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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Carolyn Wheeler

Carolyn Wheeler

PhD Candidate

MSc, University of Massachusetts Boston; BSc, University of New England

James Cook University; The University of Massachusetts Boston


Originally from New York state, Carolyn found her passion for fish biology during her undergraduate honors research at the University of New England. There she conducted physiological research on sturgeon and a variety of species of sharks and skates. Carolyn is currently a co-tutelle PhD student between the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University jointly supervised by Drs. John Mandelman and Jodie Rummer. Carolyn spent the first half of her PhD working with the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium in Boston studying the effects of temperature on development and physiological performance of epaulette shark embryos and hatchlings. She was awarded a graduate fellowship through the American Australian Association to continue her research at JCU assessing the impacts of thermal stress on reproduction in adult epaulette sharks.



Wheeler CR, Rummer JL, Bailey B, Lockwood J, Vance S, Mandelman JW. 2021. Future thermal regimes for epaulette sharks (Hemiscyllium ocellatum): growth and metabolic performance cease to be optimal. Scientific Reports, 10: 79953 (doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-79953-0).

Wheeler CR, Gervais CR, Johnson MS, Vance S, Rui R, Mandelman JW, Rummer JL. 2020. Anthropogenic stressors influence reproduction and development in elasmobranch fishes. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 30: 373-386 (doi: 10.1007/s11160-020-09604-0).

Prohaska BK, Tsang PCW, Driggers III WB, Hoffmayer ER, Wheeler CR, Sulikowski JA. 2018. Effects of delayed phlebotomy on plasma steroid hormone concentrations in two elasmobranch species. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 00:1–6 (doi: 10.1111/jai.13700).

Wheeler CR, Novak AJ, Wippelhauser GS, Sulikowski JA. 2018. Validity of external morphology to determine sex of Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus). Journal of Applied Ichthyology, (doi:10.1111/jai.13775).

Novak AJ, Carlson AE, Wheeler CR, Wippelhauser GS, Sulikowski JA. 2017. Critical Foraging Habitat of Atlantic Sturgeon Based on Feeding Habits, Prey Distribution, and Movement Patterns in the Saco River Estuary, Maine. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, (doi: 10.1080/00028487.2016.1264472).

Wheeler CR, Novak AJ, Wippelhauser GS, Sulikowski JA. 2016. Using circulating reproductive hormones for sex determination of Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus) in the Saco River estuary, Maine. Conservation Physiology, (doi: 10.1093/conphys/cow059).

Sulikowski JA, CR Wheeler, AJ Gallagher, BK Prohaska, JA Langan, N Hammerschlag. 2016. Variation in the reproductive ecology of a marine apex predator, the tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), at a protected female aggregation site. Aquatic Biology, 24:175-184 (doi: 10.3354/ab00648).

Prohaska BK, Tsang PCW, Driggers III WB, Hoffmayer ER, Wheeler CR, Brown AC, Sulikowski JA. 2013. Assessing reproductive status in elasmobranch fishes using steroid hormones extracted from skeletal muscle tissue. Conservation Physiology, 1(1) (doi: 10.1093/conphys/cot028).




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