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; he is the recent past Dean of the College.  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. 

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 one hundred and ninety six 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, 153 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
Book Chapters
  • Gershwin L and Kingsford M (2019) Pelagic jellyfishes and comb jellies. In: The Great Barrier Reef: Biology, Environment and Management. CSIRO Publishing, Clayton South, VIC, Australia, pp. 247-256

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 120+ 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 Research Council - Centres of Excellence

ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrated Coral Reef Studies

Indicative Funding
$28,000,000 over 8 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 (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

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
$7,000 over 1 year
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 Environment and Science - 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

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

Early warning systems to minimise the risk of box jellyfish stings by empowering stakeholders

Indicative Funding
$25,000 over 3 years (administered by CSIRO)
This project will minimise the risk of box jellyfish sting by empowering stakeholders with an early warning system. We will firs develop an openly-accessible database based o information from existing sting datasets, hospital records and surf lifesaving and research data. We will use this database to develop real-time forecasting models in major stinger hotspots on the GBR, based on environmental conditions and water quality. These forecasts will be tested with out project partners, SLSQ and AMPTO. This project will empower tourism operators, Traditional Owners, and the public to mitigate stinger impacts.
Anthony Richardson and Mike Kingsford in collaboration with S Condie and K Pitt (Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation, College of Science & Engineering and Griffith University)
Jellyfish; Engagement; Cubozoa; Ecology; Irukandji; Risk

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.

  • Importance of solitary, structurally complex, sponges as habitat and food for coral reef fishes (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Dynamics of Coral Reef Fishes at Aggregation Sites Within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • The population ecology of common tropical baitfishes in the lndo-Pacific (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Finding the missing link of jellyfish life history (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM/Adv)
  • Upside-down Jellyfish (Cassiopea spp.) as a model Organism under changing Climate Conditions (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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