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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The Census of Marine Life and Beyond: Life in a Changing Ocean


10.00am - 11.00am, Tuesday 28 June 2011

Room 101, Faculty of Science and Engineering Building 17, JCU
Dr. Paul V.R. Snelgrove, Canada Research Chair in Boreal and Cold Ocean Systems, Ocean Sciences Centre and Biology Department, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's NL Canada


The immense and opaque Planet Ocean supports one of the largest and poorest known species pools on Earth. The decade long Census of Marine Life program banded together a global network of over 2600 scientists from 80+ nations around the world, who engaged in over 500 research cruises across jurisdictional and disciplinary boundaries to learn what lives in the ocean, what lived in the ocean, and what will live in the future ocean. Census scientists discovered over 1500 new species and counting, scattered from the intertidal to the deep ocean and spanning microbes to fishes, but more importantly advanced our understanding of distribution, diversity and abundance of global ocean life. This novel collaboration utilized technologies from DNA barcoding that provides definitive identifications of even cryptic species, to sonar techniques that rapidly image schools of fish the size of Manhattan, to electronic tags on animals that log oceanographic data from remote regions, tell us where animals move, and show us how they see the ocean. The amalgamation of over 28 million+ data records from thousands of year ago to recent efforts encompasses all ocean habitats and shows blind spots in our taxonomic and biogeographic knowledge. We now know much more about what lives in the oceans, where they live, and why they live there.  Importantly, we are better positioned to place this knowledge in the context of what has been lost, what we stand to lose, and in identifying priorities for marine biodiversity research by linking ongoing national programs and emerging opportunities in a proposed initiative on Life in a Changing Ocean.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies