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


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

Coral Bleaching

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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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Evolutionary origins of metazoan biomineralization: Insights from corals


Thursday 9th of July 2015 – 16:00 to 17:00 hrs

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Dr. Mónica Medina
Dr. Mónica Medina

Abstract: Homology has historically been an elusive concept in biology. With the advent of modern molecular approaches to understand a phenotype, we find the definition of homology an even more daunting task. We use animal biomineralization, a complex trait, to empirically examine whether phenotypically distinct anatomical structures can be considered homologous at multiple levels of biological organization.

Biomineralization is the process by which living organisms construct hard skeletons creating structures that range from specialized tissues such as shells or skeletons to ecosystems such as coral reefs. Biominerals are composed of both inorganic minerals and proteins. We use a comparative genomics approach to assess if such components of a biomineral are shared across animal lineages. In the process, we have developed BioMine, a biomineralization centric protein database that enables comparative analysis across mineralizing animals.

Bio: Mónica Medina is a comparative biologist whose research primarily focuses on the ecology and evolution of marine invertebrates. In addition to studying the evolution of animals, her laboratory studies cnidarian host-microbe interactions.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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