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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Ruth Thurstan

Ruth Thurstan

Former Research Fellow

University of Queensland

+61 (0)7 3365 2529

I grew up in the Peak District in the UK, many miles from the sea. I graduated from Liverpool University with a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology in 2004, and completed an MSc in Marine Environmental Management at York University in 2007. I continued at York to complete her PhD on shifting baselines and the impact of industrial fishing on the UK marine environment in June 2011. I have recently started my post doctoral fellowship at the University of Queensland and plans to investigate the history of exploitation of Australian fisheries and marine mega-fauna.

My research focuses upon changes to the marine environment during the last 150 years as a result of human drivers. Data sources used include archival information such as newspaper articles, government reports and catch data and oral histories to gather resource-users perceptions of changes to catch rates, locations fished and species abundance over time. My research is currently centred along the Queensland coast, with a particular emphasis upon commercially targeted species such as pink snapper (Pagrus auratus). I hope to improve resource-users and governments knowledge of long-term patterns over time, in order to reduce uncertainty for future management. I am a member of Prof John Pandolfi’s Lab.



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Coral Reef Studies