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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Tory Chase

Tory Chase

PhD Graduate

ARC CoE for Coral Reefs alumnus, currently a postdoc at Villanova University

PhD - James Cook University (2019); MSc - James Cook University (2013); BS Biology - Elon University (2010); BA Science Education - Elon University (2010)

James Cook University

Tory Chase

PhD Graduate

Coral Ecophysiology Lab
Marine Biology and Aquaculture, College of Science and Engineering &
ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University
Townsville, QLD 4811
Office: Townsville Campus, DB17-220
C: +61 (0) 488 424 542
E: tory.chase@my.jcu.edu.au

Tory grew up in New England, USA, skiing on snowy mountains and sailing on the waters of Cape Cod. He completed an undergraduate degree at Elon University with a BSc in Biology and a BA in Science Education along with a minor in Leadership studies. After interning at zoos, aquariums, and museums, Tory channelled his inner “Bill Nye”, put on a bow tie and taught high school science focusing on general biology and earth science. After teaching, he felt it was time to leap out of the classroom and pursue scientific adventures along the GBR. Tory completed his MSc at JCU in 2012 investigating the impact of small schooling damselfishes on coral growth. After a year as a research assistant with a TropWATER estuary and coastal wetland ecology lab, Tory is back again at JCU pursuing a PhD under the supervision of Dr. Mia Hoogenboom and Prof. Morgan Pratchett. His project examines the effects of coral-associated fish on coral population dynamics.

Project title:

Effects of damselfishes’ abundances and diversity on host coral dynamics

Project Description:IMG_1686

Interspecies interactions, especially symbiotic relationships, are at the heart of ecosystem functioning, stability, and diversity on coral reefs. The effects of coral-associated fish on their host coral colony are dynamic in terms of the fish-derived benefits that promote coral growth. The ecosystem function of this aggregating fish and coral mutualism may be widespread and have a significant impact on coral demographic rates and health. Considering that coral populations occur across a broad range of environmental conditions (e.g. latitude, light, reef position), and interact with a variety of fish species, knowledge of how these factors operate in synergy is essential in understanding how corals are impacted by aggregating fish interactions.

This project will investigate the effects of coral-fish symbioses on coral populations. Specifically, my proposed research will determine where the symbiosis is established and the variations, how it interacts with environmental factors (nutrients, sediments, and temperature), and if this symbiosis has an impact at the coral population level. This will be accomplished through surveys, controlled laboratory experiments, and observational and manipulative field experiments.

This research highlights the importance of investigating the ecological relationships in their entirety, rather than their isolated parts. This project will contribute to the broader field of knowledge of symbiosis: a field in which the conceptualization of ‘symbiosis’ is changing as we learn more about the intricacies of inter-specific interactions, and the manner in which such interactions adapt and transform depending upon the partners involved and the physical conditions of the environment. It is anticipated this research will be applicable to theoretical frameworks regarding inter-species interaction function.


Principle Supervisor: Dr. Mia Hoogenboom

Co-supervisor: Prof Morgan Pratchett

Personal Profiles:

ResearchGate | Google ScholarTwitter | LinkedIn

Selected Publications: 

Chase TJ & Hoogenboom MO (2019) Differential occupation of available coral hosts by coral-dwelling damselfish (Pomacentridae) on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Diversity 11:219 doi:10.3390/d11110219

Hughes TP, Kerry JT, Baird AH, Connolly SR, Chase TJ, Dietzel A, Hill T, Hoey AS, Hoogenboom MO, Kerswell A, Madin JS, Meog A, Paley A, Pratchett MS, Torta G, Woods RM (2019) Global warming impairs stock-recruitment dynamics of corals. Nature doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1081-y

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Frank GE, Hoogenboom MO (2018) Coral-dwelling fish moderate bleaching susceptibility of coral hosts. PLOS ONE 13:e0208545 doi:10.1371/journal/pone.0208545

McWilliam M, Chase TJ, Hoogenboom MO (2018) Neighbor diversity regulates the productivity of coral assemblages. Current Biology 28:3634-3639

Chase TJ*, Nowicki JP*, Coker DJ (2018) Diurnal foraging of a wild coral-reef fish Parapercies australis in relation to late-summer temperatures. Journal of Fish Biology 93(1):153-158 doi:10.1111/jfb.12644

Dornelas M, Antao LH, Moyes F, Bates AE, Magurran, and BioTime consortium (including TJ Chase) (2018) BioTime: A database of biodiversity time series for the Anthropocene. Global Ecology and Biography 7:760-786

Hoogenboom MO, Frank GE, Chase TJ, Jurriaans S, Álvarez-Noriega M, Peterson K, Critchell K, Berry KLE, Nicolet KJ, Paley SA (2017) Environmental drivers of among-species variation in bleaching severity of Acropora corals during an extreme thermal anomaly. Frontiers in Marine Science 4(375) doi:10.3389/fmars.201./0037

Hoogenboom MO, Frank GE, Blowes SA, Chase TJ, Zawada KJA, Dornelas M (2015) Disparity between projected geographic ranges of rare species: a case study of Echinomorpha nishihirai (Scleractinia) Marine Biodiversity Records 8:e147

Spady BL, Watson SA, Chase TJ, Munday PL (2014) Projected near-future CO2 levels increase activity and alter defensive behaviors in a tropical squid Idiosepius pygmaeus. Biology Open, 3(11) 1063-1070 doi:10.1232/bio.20149894

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Walker SPW, Hoogenboom MO (2014) Local environmental conditions determine whether fish symbionts enhance or suppress coral growth. Oecologia 176(4): 1009-1022 doi:10.1007/s00442-014-3065-9

Conference Presentations: 

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Hoogenboom MO (2018) Spatial prevalence of coral-fish interactions and the benefits of aggregative fish for coral populations Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA) 2018 ‘Canyons to Coast’ Conference, Adelaide, July 1-5, 2018

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Hoogenboom MO (2018) Species-specific behaviors dictate intensity of fish-coral interactions (POSTER) Australian Marine Science Association (AMSA) 2018 ‘Canyons to Coast’ Conference, Adelaide, July 1-5, 2018 (*Diversity Journal Award for Coral Reef Research)

Chase TJ (2016) Effects of fish abundance and diversity on host coral dynamics. PhD Confirmation Seminar, James Cook University and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, July 22nd, 2016

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Frank GE, Hoogenboom MO (2016) Fish living within coral branches can influence coral bleaching susceptibility (POSTER). 2016 JCU PG “Biology in the Tropics’ Conference“, Townsville, QLD, Australia, September 28-29, 2016 (*2nd Place Poster Presentation Award)

Chase TJ, Pratchett MS, Hoogenboom MO (2016) Can fish help corals during bleaching events? 13th International Coral Reef Symposium, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, June 19-24, 2016

Chase T, Pratchett M, Walker S, Hoogenboom M (2013) Local environmental conditions determine whether fish symbionts enhance or suppress coral growth. James Cook University “Biology in the Tropics” Postgraduate Conference, 3-4 July 2013

Chase T, Sheaves M (2014) Current status of research in the Hinchinbrook Estuarine Wetland Research Area (HEWRA), with future research perspectives (HWA Occasional Paper 2014/01) Estuary and Coastal Wetland Research Seminar Series, 16 April 2014. Available at: http://www.hinchinbrookresearch.com

Selected Awards and Grants:

Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship (PhD) 2015 IMG_0384

JCU HDRE Conference Support Grant 2018

JCU HDRE Doctoral Project Grant 2017

JCU PG ‘Biology in the Tropics’ 2016 Conference, Photo Award: Study Species (People’s Choice) “Bleached and Blue”

Australian Coral Reef Society Travel Award for Hawaii ICRS 2016 Conference

1st Prize Winner for Incoming ‘Fully Focused’ 2015 Endeavour Photo Competition: Title – Coral reef science exposed

Lizard Island Research Station Internship 2015 (May-September 2015)

Golden Key Asia-Pacific Postgraduate Study Award 2014

3rd Place for 2013 JCU Postgraduate Photo Competition: Title – Collecting damselfish at OTI

Selected Media:

ARC CoE Coral Reefs Blog, Day in the life of a tropical island Intern, by Tory Chase and Catherine Naum, 2018

Research Article Interview, Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation researcher profile – Measuring fish-coral interactions by Chris Carbonaro, LIRRF 2016

Research Article, BioDetectives article – Bleaching on the GBR by Tory Chase, BioDetectives, 2016

Newsletter article and selected photos, ACRS 2016 Newsletter (No.45) by ACRS and Tory Chase, Australian Coral Reef Society, 2016

Research Article Interview, Lizard Island Reef Research Foundation researcher profile – Damselfish promote coral health by Megan Deveson, LIRRF, 2015



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