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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Aaron Hasenei

Aaron Hasenei

Ph.D. Student - James Cook University, MSc - Marine Biology - Nova Southeastern University, BSc - Biology - Towson University

James Cook University, Townsville

Growing up in a quiet, rural, small town in central Maryland along the Atlantic coast of the United States, I’ve always had an intimate connection with the natural world and the wonders throughout. There wasn’t much in terms of neighborhood kids around to befriend where I lived, but there was a vast richness of forest, streams, and rivers to adventure and explore. Here, on the other side of the world in Queensland, Australia, I can’t help but reflect and feel nothing but appreciation and gratitude for where I am now, where I came from, and the journey I took to get here.

My current studies are within the field of conservation physiology of elasmobranch fishes working as a PhD student under the guidance of Prof. Jodie Rummer. Our hope is to pioneer a study of the first of its kind elucidating the genetic mechanisms driving adaptation capacity that underpin key physiological performance metrics of the epaulette shark in response to ocean warming. Specifically, I plan to examine intraspecific patterns in gene expression changes from latitudinally distinct populations of this species throughout the GBR when exposed to elevated temperatures consistent with end of the century anthropogenic climate change. Ultimately, findings from this research will establish a comparative baseline to identify thermally resilient vs. sensitive species to enhance conservation management of these vulnerable but critical group of animals.


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