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 secret life of spurs and grooves: understanding the geomorphology of the fore reef


Tuesday, June 27th 12:00 to 13:00 hrs

Building 19, Room 106, JCU Townsville Campus
Stephanie Duce
Stephanie Duce

Abstract. Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet and are extremely important ecologically, economically, socially and scientifically. Spurs and grooves are a common feature of coral reefs worldwide with their distinct finger-like morphology extending down the reef slope at the interface between the reef and the open ocean. Spurs and grooves represent one of the most biodiverse and productive zones of modern reefs. They also act as natural breakwaters, regulating the hydrodynamic energy and nutrients received by reef platforms and thus affecting reef platform geomorphology. However, they are difficult to access and hence few studies have collected quantitative data regarding the morphology, hydrodynamics and reef growth of spur and groove systems. Thus, many questions remain about their formation and evolution. This talk will present a journey through the secret life of spurs and grooves exploring the morphology, hydrodynamics and long term evolution of spur and groove systems in the southern Great Barrier Reef and French Polynesia.

Biography. Stephanie is a coral reef geomorphologist and spatial scientist. She completed her undergraduate degree and honours at JCU in Townsville studying the impacts of harbour infrastructure on reef islands in the Torres Strait. She later completed an International Masters in Geospatial Technologies in Europe with a particular focus on spatial data interoperability. After a few years working in the environmental consulting industry she decided to return to reef research and undertook her PhD at the University of Sydney. Stephanie has just returned to JCU as the lecturer in spatial science on the Townsville campus. She enjoys multidisciplinary research and the opportunity to combine field work with a variety of technologies, to measure, understand, and manage complex natural environments.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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