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 teams makes surprising discovery about rainforest vines

TESS teams makes surprising discovery about rainforest vines

We believe that future liana research will benefit from new technologies such as high‐quality aerial photography taken from drones when the aim is to detect the relative burden of lianas on individual trees.

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TESS team reveals surprising threat to Earth’s great animal migrations

TESS team reveals surprising threat to Earth’s great animal migrations

For time immemorial, many wildlife species have survived by undertaking heroic long-distance migrations. But many of these great migrations are collapsing right before our eyes.

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TESS’s Damien Paris and team have discovered that naturally calming pheromones could minimize aggression in African wild dogs.

TESS’s Damien Paris and team have discovered that naturally calming pheromones could minimize aggression in African wild dogs.

The endangered African wild dog (AWD; Lycaon pictus) is a highly social canid living in packs with a separate male and female hierarchy. Immobilisation, handling and translocations are acute stressors for AWDs, however such interventions are often needed for species management.

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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.