Michael is a Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology in the College of Science and Engineering.  The College is a recognized world leader in tropical marine science, aquaculture, ecology, environmental sciences, fisheries, planning, plant sciences and zoology. Over a 14 year period he has held positions as Head of the School of Marine Biology and Tropical Biology and Dean of the College of Marine and Environmental Sciences.  Furthermore, he has been President of the Australian Coral Reef Society, Director of One Tree Island Research Station, member of the Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation and the Museum of Tropical Queensland advisory committees.  His awards include, the K. Radway Allen Award Awarded for an outstanding contribution in fish or fisheries science by the Australian Society for Fish Biology (2017) and the AMSA Jubilee Award (2021) for excellence in marine research and an outstanding contribution to marine research in Australia.

He has published extensively on the ecology of reef fishes, jellyfishes, biological oceanography and climate change.  His projects have encompassed a range of latitudes and he has edited two books on tropical and temperate ecology.  He is a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Innovative Coral Reef Studies. A major focus of his research has been on connectivity of reef fish populations, environmental records in corals and fishes and deadly irukandji jellyfishes.  In addition to research and leadership, he teaches undergraduate students and supervises many postgraduate students.

The activities of his research group can be seen on the Reef and Ocean Ecology website; http://reefoceanlab.org.au.

Michael has published two hundred and nine publications including three major books entitled ‘Studying Temperate Marine Environment: A Handbook for Ecologists’ 335 pp.; Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management 400 pp (Editions 1 and 2) .  Thirty one chapters in books, 160 refereed publications and nine refereed proceedings.  Publications include ten major refereed reviews (since 1988)For coverage of most journal articles see his ResearcherID and his Google Scholar page.

  • AG1007: Introduction to Plants and Animals for Veterinary Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • BS1001: Introduction to Biological Processes (Level 1; TSV)
  • BS1007: Introduction to Biodiversity (Level 1; TSV)
  • BS5460: Fundamentals of Ecology (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB1110: Introductory Marine Science (Level 1; TSV)
  • MB2080: Invertebrate Biology (Level 2; TSV)
  • MB3050: Biological Oceanography (Level 3; TSV)
  • MB5001: Tropical Marine Ecology and Coastal Impacts (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5055: Biological Oceanography (Level 5; TSV)
  • MB5380: Invertebrate Biology (Level 5; TSV)
  • SC5810: Marine Ecology and Upwelling (Level 5; TSV)
  • Pelagic ecology and oceanography; Population and community ecology of reef and pelagic fish in temperate and tropical systems (most of my present work is in the tropics); Elemental chemistry of fishes and jellyfishes what it can tell us about their movements and the environmental conditions they experience; Quantitative marine ecology; Climate change.
  • Pedagogy of teaching in biology; Blended/Flexible learning; Distance-based learning.
Research Disciplines

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 134+ research outputs authored by Prof Mike Kingsford from 2000 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Lions Foundation - Scientific and Medical Research on Marine Species Dangerous to Humans

Rapid In-field Detection of the Deadly Jellyfish, Chironex fleckeri

Indicative Funding
$7,000 over 1 year
Detection of Chironex fleckeri presents large challenges, and Environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used to overcome these. The use of an in-field detection workflow could offer an efficient and sensitive tool for real-time detection. This may allow for greater management of the taxon?s threat to human health and enterprise, specifically by identifying areas of high risk that are frequented by C. fleckeri. Through Rapid Assessment tests, rapid in-field detection of Chironex fleckeri becomes feasible, facilitated by eDNA techniques. Such an approach could significantly bolster ecological research and risk mitigation efforts undertaken by management authorities responsible for dealing with this taxon.
Mike Kingsford, Scott Morrissey and Nicola Thomson (College of Science & Engineering)
Cubozoa; Chironex fleckeri (Chirodopidae); genetics; management

Australian Lions Foundation - Scientific and Medical Research on Marine Species Dangerous to Humans

Understanding population structures of Chironex fleckeri

Indicative Funding
$10,000 over 1 year
An understanding of population structures is fundamental to understanding threats, where do jellyfish come from and how far do they go? Our objective it to use mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to identify intraspecific phylogenetic relationships among local populations along the coast of Queensland. We will use this approach to study the gene flow and connectivity of local populations separated by 10s to 100s of kilometres and this will include multiple locations used by swimmers. Using this approach we will determine scales of connectivity.
Mike Kingsford and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Chironex fleckeri (Chirodropidae); Management; Population structure; Cubomedusae; Ecology; Connectivity

Australian Lions Foundation - Marine Species Research Fund

A Forensic Approach to Elucidating the Life History of the Deadly Jellyfish Chironex fleckeri using eDNA.

Indicative Funding
$14,000 over 2 years
The polyps of the deadly Chironex fleckeri represent the longest-lived stage of jellyfish and are the source of medusa. However, there is almost no information on the benthic polyp stages of this species. Environmental DNA should allow me to detect polyps and therefore identify the sources of jellyfish which will increase our understanding of cubozoan ecology and how to minimise their threat of envenomating humans. Further, oceanographic modelling, that incorporates the decay of eDNA, will provide greater knowledge of `DNA? halos? that signals proximity to targeted polyp beds and jellyfish aggregations.
Scott Morrissey, Mike Kingsford and Dean Jerry (College of Science & Engineering)
Environmental DNA; Cubozoa; Life-History; Detection; Jellyfish; Polyp

Fisheries Society of the British Isles - Travel Grant

Importance of Solitary and Structurally Complex Sponges as shelter and Feeding Substratum for Coral Reef Fishes

Indicative Funding
To present findings from my second data chapter, which considers the importance of sponges as an important source of structure, or as a source of food for coral reef fishes, at the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen, Germany. Initially scheduled for 5-11 July 2020, this has now been postponed until 18-23 July 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Recognising the role of other space-holding organisms on coral reefs is particularly prevalent in light of the current global threats toward coral reefs. As the primary international conference for coral reef science, this is a key symposium for communicating data.
Amy Coppock, Geoff Jones and Mike Kingsford (College of Science & Engineering)
Coral reef fish ecology; Three-dimensional structure; Sponges (Porifera); Habitat preferences; Inter-relationships; Dietary preferences

QLD Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation - Advance Queensland Research Fellowship

The value of conservation parks on the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$180,000 over 4 years, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority ($15,000)
This project examines the importance of partially protected areas on the Great Barrier Reef. Conservation park zones offer partial protection to coral reef ecosystems by limiting fishing impacts through use of restrictions on fishing gear. Conservation parks have the potential to provide a conservation middle ground by allowing limited extraction by fishers whilst still providing a conservation benefit. Despite this potential, little is known about the value of the zones. This project will be the first to examine how conservation park zones contribute to conservation and management of coral reef fish communities on the Great Barrier Reef.
April Hall and Mike Kingsford (College of Science & Engineering)
Conservation; Marine Parks; Fishing Impacts; Fisheries Management; Zoning; Great Barrier Reef

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.
Graeme Cumming, 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 and Philippa Cohen (Research Division, The University of Queensland, 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

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 physical and biological processes driving fish aggregation behaviour. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The population ecology of common tropical baitfishes in the lndo-Pacific (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • A forensic approach to elucidating the life history of the deadly jellyfish Chironex fleckeri using eDNA. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Upside-down Jellyfish (Cassiopea spp.) as a model Organism under changing Climate Conditions (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The Contribution of Herbivorous Fish to Rocky Reef Assemblages at Equatorial Islands dominated by Upwelling: The Galapagos (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)

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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