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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Some like it hot


Wednesday, 10 March 2010 4.00pm - 5.00pm

JCU Townsville DA009-002 and video-linked to Cairns B1.107
Dr. Steve Simpson,  University of Bristol, UK


Evidence is mounting for long-term effects of climate change on marine fish assemblages. Until now, much of this work has been conducted over short or intermittent time periods, or small geographical areas. I will present the emerging results of a macrospatial study of the entire UK marine fish assemblage measured annually for the last 30-years by commercially-independent trawls. There is clear support for the previously reported North Sea shift in community assemblage in the late-80s to early-90s, but also evidence of community change in NW Scotland, the Channel, and the Celtic and Irish Seas. Using newly developed analytical approaches we have explored these patterns at a fine spatio-temporal resolution, and examined relationships between measured community change and key environmental drivers. Through a series of hypothesis-driven investigations of these patterns, we have explored the species-level responses with respect to temperature and depth preferences, and life-history characteristics of each species. We hope to use these findings to draw out fundamental properties of ecosystem function, community response, and life-history vulnerability, and by extrapolating current trends we aim to produce ‘best guess’ predictions for the future of marine fish assemblages and fisheries.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies