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

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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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Storm-mediated changes to coral reef assemblage structure


Monday 26 May, 12:00 pm

ARC Centre of Excellence Conference Room, JCU. Video-linked to Centre for Marine Studies, UQ.
Dr Joshua S. Madin, Macquarie University

Josh completed his Ph.D. in 2004 on reef coral biomechanics under the supervision of Sean Connolly and Terry Hughes.  He then spent four years as a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara (California), where he pursued a range of questions in areas including paleoecology, ecoinformatics, and mammal and reef fish biogeography.  Josh recently returned to Australia to take up a lectureship in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University in Sydney.


Increasingly severe storms and weaker carbonate materials associated with more acidic oceans will increase the vulnerability of reef corals to mechanical damage.  Mechanistic predictions based on measurements of colony mechanical vulnerability and future climate scenarios demonstrate dramatic shifts in assemblage structure following storm disturbances, including switches in species’ dominance on the reef and thus potential for post-disturbance recovery.  It is known that larger colonies are more resistant to factors such as disease and competition for space and complex morphologies support more associated reef species.  However, future reefs are expected to have lower colony abundances and be dominated by small and morphologically-simple, yet mechanically robust, species, thus allowing them to support lower levels of whole-reef biodiversity than do present-day reefs.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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