Caroline was born and grew up in the south-western coast of France. She completed a MSc in Environment, Littoral and Marine Oceanography in 2006 and a PhD in oceanography with a specialty in remote sensing in 2009, both at the University of Bordeaux (France). Her PhD focused on developing methods to monitor the quality of coastal waters in the south Bay of Biscay (France) through the integration of remote sensing and in-situ data. Previous experiences include wetland sustainability monitoring in outback Australia, coastal upwelling monitoring in Colombia (South America), and the management of regional in-situ and spatial datasets. Caroline moved to Australia in 2010 and has been working with the Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) at James Cook University, Australia since 2012.

Research and monitoring programs that Caroline has been an investigator for since 2012 include:

Principal Investigator:

  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research “Reef Rescue marine Monitoring Program - Assessment of Terrestrial Run-off entering the Reef” PIs: Waterhouse, J., Petus, C., Tracey, D., and Lewis, S. funding: 4,340,656 over 11 years


  • Department of the Environment - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub - Project 4.4 'Hazard assessment for water quality threats to Torres Strait marine waters, ecosystems and public health' -  PI: Brodie, J.
  • Department of the Environment - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub - Project 'Vulnerability of seagrass habitats in the Great Barrier Reef to flood plume impacts: light, nutrients, salinity' -  PI: Collier, C.
  • Department of the Environment - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub - Compilation of GBR Water Quality Data and Analyses as Part of NERP TE Project 9.1 - PI: Devlin, M., funding: $15,000
  • Cape York NRM, NQ Dry Tropics and the Fitzroy Basin Association - 'Mapping uncertainty in chlorophyll a assessments from remote sensing in the Great Barrier Reef'. Outcomes of a joint project for the Cape York, Burdekin and Fitzroy Water Quality Improvement Plans, 2015, PIs: Brodie, J. and Waterhouse, J., 
  • Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - 'Assessment of the relative risk of degraded water quality to ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef' -  PIs: Brodie, J. and Waterhouse, J.
  • South Cape York Catchments - Contract Research “Cape York WQIP Update: Supporting Studies”- PIs: Brodie, J. and Waterhouse, J., funding: $59,000
  • NQ Dry Tropics - Contract Research “Burdekin WQIP Update: Supporting Studies” - PIs: Brodie, J. and Waterhouse, J., funding: $109,000
  • Fitzroy Basin Association (Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership) - Contract Research “Fitzroy WQIP: Supporting studies” - PIs: Brodie, J. and Waterhouse, J., funding: $71,000
  • North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation - Contract Research “Mackay & Hay Point Marine Water Quality Monitoring” - PIs: Waltham, N. and Rasheed, M., funding: $492,260 over 2 year
  • Gladstone Fishing Fund - Contract Research “Using satellite maps to document the extent of sediment plumes associated with dredging activity in Gladstone Port's western basin”.  PI: Devlin, M., funding: $10000 
  • DSITIA - Accelerate Partnerships “Towards Solving COTS on the GBR through Integrated Pest Management” - PIs: Anthony, K.,  MacNeil,A., Sweatman, H., Archer, A., Mumby, P., McDonald-Madden, E., Hock, K., Devlin, M.,  Hoey, J and Beeden, R., $60,000 over 2 years (administered by AIMS)
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science - Contract Research “Compilation of GBR Water Quality Data and Analyses” -  PI: Devlin, M., funding: $30,000 

 Previous national and international projects (selection): 

  • Allocating Water and Maintaining Springs in the Great Artesian Basin Project - Australian National Water Initiative and South Australian Government agencies.
  • Littoral Ocean River Euskadi Aquitaine (LOREA) and Operational Observation of suspended sediments in EUSKADI-AQUITANIA (OOSEAA) projects - French/Spain collaboration
  • Caracterización de la zona costera del Departamento de la Guajira; una aproximación para su manejo integrado (montoring of the Guajira upwelling) - French/Colombia collaboration 


  • Caroline's broad research interests focus on the application and analysis of spatial, remote sensing and in-situ data in environmental sciences and natural resource monitoring and management. She focuses more particularly on the aquatic ecosystems, including the wetland, estuarine, coastal and offshore ecosystems. She specialises in the monitoring of coastal water quality, the mapping of land-sourced contaminants transport within river plume waters and the evaluation of the susceptibility of coastal to marine key ecosystems to river plume exposure. She is particularly interested in understanding the extent of normal and extreme natural variations in sensitive aquatic environments to better monitor and assess the changes from anthropogenic-driven or climate changes.
  • 2016 to present - Senior research officer, Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2012 to 2015 - Research Officer, Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER) (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2011 - Field assistant, University of Western Australia (Perth, Australia)
  • 2010 to 2011 - Research Officer, University of Adelaide (Australia)
  • 2010 to 2011 - GIS officer, University of Adelaide (Australia)
  • 2010 - Research Officer, French Institute for Sea Research (IFREMER) (Brest, France)
  • 2006 to 2009 - PhD Remote sensing of the Environment, University of Bordeaux (France)
  • 2004 to 2006 - MSc Environment, Littoral and Marine Oceanography, University of Bordeaux (France)
  • 2001 to 2004 - BSc Sciences of Earth and Sea, University of Bordeaux (France)
Research Disciplines

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 39+ research outputs authored by Dr Caroline Petus from 2007 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Contract Research

Reef Rescue marine Monitoring Program - Assessment of Terrestrial Run-off entering the Reef.

Indicative Funding
$6,699,800 over 15 years
The Reef Rescue Marine Monitoring Program (MMP) is a key component in the assessment of long-term improvements in inshore water quality and marine ecosystem health that are expected to occur with the adoption of improved land management practices. The Program monitors the long-term health of key marine ecosystems and the condition of water quality in the inshore Reef lagoon. Data from the MMP is combined with monitoring data collected at the paddock and catchment scales to produce a summary of the health of the Reef and its catchments.
Jane Waterhouse, Caroline Petus, Dieter Tracey and Chritina Howley in collaboration with Stephen Lewis (TropWater and Howley Environmental Consulting)
Water Quality; Great Barrier Reef; Pesticide Runoff; Marine ecosystems; Farm runoff

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Marine Monitoring Program (MMP)

Influences on inshore marine water quality in the dry season

Indicative Funding
In this discreet pilot study, we will build on significant investment in the Great Barrier Reef MMP. We will build on the existing wet season mapping approaches developed through the MMP to investigate the application of these for the development of dry season water type maps using Sentinel satellite imagery. Ultimately, the aim is to understand: 1) the magnitude, duration and extent of poor water quality in the dry season, when the Reef is not affected by catchment run-off in river discharge; and 2) how this compares to the affects we can attribute to run-off in the wet season.
Caroline Petus in collaboration with Cassandra James, Dieter Tracey, Jane Waterhouse and Stephen Lewis (TropWater)
Great Barrier Reef; Marine remote sensing; Water quality; Terrestrial runoff; Flood events

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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