research scholarship to undertake her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Bette Willis and Prof. Garry Russ from JCU, and Dr. Britta Schaffelke with AIMS.  Due to the growing demand for coastal and reef-based recreation, tourism, port development and gas/minerals exploration, many industries are focusing more and more on the world’s remaining natural marine areas for expansion. However, the influence of these industries on coral disease has not been examined. Joleah’s research focused primarily on identifying and mitigating the effects of reef-based industries on coral health and disease in Australia and the Indo-Pacific.

Dr Angela Lawton


Angela grew up in Boston, and moved to Wisconsin to complete a BA in Science and BMusic in Education. During her time at Lawrence, she participated in the Lawrence University Coral Reef Semester, spending a month in the Cayman Islands learning about the biology and ecology of the Cayman Islands. This experience inspired her to return to Grand Cayman to complete her honours on the ecology of the reefs of Grand Cayman and eventually to start her PhD in Ove Hoegh-Gulberg’s lab studying the metabolic relationship of the coral host and the symbiotic dinoflagellate using microsensors.

 Dr Rebecca Lawton


Originally from New Zealand, Rebecca completed her BSc Honours in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Otago in 2005. Following several years working at the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries, she moved to Townsville and completed her PhD at JCU 2011 under the supervision of Morgan Pratchett and Line Bay. Her research examined geographic variation in the ecology of coral-feeding butterflyfishes and considered the influence of dietary specialisation on their resilience to large scale disturbances. In 2012, Rebecca began a research fellowship in the Macroalgal Biofuels and Bioproducts team at JCU. Her current research aims to identify environmental tolerances of high productivity species and strains of macroalgae, and optimise biomass productivities through control of environment and inputs.

Dr Alicia Lloyd (nee Crawley)


Alicia grew up in Sydney but decided that James Cook University in Townsville would be the best place to study, with the Great Barrier Reef on their doorstep. After completing her degree in Marine Biology and Chemistry, Alicia moved to Brisbane and received first class honours at The University of Queensland for her research on coral photobiology and ocean acidification on Orpheus Island. For her PhD, Alicia completed most of her field work on Heron Island and Lizard Island and she is now writing her thesis back in her home town at the University of Technology, Sydney. Currently, Alicia is taking a break to have her first child, due at the end of August 2012.

Dr Adrian Lutz


Adrian grew up in Switzerland and completed his MSc in biology at the University of Basel. He first came to Townsville in 2005 to work with Madeleine van Oppen for his thesis on the genetic connectivity of Seriatopora hystrix. He returned to Switzerland to finish his degree and worked for the Institute of Zoology of the University of Basel. Thanks to an AIMS@JCU scholarship he’s back in Townsville working with Madeleine van Oppen, David Miller and Walt Dunlap. His PhD investigated the potential antioxidant role of Coenzyme Q and Plastoquinone in coral symbiosis.

Dr Mattew Lybolt


Matt finished his PhD under Professors John Pandolfi, Jian-xin Zhao, and David Neil at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at the University of Queensland, and returned to Florida. Back in the realm of implementing national-level policy as a consultant, Matt is working to help government agencies and private-sector firms to avoid and minimize their ecological footprints while keeping in compliance with laws and regulations. While this is rather a long way from palaeoecology of marginal coral reefs in Moreton Bay, he keeps his ties to the field and to Australia as best he can. Now with a young daughter and twin babies, Matt and his wife Karen are more-or-less chronically sleep deprived. Matt hopes to maintain his links to the CoE and collaborate with any interested researchers in the future.

Dr Dominique McCowan


Dominique grew up in southern Indiana, where she observed fossilized Devonian reefs. She went to a local college while working full-time and graduated with a BS in Biology with a minor in Geology and an AA in Chemistry. During her undergraduate studies, she was part of a field biology club, through which she experienced coral reef ecology and the ocean (for her first time when she was 18). She did research on mosquitoes and West Nile Virus for three years during her undergraduate course work, so Dominique is absolutely ecstatic about working with corals. She came to Townsville as soon as they accepted her for postgraduate work, and has completed her graduate diploma in marine biology. She is now undertaking her PhD, which focuses on the ecological and evolutionary vulnerabilities of scleractinian corals to mass bleaching events. Her supervisors are Dr. Morgan Pratchett, Dr. Andrew Baird, and Dr. Terry Hughes. In her free time, Dominique likes to be in or near water or doing something artistic.

Dr Guy Marion

Guy grew up moving all over the world (Bahrain, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, New York, Dallas, Hong Kong), but moved to Brisbane in 2003 from the San Francisco Bay area, California.
Guy completed his Ph.D at UQ with Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (UQ) and Malcolm McCulloch (ANU). His research focused on the extraction and analysis of nitrogen isotopes (δ15N) preserved in long coral cores to trace river-born signals of fertilizers and urban pollutants entering the GBR lagoon since European-arrival (1860). Guy earned a B.S. (hons) at Stanford University (2002), and was a recipient of the 2004 International Society for Reef Studies prize. In his spare time, Guy loves surfing, diving, visiting friends.

Dr Alyssa Marshell


Alyssa was lucky to spend her teenage years growing up on the gorgeous northern New South Wales coast, where she snorkelled regularly and learnt to dive as part of the high school curriculum there. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree majoring in marine biology at James Cook University in Townsville before heading off to explore the world working in the dive and tourism industries. Alyssa eventually ended up at the University of Guam Marine Lab in Guam, Micronesia where she completed her Masters of Science degree investigating unicornfish movement patterns and population dynamics under the supervision of Dr Jennifer McIlwain, and worked as a Graduate Research Assistant with the Government of Guam Coral Reef Monitoring Group. Alyssa completed her PhD  investigating the ecological roles of herbivorous surgeonfish on coral reefs, under the supervision of Professor Peter Mumby, Dr Alastair Harborne and Dr Ian Tibbetts.

Dr Ben Mason

Ben is originally from Slippery Rock (USA). He completed a BS in Biology/Environmental Science in 2000 at Allegheny College, a MS in Marine Biology in 2004 at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and earned his PhD in Marine Biology in 2011 from the University of Miami. His research has evolved around coral reproduction and larval biology/ecology, including investigations of the effects of ocean acidification on the early life history stages of corals and the influence of light on larval settlement. Ben joined the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies in 2012 as an NSF International Postdoctoral Fellow. His research investigates the sensory biology of corals with a focus on the molecular mechanisms underpinning photo- and chemoreception in coral larvae.

Morana Mihaljević


Since originally from Croatia, Morana’s interest and love towards marine life (especially benthic invertebrates, e.g. echinoids, corals) stated on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. Morana started studying biology at the University of Zagreb and then continued at the University of Zurich where she completed her BSc in Biology and MSc in Palaeontology. She completed her PhD at the University of Queensland under the supervision of Prof. John Pandolfi, studying the evolution of coral reefs in the South China Sea throughout the last 35 MY.

Dr Susan McIntyre-Tamwoy – James Cook University

Phone: +61 7 4042 1176

Susan worked in NSW on cultural heritage and the preservation of important sites. This work often involved sensitive site in National Parks. Susan’s current focus is the integration of the management of cultural and social values in the management of protected areas.

Dr Rachael Middlebrook


Rachael grew up in Sydney and completed a Bachelor of Marine Science at Macquarie University. In between Sydney and Brisbane, Rachael spent time in Fiji researching traditional fisheries and reef management in Fijian communities before moving to Brisbane to complete an Honours degree at the Centre for Marine studies, University of Queensland. Rachael began her PhD at CMS in 2007 under the supervision of Dr Sophie Dove, Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Dr Ken Anthony and Dr Bill Leggat (JCU). Her research focused on determining thermal threshold dynamics and variability in reef building corals between reefs and at sub-reef scales.

Dr Gabrielle Miller


Gabrielle grew up close to the beach in Melbourne, where she would spend her summers harassing creatures in rock pools. Her love of the marine environment was cemented during a field trip in high school to Orpheus Island. Since then she has worked towards a career in marine biology, completing her BSc(Hons) in zoology and marine and freshwater biology at Monash University before moving to JCU to complete a PhD under the supervision of Dr Philip Munday and Dr Mark McCormick. Gabrielle’s PhD project investigated the combined effects of ocean acidification and temperature on the life history of a common coral reef fish, Amphiprion melanopus. Specially, she examined the effects on growth, development, swimming performance and metabolism of juveniles and the reproductive output of adults exposed to decreased pH and increased temperatures.

Dr Ian McLeod


Originally from New Zealand, Ian completed his BSc and MSc through the University of Auckland. Ian has worked in 18 countries, including every continent. His previous roles include: Ranger on a small conservation island in NZ, filmmaker in Africa, personal trainer in London, head chef on a super yacht based out of Spain, environmental consultant, contract diver, pollution response officer, research officer in Antarctica, and English teacher in a small village on the foothills of the Himalayas.
Realising that little more consistency in his CV would be a good idea, Ian moved to Townsville to concentrate on building a career in research commencing with a PhD through James Cook University in April 2010. Ian’s research focussed on the impacts of sea surface temperatures on the early life history stages of coral reef fish and
the consequences on these impacts on the connectivity of reef fish populations. Specifically it addressed: What are the relationships between natural temperature gradients (spatial and temporal) and the early life history traits of coral reef fishes? What are the effects of ocean warming on the early grown, survival and body condition of juvenile reef fish at equatorial regions, where they may already be living at or beyond their thermal optima? What are the interacting impacts of temperature and variable food supply on the performance of reef fish larvae. This research was supervised by Professors Geoffrey Jones, Mark McCormick and Philip Munday from JCU along with Dr Timothy Clark from AIMS.

Ann Mooney


From Hawaii, Ann began her career hauling marine debris off coral reefs of remote Pacific Atolls, working as a benthic habitat analyst and coordinating research cruises. She completed her BSc in biology and MSc under the supervision of Ken Anthony at the Centre for Marine Studies at the University of Queensland studying how ocean acidification affects the strength of the skeletal structure of scleractinian corals. In her free time, Ann can be found surfing or buried in a good book.

Dr Pippa Moore


Pippa has just returned to the United Kingdom after working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Queensland node of the Centre of Excellence where she looked at the effects of past climate on the ecology of coralline algae. Prior to joining the Centre she spent 13 years in the UK where she did a PhD in Marine Biology (2005) jointly between the Marine Biological Association of the U.K and the University of Plymouth. She is broadly interested in community ecology and more particularly in understanding how species, populations and assemblages are likely to respond to anthropogenic impacts, particularly climate change.

Dr Daisie Ogawa


Daisie’s interest in the molecular biology of corals began during a corals reef class she attended while on a study abroad at the University of Queensland during her undergrad. After completing a double major in Biology (BSc) and Marine Science (BSc) at her home university, the University of Georgia (Athens, GA, USA), she came to JCU to join Dr. Bill Leggat’s lab in the Biochemistry department. Her PhD project focused on the effects of increased CO2 and temperature on the members of the Acropora aspera holobiont (animal host, endosymbiotic algae, Symbiodinium, and the microbial community), especially in relation to transcriptomic responses of the host and photophysiology of the Symbiodinum.

Dr Cathie Page


Cathie moved to Townsville from northern-NSW to complete her Bachelors degree at James Cook University. She then traveled overseas for 18 months before returning to complete her Honours at JCU. While working at the Australian Institute of Marine Science she developed an interest in coral disease and icompleted a PhD under the supervision of Bette Willis and Terry Hughes. Cathie investigated the biological impacts and spatial patterns in coral disease prevalence on the Great Barrier Reef. Cathie is planning to continue research in this field.

Allison Paley


Allison is originally from the east coast of the States where a shared love for playing in rock pools on the coastlines of Maine Islands and ballet led her to study a dual BSc/BA in Aquatic Biology and Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara. After a study-abroad stint in Australia, she transferred to James Cook University (JCU) and pursued her interest in coral reef ecology, later graduating with a BSc in Marine Biology (although she still dances at every opportunity). Allison went on to complete her PhD through JCU and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Allison’s research focused on understanding the influence of coral fluorescent proteins in mitigating coral stress under supervision from Professor Bette Willis (JCU) and Drs. Line Bay and Madeleine van Oppen of the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). Allison is looking pursuing a career in science communication and education.

Dr F. Joseph Pollock


Joe grew up in Charleston, West Virginia (USA) among the majestic hills and valleys of America’s Appalachian Mountains and more than 1000 kilometers from the nearest coral reef. He was first drawn to marine research as an NSF-funded undergraduate fellow at Mote Marine Laboratory where he helped to develop a restoration plan for Florida’s ailing Atlantic bay scallop populations. After graduating summa cum laude in Biology from the University of Kentucky, Joe expanded his interests in marine science through short-term fellowships at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama) and the Hawaii Institute of Marine Science (USA). Armed with new expertise in genetics and molecular biology, Joe was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to travel to Australia where he developed the first quantitative PCR assay to detect a known coral pathogen. Joe was granted a joint MSc for this work through the College of Charleston (USA), the Australian Institute of Marine Science, and James Cook University, but his passion for coral disease research and two excellent supervisors, Dr. David Bourne and Prof. Bette Willis, lured him back to Australia to continue this work. As an AIMS@JCU PhD student, Joe employed the latest techniques in microbiology, genetics, histopathology, and disease ecology to untangle the interplay between the complex coral host, dynamic ocean environment, and poorly understood pathogens that leads to coral disease on Indo-Pacific reefs. For more information, please visit


Dr Paola G Rachello-Dolmen


Photo Paola  G. Rachello-DolmenPaola is originally from Bogota (Colombia) but rose by Italian parents. She completed her BSc (Hons) in Biology at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and her MSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. Then, she and her partner Alberto moved to Brisbane where she completed her PhD in Marine Science at The University of Queensland under the supervision of John M. Pandolfi, Winston F. Ponder and Vera Weisbecker. Her research looked at microgastropods (<5mm) found as fossils in sedimentary cores and in modern death assemblages collected in Moreton Bay, a heavily impacted marine region of subtropical Queensland, Australia. She established the temporal and spatial variability of species diversity and taxonomic composition prior to and following European settlement (~1840). An inventory of 53,260 specimens belonging to 219 species was recorded. Micromollusc abundances were linked to key environmental parameters (substrate, nitrogen, temperature, turbidity and depth), traits (shape, sculpture, distribution, and feeding type) and Holocene assemblages had persistent community composition from 7500 to 160 yrsBP. Community shifts are interpreted to be the result of declining water quality from human impacts. Currently, Paola is working as a Post-doctoral Research Associate for Dr. Ethan L. Grossman and Dr. Aaron O’Dea at Texas A&M University and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Her current research focused on the environmental drivers of Neogene biotic turnover in the Caribbean.

Dr Ruth Reef


Ruth comes from Israel, where she did her BSc. and MSc. at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences of Eilat. Today she was enrolled for a PhD at the Centre for Marine Studies of the University of Queensland, supervised by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. Ruth was investigating the effect of temperature on the accumulation and repair of UV damage in corals and their symbionts and testing whether corals can acclimate to the changes they are facing of global warming and increasing UV-R levels. Growing up on the Red Sea coast, diving and other marine activities are her second nature but when not underwater, Ruth enjoys hiking, bird watching and being outdoors. She is pursuing a post-doc at UQ studying the changing marine UV environment and how organisms cope with this emerging threat.

Dr Catalina Reyes-Nivia


Catalina reyes_1Catalina is from Colombia where she completed her BSc (Honors) in Biology at the Universidad del Valle. Her research focused on the predation on living coral by parrotfishes in the Tayrona Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean. Soon after that she moved to Australia and joined the Coral Reef Ecosystems Lab, at the University of Queensland where she completed a PhD under the supervision of Ass/Prof Sophie Dove and Dr Guillermo Diaz-Pulido. Catalina’s project assessed the effects of ocean acidification and warming scenarios on the dissolution/microbioerosion of corals and coralline algae.

Alma Ridep-Morris


Alma is a Pacific Islander from the beautiful islands of Palau, and she gained her BSc from the Australian National University in Canberra, and she went back to Palau to work as the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Program Manager for the Bureau of Marine Resources, Ministry of Resources and Development for the past few years. She did her Master of Science by Research at James Cook University on the dynamics of coral disease (particularly on Black Band Disease) outbreak in Nikko Bay, Palau. Her supervisors were Professor Bette Willis and Professor Geoff Jones from JCU.

Dr Dominique Roche


Dom is from Montreal, Canada, where he completed a BSc in biology at McGill University. Determined to work on marine fishes, he spent part of his undergraduate years in Barbados at the Bellairs Research Institute studying the home range size and time-budget of small piscivores. Later, he completed his MSc in a joint program between McGill and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama under the supervision of Drs. Brian Leung and Mark Torchin. Here, he went from predators to parasites comparing the effects of parasites on competing species of native and introduced cichlid fishes in the Panama Canal watershed. He completed his PhD the ANU with his research examining how unsteady water motion from waves influences locomotion and predator-prey interactions in coral reef fishes.

Maria Rodrigues


Maria grew up in Maputo, capital of Mozambique in East Africa. She moved to Australia to start a Masters Degree in Marine Biology at JCU and later upgraded to a PhD. She was supervised by Terry Hughes and Andrew Baird, and her study project was to examine the effects of over fishing on coral communities. She has now returned to her country and become involved in the study of Mozambican extensive coral reefs.

Dr George Roff


Jez is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Marine Spatial Ecology Lab at the University of Queensland. His research focuses on processes of resilience, disturbance and recovery in Indo-Pacific and Caribbean coral reef ecosystems.

Liza Roger


Liza completed the two first years of her BSc in France, where she originally comes from, and her final year in Perth at the University of Western Australia. Liza acquired great hands-on experience while working for the Australian Institute of Marine Science (WA branch) for 3 years. She completed her Honours in 2010, comparing the shell structure of two tropical sea butterflies (pteropods) from 1963 to 2009 and the potential implications of declining aragonite saturation. Liza was continuing her research with a PhD at the Centre of Excellence, studying calcification and chemical composition of pteropod shells (trace elements, isotopes) for the better understanding and monitoring of the effects of Global Climate Change and Ocean Acidification on shelled pteropods.

Dr François O. Seneca


François O. SenecaFrancois completed his PhD at James Cook University (School of Pharmacy and Molecular Sciences, AIMS@JCU, CoE for Coral Reef Studies) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science in 2010, supervised by Prof. David Miller and Dr. Madeleine van Oppen. His thesis research involved the novel use of transcriptomic techniques to address the molecular stress response in corals exposed to natural bleaching conditions, as well as pollutants. While finishing his doctoral work, Francois also participated in several other projects that investigated heat and oxidative stress, immunity, and the establishment of symbiosis in corals in collaboration with Dr. Bill Leggat, Dr. Tracy Ainsworth, and Prof. Bette Willis at JCU. In 2011, he moved to Monterey, California for a postdoctoral position in Prof. Steve Palumbi’s Lab at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University. At Hopkins, Francois studied the role of adaptation and acclimatization in the coral response to climate change. Francois recently moved back to Hawai’i, where he graduated with his B.S. in Zoology from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, to work as a junior researcher with Prof. Robert Richmond at the Kewalo Marine Lab. His research there focuses on the development and validation of a protein biomarker assay for the diagnosis of coral health with the goal to detect sublethal effects of insidious stressors such as pollutants from runoffs.

Dr Yui Sato


Yui is originally from Japan and has completed his Bachelor of Science in biology in Tohoku University in Sendai. He completed his PhD study on coral disease in 2012, following the dynamics of a black band disease outbreak at Pelorus Island in the central Great Barrier Reef and focusing on environmental drivers and microbial mechanisms of the disease. His study was jointly supervised by Professor Bette Willis and Dr David Bourne (Australian Institute of Marine Science; AIMS) as a member of AIMS@JCU. Yui has taken on a postdoctoral fellow position at AIMS, looking at a relationship between the recovery of coral population and disease outbreak, and microbial functioning in the etiology of black band disease.

Jessie Short

Jessie Short_1Jessie grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where she fell in love with the ocean. She attended Dalhousie University in Halifax, where she completed a combined honours degree in marine biology and oceanography under the supervision of Dr. Anna Metaxas. After hearing tales of the wild and wonderfully untouched Ningaloo Reef, Jessie moved to Western Australia in 2011 to where she completed her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Malcolm McCulloch and Prof. Gary Kendrick focussing on how climate change will affect calcification rates of important WA reef-building species such as corals and coralline algae. She also investigated how interactions between algal taxa will change as the ocean becomes more acidic.

Dr Linda Tonk

Linda TonkLinda grew up in the Netherlands where she completed her MSc in Marine Biology at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (1995 -2000). She worked as a research assistant cultivating microalgae at the department of Aquatic Microbiology, Universiteit van Amsterdam where she also completed her PhD on the impact of environmental factors on toxic and bioactive peptide production by harmful cyanobacteria (2003-2007). As of 2009 she has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Biological Sciences, the University of Queensland. Her current research focuses on Symbiodinium diversity on the Great Barrier Reef with the aim to understand how environmental factors and host specificity affect symbiont community diversity in the face of a changing climate. More broadly her research interests lie at the intersection of microbiology, phytoplankton physiology and marine & molecular ecology.

Greg Torda


Greg is originally from Hungary, and came to Australia in January 2009 to start a PhD on ecological connectivity in corals, leaving behind a junior researcher position with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. He completed his Master’s degree in Zoology at the Szent Istvan University, Hungary, and did a 2-year postgradual research and coursework program on marine ecology at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain. Greg’s early research was on behavioural ecology of birds and marine mammals. Later, specialized on GIS applications, his research focused on landscape ecology, including studies on habitat connectivity, and the development and application of ecologically scaled landscape indices. His PhD study aimed to obtain estimates of ecological connectivity and its temporal stochasticity for two common pocilloporid coral species on the GBR, Seriatopora hystrix and Pocillopora damicornis, by genetically characterizing new recruits at a number of locations in the Palm and Lizard Islands, and comparing these with the genetic characteristics of adult populations at a wider range of populations.

Lubna Ukani


Lubna was born and brought up in Bombay, India. She completed her BSc Honors degree in Biology at the University of Houston in the United States where she developed an interest for molecular genetics. Before moving to Australia she worked for 2 years with the Department of Molecular & Human Genetics at the Baylor college of Medicine in Houston, Texas. As a research assistant she was investigating genetic control of normal development and the mechanisms of pathogenesis involved in human neurodegenerative disease using Drosophila as a model system. Lubna then decided to pursue her interest for molecular genetics in marine organisms at James Cook University as  a PhD student as a part of the Coral Genomics Group, supervised by Prof. David Miller. Her research focused on the Characterization of DNA Methylation Systems in Acropora and other Lower Animals during development.

Dr Martin van de Meer


Martin was born in South Africa spending most of his childhood hiking, fishing and snorkelling along the east coast of the country. After completing a BSc (Hons) in Zoology from The University of the Witwatersrand, he spent the next few years searching for new and exciting projects. Whilst backpacking through Australia, he was offered a MSc (research) at James Cook University looking at the extinction risk of endemic species living on the edge at Elizabeth/Middleton Reefs and Lord Howe/Norfolk Islands. This interesting work saw him upgrade at the end of 2010 to a PhD with full scholarship and tuition waiver under the supervision of Lynne van Herwerden, Geoffrey Jones, Jean-Paul Hobbs and Morgan Pratchett. He has been awarded multiple grants and collaborates widely with various Marine Park managers, Universities and government organisations.

Dr Jeroen van de Water


jeroenJeroen’s  background: Since he was a little boy he has always been interested in animals/nature and he was always attracted to the water. It was no surprise that he decided to study Biology and  finished his BSc cum laude at Utrecht University, The Netherlands in 2005. However, his interest shifted towards the molecular cell biology and he continued his education with a MSc in Biomolecular Sciences (graduated cum laude in 2007) at Utrecht University. In the following 2.5 years, he worked as a pre-doctoral research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in Boston, United States of America on the development of stem cell-based brain cancer therapies. But after spending so many years being locked up in the lab, he wanted to do something more exciting and in the field where his heart truly lies: Marine Biology.  In 2010 he took up a scholarship at James Cook University, where he completed his PhD under the supervision of  Bette Willis and Bill Leggat from JCU, and Madeleine van Oppen and David Bourne from AIMS. His research focussed on the immune system of scleractinian corals and the effect that environmental and physiological factors have on the ability of corals to fight disease. Thesis title: Molecular mechanisms of immunity in scleractinian corals and the influence of environmental factors on coral immuno-competence.

Dr Stefan Walker

Stefan Walker

Stefan has broad interests in animal evolutionary biology, ecology and behaviour. Since receiving his BSc in Marine biology and Zoology in 2000 (JCU) he has been employed as a lecturer, research fellow, and environmental research consultant. In 2010 he received a PhD from JCU for his work on reef fish breeding systems and strategies.  From mid 2011 to end 2013 Stefan worked as a Research Fellow at the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies using theoretical and experimental approaches to study collective-action and consensus-decision problems and the evolution of animal communication, behavioural decision rules and strategic cooperation.

Dr Benjamin Walther – University of Texas

Phone: +361 749 6810

Benjamin is originally from Texas in the U.S., and received a B.A. and a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin in 2000. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography in 2007 from the Joint Program at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During his time as a Research Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence at ANU, he worked with Malcolm McCulloch and Mike Kingsford on reconstructing flood plume and upwelling events on the GBR using chemical proxies of environmental variability in both fish otolith and coral carbonate. In August 2009 he took up a position as Assistant Professor at the Marine Science Institute at the University of Texas in Port Aransas. He plans to continue his work on reconstructing environmental variability in the GBR as well as trace migratory patterns of fishes using elemental signatures in otoliths. He can be found at

Dr Patricia Warner


Patricia WarnerPatricia completed her PhD at James Cook University (School of Marine Biology, AIMS@JCU, CoE for Coral Reef Studies) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science. Her thesis work employed population genetic approaches to assess cryptic speciation, genetic connectivity, breeding system characteristics and sperm dispersal within the coral genus Seriatopora. Additional work included investigations of reproductive biology and Symbiodinium genetics. She was supervised by Prof. Bette Willis (JCU) and Dr. Madeleine van Oppen (AIMS). After submitting her PhD, Patricia has continued her research in population genetics of corals as a postdoctoral researcher at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University.

Dr David Williamson

David WilliamsonOriginally from Perth, WA, David moved to Townsville to pursue a BSc and MSc in Marine Biology at JCU. David completed a PhD in the School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture at JCU under the supervision of Garry Russ, Geoff Jones, Lynne Van Herwerden and Simon Thorrold (Woods Hole Institute, USA). David investigates larval dispersal of exploited reef fish, genetic connectivity of populations and potential export effects of MPA’s within the GBR marine park. David has worked on Australian and international research and monitoring projects for organizations including the GBRMPA, CRC, the French Institute for Research and Development (IRD) and the U.S. based Smithsonian Institute.  David’s other interests include playing music, travel and adventure.

Dr Shaun Wilson


Shaun received his first degree in pharmacy from the University of Sydney, before becoming interested in marine biology. He was awarded his Phd in Marine Ecology in 2002 from James Cook University, and then held teaching and research positions overseas (USA and UK). His postdoctoral research at the Centre of Excellence and University of Newcastle focused on impact of habitat loss on coral reef fish communities. Shaun started work for the Department of Environment and Conservation, Perth, Western Australia, in October 2008. He is a Senior Research Scientist within Marine Science Program, where he conducts research that facilitates a better understanding and management of marine resources in tropical Western Australia.

Dr Erika Woolsey


Erika grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and attended Duke University in North Carolina, where she studied biology and art history. She studied abroad in Australia and Bermuda, where she developed her interest in coral reefs. Erika received her Masters of Applied Science from the University of Sydney under the supervision of Prof. Maria Byrne and is now conducting her PhD at James Cook University under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Baird and Dr. Sally Keith. She is interested in how climate change will affect patterns of coral biogeography. Specifically, she wants to know how temperature and life history influence latitudinal distribution of corals on the Great Barrier Reef and whether thermal tolerance of early life stages varies between thermally distinct regions.

Dr Marian Wong


Marian Wong completed her BA in Zoology from the University of Cambridge, U.K. and then went on to conduct her PhD in Marine Biology at James Cook University under the supervision of Drs. Philip Munday and Geoff Jones. Her current research focuses on understanding the evolution of social and reproductive behaviour using fishes as model organisms. During her PhD, she used the coral-dwelling goby, Paragobiodon xanthosomus, to test key hypotheses for the evolution of monogamy, group-living and conflict resolution, using experimental techniques. Currently, she is based at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada where she is collaborating with Dr. Sigal Balshine in investigating various aspects of the social and reproductive behaviour of the African cichlid fish, Neolamprologus pulcher. This fascinating species exhibits a complex social system which makes it ideal for testing a broad range of theories for the evolution of cooperative behaviour, social aggression and the formation and maintenance of dominance relationships, as well as the molecular correlates of social behaviour.

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