About

Dr Alex Carter is a senior researcher at the Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER). Her research focuses on the ecology, conservation and assessment of coastal environments; in particular, large-scale ecosystem processes in northern Australia involving seagrass, coral, fish communities, turtle and dugong. Prior to commencing at James Cook University, she was employed as a scientist at Queensland Fisheries. She completed her PhD on spatial variation in reproductive biology for common coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus), and the role of marine reserves as a potential fisheries management tool for this species on the Great Barrier Reef. 

Alex leads a variety of projects and collaborations with diverse stakeholders and funding agencies, including all levels of government, other universities, industry, Traditional Owners, rangers, citizen scientists, and community groups. Current projects include:

1. Large-scale marine habitat mapping across northern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, Torres Strait and Gulf of Carpentaria.

2. Quantifying habitat use by species with significant cultural, ecological, conservation and economic importance (e.g. turtles, dugong, fish, sea cucumbers);

3. Developing and implementing environmental condition report cards. These include seagrass report cards for the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership, Torres Strait, regional NRM groups, and Queensland ports, and development of condition indicators for reef fish on the Great Barrier Reef.

4. Working with Rangers and Traditional Owners to expand seagrass and fish research and monitoring in northern Australia by incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge.

5. Coral restoration including the use of coral nurseries, reef stars, and larval seeding.

Alex is interested in receiving inquiries from prospective Honours, Masters by Research and PhD candidates who are interested in tropical marine biology. Scholarship funding is available through James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarships

Interests
Research
  • Spatial modelling, mapping, and statistical approaches to deal with messy biological data
  • Habitat condition assessments and environmental report cards
  • Incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge into scientific research and collaborations with Traditional Owners to deliver marine research
  • Fisheries management and no-take marine reserves
  • Fish reproductive biology
  • Coral reef restoration
Research Disciplines
Honours
Awards
  • 2016 - UPNG/JCU Twinning Project - ECR Group Work Team Prize
  • 2009 - PADI Project Aware Grant
  • 2009 - GBRMPA Science for Management Award
  • 2008 - GBRMPA Science for Management Award
Memberships
  • World Seagrass Association
  • International Coral Reef Society
  • Australian Marine Science Association
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
Conference Papers
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 92+ research outputs authored by Dr Alexandra Carter from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Reef Trust Partnership

IMR Integrated Reef Fish Monitoring Program

Indicative Funding
$491,011 over 2 years (administered by Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Summary
While critical knowledge of the abundance, diversity, and assemblage composition of Great Barrier Reef reef fishes has been delivered by comprehensive and systematic monitoring programs across various spatial and temporal scales to date, significant knowledge gaps remain. The Integrated Reef Fish Monitoring Program will address these critical knowledge gaps by establishing monitoring in nursery seascapes, deep-water inter-reef habitat, inshore fringing reefs, and developing indicators of reef fish status and trend.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter, Tim Smith and Robert Coles (TropWATER)
Keywords
Fish; Great Barrier Reef; Monitoring; Coral Reef; Seagrass; Mangrove

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Torres Strait Ugar Island and Dugong Sanctuary Survey

Indicative Funding
$100,612 over 1 year
Summary
This project has two objectives: 1. To map intertidal reef-top and island benthic habitat, including seagrass, coral and algae, of Ugar Island and surrounding Reefs. We will identify the most important seagrass habitats in this region and compare results with recently mapped seagrass in the Kemer Kemer Meriam Nation and Torres Strait Central Cluster Islands. 2. Survey subtidal seagrass and other benthic communities, and fish communities, in the West Cape York Marine Park/ Southern Dugong Sanctuary to increase understanding of traditional knowledge and collaborate with Indigenous rangers and Traditional Owners to undertake marine park management, such as mapping and monitoring. We will identify any changes/trends in the extent, health and diversity of seagrass meadows.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Ugar Island; Turtle; Torres Strait; Dugong Sanctuary; West Cape York

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

Mapping Critical Habitat in Yanyuwa Sea Country

Indicative Funding
$34,850 over 2 years
Summary
Marra and li-Anthawirriyarra rangers seek to build on existing partnerships with CDU and JCU to map the intertidal habitats of the Yanyuwa Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) and coastal areas connected to it, an area of profound importance to these communities and the marine ecosystem of the Gulf of Carpentaria (GoC). Significant co-funding will be provided by the Mabunji Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) and DAWE Migratory Species Section to conduct a large-scale mapping project that will inform Marra and Yanyuwa community decisions that underpin sustainable management and facilitate continued connection with sea country. Co-funding from NESP2 is sought to provide salary for data processing and reporting for these surveys. This project also leverages existing funding allocated to training, capacity building, community consultation and communication products committed to by the rangers, CDU, JCU, the Australian and the NT Governments.
Investigators
Rachel Groom, Alexandra Carter, Catherine Collier, Shaun Evans, David Barret and Stephen Barret (Charles Darwin University, TropWATER and Mabunji Aboriginal Resource Centre)
Keywords
Seagrass; yanyuwa; spatial data; Habitat; gulf os carpentaria; Sea Country; marra

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Tender

Habitat characterisation and biodiversity surveys in West Cape York Marine Park and Torres Strait Dugong Sanctuary.

Indicative Funding
$256,584 over 2 years
Summary
Marine habitats of western Torres Strait and Cape York have long been identified as ecologically and culturally significant, supporting large areas of seagrass, high densities of dugongs and turtles, and traditional, commercial and recreational fisheries. These ecological values in the region have led to the establishment of the Torres Strait Dugong Sanctuary and the West Cape York Marine Park (WCYMP). Despite these values, benthic habitats including seagrasses, fish assemblages and the cultural significance of the region remain inadequately surveyed and documented. In this project we will: (1) Increase understanding of traditional knowledge and collaborate with Indigenous rangers and Traditional Owners to undertake marine park management. (2) Identify any changes/trends in the extent, health and diversity of seagrass meadows. (3) Provide a habitat map for the National Park, Habitat Protection and Special Purpose Zones in the southern region of West Cape York Marine Park. (4) conduct a pilot study of fish diversity.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter, Tim Smith and Rachel Groom in collaboration with Lloyd Shepherd and Robert Coles (TropWATER and Charles Darwin University)
Keywords
Seagrass; Marine Parks; Torres Strait; Turtle; Dugong; Fish; Dugong Sanctuary; West Cape York Marine Park

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

Mapping Marra Sea Country with a focus on benthic habitats of the Limmen Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$283,720 over 2 years
Summary
Understanding the distribution and composition of benthic habitats in the Limmen Marine Park is necessary to manage the park in accordance with the North Marine Parks Network Management Plan and support the aspirations of the Marra People. Our team will survey the marine benthic habitats within and adjacent to the marine park. Recommendations for the marine park?s co-management will be developed. Project outputs will be relevant to multiple users and made accessible by optimizing media streams, including a short film about the Limmen marine park from the perspective of the Marra people and sea rangers.
Investigators
Catherine Collier, Alexandra Carter, Rachel Groom, Robert Coles and Michael Rasheed in collaboration with Lloyd Shepherd and Paul Leeson (TropWATER and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Keywords
Marine Parks; Co-management; Traditional Owners; Benthic habitats; Seagrass; Monitoring

Reef Catchments Limited - Contract Research

Seagrass monitoring for Inshore Marine South Zone for the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership

Indicative Funding
$76,015 over 3 years
Summary
Continuation of annual seagrass monitoring program and development and implementation of seagrass condition report card in the south zone of the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac region.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Coastal habitat; Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac; Report Card

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

Synthesizing Three Decades of Seagrass Spatial Data from Torres Strait and Gulf of Carpentaria

Indicative Funding
$41,837 over 1 year, in partnership with the Torres Strait Regional Authority ($10,000)
Summary
The Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Strait have globally significant seagrass habitat that provide food for threatened dugong and turtle, and habitat for commercially important fish and prawns. Key to understanding, managing, mitigating risk, and monitoring seagrass in this remote region is reliable data on seagrass distribution and species composition and how these changes through time. Data on seagrass has been collected in these areas since the 1980s, but data location and storage from these efforts remains disparate, in many cases not publicly available, and in some cases has already been lost. Our study will compile, validate and synthesize historical seagrass spatial data to create a publicly available database accessible on eAtlas. This product will provide end-users with a valuable spatial resource to assist management and monitoring of seagrass in the region.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter, Skye McKenna, Robert Coles and Michael Rasheed (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Torres Strait; Dugong; gulf of carpentaria; Green Turtle; spatial data

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Quantifying the value of Blue Carbon: Case Study Torres Strait

Indicative Funding
$16,909 over 1 year
Summary
Torres Strait seagrass mapping synthesis and blue carbon presentation.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter in collaboration with Michael Rasheed, Skye McKenna and Paul York (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Torres Strait; Marine Habitats; Blue Carbon

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Torres Strait Seagrass Research

Indicative Funding
$700,514 over 6 years
Summary
This seagrass research program continues collaborations with TSRA LSLMU Rangers in the Dugong Sanctuary, and will conduct seagrass baseline surveys at Dungeness Reef. The baseline assessment will form the foundation for ongoing monitoring, and provide essential information to the TSRA, Australian and Queensland Governments for dugong and turtle management plans, complimenting dugong and turtle research studies in the region and building skills and capacity of Traditional Owners and Rangers.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Turtle; Mapping; Dugong; Torres Strait

Fitzroy Basin Association - Contract Research

Gladstone Healthy Harbours Seagrass Condition Report Card.

Indicative Funding
$132,811 over 6 years
Summary
Gladstone Healthy Harbours Partnership (GHHP) produces an annual report card on the condition of Gladstone Harbour. JCU TropWATER have been contracted to produce the seagrass component of the report card.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter, Michael Rasheed and Catherine Bryant (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Gladstone Harbour; Port Curtis; Report Card

Torres Strait Regional Authority - Contract Research

Seagrass Monitoring of Dugong Sanctuary in Torres Strait and Baseline survey/mapping of Torres Strait Eastern Cluster.

Indicative Funding
$278,698 over 1 year
Summary
Seagrass Monitoring of the Dugong Sanctuary and Torres Strait?s western cluster subtidal seagrass, and baseline survey and mapping of Torres Strait?s Eastern Cluster intertidal seagrass.
Investigators
Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed in collaboration with Lloyd Shepherd (TropWATER)
Keywords
Seagrass; Marine habitat; Torres Strait; Dugong; Turtle; Reef

Reef Restoration Foundation Limited - Reef Restoration Foundation Limited - Contract Research

Scientific oversight and planning advice for Reef Restoration Foundation activities

Indicative Funding
$52,099 over 2 years
Summary
Advice regarding future design and scope for coral restoration techniques and program growth, including setting out strategic planning for key program objectives through joint RRF/JCU meetings through April 2020. Advice on consolidation of existing data and statistical design to answer key research questions.
Investigators
Katie Chartrand, Alexandra Carter and Michael Rasheed in collaboration with Hannah Kish (TropWATER)
Keywords
Acropora spp.; Restoration; Research; Coral; Coral nurseries; Tourism
Supervision

Advisory Accreditation: I can be on your Advisory Panel as a 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
  • Factors driving Chelonia mydas (green sea turtle) interactions with seagrass meadows within coastal foraging habitats (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
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
  • E1.016A, Health & Sciences (Cairns campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Secondary Advisor
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Similar to me

  1. Dr Alana Grech
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  2. Dr Katie Chartrand
    TropWATER
  3. Dr Michael Rasheed
    TropWATER
  4. Ms Skye McKenna
    TropWATER
  5. Dr Robert Coles
    TropWATER