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.


Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

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


Responding to a changing world

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

Coral Bleaching

Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

From 2005 to 2022, the main node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies was headquartered at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland (Australia)

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A Sea of Small Boats: Importance and Vulnerability of Coastal Livelihoods


Thursday 28th of August 2014; 12:00 to 13:00 hrs

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville. Video-linked to the University of Queensland (GCI Boardroom, Level 7, Gehrmann Building 60.
Dr Jessica Blythe, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University
Dr Jessica Blythe, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University

Abstract: Concern about overfishing and the ecological costs of aquaculture dominate popular and research narratives about the sustainability of marine resources; while the more utilitarian role of fish as a direct provider to poor, vulnerable and food insecure populations is conspicuously undervalued.  The social benefits provided by marine resources (e.g., livelihoods, nutrition, well-being) are critical to the welfare of hundreds of millions of people, particularly in developing countries.  Through fieldwork on small-scale fisheries, small and commercial-scale aquaculture in Mozambique and Solomon Islands, I will explore the importance and vulnerability of marine resource-based livelihoods.  I will argue that the extraordinary diversity of coastal livelihoods necessitates an interdisciplinary approach to marine resource governance, one based on broad participation to help negotiate trade-offs between food and livelihood security, resource conservation, and development goals.

Biography: Jessica grew up in Newfoundland, Canada.  She completed a BSc from Memorial University with a focus on juvenile cod behaviour.  After spending an influential year living in Malawi and studying tilapia farming, she switched to social sciences and completed a MA from York University in 2009.  In 2013, Jessica earned her PhD from the University of Victoria, which investigated small-scale fishers’ resilience and vulnerability in coastal Mozambique. Jessica joined the CoE as a joint postdoctorate research fellow with WorldFish in 2013.  She uses social science methods to explore struggles over resources and livelihoods in coastal communities of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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