Following an Honours degree in Natural Resource management (UNE), Jon commenced his professional career in terrestrial protected areas in 1975. He first worked with the Victorian National Park Service and the Victorian Land Conservation Council, and then spent four years in Kakadu National Park (Northern Territory). In 1986, Jon joined the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), and for the next 28 years, was involved in many aspects of planning and managing the GBR. This included seven years involved with marine and island field management within the GBR (as QPWS Area/Regional Manager) and 16 years as one of the GBRMPA Directors. 

As a GBRMPA Director, Jon was variously responsible for biodiversity conservation, park planning, heritage (particularly World Heritage), Indigenous Partnerships, the GBR rezoning and commencing the first GBR Outlook Report. For his efforts with the GBR rezoning, Jon was awarded an Australian Public Service Medal (PSM) and a Smithsonian-Queensland Fellowship. Jon was also appointed as the natural heritage expert during Australia's four-year term on the World Heritage Committee (2008-11). 

Following his retirement in 2014, Jon undertook a post-career PhD, in which he analysed the reasons behind the success of the GBR rezoning. This transformative policy process led to the current GBR zoning plan, and today it is recognised as the most effective policy review process ever to occur in the GBR, with many lessons for marine conservation around the globe. 

Despite retirement, Jon continues to work and publish in marine management/planning and World Heritage. However, most of his efforts are focused on applying the Climate Vulnerability Index (CVI), a systematic and rapid assessment tool that Jon co-developed with a JCU-colleague (Prof Scott Heron); the CVI is now being applied in many heritage areas around the world.

  • Assessing the climate vulnerability of heritage areas (natural and cultural)
  • Working with Indigenous communities to apply a modified version of the CVI to assess the vulnerability of significant Indigenous 'values' to climate change
  • 2021 to 2024 - Adjunct Senior Research Fellow, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 2014 to 2020 - Post-career PhD, James Cook University (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1998 to 2014 - Director (various sections), GBRMPA (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1997 to 1998 - Marine consultant, WWF Canada (Toronto, Canada)
  • 1990 to 1997 - Regional Manager/Area Manager, QPWS (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1986 to 1990 - Park Management Officer, GBRMPA (Townsville, Australia)
  • 1984 to 1985 - Project Coordinator/Senior Planner, Victorian National Parks Service (Grampians Nat Park, Victoria)
  • 1980 to 1984 - Park Ranger, ANPWS (Kakadu National Park)
  • 1975 to 1980 - Investigations Officer/Research Officer, Victorian National Parks Service/Land Conservation Council (Melbourne, Victoria)
Research Disciplines
  • 2004 - (Australian) Public Service Medal (PSM)
  • 2004 - Queensland-Smithsonian Fellowship
  • 2023 - ICOMOS - International
  • 2023 - Honorary Life membership ACIUCN
  • 1999 - WCPA-IUCN

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 40+ research outputs authored by Dr Jon Day from 2005 onwards.


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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