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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Saskia Jurriaans

Saskia Jurriaans


James Cook University

+61 4 7543 1950

PhD Candidate

Coral Ecophysiology Lab
James Cook University, College of Marine and Environmental Sciences &
ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD 4811
Building 145-317
Phone: +61 (0) 475 431 950
E-mail: saskia.jurriaans@my.jcu.edu.au

Saskia grew up in The Netherlands, far away from any coral reef. However, that did not stop her from being in the water whenever she could. Her curiosity for the natural world led her to a bachelor in Biology at Utrecht University, followed by a master in Marine Resources Management at Wageningen University. Meanwhile she dove in the Dutch waters, the Mediterranean and a lot of tropical oceans, after which she was hooked on coral reefs. Being confronted with the fast degradation of coral reefs due to climate change and other human caused stressors, Saskia decided that she wanted to pursue a PhD in coral reef research. She first went to the Centre Scientifique in Monaco to gain more skills and knowledge about coral physiology and then moved to Townsville. Saskia joined the Hoogenboom Coral Ecophysiology lab as a PhD candidate in 2014. Her research focusses on the variation in the thermal performance of corals across spatial and temporal scales and between corals that have different distribution ranges. Also, it always comes in handy that she speaks four languages: Dutch, English, French and Dolphin.

Project title:

The effect of spatial and temporal fluctuations in temperature on the thermal performance of scleractinian corals

Project Description:

Temperature affects the performance of crucial life-sustaining processes, such as growth. The optimal temperature for performance and the temperature range at which this performance is positive varies between species and geographic location. Increasing temperatures associated with climate change might negatively influence a species’ performance if it cannot adjust to the warmer environment. This may lead to local extinction and alter population dynamics. Corals in particular are vulnerable to increasing temperatures. To improve our understanding of coral population dynamics in a changing climate, this project will assess how within- and among-species variation in thermal performance affects key demographic rates of corals.


Principle Supervisor: Dr. Mia Hoogenboom

Co-supervisor: Prof. Sean Connolly

Publication List: 

Wijgerde, T., S.  Jurriaans, M. Hoofd, J.A.J. Verreth, R. Osinga (2012). Oxygen and Heterotrophy Affect Calcification of the Scleractinian Coral Galaxea fascicularis. PLoS ONE, Vol. 7, Issue 12, e52702.

Awards and Grants:

James Cook International Postgraduate Award (PhD scholarship) 2014

Australian Coral Reef Society Travel Award to attend ACRS Conference 2014


Australian Research Council Pandora

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