The Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) is based at James Cook University (JCU), Australia's leading tropical research university.

Our mission is to promote cutting-edge ecological and environmental research in the tropics, and the wise management, conservation and sustainable use of tropical terrestrial and coastal ecosystems, in Australia and internationally.

Latest news


TESS researchers ring alarm bells about Sumatra’s wildlife and forests.jpg image

TESS researchers ring alarm bells about Sumatra’s wildlife and forests.jpg

We urge that ungazetted protected forests be given equal priority to gazetted protected forests in regard to conservation planning for road development, and also that gazetted forests be expanded in the Leuser Ecosystem and Batang Toru area to hedge against further incursions.

Read the article
TESS’s Fabio Roque shows even small forest losses degrade stream communities image

TESS’s Fabio Roque shows even small forest losses degrade stream communities

Our results also show that it is not enough to focus management and conservation actions on riparian zones, but that conservation strategies should be expanded to entire catchments as well.

Read the article
TESS’s Misha Rowell and Tasmin Rymer shows that native wildlife are innovators image

TESS’s Misha Rowell and Tasmin Rymer shows that native wildlife are innovators

This study is the first to demonstrate innovation ability across task complexity in an Australian rodent and provides promising avenues for future studies of innovation.

Read the article

Outstanding Research

TESS research addresses the pressing, complex, trans-disciplinary and interconnected issues of S3D – Sustainability Science and Sustainable Development – across the tropical world


JCU is the only Australian university to receive the highest ranking of 5 (well above World Standard) in Environmental Science and Management in the Australian Government’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment for every round.

JCU's unique location enables researchers and students from Australia and overseas to work in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world. Nowhere else is it possible to visit reef, rainforest and savanna in a single day, returning to world-class laboratory facilities in a vibrant and attractive tropical city.