I was awarded my PhD from James Cook University in 2001 where my research project focussed on photosynthesis and bleaching in the symbiotic giant clam Tridacna gigas. I then moved to the University of Queensland where I was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Centre for Marine Studies in the laboratory of Prof Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. In 2007 I returned to James Cook Univeristy as a Lecturer in the discpline of Biochemistry, I am now an Associate Professor, head of the Symbiosis Genomics Research Group and a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies. The overarching aim of my research is to link transcriptomic and metabolomic changes to whole organism responses and acclimation. My research utilises genomic and metabolomic techniques to determine how the coral holobiont and other marine symbioses responds to anthropogenic changes, including increasing temperatures, ocean acidification and eutrophication.

  • BC2013: Principles of Biochemistry (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC2014: Principles of Biochemistry for Pharmacy Students (Level 2; TSV)
  • BC3202: Special Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5202: Advanced Laboratory Practice in Molecular and Cell Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • BC5312: Research and Dissertation in Molecular and Cell Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • TV2001: Integrated Animal Structure and Function 1 (Level 2; TSV)
Research Disciplines
  • 2010 - Supervisory of the Year Award - Early Career Supervisor Category

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 45+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Bill Leggat from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Photosynthetic traits as "key performance indicators" of coral health

Indicative Funding
$75,000 over 3 years (administered by UTS)
The objective of this project is to advance knowledge on the healthy functioning of the coral-algal symbiosis, which defines the fate of entire coral reef ecosystems to worldwide environmental change. Current approaches to address this problem have linked coral health to algal symbiont diversity but have been unable to resolve the fundamental symbiont functional traits that govern this link, the 'key performance indicators (KPIs)". This project plans to couple advanced physiological and functional genomics techniques to transform our understanding of how algal symbiont metabolic KPIs regulate coral growth and stress susceptibility. This may provide new diagnostic capability for the assessment of coral health and may neablel us to improve coral reef ecosystem management.
D Suggett, Bill Leggat and Gaurav Sablok (University of Technology, Sydney and ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Coral; Photosynthesis; Functional Genomics

Great Barrier Reef Foundation - Research Grant

Resilient reefs successfully adapting to climate change program

Indicative Funding
$225,000 over 2 years
Environmental metabolomics is opening new avenues for monitoring ecosystem health. Eco-metabolomics measures the impact to organisms from natural and anthropogenic stressors by directly measuring changes in metabolism. Use of metabolomics provides managers with rapid, reliable and accurate impact assessments of stress exposure on species. As metabolomics is able to quantify and identify specific and synergistic effects of acute and cumulative stressors, thresholds for management responses can be tailored to specific exposures. Linking metabolic responses to satellite monitoring and incorporating into a geographic information system, will provide a novel integrated monitoring tool for managers at multiple spatial and temporal scales.
Bill Leggat and Tracy Ainsworth in collaboration with Scott Heron and U Roessner (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and The University of Melbourne)
Biomonitoring; Metabolomics; Coral

Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts - Accelerate Partnerships

Coral genomes along environmental gradients

Indicative Funding
$140,000 over 2 years (administered by University of Queensland)
The project will examine variation in the genomes of coral holobionts along two environmental gradients on the Great Barrier Reef, the first being dominated by sediments, nutrients and heavy metals, and the second by variation in surface water temperature. The aim is to identify markers appropriate for genetic connectivity, health status, stress and resilience in response to thermal or water quality parameters, and begin to integrate these data into management decisions.
Mark Ragan, Eva Abal, Roger Beeden, David Bourne, Sylvain Foret, Andrew Gilbert, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, David Miller, Bill Leggat, Gene Tyson and Madeleine van Oppen in collaboration with Kyall Zenger (The University of Queensland, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Australian National University, Bioplatforms Australia, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and College of Science & Engineering)
rocal resilience; environmental genomics; Pollution; reef management; coral adaptation

PortMap Remote Ocean Sensing Pty Ltd - Contract Research

Port Map Contract

Indicative Funding
Research contract to link satellite sea surface temperatures to coral responses
Bill Leggat (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Coral; Bleaching; Satelite

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Advancing knowledge of microbial symbioses underpinning coral health and reef resilience

Indicative Funding
$310,000 over 3 years
Dynamic symbioses between the host, photosynthetic eukaryotes and diverse prokaryotes are the foundation of coral ecological success. This project will determine the functional roles of microbial members in the multipartite coral symbiosis and the contribution of all members to whole organism resilience under climate change scenarios. Whole-system approaches represent the future of biological research in complex ecosystems. This project will advance Australian expertise through international collaborations and ensure Australia's leading status in coral research by providing training in state-of-art technologies. Research outcomes will unravel the biological and microbial of coral health, which underpins reef sustainability.
Bill Leggat, Bette Willis and Tracy Ainsworth in collaboration with David Bourne and Monica Medina (College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, College of Science & Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australian Institute of Marine Science and University of California - Merced)
Symbiosis; Acclimatization; Coral

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.

  • Characterisation of PPDK and PEPS Regulation in Bacteria (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Characterisation of Carbonic Anhydrase in the Symbiotic Dinoflagellate Symbiodinium (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Thermal Acclimation and Light-harvesting Complex Expression in Symbiodinium (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A Study of the Metabolome of Diverse Symbiodinium Phylotypes and their Response to Environmental Stressor (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Coral core microbiome: composition, microhabitat distribution host influence and response to environmental changes. (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)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

  • 20.022, Molecular Genetics Labratory (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
Advisor Mentor
Find me on…
Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for ResearcherID page Icon for ORCID profile Icon for LinkedIn profile page

Similar to me

  1. Prof Bette Willis
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr David Bourne
    College of Science & Engineering
  3. Dr Gergely Torda
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  4. Dr Aurelie Moya
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  5. Dr Line Bay
    Division of Research & Innovation