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 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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Jessica Blythe

Jessica Blythe

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James Cook University/ WorldFish

+61 (0)7 4781 3198

Research Interests

I work at the intersection between the land and the sea, between resilience thinking and critical social theory, and I am fascinated by how communities respond to change.  For the last ten years, I have been privileged to work with communities in sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific.  Fundamentally, my research aims to understand how communities perceive and respond to change, and their differential capacities for adaptation and transformation.  Drawing on theories from human geography, resilience, and common pool resources, I aim to make space for local voices to contribute to conversations about natural resource management in order to build systems that foster the capacity for both ecological sustainability and social equality.

At the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, and in collaboration with the talented people at WorldFish, my research explores the contributions of social innovations towards transformative change for sustainability.

Please find my Google Scholar profile here and follow me on Twitter

Selected Publications

Blythe J, Sulu R, Harohau D, Weeks R, Schwarz A-M, Mills D, & Phillips M (2017) Social dynamics shaping the diffusion of sustainable aquaculture innovations in the Solomon Islands.  Sustainability 9(1): 126

Blythe J, Cohen P, Abernethy K, & Evans L (2017) Navigating the transformation to community-based resource management.  In, Governing the coastal commons: communities, resilience, and transformation.  Armitage D, Charles A, & Berkes F (eds.) (in press)

Blythe J, Bennett G, Cohen P, Moveni M and Kwatelae A (2017) Five principles for network success in Solomon Islands. Penang, Malaysia: WorldFish, Program Brief: 2017-04.

Bennett NJ, Blythe J, Tyler S, & N Ban (2016) Communities and change in the anthropocene: understanding vulnerability and planning adaptations to multiple interacting exposures  Regional Environmental Change: 1-20

Cinner JE, M Pratchett, N Graham, V Messmer, M Fuentes, T Ainsworth, N Ban, L Bay, J Blythe, et al. (2016).  A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social-ecological systems.  Regional Environmental Change.  

Blythe J (2015).  Resilience and social thresholds in small-scale fishing communities.  Sustainability Science 10(1): 157-165.  

Blythe J, Flaherty M, & Murray G (2015). Vulnerability of coastal livelihoods to shrimp farming: insights from Mozambique.  Ambio 44:275-284. 

Blythe J, Murray G, & Flaherty M  (2014).  Strengthening threatened communities through adaptation: insights from coastal MozambiqueEcology and Society 19(2): 6.

Blythe J, Murray G, & Flaherty M (2013).  Historical perspectives and recent trends in the coastal Mozambican fisheryEcology and Society 18(4): 65.

Hervey A & Blythe J (2013) Reducing Climate Change Vulnerability in Mozambique: from Policy to Practice.  In, Held D, Roger C and Neg E-M (eds.) Climate Governance in the Developing World.  Polity Press, London, UK, pp. 238-257.

Blythe J (2013).  Social-ecological analysis of integrated agriculture-aquaculture in Dedza, Malawi.  Environment, Development and Sustainability 15: 1143-1155.

Blythe J (2012).  Hits and Misses in Mozambique’s Climate Change Action Plans.  Centre for International Governance Innovation, African Portal Backgrounder No. 27, May 2012.

Blythe J (2009).  Hybrid aquaculture research: the case of Dedza, Malawi.  In Reid GK (ed) Proceedings of the Aquaculture Association of Canada Conference 2009, May 10-13, 2009: 51-53.

Blythe J, Laurel BJ, Brown JA (2007).  Diel changes in behaviour and habitat use by age-O Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.) in the laboratory and field. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 351: 267-275.

Kaunda E, Blythe J, Kang’ombe J, & Jere W (2007). Effect of clear plastic pond sheeting on water temperatures and growth of Tilapia rendalli in earthen pondsAquaculture Research 38: 1113-1116.



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