Zoology and Ecology Research Themes

JCU has many world-renowned researchers who undertake cutting-edge research in their chosen field of marine science or aquaculture.

We are at the forefront of research in a number of marine biology and aquaculture themes, including:

Anthropogenic impacts on marine mega-fauna

Mark Hamman, Mariana Fuentes

This research focuses principally on turtles and dugongs and examines how these creatures can survive in a changing world.


Aquaculture Research

Our Aquaculture researchers are world-leaders in tropical aquaculture research and development, with a particular focus on genetics, nutrition, aquatic animal health, physiology, hatchery production, algae, husbandry, post-harvest processing and sustainable practices.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Aquatic Animal Health

The Aquatic Animal Health team conduct research which enables fisheries, aquaculture and Australian quarantine to make informed decisions in regards to stock structure, disease management and import regulations.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Climate change and potential for adaptation in corals

Mia Hoogenboom, David Bourne


Climate change and potential for adaptation in fishes

Mark McCormick, Geoff Jones, Philip Munday, Mike Kingsford, Lynne van Herwerden

Elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide is warming oceans and changing ocean chemistry. This theme examines how climate change affects fishes, their ecology and physiology. It also uses laboratory experiments to examine their capacity to adapt to these environmental changes across generations.


Ecosystem connectivity of fishes

Marcus Sheaves, Ronnie Baker, Adam Barnett, Katya Abrantes, Ross Johnston, Mike Kingsford

Studying connectivity in the coastal landscape for marine fishes that use freshwater wetland nurseries. Part of this includes studies of the stage-specific habitat requirements of fishes.


Human dimensions of aquatic resources and production

Research on the sustainability of fishers, producers, industries and communities involved in aquatic food production; how to deal with change in fisheries and aquaculture to ensure aquatic food security; identification of adaptation strategies.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Impacts of anthropogenic noise on marine communities

Mark McCormick

Humans have made oceans noisier than they have ever been before. Can animals cope, and if so how?


Impacts of coal dust on marine systems

Mia Hoogenboom

Coal is a major export for Australia, and large quantities fall into inshore reefs while being loaded onto ships. This research explores the extent and nature of the problem.


Impacts of microplastics on marine systems

Mia Hoogenboom, Lynne van Herwerden

Small plastic particles are chemically active and have the ability to disrupt marine foodwebs. Research is starting to understand the startling breadth of the impact of this ubiquitous pollutant.


Marine reserve management

Garry Russ

No-take marine reserves are seen by management as the saviour of biodiversity because they allow a part of an ecosystem to exist away from human harvest. There are many predictions of the usefulness of marine reserves for management and biodiversity, but little data exists. This research examines the utility of marine reserves from both the side of the marine organisms that may benefit from protection and the human aspects that are central to their success.


Novel aquatic products and applications

Culture systems provide the ability to develop a wide range of novel products for human, animal and plant use. This includes the ability to utilise waste streams from industrial and agricultural systems to provide remediation and access to resources.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Seafood, Health and Allergens

This research team uses cutting-edge approaches in characterising the interactions of immunogenic proteins from different food sources including fish, crustacean, mollusc and parasites with the human immune system leading to allergic and inflammatory reactions.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Sustainable Wild Fisheries

The Sustainable Wild Fisheries team are world-leaders in the sustainable development of tropical aquatic resources. Researchers work to maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits of wild fisheries and ensure the long-term sustainability of aquatic resources in Australia and the tropics worldwide.

Find more at our Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fishers and Aquaculture website.


Theoretical and statistical modelling in marine ecology

Sean Connolly

At best we can quantify what is happening now, but if we are to predict population, community or ecosystem dynamics into the future, then we need to convert changes in the short-term into numbers and model the system.


Tropical fisheries and management

Garry Russ, Colin Simpfendorfer, Mike Kingsford

The main way humans interact with sealife is through fishing and harvest, and the livelihoods and economies of many tropical communities rely on nutrition collected from the sea. This research focuses on species important to fisheries – top predators- the cods, groupers, snappers and sharks – and the effects of fishing on their ecology.