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 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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Kynan Hartog-Burnett

Kynan Hartog-Burnett

PhD candidate

BSc. Adv. with Honours, James Cook University (2015)

James Cook University

+61 425 752 940

Growing up in Victoria, Australia, Kynan’s favorite memories are trips along the Australia’s eastern seaboard and weekends spent on the beaches near the family home in Lakes Entrance. Escaping the cold southern climate he moved north after finishing high school and completed a Bachelor of Science – Advanced majoring in Marine Biology at JCU in 2014, before joining the Reef and Ocean Ecology laboratory and completing a first class Honours in 2015. He worked on the spatial differentiation of Spratelloides delicatulus on the Great Barrier Reef with the project including a 3 month lab exchange to Carl von Össietzky Universität in Oldenburg, Germany. In his time off Kynan disappears into the wilderness, plays squash, travels, reads and works as a PADI Divemaster.

Project title: Population ecology of tropical baitfish species in the Indo-Pacific

My PhD project is on the spatial and genetic ecology of small baitfishes (Spratelloides species) on the Great Barrier Reef. These tropical clupeids form an essential link within coral reef food webs between the plankton and a range of meso-predators, while also being exploited by humans as both bait and increasingly a food source. The broad objective of this study will be to examine the spatial scales of tropical baitfishes and investigate the ecology of these populations across the Indo-Pacific. To do this four primary aims will be addressed: 1 – Confirmation of taxonomy and broad scale differentiation of stock units across the Indo-Pacific, 2 – Investigate the effects of geomorphology and oceanographic processes on the fine scale genetic differentiation of baitfish populations on the Great Barrier Reef, 3 – Analyse the development and methods of reproduction among tropical baitfish, 4 – Examine the ecology and demography factors influencing patterns of abundance and distribution. My proposed research program on baitfish, therefore, will contribute to our knowledge of their basic biology, while also determining the role of reefs in maintaining genetic diversity. Understanding how these species are distributed has broad implications for the management of fisheries around coral reefs and their development as a resource.



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