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.

Coral Bleaching

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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Effect of Seagrass and Coral Reef Canopies on Sediment Transport Processes In Coastal Systems

Effect of Seagrass and Coral Reef Canopies on Sediment Transport Processes In Coastal Systems

Nery Contti Neto explains his research on the effects of seagrass and corals reefs on sediment transport

My Life Aquatic- Patrick Smallhorn-West

My Life Aquatic- Patrick Smallhorn-West

Ecological surveys of Tonga’s coral reefs by PhD student Patrick Smallhorn-West in 2018

This is Uni: Healthy Predators, Healthy Reef

This is Uni: Healthy Predators, Healthy Reef

Hear from Associate Professor Jodie Rummer from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies on how she ended up as a marine biologist with us and JCU!

Personal connections key to climate adaptation

Personal connections key to climate adaptation

Connections with friends and family are key to helping communities adapt to the devastating impact of climate change on their homes and livelihoods, a new study shows.
The research found people are more empowered to respond when they see others doing the same.
Scientists analysed how an island community in Papua New Guinea of around 700 people coped with the impact of encroaching sea-levels and dwindling fish stocks. The study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, examined the actions households took to deal with these impacts.
Lead author Dr Michele Barnes, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University (Coral CoE at JCU), said: “We found their actions were related to their social networks, the ways they are connected to other people within the community.”
“To cope with the impacts of climate change, existing practices or behaviours can be tweaked—this is adaptation. However, in some cases this won’t be enough, and people need to enact more fundamental changes—transformation.”
“In our case, adaptation included things like building sea walls to protect existing land use,” said co-author Dr Jacqueline Lau, from Coral CoE and WorldFish. “And transformation involved developing alternative food and income sources away from fish and fishing-related activities.”
Essentially both sets of actions are necessary to combat the impacts of climate change.
Dr Barnes says influence within social networks is what encouraged both sets of actions. The team found the households more socially connected to others taking action were more likely to do the same.
“It may be a situation of ‘like-attracts-like’ where households with particular mindsets are more socially connected to similar households,” Dr Barnes said. “Another explanation is that households were influencing each other’s actions. It’s likely a combination of the two,” she said.
The authors also found household connections with the marine environment played an important role in determining the responses to climate impacts.
“Climate change and other human impacts rapidly degrade coral reef ecosystems and alter the composition of reef fish communities,” said co-author Professor Nick Graham, of Lancaster University in the UK.
“The adaptation of coastal communities is becoming essential. Our research highlights that interacting with and learning from the marine environment is one mechanism through which this adaptation can be achieved,” he said.
Dr Barnes says the policies and programs seeking to reduce vulnerability to climate change often focus on building up material assets or creating infrastructure.
“Our research emphasises a broader set of factors can play an important part in the actions communities end up taking,” she said.
PAPER Barnes M, Wang P, Cinner J, Graham N, Guerrero A, Jasny L, Lau J, Sutcliffe S, Zamborain-Mason J. (2020). ‘Social determinants of adaptive and transformative responses to climate change’. Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/s41558-020-0871-4
Seascape use by coral reef-associated fishes in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea by Katie Sambroo

Seascape use by coral reef-associated fishes in Kavieng, Papua New Guinea by Katie Sambroo

International Women’s Day 2019

International Women’s Day 2019

Happy International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate IWD2019 by profiling incredible CoralCoE & affiliated Women In STEM and Social Sciences at James Cook University, University of Queensland, Australian National University and University of Western Australia. Balance for Better!

Getting Published in Peer-Review

Getting Published in Peer-Review

A new video series by Prof. Joshua Cinner in collaboration with WorldFish, to assist early career researchers to navigate through the peer-review process.

View the whole series on Josh’s research group page or on WorldFish’s official Youtube channel.

Reef reality: why coral is changing

Reef reality: why coral is changing

Video by the Australian Academy on Sciences on our media release “Global warming disrupts recovery of coral reefs.

The damage caused to the Great Barrier Reef by global warming has compromised the capacity of its corals to recover, according to new research published today in Nature.

2018 Visualise Your Thesis JCU winner

2018 Visualise Your Thesis JCU winner

The special relationship between seagrass and the number two – Dr Alana Grech

The special relationship between seagrass and the number two – Dr Alana Grech

Dr Alana Grech, the Assistant Director of Coral CoE, was one of the speakers at the 2018 Public Forum held in conjunction with this year’s Coral Reef Futures Symposium.

Gravity of human impacts mediates coral reef conservation gains

Gravity of human impacts mediates coral reef conservation gains

Study reveals how sub-tropical corals cope with the cold

Study reveals how sub-tropical corals cope with the cold

Research in brief: Prof Josh Cinner’s ‘Bright Spots’

Research in brief: Prof Josh Cinner’s ‘Bright Spots’

The window for saving the world’s coral reefs is rapidly closing

The window for saving the world’s coral reefs is rapidly closing

The world’s reefs are under siege from global warming, according to a novel study published today in the prestigious journal Science.

For the first time, an international team of researchers has measured the escalating rate of coral bleaching at locations throughout the tropics over the past four decades. The study documents a dramatic shortening of the gap between pairs of bleaching events, threatening the future existence of these iconic ecosystems and the livelihoods of many millions of people.

Video courtesy of Australian Academy of Science.

Media release here.

Disappearing sea snakes surprise researchers with hidden genetic diversity

Disappearing sea snakes surprise researchers with hidden genetic diversity

2018 Dorothy Hill Medal – Assoc. Prof Tracy Ainsworth

2018 Dorothy Hill Medal – Assoc. Prof Tracy Ainsworth

Congratulations to Assoc. Prof. Tracy Ainsworth from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies – Coral CoE at JCU, who has been awarded the 2018 Dorothy Hill Medal by the Australian Academy of Science.

Her research aims to determine the impact of environmental stress on reef-building corals, their host-microbe interactions, symbioses and disease outbreaks.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2yPBAzu

Credit: JCU Media

Murky waters leave reef fish out of breath

Murky waters leave reef fish out of breath

Declining water quality due to human activities threatens the health of coastal reefs globally. But, what does this mean for reef inhabitants such as the iconic damselfish?

Researchers at Coral CoE, led by PhD student Sybille Hess, examined three species of coral reef damselfishes. They found that all three species remodelled their gills in response to elevated suspended sediments levels.

Video courtesy of Australian Academy of Science

Blog Post here

Great Barrier Reef: 2/3 damaged in ‘unprecedented’ bleaching – BBC News

Great Barrier Reef: 2/3 damaged in ‘unprecedented’ bleaching – BBC News

Unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, aerial surveys have shown. The bleaching – or loss of algae – affects a 1,500km (900 miles) stretch of the reef, according to scientists. The latest damage is concentrated in the middle section, whereas last year’s bleaching hit mainly the north. Experts fear the proximity of the two events will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

Credit: BBC News

Great Barrier Grief

Great Barrier Grief

60 minutes’s special report on the recent Great Barrier Reef mass bleaching event.
The Great Barrier Reef has always been Australia’s great treasure. It’s not just beautiful, it’s also bountiful, and worth billions of dollars in tourism revenue. But now the largest living structure on the planet is becoming the largest dying structure.

Yes, we can save the world’s coral reefs TEDxJCUCairns

Yes, we can save the world’s coral reefs TEDxJCUCairns

Professor Terry Hughes on why he is an optimist when it comes to saving coral reefs.

CoralCoE scientists assess coral bleaching damage on Great Barrier Reef

CoralCoE scientists assess coral bleaching damage on Great Barrier Reef

Scientists say their worst fears have been confirmed as they assess the damage from coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

‘They’re the sickest corals we’ve ever seen’

‘They’re the sickest corals we’ve ever seen’

Catalyst explores the lethal threat of bleaching to the Great Barrier Reef.

Great Barrier Reef magic!

Great Barrier Reef magic!

Dr Sue-Ann Watson captures the majestic Potato Cod gliding around the Great Barrier Reef, near Lizard Island.

Gladiator corals defend their territory

Gladiator corals defend their territory

Learn how competition between soft and hard corals transforms the reefs into battlefields. ARC Centre of Excellence student Natalia Andrade describes how corals defend their territory and jostle for position.

What happens to fish when a cyclone destroys their home?

What happens to fish when a cyclone destroys their home?

ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies student Jacob Eurich explains the ramifications for damselfish when their home is  destroyed by coral bleaching or cyclones.

Professor David Bellwood, New Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science 2016

Professor David Bellwood, New Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science 2016

David Bellwood is a world leader in coral reef ecology. His pioneering work on reef ecosystems has revolutionized our understanding of the evolution of coral reefs and their capacity to withstand human impacts.

Aerial surveys of the northern Great Barrier Reef during the 2016 coral bleaching event

Aerial surveys of the northern Great Barrier Reef during the 2016 coral bleaching event

This footage shows extensive coral bleaching (white/yellow patches) on the northern Great Barrier Reef as seen from the helicopter during scientific aerial surveys in March 2016. MORE INFORMATION BELOW.

On 29th March 2016, aerial surveys of more than 500 coral reefs from Cairns to Papua New Guinea revealed that the most pristine section of the Great Barrier Reef experienced the worst mass bleaching event in its history, with the overwhelming majority of reefs being ranked in the most severe bleaching category. The surveys were conducted by Prof Terry Hughes from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, convenor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce, and James Kerry, project manager of the taskforce.

Footage is free to use for editorial purposes but MUST be credited ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies / James Kerry.

What is coral bleaching? How does it affect the Great Barrier Reef?
https://www.coralcoe.org.au/resources/for-managers/coral-bleaching-and-the-great-barrier-reef

Hot news on the 2016 coral bleaching event:

20 April 2016: Only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef has avoided coral bleaching

Only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef has avoided coral bleaching

15 April 2016: Great Barrier Reef risks losing tolerance to bleaching events

Great Barrier Reef risks losing tolerance to bleaching events

05 April 2016: National Coral Taskforce unleashes an armada of experts

National Coral Taskforce unleashes an armada of experts

29 March 2016: Coral Bleaching Taskforce documents most severe bleaching on record

Coral Bleaching Taskforce documents most severe bleaching on record

21 March 2016: Scientist witnesses severe coral bleaching

Scientist witnesses severe coral bleaching

14 March 2016: National Coral Taskforce puts plan into effect as bleaching intensifies

National Coral Taskforce puts plan into effect as bleaching intensifies

01 March 2016: National Coral Bleaching Taskforce keeping a close watch on the Reef

National Coral Bleaching Taskforce keeping a close watch on the Reef

Jodie Rummer – Athletes of the Great Barrier Reef (TEDx JCU Cairns)

Jodie Rummer – Athletes of the Great Barrier Reef (TEDx JCU Cairns)

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. The world is fascinated with athletes, but the reasons that humans pursue ‘fitness’ and the traits we associate with a good athlete may be quite different from the rest of the animal kingdom.

Jodie is a scientist at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (JCU) with a strong background in marine biology (BSc, MSc degrees, USA) and animal physiology (PhD, Canada; post-doctoral, Hong Kong). She has done extensive research on fish buoyancy, exercise, and environmental perturbations (e.g. water quality, habitat degradation) and, although early in her career, has become a leading authority on the evolution of oxygen transport in fish and how they maintain performance during stress. Today, Jodie combines ecology, evolution, and physiology to address conservation issues such as the effects of climate change on coral reef fishes.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

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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