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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Lucy Holmes McHugh

Lucy Holmes McHugh

PhD candidate

Lucy has a Bachelor of Economics and Social Sciences with majors in Government and International Relations and Political Economy (Sydney University), a Masters in Politics and Public Policy (Macquarie University) and a Masters of Development Practice (JCU).

James Cook University

Lucy Holmes McHugh is a political scientist, specialising in public policy for sustainability, governance, and climate change. Her PhD research seeks to understand how social systems navigate climate risk and crisis across scales, with a focus on UNESCO’s World Heritage system and the Great Barrier Reef. She previously worked at the Centre for International Forestry Research in Bogor, Indonesia in science communications. She has a Master’s in Development Practice (University of Sydney) and a Master’s in Public Policy (Macquarie University). She is currently residing in the USA at the University of Michigan on a Fulbright scholarship.

New papers:

McHugh, L.H., Lemos, M.C. and Morrison, T.H., 2021, ‘Risk? Crisis? Emergency? Implications of the new climate emergency framing for governance and policy’, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, p.e736. doi.org/10.1002/wcc.736


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies