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’s Penny van Oosterzee recognized as top science-writer

TESS’s Penny van Oosterzee recognized as top science-writer

The Best Australian Science Writing 2018 draws on the knowledge and insight of Australia’s brightest authors, journalists and scientists to challenge perceptions of the world we think we know.

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TESS's Lain Pardo shows how much oil palm can be grown without impact mammal communities in Colombia

TESS's Lain Pardo shows how much oil palm can be grown without impact mammal communities in Colombia

As oil palm plantations continue to expand in Latin America, identifying critical transitions in land use, at which animal communities can be drastically altered, is crucial for conservation planning.

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TESS’s Bill Laurance is quoted in the New York Times, world’s top newspaper

TESS’s Bill Laurance is quoted in the New York Times, world’s top newspaper

Scientists Warn That World’s Wilderness Areas Are Disappearing

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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.