Abbi Scott is a Research Officer with the TropWATER Team based at James Cook University in Cairns, she works across seagrass and coral ecosystems on projects that collect data to inform management and rehabilitation. Abbi is passionate about connecting science and community to deliver better outcomes for research, people and ecosystems. Abbi studied a masters degree in marine biology at the University of Southampton in England, including a research project on the value of seagrass meadows as nursery habitat. After her degree, Abbi worked in seagrass conservation, engagement and coorindating citizen science projects at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and then on a nationwide citizen science project at the University of Portsmouth.

In 2017 Abbi moved to Australia for her PhD research with the Cairns TropWATER team. Abbi's PhD research investigated the impact of grazing by herbivores such as green turtles, dugong and fish on seagrass meadows in the Great Barrier Reef. She carried out field experiments at multiple locations to understand; the individual and interactive impact of different grazers, changes in both turtle/dugong and fish/urchin herbivory over space and time. As part of her PhD research, Abbi documented new green turtle feeding behaviours which had previously not been recorded in the Great Barrier Reef.

Current projects

Abbi's current projects include research, monitoring and restoration across both seagrass and coral ecosystems with a strong focus on local community engagement in research. Abbi is the coordinator of the Cairns-Port Douglas Reef Hub, where she connects local stakeholders and Traditional Owners involved in reef stewardship projects with each other and scientists, providing capacity building and facilitating collaboration (for example the Moore Reef Collaborative monitoring project). Abbi is continuing her PhD research into grazing in seagrass meadows in various locations and works with Traditional Owners to understand green turtle and dugong grazing dynamics and also leads long-term seagrass monitoring projects with the TropWATER team in Karumba and Thursday Island. Abbi works across other projects within the TropWATER team including; coral monitoring, seagrass monitoring, seagrass restoration and coral rehabilitation. Abbi collaborates with Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef on the Great Reef Census citizen science project, leading expeditions and developing methods to integrate seagrass surveys into the sampling.


Abbi is passionate about communicating her own work, and science more generally, to local communities, managers and the public. From 2020 - 2023, Abbi hosted a regular radio segment on ABC North Queensland with presenter Phil Staley, this 20-minute segment highlighted interesting research and interviewed scientists about their new findings. Abbi has delivered various invited seminars about her work and about communicating science, inluding for the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and World Seagrass Association. Abbi has presented public talks for Science Week, as part of Pint of Science and International Womens Day events, she also talks in schools and has delivered a Live in Orbit lesson. Abbi has featured on various other social media or web pages including National Geographic, Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. Abbi is the Cairns coordinator for the Pint of Science festival and brought the event to Cairns in 2018.

You can stay up to date with Abbi's research by following her Twitter (@abbilscott), Instagram (@abbi.scott.science) and on her website (www.abbilscott.com).

Recent media

  • May 2023: Pint of Science, Cairns Post.
  • Feb 2023: Collaborative Monitoring Project, Seven News
  • Jul 2022: Citizen science, Bloomberg Green
  • Jun 2022: Citizen science, National Tribune
  • May 2022: Great Reef Census, Oceanographic Magazine
  • April 2022: Great Barrier Reef projects, 4zzz Brisbane 
  • Seagrass monitoring
  • Plant-herbivore interactions and grazing in seagrass meadows, particularly the impacts of green turtles and dugong
  • Seagrass ecosystem services
  • Seagrass restoration
  • Coral stewardship and restoration
  • Community engagement and collaboration in marine research
  • Citizen science
  • 2021 to present - Research Officer, James Cook University (Cairns, Queensland)
  • 2017 to 2021 - Casual Research Officer, James Cook University (Cairns, Queensland)
  • 2017 to 2021 - PhD Candidate, James Cook University (Cairns, Queensland)
  • 2016 to 2017 - Research Assistant in Seagrass Ecology, Central Queensland University (Gladstone, Queensland)
  • 2015 to 2016 - Research Assistant in Marine Ecology, Portsmouth University (Portsmouth, United Kingdom)
  • 2013 to 2015 - Assistant Marine Officer, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (Hampshire, United Kingdom)
  • 2009 to 2013 - Student, University of Southampton (Southampton, United Kingdom)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2021 - Australian Marine Science Association North Queensland Communication Award
  • 2019 - FameLab semi finalist
  • 2019 - Ron Kenny premier conference award highly commended student presentation, Australian Marine Sciences Association Conference.

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
Other research outputs

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 31+ research outputs authored by Dr Abigail Scott from 2016 onwards.

Current Funding

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

CSIRO - Contract Research

RRAP Moore Reef Collaborative Monitoring Pilot.

Indicative Funding
$89,039 over 2 years
The JCU TropWATER team are working with the CSIRO RRAP engagement subprogram to develop and deliver a collaborative monitoring project with local partners at Moore Reef. TropWATER will also assist the CSIRO team with reporting and evaluation from the pilot. This work will be carried out as a complementary body of work to the CPD Reef Hub coordinator currently fulfilled by TropWATER.
Abigail Scott and Katie Chartrand (TropWater)
Coral; Restoration; Network; Capacity building

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Consultancy

Cairns-Port Douglas Reef Hub Coordinator

Indicative Funding
$278,191 over 3 years
The purpose of the consultancy is to manage the design, coordination and on-ground implementation of the Cairns Port Douglas Reef Hub (hub) on a day-to-day basis. The Coordinator will play an important role as a central connection point across a range of partners with interests in Reef restoration and stewardship activities in the Cairns-Port Douglas region (and beyond). They will be responsible for supporting a collaborative network to build on work underway and strengthen communication, information exchange and collaboration to scale and strengthen Reef and community resilience outcomes. The role is a 0.6 FTE role, contracted to June 2024.
Katie Chartrand, Abigail Scott and Skye McKenna (TropWater)
Coral; Restoration; Network; Capacity building

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - National Environmental Science Program 2 (NESP 2) - Marine and Coastal Hub (NESP MAC Hub)

The role of Dugong and Turtle Grazing in Torres Strait Seagrass Declines

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 1 year, in partnership with the Torres Strait Regional Authority ($34,000)
Declines in seagrass meadows in the Torres Strait Western Cluster were recorded in 2019 and 2020. These meadows are culturally important and represent significant foraging grounds for green turtles and dugongs. This project will use a short-term field study to investigate the role of megaherbivore grazing in two key locations where seagrass declines have been most dramatic. This project has been co-developed with the TSRA, Sea Rangers and Goemulgaw PBC in response to community concerns about seagrass declines and the implications for the totemic megaherbivores they support. The results will inform Traditional Owner led dugong and turtle management plans.
Abigail Scott and Michael Rasheed (TropWater)
Seagrass; Torres Strait; Dugong; Green Turtle; Grazing; megaherbivore

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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