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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Rebecca Lawton

Rebecca Lawton

PhD Graduate

James Cook University

Originally from New Zealand, Rebecca completed her BSc Honours in Zoology and Ecology at the University of Otago in 2005. Following several years working at the New Zealand Ministry of Fisheries, she moved to Townsville and completed her PhD at JCU 2011 under the supervision of Morgan Pratchett and Line Bay. Her research examined geographic variation in the ecology of coral-feeding butterflyfishes and considered the influence of dietary specialisation on their resilience to large scale disturbances. In 2012, Rebecca began a research fellowship in the Macroalgal Biofuels and Bioproducts team at JCU. Her current research aims to identify environmental tolerances of high productivity species and strains of macroalgae, and optimise biomass productivities through control of environment and inputs.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies