• I have broad research interests in many aspects of coral reef ecology ranging from organism biology to the biogeography and evolution of the Scleractinia. The main focus of my research has been coral larval ecology and reproductive biology. I have also made significant contributions to the field of coral bleaching and likely effects of climate change on coral reefs. My primary research interest at present is to understand and predicting range limits of corals under a changing climate. My research into coral larval ecology has been instrumental in establishing the role of pre-settlement process, in particular larval behaviour, in determining patterns of adult distribution at multiple scales. I demonstrated that the depth zonation of coral assemblages is influenced in part by choices made by larvae at settlement. Similarly, the large geographical range size of many coral species is caused, in part, by an extraordinary capacity for larvae to delay metamorphosis. This research also provided an explanation for the paradox of heterogeneous genetic population structure within the extensive geographical range of many coral species. When given the choice, larvae will settle rapidly, however, if transported away from their natal reefs they retain the ability to settle for many months. Furthermore, we recently provided a mechanism to explain this extraordinary capacity of coral larvae to stay alive in the plankton: hypometabolism, which essentially means coral larvae will “hibernate” in the absence of sensory stimulus. Currently, I am working with the postdoctoral fellows in my lab and my colleague, Prof Sean Connolly, to develop mechanistic models of larval dispersal that allow for patterns of dispersal to be predicted from a few simple and easily measured traits. In addition, we are using a combination of experimental biology and ecological modelling to explore the effects of climate change on patterns of coral larval connectivity.

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 154+ research outputs authored by Prof Andrew Baird from 1997 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Developing a mechanistic basis for coral reef conservation

Indicative Funding
$383,136 over 3 years
The health and reef-building capacity of coral reefs worldwide is challenged by a range of anthropogenic impacts, including global warming, sedimentation, eutrophication and ocean acidification. If coral reef ecosystems are to overcome these environmental challenges and persist into the future, corals must acclimate and/or adapt. This project will provide an evidence base for coral reef conservation to be targeted towards conserving regions that are found to be at greatest risk, and those that have the greatest capacity for resilience, to the projected near future climate change.
Tracy Ainsworth, Bill Leggat, Andrew Baird and Scott Heron (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and PortMap Remote Ocean Sensing Pty Ltd)
Coral; Coral Reefs; Climate Change

Australian Research Council - Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Indicative Funding
$28,000,000 over 7 years
The overarching aim of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies is to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for sustaining ecosystem goods and services of the world's coral reefs, which support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the tropics. The Centre will enhance Australia's global leadership in coral reef science through three ambitious research programs addressing the future of coral reefs and their ability to adapt to change. A key outcome of the research will be providing tangible benefits to all Australians by bui8lding bridges between the natural and social sciences, strengthening capacity, and informing and supporting transformative changes in coral reef governance and management.
Terry Hughes, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Malcolm McCulloch, Peter Mumby, Sean Connolly, John Pandolfi, Bob Pressey, Andrew Baird, David Bellwood, Joshua Cinner, Sophie Dove, Maja Adamska, Mia Hoogenboom, Geoff Jones, Mike Kingsford, Ryan Lowe, Mark McCormick, David Miller, Philip Munday, Morgan Pratchett, Garry Russ and Tiffany Morrison in collaboration with Janice Lough, David Wachenfeld, Stephen Palumbi, Serge Planes and Philippa Cohen (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia, College of Science & Engineering, Australian National University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Stanford University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and WorldFish)
coral reef ecosystems; Climate Change Adaptation; ecological resilience; biodiversity goods and services; social-ecological dynamics

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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.

  • Effects of Ocean Warming on Coral Reproduction and Transgenerational Effect: Comparison of Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms of Resilience (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Use of Novel Techniques to SolveTaxonomic Uncertainties in an Ecologically Important Coral Taxon (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Coexistence-promoting mechanisms in reef-coral communities (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Coral Depth Zonation: Its Nature and Significance. (PhD , Primary 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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