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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Jessica Zamborain Mason

Jessica Zamborain Mason

PhD candidate

James Cook University

Since she was a child, growing up in the snowy mountains of the Spanish Pyrenees, Jessica has been fascinated by the immensity of the oceans and the creatures within them.  This fascination grew with time; making Jessica complete a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Science (Oceanography) at the University of Vigo (Spain), and undertake internships at the University of Baja California (Mexico) and at the Algarve University (Portugal). Throughout these learning adventures in different parts of the world, one thing was clear to her: the degrading state of the world´s oceans and the dependence of human societies on them. Her research interest shifted from dolphins and whales to seafood and people.  She noticed the importance of accounting for humans as central elements in ecosystems and decided she wanted her career to focus on contributing towards the ecologic, social and economic sustainability of the world’s fisheries. For her Honours, Jessica studied the impact of human development on marsh and seagrass ecosystems from the North Atlantic Spanish coast. Then, she completed a Master’s degree in Fisheries Biology and Management at James Cook University (Australia) where she used mathematical models and network theory to increase our knowledge on how marine reserve networks should be designed to promote the persistence of metapopulations. Currently, Jessica is at James Cook University and the ARC Centre of Excellence of Coral Reef Studies completing her PhD under the supervision of Professors Sean Connolly, Joshua Cinner and Aaron MacNeil. During this project, she aims to further our understanding on the current functional state of the world´s coral reef ecosystems, how this state is influenced by environmental and socio-economic factors, and provide tangible management recommendations that allow to achieve sustainable targets. Jessica hopes this allows her to move a step forwards towards her goal in life: protect the oceans and the valuable goods and services they provide to human societies.


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Coral Reef Studies