Dr. Hugo Harrison is a molecular ecologist with an interest in coral reefs, notably movement ecology of coral reef organisms. His main research is focused on understanding patterns of larval connectivity in in coral reef fish, and its relevance to the design and effectiveness of marine protected areas.

Dr. Harrison received his doctoral degree cum laude in Marine Biology from James Cook University in Australia and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etude in France.  As part of his thesis, Dr. Harrison and colleagues were the first to apply a forensic DNA profiling approach to track the dispersal pathways of fish larvae throughout a network of marine reserves on Australia’s Great Barrier Reefs. Their study provides the first conclusive evidence that larval supply from marine reserves generates important recruitment subsidies to both fished and protected areas.

  • Molecular tools to investigate the movement of fish and invertebrates across coral reef seascapes
  • The role of marine reserves and marine protected areas for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU.

Journal Articles

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 15+ research outputs authored by Dr Hugo Harrison from 2012 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority - Science for Management Award

Temporal variability of self-recruitment and gene flow of Lutjanus carponotatus among no-take marine reserves in the southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Indicative Funding
Self-recruitment and inter-No-take marine reserves gene flow will be quantified from the ecologically important coral reef fish Lutjanus carponotatus, collected from the Keppel Islands (southern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park) during 2008/09. This will be done by using genomic tools (both neutral and outlier single nucleotide polymorphisms). These results will be compared to additional SNP data for this species collected from the Keppels during 2012 to gauge temporal variability in self-recruitment/gene flow. Finally, self-recruitment/migration results from genomics will be compared to effective larvae dispersal estimates based on three-dimensional bio-physical model outputs.
Rodrigo Gurdek, Lynne van Herwerden, Hugo Harrison, Jessica Benthuysen and Mark Baird (College of Science & Engineering, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australian Institute of Marine Science and Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation)
Lutjanus carponotatus; Great Barrier Reef; Genomics; Self-replenishment; Gene Flow; Bio-physical modelling

Australian Research Council - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

Critical regions and network connectivity of coral reef ecosystems

Indicative Funding
$366,000 over 3 years
The movement of individuals in fragmented landscapes plays a central role in the ecology and evolution of species. This Project aims to measure the degree of connectivity between isolated reefs in Australia's Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef and identify the biological and environmental mechanisms that enhance management strategies or mitigate against disturbances. It will be the first study to measure true connectivity at multiple scales and identify critical regions for the design of networks of marine protected areas. This Project will significantly improve our understanding of connectivity in marine seascapes and directly benefit fisheries management and coral reef conservation.
Hugo Harrison (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Coral Reefs; Connectivity; Fisheries; spatial planning; Marine Reserves; metapopulations

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Contract Research

Coral Bleaching and Holothurian Survey in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Indicative Funding
Research Objectives: 1) To assess coral reef health in relation to: impact of coral bleaching in 2017 and recovery (if any) from Coral Bleaching that occurred in 2016; 2) Provide Parks Australia with a report about the extend of the bleaching; 3) To survey sea cucumber abundance in the Coral Sea
Hugo Harrison (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Coral Reefs; Coral Bleaching; Coral Sea; Holothurian; Monitoring

Department of the Environment and Energy - Director of National Parks - Contract Research

Coral Bleaching and Coral Reef Connectivity Research in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Reserve

Indicative Funding
$18,182 over 2 years
The 2015-16 summer resulted in extensive coral bleaching in the Torres Strait northern and central Great Barrier Reef, northern New South Wales and coastal NW Western Australia. This project will assess the extent and severity of coral bleaching in the waters adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea Commonwealth Marine Park.
Hugo Harrison (ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Coral Reefs; Coral Bleaching; Coral Sea; Australia; Monitoring

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.

  • The Role of Hybridisation in the Evolution of Coral Reef Fishes (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Connectivity within fisheries species along the Great Barrier Reef: genomics and modelling (PhD , Secondary 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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  • 19.127, Kevin Stark Research Building (Townsville campus)
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