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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Shannon McMahon

Shannon McMahon

PhD candidate

Shannon attained a Bachelor of Communications from the University of Western Sydney (2009) before coming to James Cook University and attaining a Bachelor of Science – Marine Biology (2015) and First Class Honours (2016). He commenced his PhD with the COE in mid-2017.

James Cook University

Hailing from the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, Shannon grew up fascinated with the Ocean and each trip to the beach was spent exploring rock pools, digging through the intertidal zones, and surfing. However, it wasn’t until after completing a bachelors in communication and travelling abroad that Shannon realized he wanted to do something that would involve the understanding and protection of our oceans. This led to Shannon’s relocation to Townsville where he undertook a BSc in Science at James Cook University. Through this undergrad he became drawn to the research of our oceans, particularly the future challenges they may face, which ultimately lead him to undertake Honours with Prof. Philip Munday & Dr Jennifer Donelson, where he investigated the effects of climate change on coral reef fish. After Honours he was determined to pursue a PhD focusing on the effects of climate change on reef mesopredators and started this journey in 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Donelson & Prof. Philip Munday.


Australian Research Council Pandora

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Coral Reef Studies