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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Rachel Spinks

Rachel Spinks

PhD candidate

James Cook University

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Rachel’s interest in the marine realm began in her youth, privately breeding rare fishes and working in the ornamental aquarium industry. She went on to complete a Bachelor of Marine Science at Macquarie University, whilst working as an environmental educator in Sydney, Australia. Rachel undertook a Master of Science in evolutionary biology at the University of Basel in Switzerland, where she studied the adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes in the African Great Lakes. After her research at Lake Tanganyika, she worked in South Africa as a scuba diver and then for an international NGO as a marine ecologist. Rachel came to James Cook University to embark on a PhD at the Centre of Excellence, studying the ability of reef fishes to adjust via phenotypic plasticity to ocean warming within and across generations.

Project title:

Phenotypic plasticity to ocean warming in coral reef fish:
the importance of sex and exposure timing within and between generations


Prof. Philip Munday and Dr. Jennifer Donnelson


Spinks, R.K., Bonzi, L.C., Ravasi, T., Munday, P.L. & Donelson, J.M. (2021). Sex- and time-specific parental effects of warming on reproduction and offspring quality in a coral reef fish. ,

Spinks, R.K., Munday, P.L. & Donelson, J.M. (2019). Developmental effects of heatwave conditions on the early life stages of a coral reef fish. ,

Spinks, R.K., Muschick, M., Salzburger, W. & Gante, H.F. (2017). Singing above the chorus: cooperative Princess cichlid fish (Neolamprologus pulcher) has high pitch. Hydrobiologia, 791, 115–125. DOI:10.1007/s10750-016-2921-5


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies