Alumni

Dr David Abrego

Contact: d.abrego@aims.gov.au

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 Bridget Ayling

Contact: bayling@egi.utah.edu

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 Brian Beck

Contact: beck@livingoceansfoundation.org

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

Contact: victor.beltranramirez@jcu.edu.au

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 Michael Berumen

Contact: michael.berumen@kaust.edu.sa

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

Contact: ancientantwren@gmail.com

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 Dan Breen

Contact: dbreen@doc.govt.nz

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

Contact: kbroderick@nrmsouth.org.au

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

Contact: Sam.Burgess@earth.ox.ac.uk

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

Contact: ncantin@whoi.edu

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 Miin Chua

Contact: chiamiin.chua@my.jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: p.cohen@cgiar.org

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

Contact: andrew.cole3@jcu.edu.au
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

Contact: t.cooper@aims.gov.au

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.


Peter Cowman

Contact: peter.cowman@my.jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: Vivian.Cumbo@my.jcu.edu.au

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.


Chris Cvitanovic

Contact: christopher.cvitanovic@anu.edu.au

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.


Débora De Freitas

Contact: debora@uow.edu.au

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

Contact: c.doropoulos@uq.edu.au

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 (www.marinespatialecologylab.org). 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

Contact: g.diaz-pulido@griffith.edu.au
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

Contact: danielle.dixson@biology.gatech.edu

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 Maria Dornelas

Contact: maadd@st-andrews.ac.uk

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 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 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

Contact: claire.farnsworth@jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: dfeary@inweh.unu.edu

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

Contact: i.fellegara@uq.edu.au

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

Contact: renata.ferraril@gmail.com

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. http://sydney.edu.au/science/bio/eicc/our_people/research_fellows/renata_ferrari_legorreta.shtml


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

Contact: rebecca.fox@my.jcu.edu.au

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.


Erin Graham

Contact: erin.graham@my.jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: Lauretta.Grasso@jcu.edu.au

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.


Dr Mia Hoogenboom

Contact: mia.hoogenboom1@jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: em.howells@gmail.com

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

Contact: akira.iguchi@jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: david.jones@my.jcu.edu.au

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.


Jacob Johansen

Contact: jacob.johansen@my.jcu.edu.au

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 Stacy Jupiter

Contact: sjupiter@wcs.org

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.


Jung Ok Kang

Contact: jung.kang@anu.edu.au

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

Contact: p.kaniewska@uq.edu.au

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

Contact: ailsa.kerswell@gmail.com

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

Contact:  narinratana@buu.ac.th

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.


Angela Lawton

Contact: a.lawton@cms.uq.edu.au

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

Contact: rebecca.lawton@jcu.edu.au

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 Mattew Lybolt

Contact: matthew.lybolt@uqconnect.edu.au

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 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 Susan McIntyre-Tamwoy – James Cook University

Contact: Susan.McIntyreTamwoy@jcu.edu.au
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.


Rachael Middlebrook

Contact: r.middlebrook@uq.edu.au

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.


Ann Mooney

Contact: akmooney@gmail.com

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

Contact: ppm@mba.ac.uk

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 Cathie Page

Contact: cathie.page@jcu.edu.au

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.


Alma Ridep-Morris

Contact: alma.ridepmorris@my.jcu.edu.au

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.


Maria Rodrigues

Contact: maria.rodrigues@jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: g.roff@uq.edu.au

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.


Dr Ruth Reef

Contact: r.reef@uq.edu.au

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 François O. Seneca

Contact: f.o.seneca@gmail.com

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. foseneca.com


Dr Yui Sato

Contact: y.sato@aims.gov.au

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.


Greg Torda

Contact: Gergely.torda@my.jcu.edu.au

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

Contact: lubna.ukani@my.jcu.edu.au

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 Shaun Wilson

Contact: Shaun.Wilson@dec.wa.gov.au

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 Benjamin Walther – University of Texas

Contact: bwalther@mail.utexas.edu
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 www.utmsi.utexas.edu


Dr Patricia Warner

Contact: p.warner1859@gmail.com

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 Marian Wong

Contact: marian.wong@yahoo.com.au

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.

Comments are closed.