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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Making parks make a difference – biodiversity conservation will be more effective when protected-area impact is central to policy, planning, and management


Thursday 2nd of July 2015 – 16:00 to 17:00 hrs

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room #106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Professor Bob Pressey
Professor Bob Pressey


Abstract: Protected areas in marine and terrestrial environments have tended to be residual to extractive uses and have therefore done little to intervene in the loss of biodiversity. Their “impact” has been small, with impact defined as the difference that protected areas make to one or more intended outcomes, relative to the counterfactual of no intervention or a different intervention. Thinking around the impact of protected areas is emerging from at least three previously distinct threads: the design of BACI experiments to estimate the effectiveness of protected areas; ideas from the field of impact evaluation in medicine, education, and development aid; and conservation science directed at measuring biases in protection and influencing policy to reduce these biases. This presentation is based on a draft manuscript for a theme issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society dedicated to impact of protected areas. The presentation uses two conceptual maps – one of the factors influencing impact of protected areas, and one on decision making to achieve impact – to develop feasible approaches to setting policy targets and operational objectives for planning and management so that the impact of both established and yet-to-be established protected areas can be maximized.

Bio:Bob Pressey leads the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies’ conservation planning group, with projects covering diverse topics and geographies, and aimed at influencing policy and practice for conservation.


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Coral Reef Studies