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 team shows long-term effects of fragmentation on Amazonian forests image

TESS team shows long-term effects of fragmentation on Amazonian forests

Persistent effects of fragmentation on tropical rainforest canopy structure after 20 yr of isolation

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TESS team members of CABAH astounding new look at the ancient routes and complex technologies used by Australia's first arrivals image

TESS team members of CABAH astounding new look at the ancient routes and complex technologies used by Australia's first arrivals

They used sophisticated modelling to determine not only the likely routes traveled led by Aboriginal people tens of thousands of years ago, but also the sizes of groups required for the population to survive in harsh conditions.

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TESS team resolves phylogenetic relationships of pitcher plants (Nepenthes) image

TESS team resolves phylogenetic relationships of pitcher plants (Nepenthes)

This study showed that genome skimming provides well resolved nuclear and plastid phylogenies that provide valuable insights into the complex evolutionary relationships of Nepenthes.

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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.