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


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


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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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Assessing the risk of ecosystem collapse


Thursday, March 29th 2018, 10:00 to 11:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Nicholas J. Murray
Nicholas J. Murray


The current set of global conservation targets requires methods for monitoring the changing status of ecosystems. Newly developed protocols for ecosystem risk assessment are uniquely suited to this task, providing objective syntheses of a wide range of social and ecological data to estimate the likelihood of ecosystem collapse. In this talk I will introduce my work on the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, including developing the protocol, testing the thresholds that define different assessment outcomes, and applying it to a wide variety of ecosystem types across the world. With case studies, I will describe the data needs for ecosystem risk assessment and how this approach supports ecosystem restoration and management. Ultimately, I hope to demonstrate the utility of risk assessment approaches to better understand, communicate, manage, and respond to rapid environmental change.



Nick is a senior research fellow at the Centre for Ecosystem Science, University of New South Wales. He has a broad research program that spans the fields of risk assessment, remote sensing, conservation biology and ecology. Nick’s recent focus has been on (i) the dynamics of coastal ecosystems at the global-scale, and (ii) developing methods and tools to estimate risks of ecosystem collapse and species extinction. Nick has worked extensively around the world to investigate the status of a wide range of ecosystem types, research for which he has won several awards, including the 2015 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research as part of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems science team. Twitter: @remotelysense


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