Prof Colin Simpfendorfer is the Director of the Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture. He has more than 25 years of experience in researching sharks, and has published extensively in the scientific literature on shark biology, ecology, fisheries and conservation. His expertise on sharks has been recognized by his appointment as the Co-Chair of the IUCN’s Shark Specialist Group. 

Colin is a graduate of James Cook University, having undertaken both his undergraduate and postgraduate training in Townsville. After completing his PhD he worked on shark fisheries at the Western Australian Fisheries Department before moving to Florida to work at the Centre for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory. He returned to JCU in 2007 to lead the Fishing and Fisheries Research Centre, where he has helped build a research group focused on improving our understanding of sharks and how best to conserve and manage their populations.

  • BS1001: Introduction to Biological Processes (Level 1; TSV)
  • BZ1001: Introduction to Biological Processes (Level 1; TSV)
  • Status and sustainable use of elasmobranch populations
  • Science for the conservation of elasmobranch populations
  • Nursery areas for sharks
  • Analytical tools for acoustic monitoring studies
  • 2006 to present - Professor, James Cook University (Townsville, Queensland)
  • 1999 to 2006 - Senior Scientist, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida, USA)
  • 1993 to 1999 - Senior Research Scientist, Western Australian Fisheries (Perth, Western Australia)
  • 1987 to 1993 - Academic Level A, James Cook University (Townsville, Queensland)
Research Disciplines
  • 2013 - Advisor of the Year Award, Advisory Panel Category - Highly Commended
  • 2011 - JCU Faculty of Science and Engineering Dean's Research Award (Group)
  • 2012 to 2015 - Co-Chair IUCN Shark Specialist Group

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.

Other research outputs

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 162+ research outputs authored by Prof Colin Simpfendorfer from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors - Global Partnership for Sharks & Rays (GPSR)

Maximising outcomes for shark and ray MPAs

Indicative Funding
This project will investigate the benefits of using marine protected areas (MPAs) for shark and ray conservation. It will combine work reviewing the current state of knowledge, synthesis or shark and ray movement data to better inform MPA design, identification of socioeconomic factors that affect MPA success, and spatial moelling to identify the areas where MPAs will be of greatest benefit. I will include partnerships with AIMS and Simon Fraser University.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Amy Diedrich in collaboration with Michelle Heupel and Nick K Dulvy (College of Science & Engineering, Australian Institute of Marine Science and Simon Fraser University)
Marine Protected Areas; movement ecology; Shark; Conservation Planning; ray; Spatial Planning

Australian Institute of Marine Science - Contract Research

JCU - AIMS Shark Collaboration

Indicative Funding
$178,119 over 3 years
Funding will support a joint post-doc between JCU and AIMS to assist with collaborative projects the ecology and conservation of sharks.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Michelle Heupel in collaboration with Andrew Chin (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Shark; Ecology; Coral Reef Ecosystems; Hammerhead Sharks

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Contract Research

Life history attributes data for deepwater sharks ecological risk assessment

Indicative Funding
This project will gather information on the life history of deepwater shaks from the Pacific and Indian Oceans for use in developing a qulaitative isk assessment for deepwater fisheries.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Cassandra Rigby (College of Science & Engineering)
Deepwater ecology; Shark; Ray; Ecological Risk Assessment

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation - Research Grant

Global Shark and Ray Initiative (activity support)

Indicative Funding
$34,725 over 2 years (administered by Wildlife Conservation Society)
The purpose of this grant is to enable the necessary coordination among the GSRI partners to deliver the Global Shark and Ray Conservation Strategy. Continuing to work together, the GSRI will maximize collective expertise, investments, and respective strengths to support the delivery of the goals and objectives of this collaborative strategy. Supporting this continued coordination will ensure the success of concurrent collaborative GSRI projects and enable the design and implementation of others.
Colin Simpfendorfer (College of Science & Engineering)
Shark; Fisheries Management; Ray; Conservation

Wildlife Conservation Society - Contract Research

Shark Rapid Assessment Toolkit

Indicative Funding
This project will develop tools that developing countries can use to assess the status of their shark and ray resources. It is a partnership between WWF, JCU, AIMS, USP and CSIRO.
Colin Simpfendorfer (College of Science & Engineering)
Shark fisheries

ACIAR - Research Grant

Sustainable management of the shark resources of Papua New Guinea: socioeconomic and biological characteristics of the fishery

Indicative Funding
$121,192 over 4 years (administered by CSIRO)
The shark fishery in PNG is the country's5th most important export fishery worth about K8 million annually. Sharks are also important to the artisanal fishery and are a potential resource for ecotourism. It is also highly likely that the shark resources of PNG are shared with neighbouring countries, e.g. Australia, Indonesia, and adjacent South Pacific island nations such as the Solomon Islands. Sharks and rays are particularly vulnerable to over-exploitation due to their life history characteristics, and declines can affect livelihoods of communities. The PNG National Fisheries Authority (NFA) has identified a need to improve fisheries management, underpinned by an assessment of the shark and ray fisheries.
William White, Ludwig Kumoru, Colin Simpfendorfer, Sharon Appleyard and Andrew Chin in collaboration with Jonathan Smart (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, National Fisheries Authority, Papua New Guinea and College of Science & Engineering)
Shark; Ray; Papua New Guinea; Fishery; Management; Conservation

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation - Research Grants

Global Shark and Ray Initiative - Quickstart projects

Indicative Funding
$45,186 over 2 years (administered by Wildlife Conservation Society)
This project is part of a large project that is developing a global conservation strategy for sharks and rays. This work will investigate two aspects of global shark conservation. 1. It will assist in the development of the case for conservation of devil rays, silky shark, freshwater stingrays and guitarfish; 2. It will assist in the development of simple fisheries management tools for the rapid conservation of sharks and rays.
Colin Simpfendorfer (College of Science & Engineering)
shark; Fisheries Management; Ray Crystal-Structure; Conservation

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Research & Development Funding - Research Grant

A Report Card for Australia's Sharks and Rays

Indicative Funding
$199,999 over 3 years
This project will synthesise information from a large number of previous and current research projects to generate both a repository of accessible knowledge, as well as a report card on the status of sharks and rays in Australia.
Colin Simpfendorfer, William White and Andrew Chin (College of Science & Engineering and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Shark; Ray; Population Status; Conservation; Fisheries Management

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.

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Marine Sanctuaries for Wide-Ranging Animals: A Case Study of the Cook Islands Shark Sanctuary. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Population Structure and Viability Assessment of Galapagos Sharks (Carcharhinus galapagensis) Accross the Pacific Ocean, Defining Relationoship with Carcharhinus Obscurus to Inform Conservation Management. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Distribution, Abundance and Conservation Threats of Elasmobranchs in the River Systems of Papua New Guinea (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Conservation Genomics and Ecology of True Sea Snakes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Biology and Ecology of Carcharhiniform Sharks Caught in the Papua New Guinea Prawn Trawl Fishery. (Masters , Primary Advisor)
  • Effects of Environmental Variation on Habitat Use and Movement of the Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus Melanopterus. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A holistic approach to shark fisheries science and management: The role of contempory indigenous knowledge (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Assessing Ecological Risk Posed to Common Rays by Prawn Trawling (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Diversity, Abundance and Distribution of Batoids on Coral Reefs (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Examining Coral Reef Carrying Capacity and Trophic Roles of Grey Reef Sharks in the Central GBR. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Conservation Approaches for Hammerhead Sharks in Australian Waters. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Global Survey of Sawfishes Using Environmental DNA (eDNA) (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • A Challenging Environment in a Changing World of Juvenile Sharks: Ecological Energetics of Climate Change with Implications Toward Conservation (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Biology and Population Dynamics of Blue Threadfin (Eleutheronema tetradactylum) across Northern Australia (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)

Connect with me
Share my profile
Share my profile:

Advisory Accreditation
Advisor Mentor
Find me on…
Icon for ResearcherID page Icon for NLA Trove People record Icon for Google Scholar profile Icon for Scopus Author page Icon for Mendeley public profile Icon for Twitter profile page

Similar to me

  1. Dr Andrew Chin
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr Michelle Heupel
    College of Science & Engineering
  3. Dr Ashley Williams
    College of Science & Engineering
  4. Dr Jodie Rummer
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  5. Dr Sue-Ann Watson
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies