About

David Bourne has a joint position as a Senior Lecturer at James Cook University in Townsville and Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS). His training is in the area of molecular microbial ecology with his research focused on investigation of microbial diversity, structure and function in complex ecosystems.He obtained his PhD in 1997 with the research thesis focused on investigating the pathways of bacterial mediated bio-degradation of freshwater cyanobacterial toxins. Postdoctoral positions at the University of Warwick in the UK and the University of Bergen in Norway saw him apply his microbial ecology skills to both terrestrial and marine environments. His research in the UK was focused on understanding terrestrial methanotroph populations while the position in Bergen investigated microbial processes and trophic food webs in marine systems. As a research scientist and senior microbiologist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) his scientific interests and research areas included many aspects of marine science and microbiology including marine microbes for drug discovery and the microbial dynamics in aquaculture (Rock Lobster) larval rearing systems.

Over the last 15 years his research has focused on understanding microbial interactions with corals. This work is divided essentially into two areas, the first investigating the normal microbial communities associated with corals and their functional roles in maintaining coral fitness. The second research focus is to elucidate pathogens and mechanism of disease onset in corals and the implications this has on a stressed reef ecosystem in light of climate change being a major driver of coral reef degradation.

In February 2016, Bourne commenced a Lecturer position at James Cook University, which allows him to maintain a highly dynamic and active research group. This position is joint with AIMS allowing him to continue to mentor a group which includes a number of students and postdoctoral employees all focused on coral microbial interactions and pushing this field ahead with innovative and challenging research projects.

Teaching
  • BC3101: Genes, Genomes and Development (Level 3; TSV)
  • BC5101: Advanced Genes, Genomes and Development (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB2080: Invertebrate Biology (Level 2; TSV)
  • MB3210: Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5380: Invertebrate Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5400: Life History and Evolution of Reef Corals (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • Microbial symbioses underpinning coral fitness
  • Environmental and anthropogenic drivers of coral disease
  • Genomics based approaches to understanding the coral holobiont
  • Response of the coral holobiont to environmental stressors
Experience
  • 2016 to present - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2002 to present - Principal Research Scientist, Australian Institute of Marine Science (Townsville)
  • 1999 to 2001 - Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bergen (Norway)
  • 1997 to 1999 - Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Warwick (United Kingdom)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Other
  • 2015 - Editor for AXIOS
  • 2013 - Editorial team of Environmental Microbiology
  • 2012 - Editorial team ISME J
Publications

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
Conference Papers
More

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 189+ research outputs authored by Prof David Bourne from 1996 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Earthwatch Institute Australia - Contract Research

Recovery of the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$456,818 over 3 years
Summary
This project investigates the potential for restoration of reef ecosystems around Magnetic Island. Linked with Earthwatch Australia, it is a citizen science-based project that engages volunteers to help remove macroalgae and monitor changes in coral recruitment, sediment dynamics, community composition, algae regrowth rates, and coral biology, with the hopes that removal of algae leads to an increase in coral cover. This contract represents an extension of the project for a further 3 years.
Investigators
David Bourne in collaboration with Hillary Smith (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Citizen Science; Coral Recovery; Reef Disturbance; Ecosystem Assessment; Coral Restoration

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Industrial Transformation Research Hubs

ARC Research Hub for Supercharging Tropical Aquaculture Through Genetic Solutions

Indicative Funding
$4,996,503 over 4 years, in partnership with Australian Genome Research Facility ($150,000); Cygnet Bay Pearls PL ($500,000); Mainstream Aquaculture ($500,000); Sea Forest Pty Ltd ($500,000) and THE COMPANY ONE PTY LTD ($500,000)
Summary
This project aims to integrate cutting edge genetic and genomic approaches into innovative aquaculture enterprises that farm in tropical northern Australia. It will deliver the requisite genetic knowledge to instigate world-leading and highly productive breeding programs for five species (barramundi, pearl oyster, prawn, grouper and marine seaweed), along with a novel understanding of the genetic basis of disease resistance and how the production environment interfaces with the bacterial microbiome, pathogens and water quality to cause disease. It will increase Australia's capacity to deliver advanced genetics outcomes to the aquaculture sector, while increasing productivity, international competitiveness, and lowered risk due to disease.
Investigators
Dean Jerry, Kyall Zenger, Benjamin Hayes, Rocky de Nys, David Bourne, Andreas Lopata, Ron White, Jan Strugnell, Chaoshu Zeng, Kelly Condon, Mostafa Rahimi Azghadi, Ira Cooke, Leo Nankervis and Carla Ewels (College of Science & Engineering, The University of Queensland, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Keywords
Selective Breeding; Genomics; Aquaculture

PADI Foundation - Research Grant

Genetic connectivity of Acropora Tenuis coral populations between Magnetic Island and adjacent mid-shelf reefs.

Indicative Funding
$5,274 over 1 year
Summary
Population declines and isolation can reduce fitness and resilience in coral populations due to low genetic diversity. Reefs surrounding Magnetic Island in the central inshore region of the GBR are categorized as degraded. The dominant reef-building species Acropora tenuis at Magnetic Island may be at risk though their population structure, genetic diversity and connectivity to adjacent reefs is unknown. This knowledge is crucial to underpin the management of local reefs and therefore this project will assess the genetic diversity and connectivity of A. tenuis populations at adjacent reefs surrounding Magnetic Island.
Investigators
Sandra Erdmann and David Bourne (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Acropora tenuis (Acroporidae); Magnetic Island; Coral restoration; Population genetics; Resilience and diversity; Connectivity

Reef HQ Volunteers Association - Grant

Long term benthic dynamics following interventions on macroalgae dominated reefs

Indicative Funding
$4,500 over 1 year
Summary
Macroalgae flourish under conditions with high amounts of terrestrial runoff, increased sedimentation and nutrient loading; conditions characteristic of an increasing number of coral reefs globally. These conditions can prompt a shift from coral dominance to an altered, macroalgae-dominated community, with the return of coral dominance rare once fleshy macroalgae have established. By increasing space for growth of existing coral colonies and enhancing available space for coral recruitment, manual removal of macroalgae (?sea-weeding?) has been proposed as one measure to promote reef recovery on macroalgae dominated reefs. This project will monitor the long-term benthic impacts of removing macroalgae from experimental plots on a degraded inshore reef.
Investigators
Hillary Smith and David Bourne (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Reef restoration; Macroalgae removal; Benthic dynamics; Coral reefs; Reef management

Reef HQ Volunteers Association - Grant

Identifying underlying mechanisms facilitating sulphide tolerance in the BBD cyanobacterium Roseofilum reptotaenium

Indicative Funding
$4,500 over 1 year
Summary
Coral diseases are one of the major threats to reef ecosystems globally. Black band disease (BBD) can cause significant mortality in coral populations during outbreaks. BBD is characterized as a dark pigmented microbial mat that migrates across the coral colony killing underlying tissue rapidly. The microbial mat is dominated by phototrophic cyanobacteria, sulphide-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) and sulphate-reducing bacteria (SRB), which maintain a sulphide-rich and anoxic environment at the lesion interface. Cyanobacteria is generally sensitive to sulphide as it irreversibly blocks the electron transport across photosystem II (PSII), thereby preventing photosynthesis and energy generation by the cyanobacteria. Recent metagenome-enabled transcriptomic analysis provided evidence that BBD-associated cyanobacterium may possess the capacity for metabolic adaptation to sulfidic environments by enhancing light-harvesting capabilities of PSII and PSI, increasing electron transport efficiencies downstream of PSII (e.g. plastocyanin), and increasing the number of PSI reaction centres in the thylakoid membrane. The increased expression of the sqr-gene that governs sulphide-driven anoxygenic photosynthesis was also detected in the sequencing study of Sato et al (2017), providing further evidence for this adaptive mechanism. This project aims to empirically confirm through experimental studies the metabolic and genomic mechanisms that the dominant cyanobacterial strain isolated from BBD lesions facilitates sulphide tolerance.
Investigators
Yun-Hsuan Hung and David Bourne (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Coral Black Band Disease; Transcriptome; Cyanobacteria

Reef HQ Volunteers Association - Grant

Genetic connectivity of Acropora Tenuis Coral populations between Magnetic Island and adjacent mid-shelf reefs.

Indicative Funding
$4,500 over 1 year
Summary
Population declines and isolation can reduce fitness and resilience in coral populations due to low genetic diversity. Reefs surrounding Magnetic Island in the central inshore region of the GBR are categorized as degraded. The dominant reef-building species Acropora tenuis at Magnetic Island may be at risk. However, their population structure, genetic diversity and connectivity to adjacent reefs is unknown. This knowledge is crucial to underpin the management of local reefs and therefore this project will assess the genetic diversity and connectivity of A. tenuis populations at adjacent reefs surrounding Magnetic Island.
Investigators
Sandra Erdmann and David Bourne (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Acropora tenuis (Acroporidae); Magnetic Island; Coral restoration; Population genetics; Resilience and diversity; Connectivity

Reef HQ Volunteers Association - Grant

Ecological implications of macroalgal removal for localised inshore reef restoration

Indicative Funding
$5,010 over 1 year
Summary
The growing dominance of fleshy macroalgae in many inshore coral reef ecosystems is recognised as a threat to ecosystem functioning and people dependent on coral reefs for their livelihoods. Physically removing macroalgae is proposed as an approach to free up space for coral recovery on algal-dominated reefs. The current state of knowledge surrounding macroalgal removal (reviewed in 2018) highlighted knowledge gaps related to physical and ecological consequences of macroalgal removal. This project aims to improve understanding of the ecosystem-wide impacts of macroalgal removal and determine its potential as a localised restoration strategy for inshore reefs increasingly impacted by anthropogenic threats.
Investigators
Stella Fulton, David Bourne and Hillary Smith (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Microalgae; Coral-Algal Interactions; Reef Restoration; Community Composition; Sedimentation; Magnetic Island

Earthwatch Institute Australia - Contract Research

Recovery of the Great Barrier Reef.

Indicative Funding
$371,000 over 3 years
Summary
This project investigates the potential for restoration of reef ecosystems around Magnetic Island. Linked with Earthwatch Australia, it is a citizen science-based project that engages volunteers to help remove macroalgae and monitor changes in coral recruitment, sediment dynamics, community composition, algae regrowth rates, and coral biology, with the hopes that removal of algae leads to an increase in coral cover. The project is an extension of a previous project which accumulated 7 years of base line data on demographic recovery dynamics of corals at Orpheus Island.
Investigators
David Bourne and Hillary Smith (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Coral Reefs; Citizen Science; Coral Recovery; reef disturbance; Ecosystem Assessment; Coral Restoration
Supervision

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.

Current
  • Characterisation of host-specific bacterial symbionts of corals (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Probiotics for the early life stages of coral in captivity: consortia design and fate (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Bioengineering for enhanced coral production (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Genome wide Assessments of Heat Tolerance in Corals (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Removal of Macroalgae to Enhance Coral Cover in Degraded Reefs (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Coral and Microbial Interactions during Progression of Black Band Disease (BBD) (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Effects of Reef Restoration Techniques (Macroalgal Removal combined with Larval Capture and Release) on the Genetic Diversity and Connectivity in Scleratinian Populations of Magnetic Island, Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Characterising and Monitoring Great Barrier Reef Microbial Communities in a Changing Climate (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Genetic and phenotypic signatures, heritability, and trade-offs of relative heat tolerance in A. millepora from the Great Barrier Reef (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
Completed
Data

These are the most recent metadata records associated with this researcher. To see a detailed description of all dataset records, visit Research Data Australia.

Collaboration

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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Email
Phone
Location
  • 145.313, ATSIP (Townsville campus)
Advisory Accreditation
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