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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Alejandra Hernandez

Alejandra Hernandez

PhD candidate

James Cook University

Alejandra grew up in Caracas, Venezuela and completed her BSc (honors) (Biology) at Simon Bolivar University (USB). During her undergraduate studies, Alejandra discovered her passion for corals while she worked as support staff for the Caribbean Coastal Marine Productivity (CARICOMP) program in the Laboratory of Marine Communities and Ecotoxicology (USB). Her undergraduate thesis evaluated the effect of suspended solids on the development of Caribbean ciliate infections in Acropora palmata. During the following four and half years, Alejandra worked as a researcher in the Experimental Ecology Laboratory (USB), collaborating in monitoring programs related to coral reefs, seagrass extensions, and intertidal and subtidal rocky shores, environmental impact assessments and in the evaluation of antibacterial activity in healthy and infected corals. In 2014, Alejandra obtained the Australian Awards Scholarship and moved to Australia. She jointed the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies to begin her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Bill Leggat, Dr. Tracy Ainsworth and Dr. Pim Bongaerts. The focus of her research is coral-associated bacteria, their habitat distribution and response to environmental changes.c


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Coral Reef Studies