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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Professorial Inaugural Lecture: People and Reefs: A social scientist’s escapades confronting the coral reef crisis


6.00 pm Wednesday, 3 December 2014

The Raffles Room, Rydges Southbank, 23 Palmer Street, Townsville
Professor Joshua Cinner
Professor Joshua Cinner

Abstract: Globally, tens of millions of people depend on the beauty and bounty of coral reefs for their livelihoods. The overwhelming majority of these are in developing countries, where difficult issues such as poverty can pose major constraints to sustainability. Here, conventional solutions to conserving coral reefs, such as marine reserves and alternative income projects, often fail to produce tangible results. In many places, progress towards more sustainable reefscapes will require a greater focus on addressing the social, economic, and institutional issues at the heart of overexploitation. In this talk, I will share some experience from nearly two decades of research on people and reefs from the Caribbean, east Africa, and the Pacific. I will highlight some of the bright spots I have encountered – places that have developed local solutions to sustain their reefs in the face of the most difficult circumstances. I will showcase a strategy for unlocking the potential of these local solutions at a global scale.

Biography: Professor Cinner’s research explores how social, economic, and cultural factors influence the ways in which people use, perceive, and govern natural resources. 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 the human dimensions of resource management in Jamaica, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania, Mauritius, Seychelles, Indonesia, Mozambique, and the USA. Prof Cinner holds a prestigious Australian Research Fellowship from the Australian Research Council.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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