I am the Assistant Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and Program Leader of the Centre's Research Program 2: Ecosystem Dynamics: Past, Present and Future. Prior to my current position, I worked as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (JCU), Townsville. I am an Associate Editor of Diversity and Distributions and Associate Dean Research Education at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies' JCU node.

My research uses conservation biogeography theory and spatial technologies, such as geographic information systems (GIS), geostatistics, network analysis, biophysical models and reserve design software, to inform the conservation of Australia's coastal environment. Specifically, my research develops new methodologies for cumulative impact assessment (CIA), and explores the implications of CIA in environmental decision-making, policy and practice. Most of my research is conducted in remote coastal and marine areas of northern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, and Gulf of Carpentaria. 

The transfer of research to management action and policy is my highest priority, and I actively generate partnerships to deliver my research outputs directly to government and non-government agencies and Indigenous communities. I communicate my knowledge via research papers, reports and presentations, workshops with stakeholders, and briefings to agencies, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, NSW Parks and Wildlife Service, Queensland Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Fisheries, Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment, and the Torres Strait Regional Authority.

My research has received funding from the Australian Research Council, Ian Potter Foundation, James Cook University, Macquarie University, NSW Adaptation Research Hub - Biodiversity Node, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, National Environmental Research Program Tropical Ecosystems Hub, Australian Marine Mammal Centre, Marine and Tropical Sciences Research Facility, and others.

  • Spatial predictions of coastal and marine features
  • Cumulative impact and risk assessments
  • Conservation planning and Indigenous Australia
  • Biophysical modelling of marine plant dispersal and connectivity
  • Spatial planning and coastal management
  • 2016 to present - Assistant Director, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Townsville)
  • 2013 to 2016 - Senior Lecturer, Macquarie University (Sydney)
  • 2010 to 2013 - Research Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2019 - Award for Excellence in Graduate Research Leadership, James Cook University
  • 2018 - Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year, Australian Institute of Policy and Science
  • 2017 - Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT), Award for Outstanding Collaboration for National Benefit (Non-Economic) (2017)
  • 2015 - Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Asem Duo Fellowship
  • 2012 - Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Churchill Fellowship
  • 2019 - Australian Marine Sciences Association
  • 2016 - Australian Coral Reef Society
  • 2016 - International Coral Reef Society
  • 2010 - World Seagrass Association
  • 2008 - Society of Conservation Biology

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 68+ research outputs authored by Dr Alana Grech from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research

An assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugong and in-water large marine turtles along the Queensland coast from Cape York to Hinchinbrook Island

Indicative Funding
$422,516 over 3 years
This project will meet the requirements outlined in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan to provide information to inform the management of dugongs in the Northern Great Barrier Reef region (NGBR) by continuing the time series of standardised aerial surveys conducted since the late 1980s. The project will provide an assessment of the distribution and abundance of dugongs and in-water large marine turtles in the NGBR and contribute to the 30 year time series for temporal comparisons using the latest advances in distribution and abundance analyses.
Helene Marsh, Susan Sobtzick and Alana Grech (Division of Tropical Environments & Societies, TropWATER and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Dugong; Aerial Survey; Abundance; Marine Turtles; Distribution; Long-term Monitoring

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.

  • The Impact of Fisheries Interactions on the Foraging Behaviour of Indian Ocean Humpback Dolphins (Sousa plumbea) along the Sindhudurg Coast of Maharashtra, India (PhD , Secondary Advisor)

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.


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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