Bette Willis is a Professor in the School of Marine and Tropical Biology and Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. Her research focusses on questions relating to the biology and ecology of scleractinian corals, particularly on questions relating to the health of reef corals in an era of climate change and increasing anthropogenic impacts. She has published more than 125 peer-reviewed publications, including 5 in Nature, Science and Nature Climate Change, 7 book chapters, and 5 major reviews (e.g. Annual Reviews of Marine Biology, Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics).  She has supervised 100 postgraduate students, including PhD (39), MSc (35) and Honours (16) students.

Her current research strives to understand inter-kingdom symbiotic partnerships that underpin coral health and factors driving outbreaks of coral disease, both on the Great Barrier Reef and globally.  She is involved in various international working groups and networks aimed at furthering understanding of the ecology of infectious diseases in corals and in raising the profile of coral health issues throughout the Indo-Pacific. By exploring the dynamics of coral-microbial associations and how flexibility in symbiotic partnerships affects tolerance to environmental stressors, Willis and her research group are exploring the potential of corals to acclimatise and adapt to a changing world.


  • Ecology of infectious diseases in reef corals
  • Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of coral disease outbreaks
  • Microbial symbioses underpinning coral health
  • Acclimatisation and adaption of coral symbioses to environmental change
  • Reproductive biology and evolutionary ecology of corals
  • 2007 to present - Professor, Personal Chair in Marine Biology, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 2002 to 2006 - Associate Professor, James Cook University (Australia)
  • 1993 to 2001 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Australia)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

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 193+ research outputs authored by Empro Bette Willis from 1984 onwards.


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.


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)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

    Advisory Accreditation
    Advisor Mentor
    Find me on…
    Icon for Google Scholar profile

    Similar to me

    1. Dr Gergely Torda
      Marine & Aquaculture Sciences
    2. Dr Kate Quigley
      Marine & Aquaculture Sciences
    3. Prof David Bourne
      Marine & Aquaculture Sciences
    4. Hillary Smith
      Marine & Aquaculture Sciences
    5. A/Prof Line Bay
      Research Division