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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Ke Zhang

Ke Zhang

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Research fellow, Program 5: Social-ecological resilience, ARC CoE Coral Reef Studies
Postdoc research fellow, School of Geography and Environment, University of Southampton (UK) (2011-2013).

PhD, Lanzhou Univeristy (China) (2010).

PhD, Lanzhou Univeristy (China)

James Cook University

I am originally from China, where I completed his Ph.D degree in physical Geography in 2010, with special focus on paleoecology and paleoclimatology. I moved to UK to take up a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Southampton from 2011-2013, where I investigated the nonlinear interactions between ecosystem services and human wellbeing from an evolutionary (historical) perspective. I joined the CoE as a research fellow in late 2013. My work here will continue to focus on the dynamics of linked social-ecological systems. I will test and develop resilience theories and apply them to rapidly developing countries (mainly China) to understand the nonlinear interactions between ecosystem and society, such as regime shift, transient dynamic, and reinforce feedback and connectivity issues.


My research focus on long term dynamic changes of coupled social-ecological system within resilience lens. I employ multiple research approaches, including conceptual framework, statistical, empirical approach and modelling methods. By Taking an evolutionary perspective, I combine paleoenvironemtal records, historical document, archeological records as well as monitor record, to understand how social and ecological system interact and co-evolved from the past to present at different scales, especially examine their dynamics system behaviors of the coupled SES system, such as trends, rate of change, connectivity, threshold and regime shift, transient dynamics and feedback mechanisms etc. The overall aim of my research is learning from the past to generate new knowledge to inform environment management and restoration.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies