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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Mary Bonin

Mary Bonin

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

James Cook University



Research Interests:

My research is motivated by innate curiosity in the natural world and also a keen interest in answering questions that can inform conservation and management efforts. In 2012, I joined the CoE as a postdoc investigating connectivity of coral trout and anemonefish populations among fished and protected areas on the Great Barrier Reef. In 2014, I took on a new project examining effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on the recruitment and fitness of coral reef fishes. I am also involved in a number of collaborative projects in Australia and Papua New Guinea that monitor fish and benthic coral communities in marine reserves.

In addition to research, I also really enjoy teaching and mentoring postgraduate students. I have supervised 1 Honours student and 3 Masters students to completion, and I am currently on the supervisory panel for 2 PhD students. I am also involved in teaching subjects on sampling design, statistics and marine conservation biology at JCU.

Selected Publications

Bonin MC, Harrison HB, Williamson DH, Frisch AJ, Saenz-Agudelo P, Berumen ML, Jones GP (2016) The role of marine reserves in the replenishment of a locally-impacted population of anemonefish on the Great Barrier Reef. Molecular Ecology 25:478-499. View online

Wen CKC, Bonin MC, Harrison HB, Williamson DH, Jones GP (2016) Dietary shift in juvenile coral trout (Plectropomus maculatus) following coral reef degradation from a flood plume disturbance. Coral Reefs 35:451-455. View online

Bonin MC, Boström-Einarsson L, Munday PL, Jones GP (2015) The prevalence and importance of competition among coral reef fishes. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 46:169-190. View online

Bonin MC, Saenz-Agudelo P, Harrison HB, Nanninga GB, van der Meer MH, Mansour H, Perumal S, Jones GP, Berumen ML (2015) Characterization and cross-amplification of microsatellite markers in four species of anemonefish (Pomacentridae, Amphiprion spp.). Marine Biodiversity 46:135-140. View online

Boström-Einarsson L, Bonin MC, Munday PL, Jones GP (2014) Habitat degradation modifies the strength of interspecific competition in coral dwelling damselfishes. Ecology 95(11):3056-3067. View online

Boström-Einarsson L, Bonin MC, Munday PL, Jones GP (2013) Strong intraspecific competition and habitat selectivity influence abundance of a coral-dwelling damselfish. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 448:85-92. View online

Bonin MC (2012) Specializing on vulnerable habitat: Acropora selectivity among damselfish recruits and the risk of bleaching-induced habitat loss. Coral Reefs 31:287-297  View online

Bonin MC, Almany GR, Jones GP (2011) Contrasting effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on coral-associated reef fishes. Ecology 92(7):1503-1512  View online

Bonin MC, Munday PL, McCormick MI, Srinivasan M, Jones GP (2009) Coral-dwelling fishes resistant to bleaching but not to mortality of host corals. Marine Ecology Progress Series 394:215-222 View online

Bonin MC, Srinivasan M, Almany GR, Jones GP (2009) Interactive effects of competition and microhabitat on early post-settlement survival in a coral reef fish. Coral Reefs 28:265-274  View online


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