1

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.

2

Ecosystem dynamics: past, present and future

Examining the multi-scale dynamics of reefs, from population dynamics to macroevolution

3

Responding to a changing world

Advancing the fundamental understanding of the key processes underpinning reef resilience.

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Coral Bleaching

Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au

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‘Bright spots’ funding to shine new light on coral reef fisheries

01
Nov 2016

A James Cook University researcher will search the planet to find reefs with thriving fish populations, as part of a radical new approach to help make the globe’s coral reef fisheries more sustainable.

Professor Josh Cinner from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University has been awarded nearly one million dollars by the Australian Research Council to continue his research into reef ‘bright spots’.

Professor Cinner says his research aims to help solve the global problem of unsustainable coral reef fisheries by locating and learning from ‘bright spots’– reefs with more fish than expected, based on their exposure to pressures such as human population, poverty and unfavourable environmental conditions.

“‘Bright spots’ are not necessarily “pristine” reefs, but rather reefs that are doing better than they should be given the circumstances. They are reefs that are “punching above their weight”.

“We want to shine a light on these ‘bright spots’ to examine what’s different about them. Why are they able to withstand the pressures that have caused other reefs to suffer? And could the lessons from these places inform reef conservation in other areas?”

“We believe that the bright spots offer hope and solutions that can be applied more broadly across the world’s coral reefs,” Prof. Cinner said.

Prof. Cinner is one of four scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies to receive more than $2.4m in funding grants from the ARC.

The other winners and the details of their grants and research projects announced today are as follows:

Dr Peter Cowman (lead investigator)                                           $372,000

Coral reefs support over 800,000 plant and animal species. Dr Cowman’s research project will examine how this biodiversity was formed, by trying to discover how evolutionary processes, biogeography and molecular change drive patterns of biodiversity.

Professor Mark McCormick (lead investigator)                         $462,500

With unprecedented global declines in live coral, this project aims to determine how reef degradation changes predator-prey dynamics in fish communities.

Professor David Miller (lead investigator)                                  $290,608

Animals evolved in a world dominated by bacteria, and intimately associated microbes affect the development, health and disease of all animals – from corals to humans. Researchers have discovered that the coral Acropora can control its associated bacteria. Understanding how a simple animal manipulates its microbial associates should have implications for coral disease and resilience and for health and disease across the animal kingdom.

 

Contact

For interviews with Professor Cinner please contact:
Josh Cinner
+61 417 714 138
joshua.cinner@jcu.edu.au

Photos of Prof. Cinner are available at:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/onvjhrv58pkh5h1/AABDJXxrrz4Li6BXwdy0ZmQya?dl=0

For interviews with the other winners please contact:
Richard Davis
Head of Media and Communications, JCU
0413 451 475
richard.davis@jcu.edu.au

Professor Josh Cinner has recently returned from Papua New Guinea where his research work has focused on finding 'bright spots'
Professor Josh Cinner has recently returned from Papua New Guinea where his research work has focused on finding 'bright spots'

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Coral Reef Studies

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
James Cook University Townsville
Queensland 4811 Australia

Phone: 61 7 4781 4000
Email: info@coralcoe.org.au