Australia is emerging as the world’s leading training ground for future guardians of its coral reefs.
The ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (CoECRS) – the world’s largest team of coral reef specialists – is cementing Australia’s position as a leader in coral reef studies across the globe thanks in part to the hard work of its students.
A student surveys the reef
Its students are working on critical issues such as climate change, fisheries and reef management.
Professor Mike Kingsford, a Chief Investigator in CoECRS and Head of James Cook University’s School of Marine Biology and Aquaculture, is one of the 18 research leaders who act as supervisors to the world’s future coral reef experts.
“Our postgraduate students are working under the supervision of researchers who are the best in their field,” says Kingsford. “The Centre relies on the magnetism of its scientists to attract the highest-achieving students,” he says.
Already the Centre has attracted 75 postgraduate students from 23 countries who are currently enrolled at The Australian National University (ANU), The University of Queensland (UQ) and James Cook University (JCU).
The Centre’s internationally recognised researchers aren’t all that attracts top students; the opportunity to work between institutions and continents is highly appealing to future scientists. The Centre provides strong collaborative links between more than 25 institutions across 9 countries allowing students to become part of an internationally diverse student body.
“We have students from Mexico, Switzerland, Japan, Canada and the list goes on,” says Malcolm McCulloch of ANU and deputy director of the Centre. “The focus of the students’ research ranges from the microscopic cellular level to the global level.”
With strong international links and access to reefs around the world the future breed of coral reef scientists are presenting global solutions to reef health emergencies. Much of the current students’ research is geared towards contentious issues such as the effects of global warming and climate change.
“Massive numbers of people live around and depend on the world’s coral reefs,” says Ove Hoegh-Guldberg of the University of Queensland and deputy director of the Centre ,”[coral reefs] are also well regarded as the canaries of global warming.”
Since coral reefs are a great resource to the world’s citizens and excellent indicators to climate change, the work of post graduate students in the Centre will no doubt be of great importance to many people across the globe.
Having access to the nation’s top minds and technologies also allows the students of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies to use novel techniques to develop future ‘blue prints’ for the study of coral reefs worldwide.
“The Centre is confident that it will be responsible for producing many of the future world leaders in coral reef studies”, says Kingsford.
Professor Michael Kingsford, Chief Investigator, CoECRS, +61 7 4781 4345
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Deputy Director, CoECRS, +61 7 3365 1156
Professor Malcolm McCulloch, Deputy Director, CoECRS, +61 2 612 59969
Professor Terry Hughes, Director, CoECRS, +61 7 4781 4000
Jenny Lappin, CoECRS, +61 7 4781 4222
Jim O’Brien, James Cook University Media Office, +61 7 4781 4822