About

Prof Colin Simpfendorfer is the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture. He has more than 25 years of experience in researching sharks, and has published extensively in the scientific literature on shark biology, ecology, fisheries and conservation. His expertise on sharks has been recognized by his appointment as the Co-Chair of the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group. 

Colin is a graduate of James Cook University, having undertaken both his undergraduate and postgraduate training in Townsville. After completing his PhD he worked on shark fisheries at the Western Australian Fisheries Department before moving to Florida to work at the Centre for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory. He returned to JCU in 2007 to lead the Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, where he has helped build a research group focused on improving our understanding of sharks and how best to conserve and manage their populations.

Interests
Research
  • Status and sustainable use of elasmobranch populations
  • Science for the conservation of elasmobranch populations
  • Nursery areas for sharks
  • Analytical tools for acoustic monitoring studies
Experience
  • 2006 to present - Professor, James Cook University (Townsville, Queensland)
  • 1999 to 2006 - Senior Scientist, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida, USA)
  • 1993 to 1999 - Senior Research Scientist, Western Australian Fisheries (Perth, Western Australia)
  • 1987 to 1993 - Academic Level A, James Cook University (Townsville, Queensland)
Honours
Awards
  • 2013 - Advisor of the Year Award, Advisory Panel Category - Highly Commended
  • 2011 - JCU Faculty of Science and Engineering Dean's Research Award (Group)
Other
  • 2012 to 2015 - Co-Chair IUCN Shark Specialist Group
Publications

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores a total of 109 research outputs authored by Prof Colin Simpfendorfer from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

Current and recent Research Funding is shown by funding source and project.

ACIAR - Research Grant

Sustainable management of the shark resources of Papua New Guinea: socioeconomic and biological characteristics of the fishery

Indicative Funding
$121,192 over 4 years (administered by CSIRO)
Summary
The shark fishery in PNG is the country's5th most important export fishery worth about K8 million annually. Sharks are also important to the artisanal fishery and are a potential resource for ecotourism. It is also highly likely that the shark resources of PNG are shared with neighbouring countries, e.g. Australia, Indonesia, and adjacent South Pacific island nations such as the Solomon Islands. Sharks and rays are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation due to their life history characteristics, and declines can affect livelihoods of communities. The PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has identified a need to improve fisheries management, underpinned by an assessment of the shark and ray fisheries.
Investigators
William White, Ludwig Kumoru, Colin Simpfendorfer and Sharon Appleyard, with the help of Jonathan Smart and Andrew Chin (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea and College of Marine & Environmental Sciences)
Keywords
Shark; Ray; Papua New Guinea; Fishery; Management; Conservation

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Research & Development Funding - Research Grant

A Report Card for Australia's Sharks and Rays

Indicative Funding
$199,999 over 3 years
Summary
This project will synthesise information from a large number of previous and current research projects to generate both a repository of accessible knowledge, as well as a report card on the status of sharks and rays in Australia.
Investigators
Colin Simpfendorfer and William White (College of Marine & Environmental Sciences and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Keywords
Shark; Ray; Population Status; Conservation; Fisheries Management

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Tender

Provision of advice to support non-detriment finding requirements for sharks nationally and regionally

Indicative Funding
$21,969
Summary
Provide advice to the Australian federal government on the population size and sustainable harvest of five species of sharks listed on Appendix II of CITES. In addition, develop a methodology for the implementation of an Oceania-wide strategy to develop a regional Non-Detriment Finding for these CITES listed shark species.
Investigators
Colin Simpfendorfer (College of Marine & Environmental Sciences)
Keywords
Sharks; CITES; Oceania; Non-detriment Finding

Save Our Seas Foundation - Grant

Exposure and sensitivity of the porcupine ray to climate change and coral reef degradation

Indicative Funding
$9,843
Summary
The porcupine ray is a highly distinctive reef dwelling stingray. It is widely distributed but rare and very little is known about it. However, it is classed as vulnerable by the IUCN Red List, and is one of the two shark and rays species at risk to climate change in the Great Barrier Reef. This project will explore the spatial ecology of the porcupine ray to determine its habitat use patterns and dependencies and its ability to move and adapt. These factors affect the species vulnerability to impacts from fisheries and environmental change, and understanding these traits will be essential to assess and develop management responses.
Investigators
Andrew Chin and Colin Simpfendorfer (College of Marine & Environmental Sciences)
Keywords
ray Urogymnus asperrimus; Coral Reef; habitat disturbance; Fisheries; Climate Change; Vulnerable Species

Nature Conservancy - Consultancy

Strengthening In-Country Tropical Marine Resource Management Training Capacity In Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands

Indicative Funding
$166,800 over 3 years
Summary
This project delivers two priority marine resource management curriculum and trainings to in-country trainers in PNG and Solomon Islands
Investigators
Chris Cocklin, Colin Simpfendorfer and Andrew Chin, with the help of Leanne Fernandes and Julian Clifton (Division of Research & Innovation, Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and The University of Western Australia)
Keywords
Papua New Guinea; Solomon Islands; Training; Tropical Marine Resources; Resource Management; Fisheries

Department of the Environment - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Drivers of juvenile shark biodiversity and abundance in inshore ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$735,000 over 4 years
Summary
This project will survey coastal areas between Cardwell and Mackay to investigate the factors that affect how sharks utilise these areas as nurseries.
Investigators
Colin Simpfendorfer, Andrew Tobin and Michelle Heupel, with the help of Peter Yates, Samantha Munroe and Audrey Schlaff (College of Marine & Environmental Sciences and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Keywords
Shark; nursery area; environmental variation; portfolio effect

Department of the Environment - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Maximising the benefits of mobile predators to GBR ecosystems: the importance of movement, habitat and environment

Indicative Funding
$231,400 over 4 years
Summary
This project will study the role of environmental factors in driving the movement of reef predators.
Investigators
Michelle Heupel, Colin Simpfendorfer and Andrew Tobin (Australian Institute of Marine Science and College of Marine & Environmental Sciences)
Keywords
Shark; acoustic telemetry; Reef fish; environmental variation

Linnean Society of NSW - Joyce W Vickery Scientific Research Grant

The migratory and dietary selection patterns of Rhizopriondon taylori in coastal environments revealed using stable isotope analysis

Indicative Funding
$750
Summary
Sharks have a significant impact on community structure and function. This project will define nearshore shark species dietary and habitat breadth within coastal ecosystems. Blood, plasma and muscle samples will be taken from individual Rhizopriondon taylori in six bays on the coast off Queensland, Australia. Stable isotope analysis will be used to quantify their dietary breadth, habitat selection, and trophic position. The results of this work will provide new insights into the foraging and movement behaviours of this species, increase our understanding of how this species affects marine ecosystems and how this species is effected by environmental fluctuations.
Investigators
Samantha Munroe, Michelle Heupel, Colin Simpfendorfer and James Moloney (College of Marine & Environmental Sciences)
Keywords
Stable Isotope Analysis; Diet Specialists; Queensland; Shark; Extinction Risk; Habitat Specialisation
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a Primary or Secondary Advisor.

These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.

Current
  • Movements Habitat use and Trophic Ecology of Sharks in Coral Reef Ecosystems. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Effects of Environmental Variation on Habitat Use and Movement of the Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus Melanopterus. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Redefining the Usage of Shallow-water Habitats by Piscivorous Fish (Masters, Co-Advisor)
  • Scaling up to Form Marine Protected Area Networks: The Role of Coordination of Initiatives and Institutional Collaborations in the Philippines. (PhD, Associate Advisor)
  • Biology and Population Dynamics of Blue Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) across Northern Australia (PhD, Associate Advisor)
  • The Ecology of Shark-Like Batoids: Implications for Management in the Great Barrier Reef Region. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Population Viability on the Galapagos Shark (Carcharhinus galapagensis) based on Genetic Diversity Anaylsis and Ecological Data from the Galapagos Marine Reserve, Ecuador. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Investigation of Redthroat Emperor Lethrinus miniatus Movement in Relation to Marine Protected Areas and Response to Environmental Change. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Ghost Nets Across the Arafura Timor Sea Region: Perspectives of a Wicked Problem (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Improving Understanding of Spatial Ecology Through Network Analysis of Acoustic Monitoring Data. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Spatial Ecology of Sea Snakes (Hydrophiidae) in Costal Waters off North Queensland. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Reef Predator Movements and the Effects of Environmental Change on their Use of Marine Protected Areas. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Life history Strategies and Status of Deepwater Chondrichthyans (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Evaluating the Distribution and Importance of Shark Nursery Areas along the Tropical Coast of Queensland. (PhD, Primary Advisor)
  • Habitat Selection and Resource Utilization of Predatory Coral Trout Species in Reef Systems. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Ecological Specialisation and Connectivity of the Australian Sea Snakes. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Life Hisotry and Demographics of Sharks Targeted by South East Asian Long Line Fisheries. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
  • Understanding Risk to Marine Turtles from Expanding Industrial Development in Northern Western Australia. (PhD, Co-Advisor)
Completed
Data

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit the JCU Research Data Catalogue.

Collaboration

The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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Email
Phone
Location
  • Townsville
Advisory Accreditation
Level 1
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Similar to me

  1. Dr Andrew Chin
    College of Marine & Environmental Sciences
  2. Dr James Moloney
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  3. Dr Katya Abrantes
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  4. Dr Michelle Heupel
    College of Marine & Environmental Sciences
  5. Dr Brendan Ebner
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