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.

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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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Aurelie Moya

Aurelie Moya

Research Fellow

James Cook University

My current research focuses on understanding how reef-building corals function at the molecular level, with a particular focus on dissecting the processes of symbiosis and calcification. I use molecular techniques to explore the impacts of global environmental stresses on the coral holobiont. I have developed extensive knowledge and practical skills in the area of coral genomics, starting from classical gene cloning techniques to high-throughput RNA sequencing. My background means that I am familiar with the complexity as well as the fragility of the coral holobiont, and have a broad understanding of partners’ communication.

In addressing these research topics, I have taken the opportunity to work in the laboratories of the current leaders in this field, Professors Denis Allemand (Monaco), and David J. Miller (JCU, Townsville).

I completed my PhD at the Scientific Centre of Monaco (2004-2007) where I studied the relation that exists between calcification and photosynthesis in Cnidarian-Dinoflagellate symbiosis. From 2007 to 2009, I held a Lecturer position at the University of Nice where I studied the molecular dialogue between the two partners of the symbiosis, and more particularly the molecular response to heat stress. In 2009, I was awarded a prestigious European fellowship from the Marie Curie actions (Outgoing International Fellowship). I shared my time between Australia (ARC CoE for Coral Reefs Studies, Townsville) and France (UPMC-CNRS, Villefranche-sur-mer), and investigated the timely topic of ocean acidification’s impact on marine invertebrates using high-throughput sequencing.

ResearchOnline @JCU

Selected Publications:

Lin M, Moya A, Ying H, Chen C, Cooke I, Ball E, Forȇt S and Miller D (2017) Analyses of corallimorpharian transcriptomes provide new perspectives on the evolution of calcification in the Scleractinia (corals). Genome Biology and Evolution, 9 (1). pp. 150-160

Cinner JPratchett M, Graham N, Messmer VFuentes MAinsworth T, Ban N, Bay L, Blythe J, Dissard D, Dunn S, Evans L, Fabinyi M, Fidelman P, Figueiredo J, Frisch A, Fulton C, Hicks CLukoschek V, Mallela J, Moya A, Penin L, Rummer J, Walker S and Williamson D (2016) A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social–ecological systems.Regional Environmental Change, 16 (4). pp. 1133-1146

Moya A, Howes E, Lacoue-Labarthe T, Forêt S, Hanna B, Medina M, Munday P, Ong J, Teyssié J, Torda GWatson SMiller D, Bijma J and Gattuso J (2016) Near-future pH conditions severely impact calcification, metabolism and the nervous system in the pteropod Heliconoides inflatus.Global Change Biology, 22 (12). pp. 3888-3900

Moya A, Sakamaki K, Mason B, Huisman L, Forêt S, Weiss Y, Bull T, Tomii K, Imai K, Hayward D, Ball E and Miller D (2016) Functional conservation of the apoptotic machinery from coral to man: the diverse and complex Bcl-2 and caspase repertoires of Acropora millepora. BMC Genomics, 17. pp. 1-20

Moya A, Huisman L, Fêret S, Gattuso J, Hayward D, Ball E and Miller D (2015) Rapid acclimation of juvenile corals to CO2-mediated acidification by upregulation of heat shock protein and Bcl-2 genes. Molecular Ecology, 24 (2). pp. 438-452

Rocker M, Noonan S, Humphrey C, Moya A, Willis B and Bay L (2015) Expression of calcification and metabolism-related genes in response to elevated pCO(2) and temperature in the reef-building coral Acropora millepora. Marine Genomics, 24 (Part 3). pp. 313-318

Bertucci A, Moya A, Tambutté S, Allemand D, Supuran C and Zoccola D (2013) Carbonic anhydrases in anthozoan corals: a review. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 21 (6). pp. 1437-1450

Chua C, Leggat W, Moya A and Baird A (2013) Near-future reductions in pH will have no consistent ecological effects on the early life-history stages of reef corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 486. pp. 143-151

Chua C, Leggat W, Moya A and Baird A (2013) Temperature affects the early life history stages of corals more than near future ocean acidification. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 475. pp. 85-92

van de Locht R, Verch A, Saunders M, Dissard D, Rixen T, Moya A and Kröger R (2013) Microstructural evolution and nanoscale crystallography in scleractinian coral spherulites.Journal of Structural Biology, 183 (1). pp. 57-65

Dupont S, Moya A and Bailly X (2012) Stable photosymbiotic relationship under CO2-induced acidification in the acoel worm Symsagittifera roscoffensis. PLoS ONE, 7 (1). pp. 1-8

Moya A, Ganot P, Furla P and Sabourault C (2012) The transcriptomic response to thermal stress is immediate, transient and potentiated by ultraviolet radiation in the sea anemone Anemonia viridis. Molecular Ecology, 21 (5). pp. 1158-1174

Full list of publications




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