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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Joshua Bonesso

Joshua Bonesso

PhD Candidate

• BSc. (Wildlife & Conservation Biology) - Latrobe University • BSc. (Hons) - James Cook University

Reef Ecology & Island Futures Lab (REIFLab)

University of Western Australia

+61 0414 740 081

Josh developed a deep passion for coral reefs from a very young age, having spent many vacations exploring the islands of the South Pacific. Having undertook an undergraduate degree at Latrobe University, Melbourne, in Conservation Biology and Ecology, Josh gained valuable real-world experience across terrestrial and marine systems. Following a third year field course to Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef, Josh was hooked, and relocated to Townsville to complete an Honours degree in coral biology at James Cook University in 2014. His research was aimed at underpinning the molecular mechanisms involved in the regeneration and recovery of injured scleractinian (branching) corals under increase sea surface temperature and storm frequency in the Capricornia Cays, Great Barrier Reef.

Following his Honours degree, Josh was appointed Senior Technician – (Earth Sciences) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Brisbane, from 2015 – 2019. Throughout his 5 year employment, Josh was instrumental in providing technical, research and teaching support in the School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences. From here, Josh embarked on his PhD journey in WA, beginning July of 2019.

Josh’s PhD is investigating the resilience and stability of carbonate reef-islands under changing metocean states in the Pilbara Archipelago, Western Australia. His research will involve multidisciplinary techniques/methods include/spanning (1) carbonate sedimentology, (2) coral reef ecology (3) reef paleoecology, (3) remote sensing (LiDAR) and (3) radiometric dating (14C and U/Th). His ultimate goal is to provide a novel and transdisciplinary approach for investigating historical island development, contemporary landform stability, and future island resilience under global environmental change, with an application to tropical reef-island systems worldwide. His supervisory team includes Dr Mick O’Leary (UWA), Dr Nicola Browne (Curtin), Dr Michael Cuttler (UWA) and Prof Ryan Lowe (UWA).

Selected Publications:

Bonesso JL, Leggat, W, Ainsworth, TD. (2017) Exposure to elevated sea-surface temperatures below the bleaching threshold impairs coral recovery and regeneration from injury.PeerJ 5: e3719



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