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 Bill Laurance gives keynote address at University of Oxford

TESS’s Bill Laurance gives keynote address at University of Oxford

We are living in the most explosive era of infrastructure expansion in human history.  The most ambitious scheme is China’s Belt & Road Initiative, which will involve 7,000 planned infrastructure and extractive-industry projects that span much of the planet.

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TESS's team says: Bring the science home and let's share the benefits

TESS's team says: Bring the science home and let's share the benefits

There is a global shift of forest management to local levels to better reconcile local livelihoods and biodiversity conservation. We argue that achieving such outcomes will require embedding science in landscape-scale management systems.

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TESS’s Robyn Glade-Wright uses giant human embryo—made from discarded plastic bottles

TESS’s Robyn Glade-Wright uses giant human embryo—made from discarded plastic bottles

Made from discarded plastic bottles—to underscores the growing threat of micro-plastics in our environment and bodies.

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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.