Dr Ariel is Associate Professor in Virology at the College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences. Her cultural background is Danish / Australian and although she grew up in Denmark, her tertiary education was in Australia, which she finished off with a PhD in Aquatic Pathobiology.

Dr Ariel worked for the European Commission for 11 years as Coordinator of the 25 National Reference Laboratories for Fish Diseases in the European Union. The overall focus was on biosecurity of aquatic animals, especially aquaculture, and standardizing and harmonizing diagnostic capacity across borders to prevent spread of disease and facilitate safe trade in live fish. She was also heavily involved in harnessing and delivering scientific advice to policy makers as well as assessing and advising research directions in the EC Aquatic Animal Disease sector.

After lecturing on the topic of human viruses for a number of years, Dr Ariel has recently taken on the coordinating role for the Aquatic Animal Health group at James Cook University. Her research interest is aquatic animal health in all its variations, but especially virology.

Dr Ariel is the team leader of the  Turtle Health Team, and instigator of the new research facility: "The Caraplace".

  • MI2011: Microbial Diversity (Level 2; TSV)
  • MI2021: Introductory Infectious Diseases and Immunobiology (Level 2; TSV)
  • MI3021: Clinical Microbiology (Level 3; TSV)
  • MI5021: Advanced Clinical Microbiology (Level 5; TSV)
  • MI5051: Mechanisms of Infectious Diseases (Level 5; TSV)
  • PC2201: Infectious Diseases and Immunology for Pharmacists (Level 2; TSV)
  • Biosecurity, cooperation across boundaries, research-teaching nexus with indigenous people, university students, high schools, government agencies concerned with wildlife, NGOs and volunteers.
  • Virology, aquatic epidemiology and general health of sea turtles and freshwater turtles. Current topics: ranavirus, chelonid herpesvirus 5, normal intestinal microflora, bacteriophage treatment, health assessment criteria for turtles, leeches as vectors of disease.
  • Teaching human viral diseases to MedLab and BioMed students. Teaching Aquatic Epidemiology to 5th year Vet students. Action research, involving students from the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, School of Creative Arts and School of Business. Students from IT and Design courses worked with our students to design an online computer game to facilitate the learning of diagnostic tests.
  • 2009 to present - Team leader for the Turtle Health Research Group at the Vet School. Involving many colleagues, postgraduate students, undergraduates and interns, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2009 to present - Senior lecturer Virology, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2005 to 2008 - Coordinator of RANA Risk assessment of new and emerging systemic iridoviral diseases for European fish and aquatic ecosystems., European Community (Denmark, Europe)
  • 1997 to 2008 - Coordinator of the Reference Laboratory for Fish Diseases in European Community, European Community (Denmark, Europe)
  • 2004 to 2007 - Steering group Member. PANDA Permanent Advisory Network for Diseases in Aquacultue., European Community (Denmark, Europe)
  • 2005 to 2006 - Danish Representative on Comparative Risk Profile of Fish Diseases in the Nordic Countries, Danish Veterinary Institute (Denmark, Europe)
  • 1993 to 1997 - PhD Aquatic Pathology, Department of Biomedical and Tropical Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. Thesis title: Pathogenesis and Serological Assessment of Bohle Iridovirus Infections in Aquatic Reptiles. (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1992 - Bachelor of Science (Honours, 1st Class), Department of Biomedical and Tropical Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. Thesis title: Aspects of Bohle Iridovirus Infection in Tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus). (Townsville, Australia)
Research Disciplines
  • 2015 - Associate Professor
  • 2015 - Nominated for the Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in STEM Education
  • 2015 - JCU grant: $ 2000. Research partnerships beyond the University: Research and teaching nexus in the field
  • 2015 - Outdoor Turtle Nursery Facility – Multiple Donors John Villiers Trust: $20,000 James N Kirby Foundation: $ 5,000 Townsville Triathlon Festival (Event Charity): $ 7,000: Sea Turtle FOundation $ 5,000.
  • 2015 - JCU Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2014 - Department of Environment and Heritage: Experimental equipment: $ 5,000
  • 2014 - JCU Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
  • 2013 - Sea Turtle Foundation: Field trips and equipment expenses: $ 12,000
  • 2013 - World Wide Fund for Nature WWF: Trackers for behaviour in sick turtles: $ 33,000
  • 2012 - Nominated for the Peter Doherty Award for Excellence in STEM Education
  • 2012 - NQ Dry tropics: Food and filtration for starving turtles: $ 5,000
  • 2011 - Finalist in the Banksia Awards for Caring for Country
  • 2012 to 2015 - Purpose built Turtle Health Research Facility – Multiple Donors. Perpetual Trust: $20,000. WWF: $56,500. Anonymous: $80,000. Winifred Violet Scott: $26,500. George and Youngman Trust: $15,000.
  • 2010 to 2015 - WWF: Multiple donations to cover field trips and equipment: $ 66,000
  • 2005 to 2008 - Coordinator of the RANA project. 1.6M € project with 6 international partners. Risk assessment of new and emerging systemic iridoviral diseases for European fish and aquatic ecosystems
  • 2004 to 2007 - Steering Group Member for the PANDA project (Permanent Advisory Network for Diseases in Aquaculture) which cooperated with over 400 scientists to seek policy advise for the European Commission.
  • 2012 to 2015 - Australian representative on the Board of the Global Ranavirus Symposium
  • 2005 to 2015 - Honorary position as Senior Consultant of the Inspection and Quarantine Technology Center, Lianyungang Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau of P.R. China.
  • 2011 to 2015 - • Centers of Excellence: Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • 2011 to 2015 - • Centers of Excellence:TropWATER - Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research
  • 2003 to 2015 - Asian Fisheries Society
  • 2008 - Expert on panel for fish health and welfare under European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
  • 2013 to 2015 - Human Ethics Monitor at the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
  • 2002 to 2015 - Expert and Reader for the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) on the Aquatic Animal Code and Manual on ranaviral diseases of fish and amphibians
  • 2010 to 2014 - Postgraduate Liason Officer at the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
  • 2005 to 2008 - Expert in audits of 3rd countries for the EC Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) for approval to export live and processed fish into the EU
  • 2003 to 2007 - Editor in Chief for the Journal: the European Association of Fish Pathologist (EAFP) Bulletin

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
Book Chapters

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 45+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Ellen Ariel from 2005 onwards.

Current Funding

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

CRC for Developing Northern Australia Scheme - Projects

Biosecurity in northern Australian prawn aquaculture

Indicative Funding
$441,818 over 3 years
This project addresses biosecurity risk through conducting the first comprehensive and widespread biosecurity audit of Australian prawn farms. This project has two components. The first is to conduct a biosecurity metanalysis using traditional and molecular diagnostic tools to establish what pathogens currently occur on prawn farms and how they relate to productivity. Secondly, once the pathobiome is established the project will formulate a risk management strategy for industry and provide on-farm biosecurity training. Understanding the risk of disease, and increased capacity to detect and monitor on-farm, will lead to more effective management practices for northern Australian prawn aquaculture.
Dean Jerry, Ellen Ariel, Kelly Condon and Roger Huerlimann (College of Science & Engineering, College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Penaeus monodon (Penaidae); Disease; Prawn; Aquaculture

World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia - Contract Research

Establishing Baseline Health Assessment Criteria for Green Turtles (Chelonia Mydas)

Indicative Funding
$28,909 over 3 years
The first part of this project is to optimise procedures involved in assessing turtle health. The second part is to collect data for reference ranges. The third part is to analyse influence of age, location, season, sex and exertion on the results of the assessment. The ultimate output of this project is a robust and obje3ctive method for assessing turtle health, with will facilitate diagnosis and treatment of sick animals and enable assessment of population health of green turtles.
Ellen Ariel (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas); Health Assessment Turtles; Blood Parameters; Clinical Assessment; Parasites

Glencore Mount Isa Mines - Research Grant

Research Vessel for Shallow Water Capture

Indicative Funding
An inflatable lifeguard vessel with fibreglass bottom is a great help for catching sea turtles in shallow inshore areas. The inflatable sides makes for greater safety for both turtle and catcher. Sick turtles tend to prefer shallow water.
Ellen Ariel in collaboration with Adam Wilkinson and Karina Jones (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Green Turtle; Chelonia mydas; Chelonid Herpesvirus; Fibropapilloma

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection - Contract Research

Resistance to inundation in green turtle eggs

Indicative Funding
The experiments will compare the susceptibility of green turtle eggs to inundation during different stages of their development.
Ellen Ariel and Sara-Louise McCracken (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
environmental influences on turtle healt; Climate Change; Green turtle (Chelonia mydas); nest inundation and drowning; Raine Island

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Flatback turtle's whereabouts: Identifying migration pathways and critical foraging habitats to protect

Indicative Funding
Flatback turtles Natator depressus are endemic to Australia and Papua New Guinea. Unlike other species of marine turtles, this species does not have an oceanic phase in its life cycle and is therefore restricted to waters off the Australian/PNG continental shelf. However, despite having one of the most restricted ranges of any of the sea turtles, scientists still know little about flatback turtle feeding ecology. The objectives of the project is to: 1) Study the migration pattern and habitat utilisation (breeding, foraging and/or residing) of flatback turtles from nesting beaches in Queensland using satellite tagging (x4) and stable isotope technology. 2) Sample the health parameters of flatback turtles to gain a baseline level of information about this species. 3) Determine flatback nesting in Upstart Bay (North Queensland) as the contribution this cohort makes to the greater Queensland Turtle Conservation Project.
Adam Barnett, Ellen Ariel and Ian Bell (College of Science & Engineering, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences and Department of Environment and Heritage (SA))

World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia - Contract Research

Collaborative Gungu Research in Bays Between Cardwell and Bowen

Indicative Funding
$12,000 over 2 years
The proposal seeks to continue the Gungu Research Project fieldtrips as previously agreed with collaborative partners in order to understand the prevalence and possible causes of FP in turtles in Edgecumbe Bay under the Banner of Turtle Rescue Mission project, amongst other deliverables as highlighted below. The budget is to be used for collecting samples and travel expenses as part of fieldtrips.
Ellen Ariel and Karina Jones (College of Public Health and Medical & Vet Sciences)
Environmental Influences Turtle Health; Fibropapillomatosis

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.

  • Studies of Bellinger River Virus (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Assessment of health Status in Green Turtle Populations (Chelonia Mydas) by Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis Method (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • Environmental Influences in the Epidemiology of Fibropapillomatosis in Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) and Consequences for Management of Inshore Areas of the Great Barrier Reef. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • The Identification of Potential Links Between Fibropapilloma Prevalence in Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia Mydas) and Heavy metal Contamination Along the Great Barrier Reef, Australia (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Sea turtles disease risk analysis, establishing primary cell culture and QPCR for viral screening and discovery of the first Australian Green Turtle (Chelonia Mydas) Papillomavirus (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Pathology of ranavirus in eastern water dragons and survey of ranavirus and adenovirus in Australiain lizards (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Pathology and Epidemiology of Ranavirus Infection in Australian Freshwater Turtles (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Detection, prevention and management of Viral Encaphalopathy and Retinopathy in cultured tropical grouper E.coioides and E.lanceolatus (PhD , Primary Advisor)

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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