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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Mélanie A. Hamel

Mélanie A. Hamel

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Adjunct Research Fellow

PhD (Conservation Planning), 2015; MSc (Ecology, Biodiversity, Evolution), 2007

Program 1: People and ecosystems; Subprogram: The Conservation Planning Group

Perth, Western Australia

Research interests

I research how we can integrate (spatial) socioeconomic and biodiversity approaches to improve coral reef conservation planning in regions with high resource dependence.

Current affiliations

French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
USR 3278 CNRS-EPHE Centre for Island Research and Environmental Observatory (CRIOBE)
98729 Mo’orea, French Polynesia

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Adjunct Research Fellow
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia

Social media

Academia | Google Scholar | LinkedIn | ResearchGate | Twitter | Viadeo

Bio (full)

Mel grew up in a small fishing town situated between limestone cliffs in upper Normandy in France. Her passion for understanding how Nature works started from a young age: she remembers collecting insect larvae and tadpoles from the local pond with her parents to observe metamorphosis in their home aquarium, before releasing them back where they belong… During her undergraduate studies on life sciences, she volunteered in several research projects on wildlife ecology and conservation to gain experience. Projects included modelling nesting seasons of endemic freshwater turtles and assessing the impact of invasive freshwater turtles on pond biodiversity in experimental ponds, both in France, and understanding inter-nesting behaviour of marine turtles in northern Australia.

After she graduated with her MSc (Ecology) from Paris 11 University, she moved back to Australia, where she was asked to consult on a population viability analysis of birds threatened by forestry in the Tiwi Islands. Determined to visit as many Pacific countries as she could, she then moved to New Zealand to work as a field technician on estuary biodiversity monitoring projects. She hopped to the next island, New Caledonia, and worked for over 2 years as a research assistant in GIS for the French Research Institute for Development (IRD), where she learnt about coral reef social-ecological systems and the field of conservation planning. While in New Caledonia, she also started volunteering and working for local NGO Opération Cétacés which focuses on providing research, training and education on marine mammals and continues to collaborate today. She moved back to Australia to formalise her newly acquired skills with a PhD (Conservation Planning & Coral Reef Studies) at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which she completed in 2015. Her thesis investigated how we can integrate lessons from socioeconomic and biodiversity approaches for coral-reef conservation planning in regions with high resource dependence. After her PhD she used her quantitative skills to assist research on social drivers of success in co-management of coral reef resources while working as a communications manager for the Centre.

Mélanie is currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the CRIOBE at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) (in collaboration with the Centre) on conservation planning research, with a focus on tropical social-ecological systems. She also consults independently on various scientific and educational projects, and teaches conservation planning and GIS at James Cook University.


Conference presentations and symposia


Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

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Coral Reef Studies