Michelle Heupel is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow jointly based at the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University.  Her education and career have spanned the US and Australia with an undergraduate degree in Zoology from Colorado State University and PhD from the University of Queensland. 

Following her PhD Michelle took a position as a Postdoctoral Scientist in the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida.  During nearly 10 years at Mote she developed a successful research program focusing on the use of acoustic telemetry technology to monitor the movement patterns of coastal shark populations. Michelle’s appointment at Mote eventuated in a position as Manager of the Elasmobranch Behavioral Ecology Program. 

Since moving to Townsville, Australia in 2007 Michelle has been involved in consultancy work, research projects via James Cook University and as Research Director for AIMS@JCU (a joint venture between the Australian Institute of Marine Science and James Cook University).  Michelle is currently a member of Australia’s Threatened Species Scientific Committee, a committed member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and acts as a Subject Editor for Marine and Coastal Fisheries and an Associate Editor for Animal Biotelemetry. Michelle’s research has centred on the movement and ecology of predatory fish and has produced 5 book chapters, 9 technical reports and over 60 journal publications.

  • 2011 to present - ARC Future Fellow, Australian Institute of Marine Science (Townsville)
  • 2008 to present - Principal Research Fellow, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2011 - Research Director, AIMS@JCU (Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2011 - Research Consultant, Heupel Marine Research
  • 2002 to 2006 - Program Manager, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida)
  • 2000 to 2002 - Staff Scientist, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida)
  • 1998 to 2000 - Postdoctoral Scientist, Mote Marine Laboratory (Sarasota, Florida)
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
  • Heupel M, Kessel S, Matley J and Simpfendorfer C (2018) Acoustic telemetry. In: Shark Research: emerging technologies and applications for the field and laboratory. Marine Biology Series. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, USA, pp. 133-156

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 133+ research outputs authored by Dr Michelle Heupel from 2002 onwards.

Current Funding

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

Australian Institute of Marine Science - Contract Research

JCU - AIMS Shark Collaboration

Indicative Funding
$178,119 over 3 years
Funding will support a joint post-doc between JCU and AIMS to assist with collaborative projects the ecology and conservation of sharks.
Colin Simpfendorfer and Michelle Heupel in collaboration with Andrew Chin (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Shark; Ecology; Coral Reef Ecosystems; Hammerhead Sharks

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Drivers of juvenile shark biodiversity and abundance in inshore ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef

Indicative Funding
$735,000 over 5 years
This project will survey coastal areas between Cardwell and Mackay to investigate the factors that affect how sharks utilise these areas as nurseries.
Colin Simpfendorfer, Andrew Tobin and Michelle Heupel in collaboration with Peter Yates, Samantha Munroe and Audrey Schlaff (College of Science & Engineering and Australian Institute of Marine Science)
Shark; nursery area; environmental variation; portfolio effect

Department of the Environment and Energy - National Environmental Research Program - Tropical Ecosystems Hub

Maximising the benefits of mobile predators to GBR ecosystems: the importance of movement, habitat and environment

Indicative Funding
$231,400 over 5 years
This project will study the role of environmental factors in driving the movement of reef predators.
Michelle Heupel, Colin Simpfendorfer and Andrew Tobin (Australian Institute of Marine Science and College of Science & Engineering)
Shark; acoustic telemetry; Reef fish; environmental variation

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.

  • Diversity, Abundance and Distribution of Batoids on Coral Reefs (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • The Potential of using Data-Logging Acoustic Receivers To Study The Movements and Residency Patterns of Dugongs in Port Environments: A Comparision With Satellite Tracking. (PhD , Associate Advisor)
  • Habitat Use, Movement Patterns and Trophic Ecology of Sharks and rays within Mangrove Forests (PhD , Primary Advisor)
  • Effects of Environmental Variation on Habitat Use and Movement of the Blacktip Reef Shark, Carcharhinus Melanopterus. (PhD , Primary Advisor/AM)
  • The Thermal-Dependence of Behaviour: Do Plectropomus Ieopardus have the capacity to cope with increasing temperatures? (PhD , Secondary Advisor)
  • Examining Coral Reef Carrying Capacity and Trophic Roles of Grey Reef Sharks in the Central GBR. (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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Similar to me

  1. Prof Colin Simpfendorfer
    College of Science & Engineering
  2. Dr Andrew Chin
    College of Science & Engineering
  3. Dr Andrew Tobin
    College of Science & Engineering
  4. Dr Jodie Rummer
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies