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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Alastair Harborne

Alastair Harborne


Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Postdoctoral Research Fellow
School of Biological Sciences
Faculty of Science


PhD, University of Exeter


University of Queensland



+61 (0)7 3365 1671


Following work at an NGO using volunteers to conduct coral-reef surveys, I completed my PhD at the University of Exeter (UK) in 2007. My PhD thesis was entitled “The ecology of coral reef communities at seascape scales”, and focused on how considering Caribbean marine habitats at seascape scales provides novel insights into their ecology and conservation. I then completed an early career fellowship at the University of Exeter, examining the relevative importance of different processes (e.g. predation and habitat quality) controlling the abundance of reef fishes. In 2012 I began an ARC DECRA Research Fellowship at the University of Queensland, focusing on the migration and feeding ecology of reef fishes on reef flats, and to integrate these data into models of how food webs vary with tidal state. In addition to insights into reef fish ecology in shallow water, the research will examine the implication of sea-level rise on the tropho-dynamics of shallow reef habitats.

My over-arching research interests are to provide novel insights into the to the ecology of coral-reef fishes, and to aid the conservation of fish populations. My research examines the processes (abiotic and biotic) controlling both the abundance of individual coral reef fish species and the diversity and trophic structure of entire communities of fishes across seascapes, and the functional role of different habitat types (e.g. nursery habitats). My research also addresses how the ecology, population demographics, and trophic functioning of fishes will be affected by a range of stressors, particularly climate change, over-fishing, and decreasing habitat quality. Such data are important for designing optimal conservation strategies. I am also interested in the impacts of marine reserves, addressing questions of the direct impact of cessation of fishing on fish populations and also the indirect effects of trophic cascades driven by increases in predatory species. My primary research focus is on coral reef ecosystems in both the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean, but I also have a growing interest in sub-tropical reefs.

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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