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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Hugo B. Harrison

Hugo B. Harrison

ARC and AIMS Joint Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellow – ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (2013 -2015)

PhD, James Cook University & l’Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

James Cook University

+61 (0)7 4781 6358

Research Interests

Dr. Hugo Harrison’s research is best described as the molecular ecology and evolution of coral reefs, with emphasis on the population dynamics of coral reef fishes including: the dispersal ecology and recruitment dynamics of larval fishes, the reproductive success of adult fishes, and the role of hybridisation in speciation. It combines large-scale field studies with novel genetic approaches to address critical questions regarding the effective management of coral reef ecosystems.

Dr. Harrison received his doctoral degree in Marine Biology from James Cook University in Australia and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etude in France.  As part of his thesis, Dr. Harrison and colleagues were the first to apply a forensic DNA profiling approach to track the dispersal pathways of fish larvae throughout a network of marine reserves on Australia’s Great Barrier Reefs. Their study provides the first conclusive evidence that larval supply from marine reserves generates important recruitment subsidies to both fished and protected areas.

Curriculum Vitae

Publications online

Selected Publications

Current Projects

Significance of no-take marine protected areas to regional recruitment and population persistence on the Great Barrier Reef (NERP 8.3): Recent research has demonstrated that no-take marine reserves in the Keppel Island group on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) make an important contribution to the replenishment of locally exploited populations of coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) and stripey snapper (Lutjanus carponotatus). While these compelling findings provided crucial support for green zones as an effective conservation and fisheries management tool, the scale over which reserves benefit fisheries through recruitment subsidies and the degree to which reserves contribute to long-term population persistence have yet to be evaluated. The aim of this project is to understand how marine reserve networks function in a larger conservation and fisheries framework and extend our findings to other commercially exploited coral trout species (P. leopardus) on the GBR. This project will show patterns of dispersal of coral trout larvae on a large regional scale and assess how marine reserves contribute to persistence of coral trout population over future generations. Read more

Initiation and spread of coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster cf. planci on the Great Barrier and Indo-Pacific region: This project employs novel approaches to the analysis of spatial variation in genetic structure and is aimed at establishing the feasibility of management interventions in preventing ongoing outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies