I am the Head of Earth and Environmental Science at the College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University. Previously I was the Assistant Director and Associate Dean Research Education of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (2017 – 2022), Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University (2013 – 2016), and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University (2010 – 2012). I am a JCU Equity Contact Officer and an elected member of JCU Council. In mid-2024, I will join the ARC Centre of Excellence for Indigenous Environmental Histories and Futures as a Chief Investigator.

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 management of Australia's coasts. 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 northern Australia, particularly the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait, and Gulf of Carpentaria. I am an Associate Editor of Diversity and Distributions.  

The transfer of research to management action and policy is my highest priority, and I actively generate partnerships to co-develop research with government and non-government agencies and communities, such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland Department of Environment and Science, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, the Torres Strait Regional Authority and Indigenous natural and cultural resource management agencies. I am a member of the Queensland Species Technical Committee, Queensland Sustainabile Fisheries Expert Panel and in 2018 I was awarded the Queensland Young Tall Poppy Scientist of the Year.

  • Spatial predictions of coastal and marine features
  • Cumulative impact and risk assessments
  • Biophysical modelling of marine plant dispersal and connectivity
  • Spatial planning and coastal management in Indigenous Land and Sea Country
  • 2023 to 2024 - Head, Earth and Environmental Science, College of Science and Engineering (Townsville)
  • 2017 to 2022 - 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
  • 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
  • 2015 - Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Asem Duo Fellowship
  • 2012 - Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, Churchill Fellowship
  • 2018 - Australian Marine Sciences Association
  • 2010 - World Seagrass Association

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

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 77+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Alana Grech from 2006 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Projects

Future proofing and restoring Australia?s tropical seagrasses

Indicative Funding
$455,348 over 4 years, in partnership with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation ($180,000) and the Ports North ($150,000)
This project aims to develop and apply a comprehensive framework for restoration of Australian tropical seagrasses using innovative approaches and partnerships. The project expects to provide coastal managers with tools to mitigate and restore seagrass to minimise effects of climate and development related loss, protecting ecosystem services measured in hundreds of millions of dollars. Expected outcomes include new techniques for tropical seagrass restoration, a blueprint for seagrass friendly marine infrastructure, and restoration decision tools applied at local and regional scales. This will provide significant benefits by protecting seagrass ecosystem services and place Australia at the forefront of global seagrass restoration efforts.
Michael Rasheed, Alana Grech, Gary Kendrick, Robert Orth, Paul Doyle and Kevin Kane (TropWater, Research Division, University of Western Australia, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Ports North and North Queensland Bulk Ports)

AIMS@JCU - Scholarship

3D mapping and monitoring coral reefs population and community dynamics: EcoRRAP PhD scholarship

Indicative Funding
$134,388 over 4 years
The aim of this project is to fill key knowledge gaps in natural rates of reef recovery and adaptation to climate change through upscaling spatial analysis and monitoring. The overreaching goal is to improve the spatial extent in monitoring techniques and workflows used to investigate drivers of coral reef recovery and adaptation to climate change, to better guide managers in the planning and design of coral reef protection and conservation programs, including restoration interventions. The project will involve fieldwork and require high level of programming and statistical skills.
Alana Grech and Tiny Remmers Barry (Research Division)
Coral Reef; 3D Mapping; Monitoring

Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment - Marine Parks

Reef lagoon benthic habitat mapping in the Coral Sea Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$498,093 over 3 years
This project will undertake reef lagoon benthic habitat mapping within the Coral Sea Marine Park. Sites to be surveyed are the western lagoon of Holmes Reef, all of Herald Cays, the lagoon between the Diamond Islets in Tregrosse Reef, and the eastern corner of the lagoon in Lihou Reef. This project will produce the first extensive reef lagoon benthic maps of the selected regions in the Coral Sea Marine Park and will be the first seagrass survey in the Coral Sea.
Samantha Tol, Paul York, Michael Rasheed, Robert Coles, Alana Grech and Andrew Hoey (TropWater and Research Division)
Reef lagoon; Coral Sea Marine Park; Macroalgae; Benthic Habitat Mapping; Seagrass; Coral

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 4 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 (Academy, TropWater and Research Division)
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.

  • Informing the Recovery and Restoration of Tropical Seagrasses using a Biophysical modelling approach (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Understanding the influence of propagule transport in the dispersal and connectivity of marine macrophytes (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A functional traits-based approach to improve understanding of seagrass resilience and disturbance effects on ecosystem services (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Palaeolandscapes and the Archaeological implications of Changing Landscapes and Seascapes in the Torres Strait (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • 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)
  • Characterising coral reefs? community composition and structure using photogrammetry to inform restoration. (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)

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


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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  • 34.204, Earth & Environmental Sciences (Townsville campus)
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