1

People and ecosystems

Understanding of the links between coral reef ecosystems, the goods and services they provide to people, and the wellbeing of human societies.

2

Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution

3

Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future

IntroductionIntroduction PeoplePeople ProjectsProjects

Program 2: Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future

Program Leaders: Professor Sean Connolly, Professor John Pandolfi, and Dr Verena Schoepf

This multi-disciplinary program brings together leading ecologists, evolutionary biologists, geneticists, oceanographers and palaeontologists to examine the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution.

Research Themes

Historical Ecology, Palaeontology and Shifting Baselines – Examines the historical transition from pristine ecosystems to socio-ecological systems of today. It aims to improve knowledge of how the resilience of coastal and marine ecosystems evolves and its response to human impact.

Regime-Shifts and Resilience – Aims to increase knowledge of the dynamics and resilience of ecosystems and to incorporate these findings into coral reef management. Research focuses on quantifying the effects of multiple drivers of change on critical feedbacks that stabilise or destabilise ecosystems, generating threshold dynamics, hysteresis and alternate stable states.

Connectivity and Resilience – Examines aspects of connectivity at local to global scales including the spread of disease, introduction of new species and pests and the social impacts of human connectivity. We also explore the critical role of larval connectivity between meta-populations or meta-communities in promoting resilience and recovery of depleted local populations.

Macroecology, Ecosystem Functions and Biogeography – Quantifies the level of functional diversity and redundancy in coral reef assemblages. In tandem with Program 3 we will model and assess the effect of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem function along biogeographic and latitudinal gradients. We will also focus on how management practices impact on ecosystem dynamics.

People

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Sean Connolly

Sean Connolly

Professor and Program 2 Leader

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4242

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John Pandolfi

John Pandolfi

Professor, Chief Investigator and Program 2 Leader

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 3050

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Andrew Baird

Andrew Baird

Professorial Research Fellow and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4857

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David Bellwood

David Bellwood

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5729

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Pim Bongaerts

Pim Bongaerts

ARC DECRA Research Fellow

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 4978 1253

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Mary Bonin

Mary Bonin

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4119

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Yves-Marie Bozec

Yves-Marie Bozec

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 1671

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Tom Bridge

Tom Bridge

Senior Curator - Corals

James Cook University and Queensland Museum Network

+61 (0)7 4781 6189

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Graeme S. Cumming

Graeme S. Cumming

Professor and Coral Reef Research Leader

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 6072

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Hugo B. Harrison

Hugo B. Harrison

ARC DECRA Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 6358

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Andrew Hoey

Andrew Hoey

Senior Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5979

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Terry Hughes

Terry Hughes

Professor, Centre Director and Program 1 Leader

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4000

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Jeremy Jackson

Jeremy Jackson

Professor and Partner Investigator

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

858-822-2432

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Geoff P. Jones

Geoff P. Jones

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4559

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Mike Kingsford

Mike Kingsford

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4345

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Nils Krueck

Nils Krueck

Research Fellow

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 1671

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Ryan Lowe

Ryan Lowe

Professor, Chief Investigator and Program 3 Leader

University of Western Australia

+61 (0)8 6488 2706

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Vimoksalehi Lukoschek

Vimoksalehi Lukoschek

Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 410 340609

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Laurence McCook

Laurence McCook

Adjunct Principal Research Fellow; President's International Visiting Professorial Fellow

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies; Chinese Academy of Sciences

+61 408 804765 (Australia)

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Mark McCormick

Mark McCormick

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4048

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Vanessa Messmer

Vanessa Messmer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5531

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Peter Mumby

Peter Mumby

Professor and Chief Investigator

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 1686

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Philip Munday

Philip Munday

Professor & Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5341

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Stephen Palumbi

Stephen Palumbi

Professor and Partner Investigator

Hopkins Marine Station, Stanford University

Phone: +1 831 655 6210

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Serge Planes

Serge Planes

Partner Investigator

University of Perpignan, France

+33 4 6866 2055

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Morgan Pratchett

Morgan Pratchett

Professorial Research Fellow and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5747

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Garry Russ

Garry Russ

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 4432

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Eugenia Sampayo

Eugenia Sampayo

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 2729

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Greg Torda

Greg Torda

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5241

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Sue-Ann Watson

Sue-Ann Watson

Research Fellow

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5270

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David Williamson

David Williamson

Research Associate

James Cook University

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Bette L. Willis

Bette L. Willis

Professor and Chief Investigator

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 5349

Program 2: Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future

Members of this program work across a range of themes (see introduction). Some are also part of individual research groups (below).

Individual Research Groups

Connolly Research Lab, led by Sean Connolly:

parrotfish_flickrOur research addresses a broad range of questions in ecology, ranging from biomechanics and physiological ecology, to behaviour, population dynamics, community ecology, and macroecology. Most staff and students in the Ecological Modelling Research Group use some combination of theoretical modelling, statistical modelling, laboratory experiments, and fieldwork in their research. We conduct both basic and applied research, addressing classical questions about the structure and function of organisms, and the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, as well as questions about the effects of overfishing or climate change. Mostly, but not exclusively, we use coral reefs as a model system.

Marine Palaeoecology Lab, led by John Pandolfi:

In the marine Palaeoecology Lab we conduct investigations into the effects of natural and anthropogenic climate change, as well as other anthropogenic stressors, on tropical and sub-tropical reefs in a historical context. Coral reefs are experiencing increasing degradations, but systematic studies of these amazing environments are only recent. To really know how these environments looked like before human influence we need to be creative in the use of tools that give us an insight into the recent past (hundreds to thousands of years) as well as the deep past (hundreds of thousands to millions of years). Historical ecology, along with fossil records and genetic studies allow us to establish appropriate baselines for the study and management of marine ecosystems.

The Bellwood Lab, led by David Bellwood:

ParrotfishOur lab focuses on reef fish ecology, ecosystem function and resilience. Our approach is eclectic, ranging from molecular phylogenetics and global biogeography to functional morphology and behavioural ecology. Yet we are all united by a single focus – to understand the role of biodiversity in ecosystem function and to find novel solutions to the problems faced by coral reefs. Our ultimate goal is to understand how coral reefs work, to identify the critical roles of fishes in coral reef ecosystems, and to develop new approaches to reef management that will include people as part of the solution.

Coral Reef Ecology Laboratory, led by Mark McCormick:

Oct28PROur research program explores predator-prey interactions, and how these influence which prey survive. We have shown that chemical alarm signal are an important mechanism whereby newly settled fish can learn the identity of predators. Prey selectivity curves are being derived for key predators of juvenile reef fishes.

 

Reef Fish Ecology and Climate Change, led by Philip Munday

Seminar5_clownfishProfessor Munday has broad interests in the population, community and behavioural ecology of reef fishes. His research group focuses on understanding and predicting the impacts that climate change and ocean acidification will have on populations and communities of marine fishes, both directly through changes in the physical environment and indirectly through effects on coral reef habitat. Using a range of laboratory and field experiments he is investigating the effects of climate change and ocean acidification on reef fish populations and testing their capacity for acclimation and adaptation to a rapidly changing environment. A major research focus is understanding how exposure to higher temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in one generation affects the ability of subsequent generations of fish to tolerate these conditions (transgenerational acclimation).

Marine Spatial Ecology Lab, led by Peter Mumby

Seminar24_island_coralOur research focuses on delivering science to improve the management of coral reefs. We carry out empirical ecological studies at scales ranging from millimetres (algal patch dynamics) to thousands of kilometres (gene flow in Caribbean corals) in an effort to plug gaps in our understanding of reef processes. Empirical data are then used to develop ecosystem models from which we can investigate the effectiveness of conservation measures in mitigating disturbance on reefs including climate change. Lastly, we combine the ecological models with remotely-sensed data to allow spatial conservation planning such as marine reserve design.

Coral Reef Ecology Lab, led by Andrew Baird, Andrew Hoey, and Morgan Pratchett

Seminar14_Island_coralsCoral reef ecosystems are ecologically and economically important, but are also being rapidly degraded throughout the world. Pratchett, Hoey and Baird work together (along with a large group of graduate students and early career researchers) to explore the dynamics of reef organisms and interactions among key components of reef ecosystems. This research is fundamental to developing effective management strategies to halt and reverse global degradation of reef ecosystems.

 

 

Seminars

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Partner Research Institutions

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au