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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Diffusion of a gear-based conservation innovation: adoption patterns and social-ecological outcomes


Monday, Sept 10th 2018, 12:00 to 13:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Emmanuel Mbaru
Emmanuel Mbaru


Whether and how conservation ideas and practices spread can have major impacts on both people and ecosystems. Mbaru’s project examines how people adopt conservation initiatives but also determines social and environmental impacts of doing so. His study integrates decades of social science theory on diffusion of innovations with novel breakthroughs in social network analysis to offer a clearer understanding of the factors that shape conservation adoption decisions over time. He then draws on social network theory and methods to develop specific criteria for selecting key stakeholders to facilitate diffusion related conservation objectives. Mbaru’s work analyses impacts of conservation through two different contexts: (i) by demonstrating how adoption or non-adoption of conservation affect peoples wellbeing; (ii) by showing whether adoption of conservation can potentially lead to environmental improvements. The potential explanatory power of this analysis is verified through a concrete case study, i.e., adoption of a fisheries bycatch management initiative in a coral reef fishery.



Mbaru became interested in fisheries science in 2009 after finishing his undergraduate studies in fisheries and aquatic science at Moi University, a public university in his native Kenya. He undertook his MSc (fisheries science) at the Rhodes university in South Africa working on the implications for introduction of  fish aggregating devices (FADs) in nearshore coastal fisheries. Since 2013, Mbaru has been working at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), when he became passionate about marine conservation. He got involved in developing a number of innovative fisheries conservation strategies including the design of modified fishing technologies that reduce bycatch in coral reef fisheries. Mbaru has worked closely with local and international NGOs involved in marine conservation efforts in a bid to achieve better environmental outcomes in the context of major change. In early 2015, he started pursuing his PhD, which investigates better ways to facilitate conservation diffusion. He is supervised by Prof. Josh Cinner, Prof. Nick Graham, Prof. Tiffany Morrison, Dr. Michele Barnes and Dr. Christina Hicks.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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