Some of the research activities in progress or recently conducted at HIRS are listed below. This page will be updated regularly so if your work is not listed, please send your information to science.stations@uq.edu.au so it can be added.

  • 2016

    Kristen Brown (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of ocean warming and acidification on the ecophysiology of a common coral-algal interaction
    • Seasonal environmental drivers of coral-algal interactions across lagoonal and reef slope environments 

    Carmen da Silva School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Short term solutions to climate change - acclimation and plasticity in Bathygobius cocosensis 

    A. Prof. Sophie Dove School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios

    Prof. Michael Kuhl University of Technology, Sydney

    • Ecology and photobiology of surface-associated microbial communities and symbioses (biofilms/microbial mats, sediments, corals, foraminifera, ascidians)

    Tahsha Say (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Understanding how free-swimming, sponge larvae sense their environment to find a suitable home on the Great Barrier Reef 
  • 2015

    Andrew Boomer and research group Sydney Institute of Marine Science

    • The Australian Animal Tracking and Monitoring System (AATAMS)

    Kristen Brown (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of ocean warming and acidification on the ecophysiology of a common coral-algal interaction
    • Seasonal environmental drivers of coral-algal interactions across lagoonal and reef slope environments ‚Äč

    Jordan Casey (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • The role of territorial grazer behaviour and community structure on coral reef trophic dynamics 

    Dr Brad Congdon James Cook University

    • Understanding how changing ocean conditions impact seabird breeding success throughout the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea ecosystems

    Carolina Castro Sanguino (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Contribution of habitat complexity and herbivory on the abundance and productivity of the calcified green algae Halimeda across spatial and temporal scales

    A. Prof. Sophie Dove School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios 

    Stephanie Duce (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Geomorphology of high energy coral reefs: a study of spur and groove formation, evolution and morphodynamics

    Michael Hammond (PhD cand) University of the Sunshine Coast

    • Origin of communication in animals: decoding the role of peptide signalling in the sea sponge

    William Hatleberg (MPhil cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The evolution of the developmental processes associated with body plan formation and the origins of animal complexity

    Katherine Hillyer (PhD cand) Victoria University of Wellington

    • Metabolic fluxes and the specificity of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis

    A. Prof Dorri Jacobs Macquarie University

    • Deciphering the code of biominerals (mussel shells, bryozoa, etc.) which are used for paleoclimate reconstructions

    Prof. Michael Kuhl University of Technology, Sydney

    • Ecology and photobiology of surface-associated microbial communities and symbioses (biofilms/microbial mats, sediments, corals, foraminifera, ascidians)

    Lindsay MacDonald and research group CSIRO

    • Underwater Glider Facility Project 

    Jenine McCutcheon (PhD cand) School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Carbon sequestration 

    Prof. Heinz Mehlhorn, University of Dusseldorf

    • Parasite morphology and transmission cycles

    Dr Jess Morgan, Molecular Fisheries Laboratory, The University of Queensland

    • Stock structure of exploited shark species in north eastern Australia

    James Sadler (PhD cand) School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Spur and grooves: Formation, evolution and palaeoclimate potential 

    Phong Thai (PhD cand) National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland

    • Monitoring of organic pollutants in the atmosphere 

    Kennedy Wolfe (PhD cand) University of Sydney

    • Impact of climate change stressors on sea urchin development

    Jabin Watson (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Using a labelled carbon to trace sponge metabolism and metabolite production.
    • Defining biochemical properties of Amphimedon queenslandica

    Sean Williamson (PhD cand) Monash University

    • Effect of oxygen availability on embryonic development in a range of reptiles with varied reproductive modes

    Benedict Yuen (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Innate immune regulation of interactions between the sponge Amphimedon and its bacterial symbionts
  • 2014

    Maria Eleanor Aurellado (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of predation risk on the behavior and microhabitat use of Parrotfish

    Chico Birrell (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Spatial dynamics of macroalgae in the context of coral reef resilience 

    Kristen Brown (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of ocean warming and acidification on the ecophysiology of a common coral-algal interaction
    • Seasonal environmental drivers of coral-algal interactions across lagoonal and reef slope environments 

    Andrew Calcino (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Establishment of an RNAi protocol for the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica
    • Sponge settlement timecourse 

    Carolina Castro Sanguino (PhD cand), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Contribution of habitat complexity and herbivory on the abundance and productivity of the calcified green algae Halimeda across spatial and temporal scales

    Leanne Currey (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Investigating small-scale (within and between reef) movement patterns of Lethrinus miniatus (redthroat emperor) using acoustic telemetry

    A. Prof. Sophie Dove School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios 

    Martina de Freitas Prazeres (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Use of benthic foraminifers as bioindicators of water quality

    Federico Gaiti (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Establishment of a chromatin immunoprecipitation protocol for the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica

    Laura Grice (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Self-nonself recognition of Amphimedon queenslandica larvae 

    A. Prof. Graham Jones, Elizabeth Deschasequx (PhD cand), Hilton Swan (PhD cand) Marine Ecology Research Centre, Southern Cross University

    • Coral Reef Aerosol Characterisation Experiments (CORACE) and coral bleaching

    Alyssa Marshell (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The ecological role of herbivorous surgeonfish (Acanthuridae) on coral reefs

    Felicity Masters (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Identification of mechanisms underlying settlement and dispersal of Amphimedon queenslandica larvae 

    Dr. Carmel McDougall, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland 

    • Biomineralisation of molluscan shells and pearls

    Fiona McDuie (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Electronic tracking of wedge-tailed shearwaters to identify critical foraging resources of the GBR and impacts of climate change 

    Prof. Jochen Mueller, National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland

    • Development and application of passive samplers for monitoring atmospheric pollutants

    Qamar Schuyler (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Turtles in Trouble: Assessing the impacts of marine debris on sea turtles in Australia

    Francisco Javier Vidal Ramirez (PhD cand), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of past, present and possible future seawater environments on sea cucumbers and the sediments they process

    Jabin Watson (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Using a labelled carbon to trace sponge metabolism and metabolite production.
    • Defining biochemical properties of Amphimedon queenslandica
  • 2013

    Maria Eleanor Aurellado (PhD cand), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of predation risk on the behavior and microhabitat use of Parrotfish

    Chico Birrell (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Spatial dynamics of macroalgae in the context of coral reef resilience 

    Andrew Calcino (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Establishment of an RNAi protocol for the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica
    • Sponge settlement timecourse 

    Carolina Castro Sanguino (PhD cand), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Contribution of habitat complexity and herbivory on the abundance and productivity of the calcified green algae Halimeda across spatial and temporal scales

    Leanne Currey (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Investigating small-scale (within and between reef) movement patterns of Lethrinus miniatus (redthroat emperor) using acoustic telemetry

    A. Prof. Sophie Dove School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios 

    Martina de Freitas Prazeres (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Use of benthic foraminifers as bioindicators of water quality

    Federico Gaiti (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Establishment of a chromatin immunoprecipitation protocol for the demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica

    Laura Grice (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Self-nonself recognition of Amphimedon queenslandica larvae 

    A. Prof. Graham Jones, Elizabeth Deschasequx (PhD cand), Hilton Swan (PhD cand) Marine Ecology Research Centre, Southern Cross University

    • Coral Reef Aerosol Characterisation Experiments (CORACE) and coral bleaching

    Alyssa Marshell (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The ecological role of herbivorous surgeonfish (Acanthuridae) on coral reefs

    Felicity Masters (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Identification of mechanisms underlying settlement and dispersal of Amphimedon queenslandica larvae 

    Dr. Carmel McDougall, School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Biomineralisation of molluscan shells and pearls

    Fiona McDuie (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Electronic tracking of wedge-tailed shearwaters to identify critical foraging resources of the GBR and impacts of climate change 

    Prof. Jochen Mueller, National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology, The University of Queensland

    • Development and application of passive samplers for monitoring atmospheric pollutants

    Qamar Schuyler (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Turtles in Trouble: Assessing the impacts of marine debris on sea turtles in Australia

    Francisco Javier Vidal Ramirez (PhD cand), School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Effects of past, present and possible future seawater environments on sea cucumbers and the sediments they process

    Jabin Watson (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Using a labelled carbon to trace sponge metabolism and metabolite production.
    • Defining biochemical properties of Amphimedon queenslandica 
  • 2012

    Rodney Borrego Acevedo (PhD cand) The University of Queensland

    • Aspects of the ecology of microphytobenthos in a coral reef using remote sensing applications

    Novi Susetyo Adi (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The development of a bio-optical model to estimate coral reef productivity by integrating laboratory and field work with remote sensing data analysis

    Dr. David Abrego Australian Institute of Marine Science

    • Coral settlement assays

    Kristen Anderson (PhD cand) ARC Centre of Excellence, James Cook University

    • Latitutudinal growth study assessing the environmental factors affecting the growth of branching corals along the GBR

    Alexandra Ordonez Alvarez (PhD cand) Griffith University

    • Effects of ocean acidification on the supply-side ecology of coralline red algae

    Lisa Xues Bai (PhD cand) School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland

    • Nitrogen fixation test of cynobacteria which can cause coral reef disease

    Scott BainbridgeGBROOS Project Manager,Australian Institute of Marine Science

    • GBROOS sensor network

    Dr. Line Bay and Dr. Ray Berkelmans, Australian Institute of Marine Science

    • Reciprocal transplant to test for local adaptation in temperature tolerance

    Jo Bayes (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Identification of bacterial community present in Amphimedon queenslandica

    Dr. Peter Bell School of Chemical Engineering, The University of Queensland

    • The relative importance of cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) assemblages

    Dorothea Bender (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The effects of climate change and ocean acidification on coral reef algae 

    Kasper Elgetti Brodersen and Mads Lichtenberg (Masters cands) University of Technology Sydney

    • Energy budget of coral sediment

    Dr. Sonya Clegg and Nicholas Clark (PhD cand) Griffith University

    • Banding of silvereye population

    Tyler Cyronak (PhD cand) Southern Cross University

    • Relationships between ecological factors and intraspecific agonistic behaviour of ocean island and mainland populations of Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis)

    A. Prof. Simon Davy Victoria University of Wellington

    • Latitudinal study of the symbiont diversity and physiological reponse to predicted climate change scenarios of the sea anemone Entacmaea quadricolor.

    Dr. Ben Diggles DigsFish Services

    • Re-evaluation of release mortality of fish captured using modern lure technology on the Great Barrier Reef 

    Christopher Dorophoulos (PhD cand) and Dr. George Roff School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The effects of climate change on coral recruitment dynamics on the Great Barrier Reef (long term project)

    A. Prof. Sophie Dove School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Photobiology of isolated reefs and their ability to withstand a range of future climate scenarios

    Dr. Matthew Dunbabin CSIRO and Dr. Alistair Grinham The University of Queensland

    • Surveys of optically deep reef zones using stereo vision and acoustic scanning from an autonomous underwater vehicle to enhance satellite remote sensing of these systems.

    Dr. Dirk Erler Research Fellow, Southern Cross University

    • Using Coral 15N as a proxy for ocean N cycling

    Prof. Christer Erseus, Manuel Kleiner (PhD cand) and Cecilia Wentrup (PhD cand) University of Gothenburg and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

    • Systematics of marine oligochaetes (Annelida) and genome sequencing of bacterial symbionts from gutless marine oligochaetes 

    James Kar-Hei Fang (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Interaction between coral Porites lobata and sponge Cliona orientalis under future climate change scenarios
    • Effect of light on the photosynthetic capability of its symbiont and the growth and excavating capability of the host sponge Cliona orientalis  

    Dr. Melissa Garren MIT and Jessica Tout (Grad student) University of Technology Sydney

    • Effects of temperature on bacterial chemotaxis and motility

    Dr. Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Phenology of reproduction of sponges under climate change

    Dr. Michelle Heupel ARC Future Fellow, Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University

    • Changing ocean temperatures and movements of marine predators: the performance of marine protected areas in a warming ocean

    Dr. Ross Hill University of New South Wales

    • The importance of photosynthetic protein repair in coral bleaching recovery

    Dr. Andrew Hoey ARC Centre of Excellence, James Cook University

    • Latitudinal variation in the role of macroalgal browsing fishes on the GBR

    Prof. Michael Kuhl Marine Biology Lab, University of Copenhagen, Dr. Sergey Borisov and Prof. Ingo Klimant Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney

    • Microenvironment in coral and ascidian tissue

    Emeritus Prof. Anthony Larkum and Prof. Imre Vass Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney

    • Molecular triggers of coral bleaching
    • Physiology of surface Prochloron on didemnid ascidian

    Bonnie Lewis (PhD cand) Griffith University

    • Growth rates of crustose coralline algae and its ability to adapt to ocean acidification

    Alyssa Marshell (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The ecological role of herbivorous surgeonfish (Acanthuridae) on coral reefs

    Robert Mason (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Coral physiology in response to different rates of irradiance change and temperature change

    Felicity Masters (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Identification of mechanisms underlying settlement and dispersal of Amphimedon queenslandica larvae

    Carmel McDougall School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Abalone spawning and experiments

    Fiona McDuie (PhD cand) James Cook University

    • Electronic tracking of wedge-tailed shearwaters to identify critical foraging resources of the GBR and impacts of climate change

    Carlos del Monaco (PhD cand) Griffith University

    • Evaluation of coral-algal interactions under ocean acidification conditions

    Dr Daniel Nielsen Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney

    • Microbial nitrogen cycling in Goniopora djiboutiensis 

    Matthew Nitschke (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Investigating links between coral symbionts and reef substrata with emphasis on symbiont acquisition in juvenile corals

    Catalina Reyes-Nivia (PhD candidate) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • The interaction between microborers and climate change on dissolution of coralline algae and the implications on cementation in coral reef ecosystems

    Chiara Pisapia (PhD cand) ARC Centre of Excellence, James Cook University

    • Large scale variation in partial mortality of adult scleractinian coral colonies

    Dr. Oscar Pizarro University of Sydney and Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Field testing a scooter-propelled stereo camera system for benthic mapping

    A. Prof. Zoran Ristovski International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health, Queensland University of Technology

    • Impact of increased temperatures on the production of particles by corals and the effect on the hydrological cycle

    Dr Chris Roelfsema, Prof. Stuart Phinn, Mitchell Lyons, Rodney Borrego Centre for Spatial Environmental Research, The University of Queensland

    • Annual field and satellite image acquisition to extend a 10 year annual time series of field data and image maps to understand coral reef dynamics

    Dr. George Roff School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Recruitment of corals following disturbance

    Dr. Milan Szabo University of Technology Sydney

    • The role of photosynthetic light-harvesting antenna system of zooxanthellae (Symbiodinium sp.) in the photoprotective processes of corals

    Jason Tanner South Australia Government

    • Long-term coral community dynamics at Heron Island using a series of permanent quadrats established by Prof Joe Connell on the reef crest and flat at Heron Island in 1962

    Bronte Tilbrook, Craig Neill, Phil de Boer, Erik van Ooijen and Tim Fountain Marine and Atmospheric Research Division, CSIRO

    • CSIRO maintains two ocean acidification moorings at Heron Island. Data from the moorings are used to asses how increasing carbon dioxide levels and warmer temperatures are changing the chemistry of the reef

    Sarah Van-Eyk (PhD cand) School of Biological Sciences, The University of Queensland

    • Olfactory sensitivity of the giant shovelnose ray (Glaucostegus typus) to potential prey items: A behavioural investigation

    Dr. Scott Wilson, Krista Verlis (PhD cand) and Ashleigh Felice (RA)  Centre for Environmental Management, Central Queensland University

    • The effects of marine debris and chemical contaminants on Australasian seabirds

    Daniel Wangpraseurt (PhD cand) Climate Change Cluster, University of Technology Sydney

    • Optical properties of coral tissue

     

Research Activities section

Monitoring climate change using coral core samples

Monitoring climate change using coral core samples

Scientists from The University of Queensland and other Australian universities are undertaking a project to measure how the reef has responded to changing sea-levels, climate, and water quality over the past 8000 years. 

This is an image of Professor Gregg Webb, coral researcher

Professor Gregg Webb (pictured right) from UQ's School of Earth Sciences is a carbonate sedimentologist and palaeobiologist who specialises in ancient and modern corals, coral reefs and microbialites (rocks made by microbes). 

In collaboration with Dr Jody Webster (The University of Sydney) and Dr Luke Nothdurft (QUT), Prof Webb has commissioned a new research vessel, the RV D. Hill*. The researchers will use this vessel, with a purpose-built coring platform to collect shallow core samples from dead reef rock in the southern GBR, including around Heron Island. 

By analysing the geochemistry of the coral skeletons and other materials in the samples, it is possible to gain an understanding of how the ecology and geology of the reef has responded to historical environmental changes.This project will aid prediction of future reef behaviour while informing current climate models.

Predicting how the GBR will respond to future environmental changes is crucial if we are to effectively manage these valuable systems.

Our ability to do this depends on our knowledge of the responses of reef ecosystems to previous environmental changes over different spatial and temporal scales.

Those responses are commonly preserved in the rocks beneath the living reef surface, but to access them requires specialised equipment and vessels like the RV D. Hill.

This is an image of Research Vessel D Hill

Will the reef be damaged by the project?
• The platform will only be moored on bare sand or bare reef rock and will have no impact on live corals in the area.
• The coring is only in dead reef rock and holes will be capped after the cores are extracted.
• Appropriate safety measures will be used to limit any pollution being released from the vessel or the coring.
• The drilling platform will only be used for 12 days in each location.

For more information, please email Professor Gregg Webb at g.webb@uq.edu.au 

* The RV D. Hill is named for Professor Dorothy Hill (1907-1998) a geologist, palaeontologist and world authority on coral reefs. She was the first female professor at UQ, the first woman ever to be elected to the Australian Academy of Science and its presidency, and she was instrumental in establishing the Heron Island Research Station.