About

Marcus Sheaves is a Distinguished Professor in the College of Science and Engineering, where he is Director of Special Projects. Marcus also leads JCU’s Estuary and Coastal Wetland Ecology Research Group, and, JCU’s Marine Data Technology Hub.

Marcus has researched ecosystem and fisheries ecology of tropical coastal systems, estuaries, coastal wetlands and mangroves since the early 1990s. His research has focussed particularly on nursery ground utilisation and values, the role of connected habitat mosaics in ecosystem functioning, functional mapping of marine habitats, the use of developing technology (e.g., artificial intelligence) in environmental problem-solving, and critical thinking in environmental decision-making. He has published widely with over 75 peer reviewed publications over the last 5 years. Marcus leads a number of substantial research projects within Australia and across the Asia-Pacific region. He has extensive collaborations with research and management organisations both within Australia and internationally.

 

Teaching
  • MB3270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5270: Coastal, Estuarine and Mangrove Ecosystems (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5610: Fishing Gear and Technologies (Level 5; TSV)
Interests
Research
  • The ecology of estuaries and coastal wetland ecosystems, in particular in: nursery ground function, animal habitat relationships, the role of ecosystem mosaics and connectivity
  • Ecosystem repair and rejuvenation, contributions to food security and the effects of climate change
  • Fisheries, food web, seascape and spatial ecology
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
Honours
Awards
  • 2006 - Best Paper of the Year; 'Coral Reefs' - Journal of the International Society of Reef Studies
Fellowships
  • 2009 - Australian Academy of Sciences Study Fellowship
Other
  • 2012 - Primary Postgraduate Advisor of the Year, James Cook University
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
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ResearchOnline@JCU stores 190+ research outputs authored by Prof Marcus Sheaves from 1992 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Ecological Society of Australia - Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment

How are stingray communities distributed across tropical intertidal sandflats and which environmental factors influence their habitat use?

Indicative Funding
$6,375 over 3 years
Summary
Stingrays are important meso-predators in coastal habitats around the world that impact biotic communities and structure physical environments. However, broad spatial assessments of ray habitat use are lacking, resulting in poor understanding of their ecological value and how to implement effective management strategies. The project aims to assess how the composition of stingray communities varies across tropical intertidal sandflats and which environmental variables (including prey availability) influence their distribution patterns. This goal is divided into five research objectives whose outcomes will improve habitat use models for intertidal rays and investigate important aspects of ray foraging and movement behaviours.
Investigators
Jaelen Myers, Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone, Michael Bradley and Kevin Crook (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Predator-prey; Habitat use; stingray; Intertidal sandflat; Animal distribution

Australian Research Council - Linkage - Infrastructure (L-IEF)

Australian Acoustic Observatory: A Network to Monitor Biodiversity

Indicative Funding
$927,000 over 8 years (administered by QUT)
Summary
Acoustic sensing is transforming environmental science by recording vocal species 24 x 7, providing data of unparalleled spatial and temporal resolution for ecosystem monitoring and research. This is particularly relevant to Australia's fragile and mega-diverse environment and Australia has leading research expertise in this emerging field. The proposed observatory will be the world's largest terrestrial acoustic sensor network comprising 450 listening stations deployed across Australia. Funds will purchase autonomous sound recorders and online storage and processing hardware. Data will be freely available to all online, enabling new science in understanding ecosystems, long-term environmental change, data visualisation and acoustic science.
Investigators
Paul Roe, David Watson, Richard Fuller, Stuart Parsons, Tomasc Bednarz, Margot Brereton, Lin Schwarzkopf, Dale Nimmo, Berndt Janse van Rensburg, Martine Maron, Marcus Sheaves, Paul McDonald and Gary Luck (Queensland University of Technology, Charles Sturt University, The University of Queensland, College of Science & Engineering and The University of New England)
Keywords
Monitoring; Frogs; acoustic; Birds

Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales - Ethel Mary Read Research Grant

Acoustic tagging of stingrays

Indicative Funding
$3,000 over 1 year
Summary
My aim is to assess how the dispersal and habitat selection of juvenile rays to better estimate their ecological roles and improve conservation strategies for species in tropical estuaries. Juvenile rays of two species (Mangrove whipray (Urogymnus granulatus) and Australian whipray (Himantura australis)) will be tagged and monitored over a period of 6-12 months with a passive acoustic receiver array in Deluge Inlet, QLD. This project will detail the seasonal residency, dispersal ranges, and core habitat ranges of each species over short (diel) and long-term (monthly, seasonally) temporal scales.
Investigators
Jaelen Myers, Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Movement ecology; Habitat use; Stingray; Intertidal sandflat; Animal distribution; Drone

Morris Family Foundation - Student Research Grant

Distributions and behaviours of stingrays

Indicative Funding
$3,000 over 1 year
Summary
Stingrays are abundant intermediate predators in shallow coastal waters that impact biotic communities and structure physical environments. However, assessments of ray communities and their habitat use are sparse, resulting in poor understanding of their ecological value and management. For this project, I will evaluate ray populations in diverse intertidal habitats around Orpheus Island and examine how spatio-temporal factors influence community composition, distribution and behaviours. This goal is divided into research objectives with outcomes that will improve our ability to identify valuable areas for rays and understand how behaviours are linked to habitat choice, functional roles, and ecological impacts.
Investigators
Jaelen Myers, Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Movement Ecology; Habitat Use; Stingray; Intertidal Sandflat; Animal Distribution; Drone

WV Scott Charitable Trust - Research Grant

Addressing urgent welfare concerns for Blackspotted Croaker (Protonibea diacanthus) populations in Queensland

Indicative Funding
$50,000 over 3 years
Summary
The Blackspotted Croaker (also known as black jewfish) is targeted by commercial, recreational, indigenous and charter fishing groups. Since 2017 there has been a rapid increase in targeted commercial fishing effort for Blackspotteed Croaker in Queensland. Given the high value of Blackspotteed Croaker, their vulnerability as aggregating species and the absence of a stock assessment to inform how many populations need to be managed, updated biological/ecological information (Including stock structure) are needed for assessment and protection of Blackspotted Croaker stock(s) in Queensland. The study aims at identifying stock structure and connectivity (including aggregation time) in order to improve management of th species across Queensland.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Adam Barnett, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Population Genetic Structure; Fisheries Management; Epinephelus nigritus (Serranidae); Blackspotted Croaker

The World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia - Contract Research

JCU Spawning Potential app development

Indicative Funding
$37,500 (administered by World Wide Fund for Nature Australia)
Summary
The central biological measure of success for the ?Community- Based Sustainable Development in Solomon Island and PNG Coastal Communities? projects are trends in the Spawning Potential Ratio (SPR) of key target species. This Project seeks to refine the Spawning Potential Survey (SPS) App (JCU FISH) to include spatial reporting tools that can be utilised by survey participants to monitor spatial and temporal trends in SPR. This project extends from an earlier ?proof of concept? project funded by the WWF Ocean Practice where the potential for automatic identification and measurement of target species from a single image was realised.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Ickjai Lee, Jason Holdsworth and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Reef Fish; Pacific Islands; Fisheries; App; Catch data; Monitoring

Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Contract Research

Fish sensory analysis and consumers' preference study.

Indicative Funding
$336,124 over 2 years
Summary
This project seeks to carry out a fish sensory analysis and consumer acceptability study in order to determine fish taste preferences and purchasing criteria of UAE residents, and to provide guidance for developing a consumer-appropriate fish breeding and production programme.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves in collaboration with Paul McShane, David Milne and Constantinos Stathopoulos (College of Science & Engineering, Global Marine Resource Management Pty Ltd and United Arab Emirates University)
Keywords
Seafood; Sensory evaluation; Consumer preference; Consumer Behaviour; Aquaculture

Fisheries Research & Development Corporation - Annual Competitive Round

Application of a machine learning approach for effective stock management of abalone

Indicative Funding
$115,649 over 2 years
Summary
Determining the number and size distribution of abalone present at various stages of production is critical information for effective stock management. Currently the Australian abalone aquaculture industry spends in the order of $25,000 per annum, per farm, gathering this information by hand. However, the resulting data is of mediocre quality, is limited in its scope, and collecting the data causes stress to the animals which can compromise growth and survival. Automated counting and measuring of abalone will increase farm efficiency and productivity in the short term and, in the longer term, will provide an advanced platform for further R&D improvements. Artificial intelligence and machine learning has now matured to a point that accurately counting and measuring abalone is possible using this approach. This project would involve the development, training and validation of a machine learning model to identify, segment and measure quantitative abalone traits in production systems, and render the product data to be accessible and applicable for farmers.
Investigators
Jan Strugnell, Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone, Ickjai Lee, Joanne Lee, Jason Holdsworth and Art (Hemmaphan) Suwanwiwat (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Abalone (Haliotidae); Machine Learning

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR)

Building local capacity for aquatic wildlife?s sustainable management: Patagonia, Argentina

Indicative Funding
$11,210 over 3 years
Summary
Patagonia, Argentina, is facing alarming aquatic wildlife resource risks. This project will build local capacity for the sustainable management of Patagonian wildlife resources by skilling scientists at the Patagonian National Centre through a new collaboration agreement with James Cook University.
Investigators
Adam Barnett and Marcus Sheaves in collaboration with Alejo Irigoyen (College of Science & Engineering and Centro Nacional Patagonico (CENPAT))
Keywords
Capacity Building; Education; Animal movement technology; Predators

Australian Marine Conservation Society - Contract Research

Spatial evaluation of megafauna distribution and gill net fisheries on the GBR.

Indicative Funding
$6,750
Summary
The aims of the project is to assess how the distribution and important ecological regions for various species of megafauna in the GBR, overlap with current commercial gillnet activities. This will be done creating spatial maps that will also be used to highlight areas of data deficiency.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone, Caitlin Lennard and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Gillnets Fishery; Megafauna distribution; Fisheries management

Hinchinbrook Shire Council - Contract Research

Lower Herbert Drainage Concerns-Mangrove Expansion

Indicative Funding
$10,186 over 1 year
Summary
The Project aims at assessing the effect of removing overhanging mangrove trees that have grown over artificially made channels over the last few decades. The mangrove pose a threat to the water flow, causing the drain to overfill during periods of heavy rainfall and flood the surrounding areas.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Nathan Waltham, Carlo Mattone and Michael Bradley (College of Science & Engineering and TropWATER)
Keywords
Mangrove Forest; Nursery Grounds; Clearance

World Wide Fund for Nature (US) - Contract Research

From Coastal Communities to Cloud Communities ? New Application and Artificial Intelligence to Monitor Fish Stocks Using Photos ? Application Development

Indicative Funding
$53,100 over 1 year
Summary
The Project aims at develop an artificial intelligence capable to autonomously identify fish species and number from images collected at fish markets in remote location, so that effective catch rate can be evaluated and management policies can be developed.
Investigators
Marcus Sheaves, Carlo Mattone, Michael Bradley, Joanne Lee, Jason Holdsworth, Art (Hemmaphan) Suwanwiwat and Ickjai Lee (College of Science & Engineering)
Keywords
Artificial Intelligence; Phone App; Caught Fish; Catch Rate
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
  • Oysters as Tropical Ecosystem Engineers: Implications for Urban Mangrove Communities in a Changing Climate (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Saltmarsh Connectivity in Tropical Seascapes: An Eco-hydrological Perspective (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Habitat Use, Movement Patterns and Trophic Ecology of Sharks and rays within Mangrove Forests (PhD , Advisor Mentor)
  • Enhanced Sustainable Livelihood Protection through Effective Marine Invasive Species Monitoring Measures (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Ecological and Environmental Characteristics of Coastal Snapper Habitats: Implications for the Management of Critical Fish Habitats (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • How are stingray communities distributed across tropical intertidal sandflats and which environmental factors influence their habit use? (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Habitat Context and Trophic Structure in Tropical Intertidal Systems (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Mitigating and Adapting to Change in the Tropics: Livelihood Sustainability of North Queensland Commercial Fishers (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Assessing the potential for recreational fishing to contribute to conservation of coastal marine species and habitats (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Understanding the influence of propagule transport in the dispersal and connectivity of marine macrophytes (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Developing High-Performance Deep Learning Tools for Marine Habitat Monitoring (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Enabling accessible technology for more effective conservations of coastal systems (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Drivers of Migration in sharks and rays (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Mangrove restoration trajectories: trends & lessons from Guyana (PhD , Secondary Advisor/AM)
  • Drivers of Migration and Habitat use of Marine Predators: Forecasting how Anthropogenic Disturbances might Destabilize Migration and Habitat use Patterns (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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