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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Mike Fabinyi

Mike Fabinyi

Former Research Fellow

PhD, Australian National University

James Cook University

Research Interests

My research broadly focuses on the social and political aspects of marine resource use and management. Using theory and methods from environmental anthropology and political ecology, a key aspect of my research is the use of ethnographic research techniques. I am currently involved in two major projects.

The first project focuses on marine resource trading and livelihoods in the Asia-Pacific. This project seeks to understand how trade in marine resources is linked with the broader livelihood goals of fishing households, and the ways in which such trade is having both positive and negative effects on sustainable livelihoods. A particular focus has been the live reef fish for food trade, which is one of the most significant fisheries in the Asia-Pacific region. My research on this theme is ongoing in the Philippines and Malaysia, and involves close collaboration with the Center for Strategic Policy and Governance at Palawan State University, Philippines.

My second project investigates the trends, drivers and effects of seafood consumption in China. Increased levels of seafood consumption in China have major implications for the livelihoods and environments of source countries outside of China. The project aims to provide an anthropological perspective on this phenomenon in order to understand and analyse the social drivers that shape seafood consumer perspectives and behaviour, forms of seafood trade, and the policy landscape relating to Chinese sefaood consumption. I am conducting research on this project under a Society in Science Branco Weiss fellowship, and from early 2013 I will be based in Beijing for this project.

If you cannot access the links to the publications below please email me for a copy.

Selected Publications


Journal Articles



Australian Research Council Pandora

Partner Research Institutions

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Coral Reef Studies