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)

Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image Menu Image
ResearchersResearchers StudentsStudents AdjunctsAdjuncts AlumniAlumni ManagementManagement
Jon C. Day

Jon C. Day

PSM, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow

Previously one of the Directors at GBRMPA (1998-2014)

PhD (2021); B Nat Res (Hons) (1975)

James Cook University

+61 (0) 419 404 167

Jon was an Australian protected area planner and manager for 39 years; 28 years were in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park until his retirement in 2014.

Prior to joining GBRMPA, Jon spent eleven years in terrestrial parks including Kakadu NP and Grampians NP (Victoria). In 1986, he moved into the marine/coastal realm, working in a variety of roles for the Queensland and federal governments, planning and managing the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem and its associated islands. This included GBRMPA Park Management/Planning Officer (1986-90) and seven years with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (1990-97) coordinating field management, of which four years were as QPWS Regional Manager.

In 1998 Jon was appointed as a GBRMPA Director; for the following 16 years he was variously responsible for GBR-wide matters including biodiversity conservation, park planning, World Heritage and other heritage matters, and commencing the first 5-yearly GBR Outlook Report. Jon’s career highlight was his leadership role in the Representative Areas Program (RAP), the major rezoning program for the entire GBR that occurred between 1999-2003. RAP is today widely considered ‘best practice’, receiving numerous national/international awards. For his efforts, Jon was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal (PSM) and a Smithsonian-Queensland Fellowship.

Jon’s World Heritage (WH) experience included attending eleven WH Committee meetings as an Australian government official (1998-2013) and he was appointed as one of three experts comprising Australia’s formal delegation during Australia’s four-year term on the WH Committee (2008-11).

Jon has 100+ peer-reviewed publications and is an author of 21 book chapters or books (e.g. two IUCN Best-Practice Guidelines including ‘Guidelines for applying the IUCN Protected Area Management Categories to Marine Protected Areas’ and ‘Large Scale MPAs – Guidelines for Design & Management’) [CV below has more complete list of publications].

Jon retired from GBRMPA in 2014 and commenced a part-time, post-career PhD at JCU. His thesis titled Ensuring effective and transformative policy reform: lessons from rezoning Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, 1999-2004was submitted in December 2020 and was conferred in 2021.

Research Gate profile

Google Scholar profile

Articles in The Conversation

Full Curriculum Vitae

Two Page CV

Peer-reviewed publications in 2015-2021 (see CV for full list)

1. Hughes TP, Brodie J and Day JC (2015), Securing the Future of the Great Barrier Reef. Nature Climate Change. On-line April 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2604

2. Day, JC, Laffoley, D. and Zischka, K. (2015) Marine Protected Area Management. Chapter 20 in Protected Area Governance and Management (Eds) Worboys, Lockwood, Kothari, Feary, and Pulsford (2015), pp. 609-650. Australian National University Press, Canberra.

3. Grech A, Pressey RL and Day JC (2015) Coal, Cumulative Impacts, and the Great Barrier Reef. Conservation Letters, 9(3):200-207

4. Day, JC (2015). Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) – one of the fundamental tools to help achieve effective marine conservation in the Great Barrier Reef. Chapter 6 in Marine Spatial Planning and International law: A Transboundary Perspective, Hassan, Kuokkanen and Soininen (Eds). Earthscan, Routledge

5. Hughes TP, Cameron DS, Chin A, Connolly SR, Day JC, Jones GP, et al. (2016) A critique of claims for negative impacts of Marine Protected Areas on fisheries. Ecological Applications, 26(2): 637–641.

6. Day, JC (2016) The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park – the grandfather of modern MPAs. Chapter 5 (pp. 65-97) in Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia’s Marine Protected Areas, (Eds) Fitzsimmons and Wescott. CSIRO Publishing. ISBN: 9781486301942

7. Agardy T, Claudet J and Day JC (2016) ‘Dangerous Targets’ revisited: Old dangers in new contexts plague marine protected areas. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems (Suppl. 2): 7-23 (2016)

8. N Dudley, JC Day, D Laffoley, M Hockings and S Stolton (2016)  Defining marine protected areas: A response to Horta e Costa et al. Marine Policy 77: 191192. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2016.11.024

9. R Nicoll and JC Day (2017). Correct application of the IUCN protected area management categories to the CCAMLR Convention AreaMarine Policy 77: 9–12

10. Bennett, Teh, Ota, Christie, Ayers, Day JC, Franks, Gill, et al  (2017). An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation. Marine Policy 81: 411–418

11. Heron, SF, CM Eakin, F Douvere, K Anderson, JC Day, E Geiger, et al (2017). Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Coral Reefs: A first scientific assessment. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris.

12. Day JC (2017) How effective is the management of the Great Barrier Reef? ICES Journal of Marine Science (2017). doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsx095

13. Christie P, Bennet NJ, Gray N, Wilhelm A, Lewis, N, Parks J, Ban NC, Gruby, R, Gordon L, Day JC, Taei S, and Friedlander A. (2017).  Why people matter in ocean governance: Incorporating human dimensions into large-scale marine protected areas.  Marine Policy 84: 273-284.  doi: 10.1016/j.marpol.2017.08.002

14.  Day JC (2017).  Effective Public Participation is Fundamental for Marine Conservation – Lessons from a Large-scale MPACoastal Management 45(6):470-486 + Supplementary 

15. Gray NJ, Bennett NJ, Day JC, Gruby RL, Wilhelm TA and Christie P (2017). Human Dimensions of Large-scale Marine Protected Areas: Advancing Reserach and PracticeCoastal Management 45(6):407-415 

16.  Day JC and CSIRO friends (2017).  Dr Max Day AO FAA – a champion for science, the environment and forestry: an obituary. Australian Forestry, 2017.  doi.org/10.1080/00049158.2017.1395785

17.  Day JC (2017) ‘Perspective: When is fishing allowed in an MPA?’MPA News, May 2017, Vol. 18 (8).

18. Lewis, N, Day JC, Wilhelm, A, Wagner, D, Gaymer, C, Park, J, Friedlander, A, White, S, Sheppard, C, Spalding, M, et al. (2017).  Large-scale Marine Protected Areas: Guidelines for Design and Management. BPG No. 26.  148 pp. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland

19. Richards, Z and JC Day (2018) Biodiversity of the Great Barrier Reef – how adequately is it protected?  PeerJ  6:e4747; DOI 10.7717/peerj.4747.

20. Dudley, Hockings, Stolton, Amend, Badola, Bianco, Chetri, Cook, Day, Dearden, et al. (2018).  Priorities for protected area researchPARKS 24(1) DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.CH.2018.PARKS-24-1ND.en

21. Alvarez-Romero, Mills, Adams, Gurney, Pressey, ….. Day, et al (2018). Research advances and gaps in marine planning: towards a global database in systematic conservation planning.  Biological Conservation.

22. Heron, Van Hooidonk, Maynard,  Anderson, Day, Geiger, et al (2018). Impacts of Climate Change on World Heritage Coral Reefs: Update to the First Global Scientific Assessment. On-line report. UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Paris.

23. Pratchett, Bridge, Brodie, Cameron, Day, Emslie, Grech, et al. (2018). Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Chapter 15 in book Sheppard, C (Ed). ‘World Seas and Environmental Evaluation’ 2nd Edition. Volume II: The Indian Ocean to the Pacific, Academic Press.

24. Laffoley, Baxter, Day, Wenzel, et al (2018). Marine Protected AreasChapter 29 in book Sheppard, C (Ed). ‘World Seas and Environmental Evaluation’ 2nd Edition. Volume III: Ecological Issues and Environmental Impacts, Academic Press.

25.  Johnson, Welch,  Marshall,  Day,  Marshall,  Steinberg,  Benthuysen, et al. (2018) Characterising  the  values  and  connectivity  of  the northeast Australia seascape: Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, Coral Sea and Great Sandy Strait. Report to the National Environmental Science Program. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Ltd, Cairns (81pp).   [accessed Feb 20th 2019].

26. Saunders, F., Gilek, M., Day, J., Hassler, B., McCann, J., & Smythe, T. (2019). Examining the role of integration in marine spatial planning: Towards an analytical framework to understand challenges in diverse settings. Ocean and Coastal Management, 169.

27. Day JC (2019). Planning and managing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Chapter 14 in The Great Barrier Reef – Biology, Environment and Management (2nd edition), Hutchings, Kingsford and Hoegh-Gulberg (Eds.), CSIRO and Springer

28. Brodie, Wenger, Morrison, Pressey, Day, Dale & Grech (2019). The future of the Great Barrier Reef: The water quality imperative. Chapter in book: Coasts and Estuaries. The future.  Elsevier.

29. Bellwood, D.R., Pratchett, M.S., Morrison, T.H., Gurney, G.G., Hughes, T.P., Álvarez-Romero, J.G., Day, J.C., Grantham, R., Grech, A., Hoey, A.S. and Jones, G.P. (2019). Coral reef conservation in the Anthropocene: Confronting spatial mismatches and prioritizing functions. Biological Conservation.

30. Day JC, Heron SF, Markham A, Downes J, Gibson J, Hyslop E, Jones R and Lyall A (2019).  Climate Risk Assessment for Heart of Neolithic Orkney Word Heritage property: An application of the Climate Vulnerability Index. Historic Environment Scotland, Edinburgh.

31. Day JC, Kenchington RA, Tanzer JM, Cameron DS. (2019). Marine zoning revisited: How decades of zoning the Great Barrier Reef has evolved as an effective spatial planning approach for marine ecosystem based management. Aquatic Conserv: Mar Freshw Ecosyst. 29 (S2):9-32.

32. Tarte, D and Day, JC (2019). Review of World Heritage Assessments in the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019. Report prepared for the Australian Marine Conservation Society.

33. Day JC, Heron SF, Markham A (2020). Assessing the climate vulnerability of the world’s natural and cultural heritage. Parks Stewardship Forum 36(1). Available at: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/92v9v778

34. Vince, J. & Day JC. (2020). Effective integration and integrative capacity in marine spatial planning. Maritime Studies 19, 317–332 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40152-020-00167-1

35. Heron SF, Day JC, Cowell C, Scott PR, Walker D, Shaw J (2020). Application of the Climate Vulnerability Index for Shark Bay, Western Australia. Western Australian Marine Science Institution, Perth, Western Australia, 77pp.

36. Heron S.F., Day J.C., Zijlstra R., Engels B., Weber A., Marencic H and Busch J.A. (2020). Workshop report: Climate Risk Assessment for Wadden Sea World Heritage property. Application of the Climate Vulnerability Index – Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) Vulnerability. 68 pages. Common Wadden Sea Secretariat, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

37. Creighton, C., Waterhouse, J., Day, JC., & Brodie, J. (2021). Criteria for effective regional scale catchment to reef management: A case study of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  Marine Pollution Bulletin 112882.

38. Grorud-Colvert, K., Sullivan-Stack, J., Roberts, C., Constant, V., Horta e Costa, B., Pike, E.P., Kingston,  N., Laffoley, D., Sala, E., Claudet, J., Friedlander, A.M., Gill, D.A., Lester, S.E., Day, JC., … & Lubchenco, J. (2021). The MPA Guide: A framework to achieve global goals for the ocean. Science, 373(6560). https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/science.abf0861


Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

Partner Partner Partner Partner
Coral Reef Studies