Prof Geoff Jones is a well-established scientist in the fields of marine ecology and tropical marine conservation, with 30 years of experience in ecological research, undergraduate teaching and graduate supervision.  He has published a career total of ~200 refereed papers since 1980, mostly on the ecology, behaviour and conservation of marine fishes on tropical coral reefs and in temperate kelp forests. He supervised a career total of 113 research students to completion (including 50 BSc honours, 31 MSc and 32 PhD students) and hosted 13 post-doctoral research fellows.  His undergraduate teaching record includes over 1,000 students that have completed his 3rd year BSc “Marine Conservation Biology” class.

Over the past 10 years, he has focussed on two key aspects of the ecology of reef fishes that directly inform conservation strategies. In each of these fields, his teams have been responsible for developing new technologies that are changing our views on fundamental aspects reef fish ecology.

The first research topic centres on direct estimates of larval dispersal using genetic parentage analysis, and the significance of self-recruitment and connectivity for meta-population dynamics and the design of marine reserve networks. The second research topic focusses on population and community responses of reef fishes to changes in habitat structure, with particular reference to coral cover, coral diversity and habitat complexity.

His team's experimental work has exposed a high level of sophistication in the ability of reef fish to discriminate among habitats, a previously undiscovered level of species-specific interaction among fish and corals, and the extraordinary extinction risk associated with the declining health of coral reef habitats. 

  • MB3200: Marine Conservation Biology (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5004: Marine Conservation Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5300: Sampling and Experimental Design (Level 5; TSV)
  • Ecology and behaviour of coral reef fishes
  • Marine conservation biology
  • Ecology and behaviour of kelp forest fishes
  • Human impacts on tropical ecosystems
  • Management of tropical marine ecosystems
  • 2006 to 2013 - Professor, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1999 to 2005 - Reader, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1994 to 1998 - Senior Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1992 to 1993 - Lecturer, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 1987 to 1991 - Lecturer, University of Auckland
  • 1986 to 1987 - National Research Fellow, University of Sydney
  • 1983 to 1986 - Queen's Fellow in Marine Science, University of Sydney
  • 1981 to 1983 - Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

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 193+ research outputs authored by Prof Geoff Jones from 1991 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Research Council - Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Indicative Funding
$28,000,000 over 7 years
The overarching aim of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies is to provide the scientific knowledge necessary for sustaining ecosystem goods and services of the world's coral reefs, which support the livelihoods and food security of millions of people in the tropics. The Centre will enhance Australia's global leadership in coral reef science through three ambitious research programs addressing the future of coral reefs and their ability to adapt to change. A key outcome of the research will be providing tangible benefits to all Australians by bui8lding bridges between the natural and social sciences, strengthening capacity, and informing and supporting transformative changes in coral reef governance and management.
Terry Hughes, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Malcolm McCulloch, Peter Mumby, Sean Connolly, John Pandolfi, Bob Pressey, Andrew Baird, David Bellwood, Joshua Cinner, Sophie Dove, Maja Adamska, Mia Hoogenboom, Geoff Jones, Mike Kingsford, Ryan Lowe, Mark McCormick, David Miller, Philip Munday, Morgan Pratchett, Garry Russ and Tiffany Morrison in collaboration with Janice Lough, David Wachenfeld, Stephen Palumbi, Serge Planes, Madeleine van Oppen and Philippa Cohen (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, The University of Queensland, The University of Western Australia, College of Science & Engineering, Australian National University, College of Public Health, Medical & Vet Sciences, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Stanford University, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and WorldFish)
coral reef ecosystems; Climate Change Adaptation; ecological resilience; biodiversity goods and services; social-ecological dynamics

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP) - Contract Research

Assessing the Ecological Effects of Management Zoning on Inshore Reefs of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Indicative Funding
$520,000 over 4 years
This proposed project will provide an assessment of the ecological effects of management zoning on inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef marine Park (GBRMP). The proposed research will build upon and enhance our long-term monitoring program that has a strong track record of delivering findings that have proven to be highly relevant and useful to the GBRMPA and a range of Marine Park stakeholders. The key objectives are to provide a robust assessment of the effects of the GBRMP zoning plan on: *Abundance and population structure of fishery target species *Reef fish and benthic (coral) community composition, status and dynamics *Reef community productivity and resilience *Usage patterns of recreational fishers and compliance with zoning regulations
David Williamson, Garry Russ, Geoff Jones and Daniela Ceccarelli (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Great Barrier Reef; Management Zoning; Biodiversity; Coral Reef; Fisheries; Resilience

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Science Program (NESP) - Tropical Water Quality Hub (TWQ Hub)

Assessing the cumulative impacts of climatic disturbances on inshore GBR coral reefs, identifying key refuges and testing the viability of manipulative reef restoration

Indicative Funding
$85,000 over 2 years (administered by Reef and Rainforest Research Centre)
Coral reefs in the Keppel Islands (southern GBR) suffered successive climatic disturbance events (coral bleaching, flood plumes) between 2006 and 2013. Long-term monitoring at 26 sites revealed significant declines in coral cover, fish abundance and diversity on both no-take reserve and fished reefs. In February 2015 the Keppel Islands were impacted by Cyclone Marcia (Category 5). This project aims to quantify the extent of cumulative impacts from the successive disturbance events, identify and map remaining healthy reef areas, and provide advice on local management actions that may enhance recovery and long-term resilience.
Geoff Jones and David Williamson in collaboration with Daniela Ceccarelli and Garry Russ (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
coral reef biodiversity; ecological disturbance; fishery productivity and sustainability; Environmental Monitoring; coral reef restoration; Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Australian Research Council - Discovery - Projects

Habitat fragmentation: critical role in the decline and recovery of coral reef fish biodiversity

Indicative Funding
$434,000 over 3 years
Preserving biodiversity in the face of environmental degradation and climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. Although habitat fragmentation is considered a key cause of the current extinction crisis, the effects of changing habitat configuration on species persistence and recovery is almost completely unknown. Coral reefs are among the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet and this project will provide the first insights into how coral reef fish diversity responds to increased subdivision and isolation of reef habitat. It will identify critical aspects of habitat change that either enhance local diversity or threaten populations with extinction and provide new ecological data to refine conservation strategies.
Geoff Jones (College of Science & Engineering)
Coral Reefs; Great Barrier Reef'; Biodiversity

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.

  • Latitudinal Demography Based Assessment of Three Large Predatory Reef Fishes (Lutjanus sebae, Lutjanus malabaricus and Lutjanus erythropterus) (Masters , Secondary Advisor)
  • Determinants of depth-gradients in the distribution, movement, Resource use and body condition of coral-feeding butterflyfishes (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • An Assessment of Tongan Coral Reefs: Ecosystem Health, Current MPA Efficacy and the Development of a Clearly Defined LMMA System (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Causes and Consequences of Spatially Non-Random Feeding in a Territorial Excavating Parrotfish, Chlorurus microrhinos. (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Coral Depth Zonation: Its Nature and Significance. (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Role of Hybridisation in the Evolution of Coral Reef Fishes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Influence of Multiple Habitat Types on No Take Marine Researve Performance, Fish Community Structure, and Demographics of Important Fishery Species (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Assessment of the effects of boat noise on coral reef fish in their larval stage (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Connectivity and Ecological Processes on Small Non-Emergent Offshore Pinnacles; Reef Fish Ecology and Implications for Marine Reserve Network Design (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)

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