Professor Sean Connolly - ARC Australian Professorial Fellow
My research group uses a combination of mathematical modelling and empirical work, to address fundamental questions about the origin and maintenance of biodiversity, and also to understand the ecological impacts of environmental changes caused by human activity, such as overfishing and climate change. Mostly, but not exclusively, we use coral reefs as a study system. <More>
Dr. Mia Hoogenboom - Lecturer
I investigate how processes occurring at the physiological scale influence the growth, survival and reproduction (fitness) of organisms. My work establishes mechanistic links between environmental conditions, individual performance and population processes, and focuses on three main themes. <More>
Dr. Joana Figueiredo –Research Fellow
I am a larval biologist with a special interest in the study of marine invertebrates. I was originally trained in aquaculture, but for the past few years, I have been applying my larval culture skills and combining them with mathematical modelling to understand how environmental conditions determine important ecological processes, such dispersal and recruitment. I am currently studying coral larvae survival and settlement competence dynamics for a range of Indo-Pacific coral species. <More>
Dr. Sally Keith - Research Fellow
I completed my B.Sc (Hons) in Zoology at the University of Southampton in 2004 before undertaking an M.Sc in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, which was completed in 2005 and involved extensive fieldwork on gibbons in the Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. I began my Ph.D in Ecology at Bournemouth University in 2007 under the supervision of Prof. Adrian Newton on the impacts of environmental change on meso-scale biodiversity patterns. Since January 2011, I have held the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies based at James Cook University in Australia. <More>
Mizue Hisano - Research Assistant
After I finished my Honours in marine biology where I focused on the studies of the population status of reef sharks, I commenced working at James Cook University as a research assistant to build more knowledge and expand my skills on research in theoretical ecology under Prof. Sean Connolly. The majority of my work as a research assistant involves the undertaking of any appropriate analysis of data as requested. Although this involves nearly all work to be done on the computer, I do various tasks depending on what stage the project is at. <More>
Stephen Ban - PhD Candidate
My marine biology background encompasses a broad range of scales, taxa, and ecosystems, ranging from test-tube phytoplankton to coral reefs to ocean-basin pinnipeds (and aquarium belugas). I completed my undergraduate degree at McGill University in Montreal and went on to do a one-year diploma in Geographic Information Systems at the British Columbia Institute of Technology and a master's degree at the University of British Columbia with the Marine Mammal Research Unit. My current research interests include spatial ecology, multiple stressor impacts, the role of expert opinion in data-poor environments, and modelling the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems. Under the supervision of Professor Bob Pressey, Professor Sean Connolly, and Dr Nicholas Graham, my thesis looks at the issue of multiple stressors on the Great Barrier Reef from a number of angles, including a metaanalysis of the coral reef literature and using expert elicitation to inform Bayesian belief networks.
Shane Blowes - PhD Candidate
I completed my honours thesis at James Cook University looking at the optimal spacing of reserves (see Blowes & Connolly 2012 Ecological Applications).After completing honours, I worked with Helene Marsh, Thomas O'Shea and John Reynolds on their book entitled 'Ecology and Conservation of Sirenia: Dugongs and Manatees' published by Cambridge University Press.Broadly speaking my research interests encompass behavioural, population and community ecology.In particular, I am interested in the use and development of theory to inform and contextualise empirical work.Currently I am working towards my PhD under the supervision of Sean Connolly and Morgan Pratchett examining the role of heterospecific aggression in determining patterns of resource use and coexistence among butterflyfishes.
Jordan Casey - PhD Candidate
I grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. I completed a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Ecology & Biodiversity and Spanish from Sewanee: The University of the South, studying the effects of exurbanization on avifauna and macroinvertebrates. After university, I conducted research on seabird colonies in the Farallones, islands off the coast of California, and the Galápagos Islands. Currently, I am a PhD candidate under the supervision of Sean Connolly, Howard Choat, and Tracy Ainsworth. My project focuses on the role of territorial grazer behaviour and community structure on coral reef trophic dynamics. I am interested in how energy flows through coral reefs and how overfishing impacts food web structure from the perspective of key ecosystem components: microbes, epilithic algal matrix, Acroporids, damselfish, and predators.
Neil Chan - PhD Candidate
Hailing from Malaysia, I moved to Australia in 2004 to undertake a bachelors of marine biology at JCU. Eight years on, I am currently working on a PhD exploring the interactive effects of ocean acidification and water flow velocity on coral calcification and how that translates into population level effects. My research interests also include marine reserves and fisheries management, reef conservation and restoration, and human interaction with the reef through tourism.
Jess Hopf - PhD Candidate
My PhD work centers on the implications of marine reserves networks on reef fish metapopulations. In particular I am focusing on coupling demographic data and recent empirical estimates of dispersal for a model species – the heavily fished coral reef predator, coral trout (Plectropomus spp.) – in the southern GBR. I am interested in not only considering the effects of reserves in a fishery yields context, but also in the context of ecological conservation. From this work I hope to contribute to our understanding of the implications of marine reserves for metapopulations in-terms of long-term efficacy, the contribution of individual fish (both fished and unfished) to the overall metapopulation productivity, and the sensitivity of the metapopulation to habitat disturbance. Furthermore I am interested in exploring an optimal reserve design for this system.
Martino Malerba - PhD Candidate
My project deals with freshwater and saltwater phytoplankton ecology. In my studies I combine theoretical contributions from process-based models with empirical observations from laboratory settings. What I am interested in are species interactions and especially the mechanisms promoting species coexistence in natural ecosystems. Phytoplankton species are extraordinary organisms that can be observed in order to address these types of ecological questions, as they are extremely diverse and all characterized by fast growth rate, high density, and short generation time. Other than being a critically important group for natural ecosystems, these ubiquitous organisms are becoming increasingly more important for commercial purposes. Today phytoplankton biomass is cultured and processed for a vast range of final products, from aquaculture feeds, to high value pharmaceutical compounds, to the production of biofuel.
Loic Thibaut - PhD Candidate
I was born and raised in France. After completing a Master degree in theoretical computer science at the University of Nancy, I worked as an IT for more than 10 years, mainly overseas. I developed a strong interest in marine ecology while working in Africa on a European Union funded fisheries management project and decided to go back to university. Today I am a PhD student at JCU, supervised by Prof. Sean Connolly and Prof. Terry Hughes. My research focuses on modelling approaches to reef fish assemblages resilience using data from long term monitoring programs.
Mara Freilich - Intern Visitor (Jun - Aug 2013)
I am an undergraduate at Brown University majoring in applied math. I am broadly interested in mathematical modeling in ecology. As an intern supervised by Sean Connolly, I used a modeling approach to test whether current community phylogenetic methods can successfully detect community assembly.