Marine Biology

James Cook University is at the cutting edge of marine research and enjoys global stature in tropical marine studies.

JCU ranked as the world’s leading coral reef research institution by publications and citations (Scopus Bibliometric data 2010-2014).

Our research staff and students collaborate with a number of partner organisations, including the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).

The Australian Research Council Centre for Excellence for Coral Reef Studies is headquartered at JCU's Townsville campus and is the largest concentration of coral reef scientists in the world.

Our excellent infrastructure for teaching and research also includes: the Orpheus Island Research Station, the Marine and Aquaculture Research Facilities (MARF), the aquarium/aquaculture complex on our Townsville campus, and our research vessel James Kirby.

One of our research projects examines ways to manage nutrient run-off into the Great Barrier Reef at the same time as developing the underpinning knowledge for forward planning of the Great Barrier Reef fishery. The University has been pivotal in the rezoning of the reef by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), allowing greater protection of the World Heritage listed marine park.

While protecting fish numbers, JCU is also working towards preserving coral reefs and is a global pioneer in improving the resilience of reefs to coral bleaching and other sudden changes brought about by global disturbances such as climate change. JCU is helping shape new strategies to conserve endangered and vulnerable marine species by providing advice to government and Indigenous communities. For example, JCU researchers ongoing research into “no-take zones” can help sustain national income from tourism. JCU also leads the way in developing sustainable aquaculture in the Pacific.