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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Rapid transgenerational adaptation of reef fish to climate change, a genomics perspective


Thursday, March 22nd 2018, 12:00 to 13:00 hrs (AEST)

Building 19 (Kevin Stark Research Building) Room 106 (upstairs), JCU, Townsville
Timothy Ravasi
Timothy Ravasi


The Earth’s climate is changing rapidly mostly due to anthropogenic disturbances. The average temperature of the ocean is projected to increase up to 3°C by the end of the century, and the oceans are progressively becoming more and more acidic. This will pose a serious threat to the survival of many aquatic species. To persist, populations will either need to shift their geographic distributions or adapt through genetic evolution or phenotypic plasticity.

It is unclear if and how marine species, such as tropical fishes, will adapt to these rapid changes in ocean temperature and acidity. Although many organisms are susceptible to future climate changes, some species shows remarkable ability of acclimation after generations. In my talk I will discuss our latest research that by mean of an integrative genomics analysis, identified molecular pathways responsible for transgenerational acclimation of reef fish to climate stressors and shown that selective genomic-wide DNA methylation serves as a central epigenetic mechanism mediating transgenerational acclimation to climate change.



Tim graduated from the University of Milan in Italy and now is a Full Professor of Marine Genomics at King Abdullah University of Sciences and Technology (KAUST), Adjunct Professor of at the University of California in San Diego.

Tim has more than 140 peer-reviewed publications as well as four book chapters which have been cited more than 16,000 times.

He is has received the 2008 Dolph Adams prize for the most-cited article. Nature Biotechnology selected Tim’s work on biological machine learning classifiers as one of the 2010 top 10 major breakthroughs in Computational Biology

Tim’s research focus on the effects of the rapidly changing climate on coral reef fish populations. By mean of integrative genome and epigenome approaches Tim’s lab is questioning the adaptive abilities of coral reef fish to climate stressors such as ocean warming and ocean acidification


Australian Research Council Pandora

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