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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Christopher A. Brunner

Christopher A. Brunner

PhD Graduate

Australian Institute of Marine Science

+61 (0)7 4753 4189

Christopher completed his double MSc degree in Marine Biology in 2015, after studying one year at the University of Bremen (Germany) and another year at the Ocean University of China (Qingdao, China). He is especially interested in adaptation processes of different benthic communities. Therefore, he investigated within the framework of his Master thesis the physiological adaptation of mesophotic Leptoseris spp. and Pachyseris speciosa colonies across an 80m depth gradient at the Coral Reef Ecosystem Laboratory of the University of Queensland. Besides this, he has worked above and below the water surface in arctic, antarctic, temperate and tropical regions. There, he studied the adaptability of cold-water and tropical corals, as well as other benthic organisms, towards impacts of climate change. As extremely hydrophilic person and passionate underwater photographer, he not only enjoys working underwater, but also likes to spends his free time underneath the water surface.

In one of his most recent projects, he examined how coral larvae of multiple broadcast spawning and brooding coral species are attracted by waterborne crustaceous coralline algae (CCA) cues. As new AIMS@JCU PhD student, Christopher wants to add-on to his previous work by identifying how coral larvae perform under future climate scenarios in the presence of sedimentation. Under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Negri (AIMS), Dr. Sven Uthicke (AIMS) and Dr. Mia Hoogenboom (JCU), he will furthermore examine cumulative effects of near future climate scenarios (increasing temperature and ocean acidification) and water quality stressors (sedimentation, light reduction, nitrification and pesticides) on important calcifying reef taxa (e.g. corals, coralline algae and foraminifera). Finally, he will calculate concentration-response curves and climate-adjusted thresholds of these stressors. These data will be combined with datasets of AIMS and NOAA, so that spatial risk and exposure maps can be create, which will demonstrate how future climate scenarios and pollution affect calcifying organisms. The outcome could then provide decision makers with vital information in order to sustainably manage the tropical reef ecosystems.


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