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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Celebrating Research – Internal Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition


Friday, 2nd of August 2013; from 15:00 hrs.

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building), Room #106 (upstairs) (with refreshments after the competition)
Melissa Bos, Josh Cinner, Aurelie Moya - ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Melissa Bos – Innovative and Strategic Marine Conservation Finance

Abstract: The oceans provide crucial ecosystem services for society, yet human impacts are undermining life-sustaining marine resources. Marine conservation has developed successful tools and participatory planning processes, but one critical component lags behind. Finance – or more specifically how to generate and invest revenue – is limiting progress. This research investigates novel applications of several established environmental finance mechanisms for marine conservation across three disparate contexts – Great Barrier Reef, Fiji, and Hawaii – and develops participatory decision-making processes that enable marine resource managers to select finance mechanisms that deliver ecological, social, and cultural returns on investment.

Biography: Melissa Bos received a BS in Chemistry and Marine Science from the University of Miami, after which she began working as an environmental consultant. With a desire to focus on the science behind coral reef management, Melissa then went on to earn a MS in Oceanography from the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she investigated nutrient dynamics in coral reef ecosystems. As a NOAA coral reef management fellow placed within the State of Hawaii, Melissa facilitated stakeholder-driven Local Action Strategies to address key threats to coral reefs. Melissa then became the Hawaii and Pacific Island Coordinator of NOAA’s Alliance for Coastal Technologies where she facilitated partnerships between resource managers, researchers, and the technology industry. She has held faculty positions at both the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and Hawaii Pacific University. As Director of the Global Marine Partnership Fund at Conservation International, Melissa began to focus on innovative finance and participatory strategic planning for large-scale marine conservation initiatives. As Director of the Hawaii Marine Program at Conservation International, Melissa developed and funded the Hawaii Fish Trust, a ground-breaking program that unties fishers, Hawaiian communities, non-profits, and the State of Hawaii towards common goals. Melissa also has experience working at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Social and Economic Sciences and Sustainable Funding.


Josh Cinner – Poverty and coral reefs

Abstract: The Poverty is often believed to be a driving force in the exploitation of marine resources in tropical developing countries, although relationships are complicated and not well understood. In the coral reef fisheries of east Africa, the poorest fishers are trapped in a declining fishery and are more likely to use fishing gear that can damage the habitat and capture the smallest fish. However, it is societies part way up the development ladder that are having the greatest impacts on coral reefs because they have the technology to plunder reefs, but lack the institutions to protect them.

Biography: Dr Cinner’s research explores how social, economic, and cultural factors influence the ways in which people use, perceive, and govern natural resources, with a particular emphasis on using applied social science to inform coral reef management.  His background is in human geography and he often works closely with ecologists to uncover complex linkages between social and ecological systems. He has worked on human dimensions of resource management in  Jamaica, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Indonesia, Mozambique, and the USA. Dr Cinner holds an Australian Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.


Aurelie Moya – CO2 is messing with coral skeleton

Abstract: In recent years declines in coral calcification have been reported around the world, matching the steady rise in carbon emissions to the atmosphere from human activity. Corals not only have to fight to keep their skeleton intact, they also have to put more effort into building the individual blocks of their skeleton because those building blocks have become rare. In order to understand how this happens and if corals will be able to cope or adapt to those changing conditions, my aim is to go back to basics and explore the effect of a more acidic ocean on every gene in the coral genome. This is an essential first step in understanding how acidified seawater affect coral reefs. This research has the potential to give us a clearer understanding of how best to protect our coral reefs in a world where enormous changes are taking place at great speed.

Biography: Aurelie is a post-doctoral fellow working on coral genomics. She is originally from France and she completed her PhD at the Scientific Centre of Monaco in 2008. In 2009, Aurelie was awarded a European fellowship from the Marie Curie actions. She shared her time between Australia (ARC CoE for Coral Reefs Studies, Townsville) and France (UPMC-CNRS, Villefranche-sur-mer), and investigated the timely topic of ocean acidification’s impact on marine invertebrates using high-throughput sequencing. Her current research focuses on understanding how reef-building corals function at the molecular level, how they build their skeleton, and why they fail to do so when they are under stress.


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